Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Longest Running Natural Hair Show to Host 25th Annual Conference in Philly

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Nationwide --   With all the various social justice rallies and daily incidents of injustices related to racism: white supremacy, hair discrimination to many may seem unrelated and superficial. Yet upon deeper examination, one can find a pattern of not merely social injustice but blatant attack on the mental, emotional, physical, financial, and cultural life of Africans-in-the-Diaspora and Aboriginal Indigenous men and women especially as it relates to how they choose to wear their hair as it naturally grows out of their heads.

For centuries there has been both a covert and overt assault on the way Africans-in-the-Diaspora and Aboriginal Indigenous choose to wear and care for their hair. Because often their hair is deemed "unprofessional," "unclean," and "unattractive," many Africans-in-the-Diaspora and Aboriginal Indigenous men and women have lost jobs, been removed from schools, denied employment and/or advancement, been subject to ridicule, even abuse by police and others simply for having the nerve to be who they are naturally wearing afros, braids, twists, microbraids, sisterlocks, African locks, all culturally, naturally their divine right.

The historical abuse and injustices have reached such an outrageous extent that lawmakers across the country have begun to enact hair discrimination laws to protect the rights of Africans-in-the-Diaspora and Aboriginal Indigenous men, women and children.

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In the 1960s, there was a surge of cultural pride, and young Africans-in-the-Diaspora and Aboriginal Indigenous folks proudly, unapologetically wore their hair in natural styles. Indeed, the natural hairstyles were associated with the culturally charged Black Power movement, which included a conscious and unconscious rejection of the western standard of beauty and symbolized a deep connection to cultural heritage.

However, the push to assimilate, to integrate and to accept the western standard of beauty as the norm resulted in many folks turning away from wearing their hair naturally. And those who did hold fast to wearing their natural hair were increasingly subjected to various attacks.

In response to the lack of resources to care for natural hair, to the attacks on men and women who choose to wear braids, locks, and/or twists instead of accepting attempts to turn the historical clock back to the days of physical slavery, and to combat overt and covert genocide, a few forward thinking Africans-in-the-Diaspora and Aboriginal Indigenous men and women across the country organized conferences and platforms to regain that pride, to celebrate African and Aboriginal Indigenous culture, to share knowledge, and to stand up for their rights.

In 1994, in Philadelphia, the first authentic cultural natural hair show was founded. Unfortunately, years later we are still having the conversation about our natural hair being a crime or a threat and a topic for heated debates.

The Kuumba Family Institute in answering the call has for the past 25 years produced the Annual International Locks Conference(AILC) Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo. This year the theme for the conference reflects the times and the headlines: "Natural Formation: Loc'd and Loaded."

The conference is loc'd on celebrating our natural hair, cultural heritage, health, and family connections, and loaded with valuable information, resources, and goods and services. 

In addition to live musical performances, children's activities, empowering workshops, informative panel discussions, and 100s of unique vendors, the conference will host a meet and greet of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Back by popular demand at the 25th Annual International Locks Conference is the Melanin Goddess Beauty Suite, designed to celebrate and promote a more universal and authentic sense of natural beauty.

Acceptance of one's natural self and innate sense of beauty is the most powerful counter to the blatant propaganda and societal promotion of the so-called western/white standard of beauty. Two other features will be the natural hair show case and competition, and a special 90-minute women only Sacred Feminine Embodiment: Yoga & Conscious Movement." All the features and activities are geared toward increasing knowledge of self, awareness of our spiritual and cultural connections.

The Kuumba Family Institute, Inc. and the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee have once again assembled noted speakers and experts in culture, relationships, entrepreneurship, as well as freedom fighters, African-centered educators, and natural health healers and wellness advocates to participate in the family-friendly conference which will be held Saturday and Sunday October 5 and 6, 2019 at Universal Audenried Charter High School in South Philadelphia.

Some of the featured presenters at the widely anticipated Locks Conference include natural hair experts:

Thando "The Loc King" Kafele
Nekhena Evans
Honey Bush
Jessica Marshall
Aqiylah Sheppard

Featured authors:

Student Minister Nuri Muhammad
Professor Griff
Ayo Kimathi

Featured liberation educators:

Professor Bayyinah Bello
Kalonji Changa
Marcus Kline
Chairman Fred Hampton
Jr, Dr. Ray Wimbush

Featured wellness experts:
Dr Afiya Mbilishaka
Ron Norwood
Dr. Ali Muhammad
Montsho and Nwasha Edu
Greg and Helanah Corbin
Solé Aja Shah

Featured Artists:
Sunni Peterson
Tahir RBG
One sun Lion Ra
Alfie Pollitt
Gloria Kingcade

and many more. 

The 25th Annual International Locks Conference (AILC) Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo affectionately called the Philly Locks Conference, October 5 & 6, 2019 at the Universal Audenried CHS, 12 noon to 9:30 pm each day also offers a great opportunity to revitalize oneself, to relax, to learn, to reconnect with old friends, to meet new friends, to network, to have fun, to witness Aboriginal Indigenous creativity to build solid business and ignite relationship possibilities, to buy black, to shop and shop some more, to eat delicious food, to hear live music, and to be motivated to move from talking about change to actively seeking solutions all while supporting an important cultural and educational institution.

For more information and/or tickets, visit the website at

Eventbrite: and/or or call 215-438-8189.

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