Twin Cities Nappy Hour: a showcase for natural hair and Black entrepreneurship

(Above, see a few video highlights of the event by Phil McGraw).

Twin Cities Nappy Hour was back in full force Sunday, October 9, as attendees packed into A Mili Artist Lofts in Minneapolis for an afternoon of networking, entertainment, and insightful discussion. A previous Nappy Hour in August drew a full crowd, creating the demand for a second.

The event, organized by Hair Hunny, a natural honey-based hair product company, and hosted by comedian Pierre “Cool P” Douglas, was billed as “a natural hair networking event” where attendees can be “happy to be nappy!” Attendees were provided information and dialogue about natural hair care and beauty tips, as well as an opportunity to support local Black businesses.

Some of the businesses present were R8tedFashion, Pampered Hair Haven, Iconic Haven, Keya’s Kreations, Mary Kay, Spoon & Theory, Natty Look LLC,  and Tina Dionne Fashion to name a few.

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“We as Black people in Minnesota are in a state of emergency in various aspects, so [these events] are good for us to have.”

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One vendor, DeVonna Pittman, spoke to the MSR about her vision and inspiration for her business. Pittman is an author, community activist and creator of Iconic Haven. Her company specializes in various fragrances of body butter, and the tag or theme behind the company is “when you’re fine, you’re fine.” She explained, “I’ve been telling my daughters that since they were young, practically their whole lives.

Devonna Pittman (left) owner of Icon Haven, sold body butter and  T-Shirts at Twin Cities Nappy Hour, Oct. 9.
Devonna Pittman (left) owner of Icon Haven, sold body butter and  T-Shirts at Twin Cities Nappy Hour, Oct. 9. (Photo by Phil McGraw)

“Sometimes girls will wake up not feeling pretty. [Hopefully] this will dispel the negative images in the minds of [little girls] and young women.” This led to her daughters encouraging her to put the quote on her T-shirts that she currently sells.

Another vendor, Tiffany Davis, creator of Xtravagant Events & Sweet Treats LLC, has been making specialty cupcakes for about four years.  Her company is a full service event-planning business that coordinates a variety of events, ranging from weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries to corporate events. Davis was featured on Cake Wars back in March, and she previously owned a shop on Payne Ave. in East St. Paul.

Tiffany Davis "Xtravagant Events & Sweet Treats LLC"
Tiffany Davis “Xtravagant Events & Sweet Treats LLC” (Photo by Phil McGraw)

In addition to the vendors, a seminar regarding proper hair care and treatments was led by “The Natural Movement Expert Panel.” The moderators were master stylist Teisha from Amazing Hair & Beauty Bar, and Caroline Carter, “The Real Food Doctor,” who specializes in healthy eating and raw vegan cuisine.

“When you exercise frequently, you sweat more and your hair and nails grow,” Carter told the audience. She stressed the importance of consuming proper foods to sustain natural, healthy hair.

Reva Chambers, candidate for Brooklyn Park City Council, made a guest appearance to encourage attendees to vote. She also discussed the hot topic of dreadlocks in the workplace in light of the recent Chasity Jones case in Mobile, Ala. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 to dismiss the lawsuit claiming discriminatory practices by a company that denied Jones a job because she wouldn’t cut her dreadlocks. It was stated by a White human resources manager that her locks violated company policy, and that she’d have to get rid of them because they “tend to get messy.”

“It starts with something like hairstyles,” said Carter. “Eventually it will lead back to color, race and even bigger aspects. We should all fight against this because we should not be told our hairstyles differentiate the quality of our work ethic.”

The men of the event, Pierre “Cool P” Douglas and Terry Austin, hosted a panel on natural beauty called “Fros and Beaus,” weighing in on hairstyles, make up and natural beauty in Black women.

Ebony Turner also did a hair braiding showcase at the event, and was available to answer questions regarding braiding, styles, and proper treatment to promote her hairstyle company Braids by Eb.

Mike De'Cole before the performance
Mike De’Cole before his performance (Photo by Phil McGraw)

In between the seminars and events, R&B singer Mike De’Cole serenaded the crowd with a few songs during the fashion and vendor selling. In keeping with the event’s theme of self-care, one song told a story about a girl who was involved in prostitution due to a lack of self-worth. The message imparted was, you can be beautiful without having to give yourself away or degrade yourself for monetary gain.

Sporting a handcrafted dashiki, Crystal, creator of Natty Look LLC, said music was actually her first love before she started designing jewelry, earrings, handbags and other items.

“I accidentally fell into this. I’ve always made my own items over the years” Crystal told the MSR. She recalled how one day she was at work, wearing a pair of earrings and a coworker asked her where she got them. He then followed up with a request for her to make a pair for his fiancé.

Crystal of Natty Look, LLC
Crystal of Natty Look, LLC (Photo by Phil McGraw)

Previously living in Atlanta, Crystal said events such as Twin Cities Nappy Hour are very rare in Minnesota. “We as Black people in Minnesota are in a state of emergency in various aspects, so [these events] are good for us to have. I loved the speakers and workshops.

“It’s in a [sophisticated] facility, right off the Mississippi River. It’s a good way for us as Black people to circulate our dollars to each other as well.  It’s like our own little thing and I hope this gains momentum,” she said.

According to organizers, there are plans to host quarterly or seasonal Twin Cities Nappy Hour events in the future. For more information and updates, visit the Hair Hunny Facebok page.

See more photos from the event below. All photos by Phil McGraw of Brown Eye Lens.

 

Ivan. B. Phifer welcomes reader comments to iphifer@spokesman-recorder.com.

 Phil McGraw welcomes reader comments to b.e.l.ministry@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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