*Philadelphia, PA — Many people may say and believe that when James Brown first wrote and performed Say it Loud, Im Black and Im Proud, it was in a greatly different time, and a different mood prevailed in this country.
Yet, the headlines and news reports today are still full of stories of black youth, men, women, and children being killed, brutalized by police, incarcerated at alarming rates, the growing militarization of neighborhood streets, mounting documentation of healthcare disparities, Black communities being destabilized through foreclosures and Columbusizing (more popularly referred to as gentrification), neighborhood schools being closed, and high unemployment rates which in many states surpass the rates during the active enslavement period of the 15th – 18th centuries.
Though many may have rededicated themselves to fighting for justice and the end of institutional racism, there are few discussions about how to achieve true empowerment not tomorrow but today. Most social scientists know that justice and freedom cannot happen without empowerment of the people who seek upliftment, justice, and freedom. Malcolm X often said, You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
Although the much talked about movie Selma may have provided a sense of nostalgia and an opportunity to ease guilty minds, the conditions that existed in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s still exist. Instead of ruminating on the devastating ills of this society, the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee decided to focus on what youth and awakened men and women want: to raise up the banner of global liberation and empowerment, to proclaim unapologetically the divine right to be free, healthy and alive, and to honor African and Aboriginal Indigenous culture. Thus they chose the theme of Black is Still Beautiful: Say it Loud and Wear it Proud for the 2015 Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo.
The original vision of the Kuumba Sisters was to create an interactive forum in Philadelphia for the whole community to learn more about natural hair as a cultural expression; to promote black businesses and healthy eating; to discuss and explore challenges and solutions to issues facing the global black community; to celebrate African and Aboriginal Indigenous culture; to applaud families; and to honor our ancestors and their past and present achievements. Fast forward a few years and the mission is still the same.
However, to reflect the unity of family and brothers and sisters harmoniously working together, they have evolved from the Kuumba Sisters into the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee. The Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo, now in its 21st year, has become the most authentic and longest running cultural and educational natural hair expo of its kind in this country and has been a grateful catalyst for the growth of many similar natural hair conferences and international natural hair meet-ups worldwide.
The many sponsors, attendees, exhibitors, and speakers alike will passionately attest to the fact that the Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo is much more than a natural hair show, much bigger than an Afro, more than live musical and spoken word performances, and definitely more than an exceptional marketplace. It has become an essential and creative marketing tool for new and seasoned businesses, natural hair artists, and wholistic health and wellness practitioners seeking to empower themselves and to reach more clients, as well as a place where noted scholars and motivational speakers present their valuable information and positive energy is experienced. The conference has also become a much anticipated and well supported autumn gathering for networking and spiritual renewal.
Meeting new and old friends, learning valuable information, having the opportunity to shop, and shop some more, and joining in the celebration of our cultural are just some of the reasons why they suggest that you mark your calendars. Save the dates of Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, 2015.
The 21st Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo will be held at the Universal Audenried Charter High School, 3301 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19145.
For more information about volunteering, vending and/or general information call 215-438-8189 or visit www.LocksConference.com.