Shondell Babb dares to wear her natural hair, and now she’s encouraging others to embrace their curls, too.
Babb, of Thiah Management and Consulting, has partnered with Black Space Winnipeg to present the Naturally Gorgeous – Curly Hair Event at the Norwood Hotel this Sun., Oct. 29 at 3 p.m.
Babb says there is a lack of awareness amongst women with Afro-textured hair — as well as hair stylists and hair-product vendors — regarding how best to deal with the kinks in their hair.
“In mixed race, black and Afro-Canadian people with really curly hair, there’s a natural hair movement — away from chemicals or putting a weave in or wig on,” says Babb, who graduated from Red River College’s Project Management certificate program in 2010.
“Culturally, when we look at magazines or TV, a lot of times our hair isn’t represented and it’s also very politicized. I’m doing [the event] because a lot of women are natural, but if you grew up relaxing your hair and then you go natural you’re dealing with really kinky, curly hair, and you basically don’t know what you’re doing.
“You know the inside spring on a pen? That’s my curl. I used to relax my hair and then I let my hair grow out and I’m dealing with the inside coil of a pen, every single one of my hairs grows out like that. It’s like, ‘How do I manage this?’
“It’s difficult to manage if you don’t know what you’re doing, so I’m having this educational event.”
Naturally Gorgeous will feature a seminar by keynote speaker Dr. Susan Walker, a naturopathic doctor, hair and scalp specialist, and the creator of the Earthtones Naturals curly hair product line.
A second seminar, Mixed Kids and Hair Maintenance, will teach parents how to manage their children’s curly hair. The event will also feature a hair show, prize giveaways, natural hair care products and demonstrations by natural hair stylists.
Babb, who currently works as an administrative assistant for the College’s Program and Curriculum Development department, says she’s applying all of her training to the Naturally Gorgeous event. She also holds a Bachelor of Commerce — with a major in marketing communications and entrepreneurship — from the University of Manitoba, and was a fashion technology student at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate.
“I’m using all of my schooling,” she says. “My fashion technology background for the hair show, my event planning background, even the skills I learned in CreComm, like taking photos for all the posters and banners and writing the press release.”
“The skills and knowledge I’ve gained from Red River College have been very valuable. I’m drawing from absolutely all of it to put on this event, and it’s saving me tons of money, because I can do it myself.”
Babb says she hopes to make Naturally Gorgeous an annual event, and plans to hold similar functions through Thiah Management and Consulting, which she launched over the summer. (Thiah is a derivative of her middle name, Orinthia.)
The message that Babb hopes to get across with this weekend’s gathering? That all hair is good hair.
“I wanted to do it because I have natural hair myself. I know all about these struggles, so I wanted to help the community understand their hair, and also love it and embrace it,” she says.
— Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2006)