The term Black Girl Magic can be defined and used in many different contexts. Whether discussing academic achievement or the power of friendship, career success or fun social media movements like #blackwomeninyellow, the definitions it produces are limitless. This past Saturday, the 5th annual Curlfest provided a safe space for all expressions of Black Girl Magic to manifest in one central location for a celebration of black women’s natural hair and beauty.
Hosted in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Curlfest 2018 brought out thousands of people from around the world for a full day of dancing, performances, food, face painting, haircuts, and of course, shopping. Caribbean dancers, a local marching band, and several DJs touched the stage throughout the day, leading the crowd in one large swag surf and the electric slide. Cult hair brands Shea Moisture, Jane Carter, DevaCurl, and more sold products and provided hair consultations alongside accessories vendors like Cee Cee’s Closet, a brand that specializes in handmade head wraps made of printed West African fabrics.
Since its debut in 2013, Curlfest has grown exponentially; in fact, they are currently recognized as the largest natural hair festival in the world. Despite this success, at the heart of each festival their goal of “harnessing the energy of the natural hair movement” remains intact. This year they added a chill zone for ticketed customers that include free hennas and massages, and also held a number of empowerment panels, one of which featured model and activist Ebonee Davis. In an interview with Simone Mair, a member of Curly Girl Collective, the group that organized Curlfest, she explained the empowering elements of natural hair, and the importance of recognizing these benefits. “I think that natural hair has always been a sign of empowerment and it’s resurfacing in this organic way,” said Simone. “It’s just a tangible way to represent women of color and what we look like.”
When it came to the hair and fashion looks that appeared in the crowd, black women let their creativity show and represented a wide-variety of styles. Large curly buns peaked above the crowd, long cornrows skimmed their backs, and bright orange hair could be seen illuminating from meters away. Women paired these hairstyles with powder pink sheer maxi dresses, denim overalls, flower crowns, and heart-shaped eyeglasses. All together, the culmination of hair, fashion, music, and food, created an environment where black women could feel free to live out loud, and feel comfortable living naturally and magically.
Teen Vogue was on the scene at Curlfest 2018 to capture some of the top fashion and beauty styles and talk to black women about their hair journey and the importance of events like Curlfest.