Approximately eight years ago, I made a life changing decision, I said good-bye to “creamy crack” otherwise known as hair relaxer, and opt for my natural curls. Now I didn’t come up with this decision by just waking up and deciding to cut my hair off, this took months of research, soul-searching, Pinterest, earring and hair accessory hunting, and taking thousands of photos with my long hair in remembrance of what was, vs what would be.
So, imagine my excitement when I discovered that on October 27th there was going to be a Beauty Festival here in Antigua, called “Fro Fest”. But this wasn’t just going to be about what the name exclaimed, it was about everything that encompassed beauty on a whole which made me even more curious to attend this fabulous event. It also allowed me to wear my curls like a lunatic and no one would care. As usual, I dragged one of my “chargies” aka (one of my homegirls) with me to see what all this hype was about. (Fro Fest was already consuming my Instagram page).
The event started promptly at 11a.m. and was scheduled to end at 7p.m. at the Environmental Division Headquarters on factory road. I figured I had more than enough time to get my natural ensemble together, and give my hair ample time to do what I tell it to do, way before we arrived. We got there early in the afternoon, in what I swear to god must have been a heat wave, because the sun was BRUTAL!
I have never felt heat like that other than being 50 shades drunk inside Myst Mas band on Sir Viv Richards Street. I thought to myself, well it’s hot as hell out here but Fro Fest got the perfect weather for such an event.
As we approached the gate I immediately felt like the event was going to be good, everyone was so Afro-centric. I guess I wasn’t the only one excited because from the number of cars parked; it seemed like we were not the only ones excited to be there. As we walked in, there was a photo backdrop with Fro Fest in flowers at the entrance, I absolutely loved the concept! But you wanna know how they got 10 points from me? Straight ahead of us was the Kennedy’s Club booth, serving a lovely selection of wines and “Prosecco”!
We had a win-win situation right here, because I was about to have a heat stroke and reach to Mount Saint John’s before I saw the rest of the festival, so imagine my squeals of delight when I saw this blessed heaven before my eyes. My friend J and I quickly purchased and shared a bottle of Prosecco, (we are lushes don’t judge us). After the cool taste of heaven trickled down our throats, it was time to explore this party.
The layout was exactly how I thought it would be, there were beautifully decorated tents with vendors everywhere, displaying different ranges of beauty products, along with DJ Quest spinning familiar tunes in the background.
The first vendor who caught our eye was called “ Yonissence” established on October 17th 2017, what piqued my curiosity was that they offered vaginal steaming blends, (don’t look at this paragraph and wince ladies), we all want a healthy va-jay-jay! And, since their aim is to help women be more aware of vaginal health, and I am big on hygiene, (I mean real big) I sauntered over to hear about the pros of this interesting service being offered. After hearing about the wonderful benefits of the products and steaming the va-jay-jay, I most definitely will contact them in future.
As I scanned the venue, I realized that there wasn’t a particular age range attending this event, it was a mixture of both young middle-aged and older women and men. I have to say the ladies were not playing with their attire; I saw motherland fabric roll out into some spectacular designs, girls who normally wore protective styles and weaves (like myself) had their hair out in fros, curls, funky do’s, everyone wanted to showcase their natural side and display their natural style which was refreshing compared to the normal heavy beauty production you see at regular events.
As we moved on throughout the afternoon, we visited various product vendors and retailers such as; Bique’s Designs, SHA’S Expressions, Glambox Antigua, Lucid Beauty products out of New York, Paige Purses Antigua owned by Ms. Petra Miller, who might I add displayed a range of lovely hand made purses and bags made from tribal, animal and African print fabric, left up to me I would have bought one of each they were so tempting to the eye.
Ms. Caren Tonge, owner of Aglaia Style was also on site showcasing her hand-made jewelry along with her much expected line of Independence madras accessories. If Independence was a whole week, I would have probably finished her stash so let’s thank god we only get one day. (Ladies please check her Independence scarves out next year)
There were a variety of food and sweet treat stations, along with well-known beverage stars such as ICED and Blendz Smoothie Bar on The Go. Fairly new on the scene was Kombucha Karibbean, now I recently started drinking Kombucha which is supposed to be fantastic for you, so I was pleasantly surprised to know we had a local distributor here in Antigua.
For those of you who don’t know, Kombucha is a fermented probiotic beverage which comprises of green or black tea, the result makes it taste almost like alcohol with a fizz but it’s really tea and there are loads of wonderful flavours offered by Kombucha Karibbean, it also promotes energy and a stronger immune system. So for the health junkies (kinda like myself) you must check it out.
After having a huge cup of Kombucha which was delicious, (here lies another excuse for me to drink). We listened to special appearances performed by local musicians and a panel comprising of familiar faces such as; The Honorable Michael S. Browne Minister of Education, Empress Kai Davis, IFBB Amateur Athlete Kimberley Ephraim, and others who graced the stage in a healthy discussion, informing Fro Fest patrons about their thoughts on beauty and what the perception of it means to them.
As the afternoon gradually winded down, with the panel discussion ending, and our bottle of Prosecco finally dead, DJ Quest stirred up the party, which I have to admit made me shake a tail feather since I missed playing Mas for carnival this year! Fro Fest had finally ended it was time for us to go.
So, 4 glasses of Prosecco and one huge cup of Kombucha later I could still soberly sum up this lovely afternoon I had just experienced. I honestly think Fro Fest was a well attended, well-organized event for its first appearance. However, what I would like to see more of next year is more familiar hair and beauty care products on display.
My expectations were to see a lot more hair products showcased, based on everything I know of on the market. I also think next year’s festival should encompass a hair station with a few natural hair stylists who will be on site to show different natural hairstyles, and educating us about natural hair care and hair care product lines for those of us who are transitioning, and who have already made the journey.
I anxiously await next year’s event which I think will have a lot more in store for us. One more thing, don’t loose the Prosecco!