Over 1,000 men and women gathered 16 floors up at the SpringHill Suites in Uptown Charlotte for the Carolina Curly Natural Expo 2017, presented by Elle Johnson. This was the first for the city, but the overwhelming response entails it won’t be the last! The event kicked off with founder Elle Johnson and a host of businesswomen, providing introductions and expressing their purpose for attending and supporting the event.
DJ Fannie Mae released an amazing energy into the crowd, mixing new and old school R&B on the 1s and 2s. Let me just add that she played Anderson.Paak, so I’m sold. She has a new fan! With her energy and talent, the vibe remained fun and soulful while attendees shopped and sang along. Gazing across the room, one could find men and women in their most unique fits, rocking a variety of natural hairstyles, and admiration to go around. With every few steps, women could be heard complimenting one another on their natural hair, asking for advice, and admiring the style of the men dressed to impress.
Vendors from across the states traveled to display their quality services, natural products, clothing, jewelry, books, and more– customers happily indulged. Tables filled with natural skin, hair, and body products were a success as patrons could be seen trying samples of body butters, oils, and lotions. Stations like Organic Hair Boutique displayed their talents, demonstrating natural styles for the crowd to see. For many who loved the free samples, the Organik Beauty table was the place to be. Selling bath bombs, whipped shea butter, and soaps, owner Naundra Taylor provided a small sample of traditional, whipped shea butter with each purchase. Shoppers were also amazed with the quality and pricing of the lead and nickel-free, $5 jewelry from Veronica Deese and Angela Waters of Paparazzi Accessories.
Companies like Turbans & More came to support the expo, but also bring awareness to a greater cause. The pre-secured hairwraps sold were originally created for chemotherapy patients. The owner of the company stated she will teach someone else the art to continue providing products to the public. Meanwhile, she will return to focusing on those embracing health changes and in need of the colorful, printed hairwraps. For the lovers of home scents and candles, Ivana Griggs of Sensational Flames displayed a variety of scented candles which melt into body oils. Authors like Saye Carrie brought education into play while selling her first book, Hidden Commonalities: Identifying Cultural Similarities among Africans and African Descendants. These were only a few of more than 20 vendors that filled the conference area, pleasing the crowd with all they had to offer.
On the terrace, LifeStyle Expert Rashon Carraway moderated panel discussions of various topics from self-love to men’s grooming. Naturally Nude panelists also joined attendees in a moment of admiration, as they complimented one another from head to toe. These women happily spread messages of love, acceptance of natural beauty, and positivity to one another. While many saw this as an event solely for women, men took to the panel as well. Aquila Fisher, Joshua Williams, and Doraza Sings took center stage to discuss topics from men’s grooming to the state of masculinity today. The event closed with a small reception, treating the crowd to more positive vibes and trays of sweets to go around.
The outcome of the Natural Expo 2017 in Charlotte was even bigger than what host Elle Johnson expected. When asked about a second expo, she stated she was already in talks with larger venues to accommodate a larger crowd due to the evident demand. Being that the event was gender-neutral and the focus was on all things natural, this is sure to be a new experience individuals of all ages can appreciate. From the reviews of participants and disappointment expressed by those who could not make the event, it is safe to say the Carolina Curly Natural Expo is something many are looking forward to in the coming year.
Check out the walk-through video and photos below to see what went down at the Natural Expo 2017!