|Women gather in Atlanta for the 15th annual World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Show.
Photo courtesy of Black Hair Media.
From an early age, Taliah Waajid knew she was interested in hair.
At just 14 years old, she started her first hair care business, and in 1998, she opened her first salon. Back then, she says people would take her business cards like she “was giving them poison,” she told Madame Noire. In a time when natural hair wasn’t as popular as it is today, “The Queen of Curly, Coily, Natural Hair Care” created a celebration–The World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Show.
Now in its 20th year, the Atlanta event has grown to 250 exhibit booths and over 30,000 attendees. “When we did the first show, I think we had 25 vendors and 150 people came and every year it got larger and larger,” the hair care pioneer says. “We now have thousands of people walking through our doors and feature over 200 vendors.”
Waajid created the show to spread the word about natural hair care, but found that women wanted information on living healthier, too. “Millions of women all over the world struggle with managing their natural-textured hair, weight, health issues and self esteem, and are looking for answers and acceptance. That is why the health and wellness aspect of the show was added to the event,” reads NaturalHairShow.org, the event website.
“The WNHH&BS provides positive encouragement and is a place of freedom from negativity for those who choose to embrace their natural hair and natural self. It is a welcoming place where women become more empowered. They come to celebrate, network, enjoy and learn to be the best self they can be—totally.” The weekend’s festivities have grown to include workshops in health, wellness, nutrition, finance and beauty.
Waajid says education is the driving force behind the expo. ” It shows people that now you have made this decision to go natural, you can learn the products and make the best decision for yourself on what your hair needs and the different styling techniques,” she said in an interview.
“I went from knocking on doors trying to teach people about natural hair, to now every time I turn around there is natural hair everywhere. I like to think I had a big part in that.”
Waajid’s legacy continues with the Curls, Kinks & Culture Music Festival