Meet Marlynella Conception, the founder of Kuralicious, the first Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Fest on the island of Curaçao. Like many young girls, Marlynella’s five-year-old daughter would constantly see women and girls wearing long weaves and wished her hair looked the same. Marlynella made it a priority to tell her daughter that her hair is beautiful and encourages her to love her hair just the way it is. In fact, Marlynella’s daughter inspired her to organize this event to empower people all over Curaçao to love themselves and set an example for their children by educating them about and celebrating the beauty of natural hair.
Marlynella has been natural since 2011 and describes her own personal journey with natural hair as a love/hate relationship. Initially, it was a struggle to find the right products for her low porosity hair which does not absorb moisture easily. She says that many of the products she saw being used by vloggers on YouTube were not yet available in Curaçao. However, Marlynella had the good fortune of embarking on this journey around the same time as several of her colleagues. They supported and encouraged one another during this process and shared hair products and tips. Even so, it took a long time for her to accept her natural texture and stop comparing it to what she’d see on YouTube.
Today, products catered to natural hair are very accessible in Curaçao, but negative perceptions about natural hair still exist. If you have big natural hair, it’s not uncommon for people to think it’s a wig. Many people also see natural hair as being messy or unprofessional and believe that natural hair is only for those who have “good hair.” Marlynella recounts a story about a local news reporter who had her hair styled in Bantu Knots. Viewers called the station complaining about her hair because they believed it was not proper for a reporter at a TV station to wear her hair natural.
Marlynella hopes that the Kuralicious Fest will help move residents away from these negative stereotypes and shift people’s perception of natural hair to a more positive one. Mireille Liong of Going-natural.com will be the keynote speaker at the Kuralicious Fest. Local vendors and stylists who cater to natural hair will also be featured at the fest, which will take place on September 10, 2017. For more info visit Kuralicious, Natural Hair Fest in the Caribbean
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