The hair event in Guadeloupe was one of the best I've ever attended, if not the best. Not only because I've seen a lot of beautiful frizzy haircuts, but mainly because of the people I've met. Admittedly, it was Carnival so it couldn't possibly be disappointing, but the people there are really warm, friendly and inviting. It reminded me of Suriname. I immediately felt at home.
Ever since Mary-Jose, founder of Mois de l' Afrique, MDA, had invited me to the celebration of Black History Month in Guadeloupe, I have been looking forward to this trip. It was a great honor to be mentioned on the same list of intellectuals and notables from the Caribbean as the speaker of "Retour au Naturel". Literally translated this means: Back to mug.
Just landing on Pointe-Ã-Pitre airport was sensational. Just like when you arrive in Suriname, everyone who went down the stairs of the small passenger plane was welcomed by a lovely warm breeze. I don't know if it was Carnival special but there was a live band playing in the baggage claim hall. wow! What a welcome that was! The sultry Souk tones put me in a super mood. Inside I immediately started dancing and I knew this was going to be a great trip.
When I finally got out with my luggage, a friendly young man with Dreadlocks was waiting to take me to my hotel. My French is so bad that I couldn't even understand his name properly. While he tried his best English, I understand that he was the man behind the brochures and posters of MDA.
My hotel was in the hip part centrally located at Marina bas du Fort, on top of a mountain. Within walking distance there were cozy restaurants, bars and a supermarket. After buying a toothbrush it was time for dinner.
Instead of pizza or Chinese, I opted for a trendy restaurant with island dishes on the menu. Since we were surrounded by the sea, grilled fish seemed like a good idea. Don't ask me the name of the fish but it was indeed delicious. So far, very very good!
On the way back I finally bump into Aline Tacite, owner of Salon Boucle's de Ebene in Paris. The person who started it all.
Aline and I met in 2005 at the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta. It clicked right away. She thought my book Going Natural was great, ordered a few straight away and we've been friends ever since.
It was very good to see her again after so many years. When I first met her she had short hair. Now she has locos that she keeps at shoulder length. Very funny is that she now wants to untie her locs while I am ready to lure. She misses the fact that she can't play with her kinky cocks and feel them. Yes, the reunion felt like old times.
The next day it was time for action. Like me, Aline was there to give workshops and promote her company. That's why we had a booth together. In addition, Aline also served as my translator during my workshop and presentation. My my "French" it had never really worked out. I am grateful to her because thanks to her it went very well. It really wouldn't have been possible without her.
What I really loved was meeting and talking to people who passed by our stand. Whole families walked by, asking questions, trying out products and then buying them. More than selling, it was the connection with the people that made the day so special. This is despite the language barrier. The day flew by and before you knew it it was time for the Hair Show Election.
We quickly drove home to take a shower and change. After that, we were standing by as jurors again. The show was, in a word, amazing. In six consecutive rounds, the models showed creations by the best designers from the Caribbean. Not only the haircuts were great, the decoration and the entourage also radiated professionalism.
Although there are always outliers, it was not easy to choose between the beauties. There was one moment that I think everyone present will remember.
In response to the question why she had applied for the election, Valerie Samson emotionally and replied "because people have tried to belittle me and make me feel like I'm worth less than others." " I had had enough of this and wanted to prove that everyone is worth the same and is beautiful in her own way. As she held back her tears you could hear a pin drop in the room. At that moment it was clear that one of the goals of the event was reached.
After the last round in which questions were answered, it was time for the jury to deliberate. It will not surprise you Valerie was on every juror's list. The other two were nadÃge CORNELY who was ultimately chosen as Queen Nefertiti and Kra KOUASSI, that became second. The election was a real success and I felt very honored to have been allowed to participate.
The next day we had to get up early again and I must admit I was a bit tired. Watermelon for breakfast made up for everything. I don't know if there's a stereotype of Black people and watermelon in Guadeloupe like here in American, but I'm not ashamed to say I'm a frizzy head who loves watermelon. It is one of the healthiest fruits and since I eat gluten free, fruit was a real savior. Gluten-free means that you should avoid practically all types of bread. If you are dependent on a Western diet, the choice is not very extensive.
The day turned out to be even more pleasant than the previous one. People who had already passed by the previous day now came back to buy stuff, as said. The last day is also a day when the sellers themselves go shopping from colleagues. My choice was quickly made. I really loved this pre-wrapped wrap and for 80 euros it was mine. Velcro is sewn in, so even if you can't tie a headscarf, this wrap is always great.
So ended my Going Natural Hair weekend in Guadeloupe. At the invitation of Aline I was allowed to stay two days longer to celebrate Carnival and explore the island. Please refer to the photos and video to give you an idea of what it was like.