The Original St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo Slams It! It was Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 9:00 AM and guests had already begun to assemble in the hotel lobby of the Holiday Inn – Downtown, Convention Center, awaiting the doors to open for the 2nd annual St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo (STLNHBCE). By 10:30 AM, vendors were meeting and greeting guests.
The Original St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo’s CEO and Founder, Christopher H. Simpson, “Chris” and his team where in tow, greeting vendors and consumers as they arrived. By 12 noon, the ballroom was filled with guests and consumers, ready to take advantage of all the Expo had to offer!
The energy was positive, captivating and electric! Vendors were upbeat, motivated and ready to meet the needs of the consumers. The STLNHBCE models were beautiful, elegant, and graceful. They moved about, ready to meet and greet guests as they filled the ballroom of the Holiday Inn! One could not help, but be awe-struck by all the high energy. The STLNHBCE was in full effect, not missing one step, nor forgetting one detail!
Maisha Simpson and Lorie Warford, Expo volunteers greeted guests adorning beautiful, natural hair styles, along with warm and welcoming smiles. Guests were gifted with a sample bag of natural hair products and those purchasing VIP tickets were given a SWAG bag filled a plethora of product samples from various natural hair product companies, a St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo tee-shirt and a ticket for a complimentary glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage.
Guests were given the star treatment as they were greeted and photographed, in front of the Expo’s backdrop. This seemed to be a favorite, as most guests stopped to take pictures with performers from the Expo, STLNHBCE Models and the Expo team.
Inside the ballroom is where the magic happened. Vendors, vendors, and more vendors lined each wall of the ballroom. Clothing, jewelry, cosmetic, art, and book vendors were in attendance. However, the mass majority were natural hair product vendors and natural hair stylists! Natural hair brands such as Design Essentials, Curly Dew, Healthy Hair Solutions, Whisper Whip, KOSI Naturals, Erthtonez and Hair Hunny were represented to name a few.
The day’s featured stylist and corporate sponsor April B was in the house. April McLurkin presented her natural hair product, Hydrate Me PLEASE. McLurkin hails from Atlanta and was coined as the “Celebrity Stylist April B” because of her work with various recording artists such as T-Pain and Future, and Chris Brown during one of his video shoots.
Other sponsors included Casey Strong of Country Financial. Casey is a Financial Representative with Country Financial who assists with financial planning and life insurance, teaching financial stability to the black community.
Expo attendees also witnessed a great list of performers such as Fifth Degree Burns, KoKo the Poetess, Gabbi the Poet, Corey Black, Lola Girls, Don’t Trip and Deonta. There were also hair and product demonstrations Daisha Putman of Design Essentials and the Natural Zone. In the Natural Zone, Elizabeth Donielle, the social media advertiser for the St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo Family conducted a panel discussion entitled, “Let’s Talk about Natural Hair.”
The panel discussion welcomed nine panelists from all “walks of life” to discuss several topics surrounding the journey and perceptions of the natural hair journey. Yes…this discussion got “deep” into natural hair and the audience loved every minute of it!
There were several fashion showcases from Styles by CuSandra, featuring children’s fashion. Bentley Bowties by Heather Williams left onlookers no longer wondering how ladies can fashion a bow-tie and be sexy, beautiful and feminine at the same. A Taste of Luxurie Boutique by Tiana Jones showcased a myriad of fashion trends, jewelry and shoes proving that ladies can get everything they need to be fashion-forward from a neighborhood, black-owned boutique.
These, of course were just a few of the acts to hit the main stage. Others joining in were NAPPS Natural Hair Salon, Big Tymers Barber Shop, No Competition, the Get Fit Crew. The host of the show, Bell Darris, performed a magnificent violin solo that was simply beautiful!
In closing I could talk all day about the St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo! The guests, attendees, and consumers gave rave reviews about the Expo as well!
Some comments included, but were not limited to, “Great Expo…I had a wonderful time”; “This Expo is so much better than others I have attended in St. Louis”; “I learned a few new things, saw a few good people and got photo bombed…just a great day at the St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo 2016”; “There was so much to see and do…I didn’t know where to begin”; “When is the next show?”.”
The vendors had a great experience, sharing comments such as: “We completely sold out of everything!” (I AM BELLA); “This is great! You all have the recipe now!” (Erica Gayles of Curly Dew); “I am so thankful that Chris thought to include me in this fabulous event!” (Stylist April B); “I had a fabulous time; this is a great turnout and I am so glad I came.” (MBellish by Charmega).
Even an STLNHBCE Model offered, “This experience has been so good for me. We were treated so well and taken care of throughout the process. I appreciate being able to be involved in what I love most, Natural Hair and Black Culture!” (Shari Baru).
The STLNHBCE Family presented one of the greatest attended natural hair events of the season. Christopher H. Simpson aka “Chris” the founder of The Original St. Louis Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo modest and humble as ever ended the festivities leaving everyone anxiously anticipating upcoming events from Chris and the STLNHBCE team.
For pictures, videos, and to read the full review about the Expo, please visit @st.louisnaturalhairexpo on IG and on Facebook.
Guest columnist Dr. GeNita Williams is a writer, editor and consultant. Dr. GeNita Williams, “Dr.G” was born, raised, and educated in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr.G has been an educator for 18 years, with five years serving as an urban middle school, turnaround principal. Dr.G is an Educational Consultant and a Director of General Education Programs at Vatterott College. Today, Dr.G is the Writer/Editor/Consultant for the Expo family. Follow Dr. GeNita Williams on social media. GeNita Williams – Facebook and Dr.geniethefox – IG/Twitter