One of the hallmarks of the natural hair movement is that it is also a DIY movement. Instead of exclusively relying on salons, Black women have become interested in taking charge of their own hair. Natural hair events fill a void in providing information, a sense of community and fun for the naturalistas who want to shop, learn and explore the world of natural hair care.
After stopping in Austin, the mega popular HUE Beauty & Natural Hair Affair Tour lands in New York City for its third consecutive year. New York is actually where it all began for the HUE events. The inaugural event, which was held in Brooklyn, attracted over 800 attendees. In 2017, the Brooklyn event hosted over 900 attendees and featured more than 30 top brands. This year’s tour is sponsored by Mielle Organics, Design Essentials and other popular brands that make products for natural hair.
Recently Going-Natural.com caught up with Sabrina Boissiere, the creator of The HUE Beauty & Natural Hair Affair Tour. We asked her to give us some insight on the events as well as the natural hair movement as it expands and grows.
GN: What is your background and what is the inspiration behind the HUE events?
SB: Funny thing is my background is in construction. I was an assistant project manager for over 20 years in the construction industry. When I went natural January 2012 it opened up a world that I never knew. I started attending hair events and I’ve always been creative when it comes to putting together events (baby showers, birthday parties) and thought you know what I could do this… my first event was in September 2013 with 50 attendees and over 10 sponsors who supported my vision. After leaving my job in 2015 I decided to do this full time along with brand management, influencer management & content creation. I’m now putting on major events and activations for top brands and businesses and have never been happier in my career; in my life! HUE which stands for hair unites everyone was an idea I came up with when I realize that New York, the Mecca of all things natural, didn’t have its own hair expo. I had to rectify this. I am a huge advocate of supporting small black owned, women owned businesses and I wanted to showcase the brands that I was interested in and love so HUE started May 2016.
GN: Your events are so well attended, how do you get the word out?
SB: It’s funny – my attendees really are my ride or die people! I have so many women that have been coming to my events since 2013 and support all the events that I do from the small rooftop mixers to the parties to the brunches and I promote mostly on Instagram and I work with a few top hair care pages as media sponsors to promote. It also doesn’t hurt that I have some of the best brands and businesses as vendors and sponsors. So who wouldn’t want to come out and shop and support them!
GN: What can attendees expect from the 2018 NYC HUE event?
SB: Well this year we are definitely taking it up a notch. We outgrew Brooklyn in two years and I decided ‘you know what we’re gonna do this in Manhattan so all the boroughs and New Jersey and Philadelphia and Connecticut naturals can come through.’ We are at the Metropolitan Pavilion which is a well-known event space and we have not one but two major floors with over 50 brand and businesses selling top quality goods. We also have three presentations from our sponsors that really showcases what the brands have to offer and puts a face and a voice to some of the owners. One of the things I’m really excited about is having Cornell McBride Jr. the CEO of Design Essentials do a presentation. I can’t recall seeing him do anything like this ever so that’s really exciting.
GN: From your observation, what is the greatest concern that women have regarding their natural hair?
SB: That is a interesting question and it really depends on the natural that you ask. I think ALL naturals are looking for healthy hair. Healthy hair is moisturized, retaining length, shiny and defined.
GN: As the natural hair movement progresses, what changes have you noticed in terms of hair care, brands, attitudes regarding natural hair etc?
SB: Well as the industry has become more mainstream what I have noticed is some brands that were not checking for us are now doing so and coming up with “natural” products. I believe in supporting the brands that have always been there for us so I think that we need to make sure that the brands that we are spending our money with are really a part of the community and not just here for the short term. While l think the natural hair movement is still strong there are lots of naturals that are over the time and energy that it takes to be natural so they are looking for products that do more and are really looking at versatility such as protective styling (braids, wigs, clip-ins) as a timesaver!
GN: You hear a lot about the “natural hair community.” Why is it important for naturalistas to connect with one another either online or in person at events?
SB: Women in general love to share their experiences and the community of naturals is always willing to share stories and tips and embrace a naturalista who basically is looking for the same thing that we all are – that one amazing product that will get our hair 100% together!
GN: What do you see in the future for natural hair. In say another 10 years do you think most Black women will be natural?
SB: Well one of the amazing things I think is happening is there are a slew of natural mothers who are birthing girls who will never have to experience relaxers as children. We are more educated and understand of what our hair can do and what it should look like. I also feel as though this will trickle down to men as more boys will see their mothers and sisters and grandmothers as natural and not be so one sided in regards to preconceive notions of what they feel African-American women/beauty should be.
GN: What future plans do you have for HUE events?
SB: Well until the natural hair community doesn’t want me anymore HUE is here to stay. I am definitely making the Austin stop in March and the New York stop in May a staple. A goal in 2019 is to do three additional locations so I may be in a city near you! And one of my dream locations is to do HUE in South Africa and also do a Caribbean tour hitting Jamaica, Trinidad and potentially the Bahamas. As I travel I realize that American naturals are very fortunate to have a bevy of brands that have great products and there are other countries that really are in need of education and products to achieve just overall healthy natural hair.
GN: Thank you so much Sabrina for that awesome interview! The next HUE Beauty & Natural Hair Affair Tour stop will be Chicago in September. For more information about HUE events visit huebeautyandnaturalhairaffair.com
To stay up to date about upcoming Natural Hair events see our events page at https://going-natural.com/events