‘It’s a Curl Thing’ celebrates natural hair

McDaniel College students Kylah Chadwick and Khadijah Poston
March 28, 2017

Curly, wavy or straight. Long, braided, weaved or short. Black, brown, red, blonde, green or blue. “It’s a Curl Thing,” a natural hair celebration conceived and organized by McDaniel juniors Kylah Chadwick and Khadijah Poston — drew more than 80 attendees, each sporting a hair style and type as unique as their DNA.

Chadwick, a Social Work major from New London, Conn., and Poston, a Cinema and Psychology major from Columbia, Md., have a YouTube channel called “CollegeSistahs TV” where they share hair and other personal care tips. They also founded a new student organization on campus, “Curl Friends,” to celebrate natural hair.

“We had an awesome time running the event and it turned out to be a great success,” said Chadwick at the close of the event. “We are so happy to have been able to bring ‘It’s A Curl Thing’ to McDaniel College and can't wait for next year’s.” 

‘It’s a Curl Thing’ celebrates natural hair
It's a Curl Thing volunteers.

Their day-long conference included YouTube bloggers in a panel discussion, vendors, natural product giveaways and literally dozens of tips and techniques for natural hair. Attendees were treated to a presentation on the historic, cultural, social and psychological aspects of natural hair by Afiya Mbilishaka, a University of D.C. Psychology professor, clinical psychologist and psychohairapist.

“We wanted to provide a resource for people, a place for them to learn about and talk about natural hair,” says Poston, a Cinema and Psychology major from Columbia, Md., explaining that they wanted to support other people going natural and offer tips on care as well as product recommendations.

Attendees flocked to McDaniel’s campus from all over Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Students from Stevenson University and Hood College joined a large number of McDaniel students at the event. About a dozen high school cosmetology students from Carroll County Career and Tech Center attended, eager to learn techniques that might enhance their practice.

‘It’s a Curl Thing’ celebrates natural hair
McDaniel students attend It's A Curl Thing.

Students from English professor Mary Bendel-Simso’s “Hair: A Scholarly Untangling” saw it as an opportunity to add yet one more dimension to their studies in the interdisciplinary course. Several moms with straight hair jotted down tips for helping their daughters manage their curls.

Professor Mbilishaka made interesting connections between hair and psychotherapy, explaining that beauty salons and barbershops are perfect places for mental health services. A clinical psychologist who is also a hair stylist, she is developing a program of practice and research called PsychoHairapy, which places the therapy and healing in the hands of the hair stylist/psychotherapist.

Equating hair care with self care, Mbilishaka recommended healthy eating, drinking plenty of water, sleeping well and working out.

“The path to true beauty is having strong roots,” she said.

‘It’s a Curl Thing’ celebrates natural hair
Carroll County Career and Tech Center students.

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