We are in the midst a revolution. It’s personal and political. Men and women of the African/Caribbean heritage are making a huge shift in their approach not only to their hair care but in terms of wellness and lifestyle. Black men and women are reclaiming their birth right, embracing their natural hair textures, and the mainstream society is struggling to catch up.
Hair prejudice and discrimination in our schools and workplaces in the UK, are still alive and well. Most recently the ‘exclusive’ Ritz Hotel was exposed as having a policy that discriminates against people with ‘Afro-style hair.’ Jerelle Jules felt the brunt of this unfair policy after reaching the final interview for a job at the hotel only to be told that ‘Afro-style hair’ was not allowed.
This is 2023 and not 1970 when Black women, would wear European textured wigs,
chemically relax, or use hot combs to straighten their hair to fit in. Yet still Black people are still anxious about whether the hair that naturally grows out of their heads will be considered as, ‘too big’ or unprofessional.’
Furthermore, in schools, the number of cases of pupils who have been told to change their hair styles or be suspended for wearing their hair in natural textured styles is increasing. Just how much has really changed?
Return to your Roots (Main Sponsor: Design Essentials Natural), is a Birmingham-based natural hair and beauty festival established by Khembé Clarke, a promoter and advocate of the natural hair movement. The festival is in its seventh year of presenting a glorious mix of cultural workshops on protective styles, natural hair products, and vital advice on how to move from chemically treated hair to healthy natural hair.
As well as promoting a return to Natural hair. Return to Your Roots is also about embracing African culture and heritage, encouraging a return to ‘our’ positive cultural values, lifestyle, natural food and herbs.
“The growth of the natural hair movement has been incredible,” says Khembé, Founder of Return to your Roots. “There is a strong interest in going back to natural hair styles and products. I believe it’s deeper than a trend.
“I strongly feel that it’s about Black women and men reclaiming our heritage and realising we are beautiful without needing to conform to Western or Eurocentric beauty standards.” Coverage of the festival was picked up by BBC Midlands who filmed the popular workshop ‘Daddy Do My Hair’ at the 2017 festival which went viral at: http://bbc.in/2E3qKf4.
On Saturday 17th June, at The H Suite, in Edgbaston, entrepreneur and esteemed natural hairstylist, Khembe Clarke will host her seventh festival: Return to your Roots Festival 2023: Natural Hair, Beauty, Health & Wellness, with more than 1000 people expected to attend the event where they will be treated to expert advice on how to achieve and maintain healthier natural tresses and bodies, inside and out. Special Guests: Shining a light on UK talen
Kameese Davis - Nylahs Naturals, Award winning, natural hair product developer and Dragon’s Den winner, will be sharing her wisdom, hair magic and scientific advice!
Derek Clement – Haircare System creator & celebrity stylist
Michelle Smith – Sisterlocks Ambassador and Certified Consultant
As well as fabulous hair demos, entertainment, and an African-inspired fashion show, more than sixty business owners will showcase tantalising displays of African clothes, fabrics, jewellery, books as well as a range of health and beauty products. If you’re on the journey to natural hair and health or have already made the step and need more advice, Return to Your Roots is the place to be. The festival will also feature sessions on how to achieve physical, psychological & spiritual wellness.
Healing Foods from Our Roots - Leah Salmon Naturally You
Loving My Hair, Loving My Skin, Using My Voice – Children’s Author, Sheryl Richards
Black Men’s Health & Mental Wellness- Tunde Ife & Tafadzwa Mbandaka
Tickets are available today!