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A Roller Rink For The Roller Sets: The CURLFEST Just Had a Skating Event In Brooklyn For The Naturalistas

A Roller Rink For The Roller Sets: The CURLFEST Just Had a Skating Event In Brooklyn For The Naturalistas

If you like to rock a roller set, you were invited to the roller rink!

The women putting Black beauty on the highest pedestal recently stepped back on the scene with the hosting of a local skating event in Brooklyn, TheGrio reports. 

In 2010, Black women of a natural hair email group decided to plan a meet up in Brooklyn, New York. After swapping tips and sharing experiences, they realized this is something all Black women should experience, giving birth to the Curly Girl Collective. Tracey Coleman, Melody Henderson, Charisse Higgins, Gia Lowe and Simone Mair founded the initiative with a mission to “make women with naturally textured hair feel beautiful, celebrated and appreciated.” What started as a community project soon grew; after using their platform for various spaces like the armed forces, sports teams, and corporate America, they knew just how far they could go. From then, CURLFEST, known as one of the largest natural beauty festivals in America, was born! This festival is filled with curls, coils, locs, braids and naturalistas roaring with laughter and high praises. People come dressed in bright, multicolored outfits and African prints and radiate joy and confidence.

Due to the pandemic, large gatherings became difficult to plan. Now that COVID cases are manageable and states are becoming flexible about large events, the women of the Curly Girl Collective are back in action! The collective recently hosted CURLFEST Roller Set, a roller-skating party in Lefrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park. Simone Mair told TheGrio, “We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.” At the roller set, members of the community were able to support local black businesses while skating and dancing to music by various DJs like Ty-Michelle, DJ STAKZ, and more. Mair added, “We created this event in 2019 as a fun way to just have fun and joy and celebrate. We brought it back to emphasize a sense of Black joy because we’ve been through a lot in two years. And the spirit of roller skating is really rooted in celebration and freedom and having a joyous experience.” There were also giveaways from companies like Aunt Jackie’s, Miss Jessies, Curls and EVOLVE. 

People dancing at Roller Set

The day was filled with joy and great energy, which after a two-year pandemic, was needed as a reminder to how important community is. The founders consider their events a safe space and a form of self-care, allowing you to be free and confident all while connecting and rejoicing with the people around you. The Curly Girl Collective spoke highly of their gatherings, Melody Henderson saying, “What we do for Curly Girl Collective and CURLFEST, it really taps into being your authentic self, caring for yourself, taking time for yourself. Self-care is embedded into what we do.”

Charisse Higgins stated, “It’s all about taking time out to value what you look like, how you feel, and how you show up in all spaces as you truly are. Sometimes we pour out a lot; we put a lot of energy out to be ‘less than’ sometimes in the workplace. We feel discriminated against. We feel like we’re not being represented in the same way. Sometimes you need to take a step back, pour into yourself, take time alone to reflect on who you are and what makes you unique.”

And Gia Lowe added, “Everything about Curly Girl Collective and the CURLFEST movement is centered on self-love, self-care, self-celebration. We are here exchanging positive energy, positive vibes, love and celebration in the midst of all that’s happening in the world.”

It's a pleasure to have these women back in action doing great things. Here’s to many more events to come!


Photo: Vonecia Carswell/CURLFEST/Samantha Ellis