March 18, 2016 (BIRMINGHAM, AL)— The Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo (NHHE) achieved record-breaking attendance, welcoming more than 5,000 natural hair, beauty and health enthusiasts to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center on March 12. The expo has evolved into Alabama’s largest natural hair show, and is among the must-attend “hair show list” to travelers from as near as Atlanta, Ga. to as far Detroit, Mi. The Simmons brothers, owners of Vision Beauty Distributors and creators of the annual Natural Hair and Health Expo, offered attendees a full day of hair, beauty and fashion; preventative health services; and inspiration to “Love Your Natural You,” the theme for the 2016 expo.
“I reach out to the Birmingham natural hair community each year to see what they want to see at our annual shows,” says expo co-founder Victor Simmons. “This year we were seriously pleased with the turnout. It’s our fifth year and our hard work is paying off. We are connecting with stylists, bloggers and the healthy living community from all over the Southeast and some from the North. Each year we plan to do it bigger than the year before and with the grace of God, and the help of our amazing core team, we’re succeeding!”
Key Highlights from the NHHE included:
The “What Men REALLY Think…” all men’s panel presented by SHEEN Magazine and hosted by SHEEN’s editor in chief Sammi Haynes. This panel featured actor Christian Keyes, “insta-famous” Instagram models Joshua Benoit and Donnell Blaylock, Pastor Adrian Davis, and motivational speaker T.W. Dawson. The men shared their thoughts on relationships, natural hair, love and romance. A natural hair chat hosted by mega YouTube star Taren Guy focused on extension dependency and how to embrace your natural hair and length. During these discussions, attendees gathered to ask questions as well as shared their thoughts on and personal experiences with the related topics.
R&B artist Vivian Green shared her magical vocals with the audience and old-school rapper Kwame from the late 1980s and early 1990’s made a small appearance on stage with the soulful diva.
Lastly, the main attraction and focus of the NHHE was the inaugural Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Pageant, presenting 9 contestants competing for the first crown. These 9 beautiful women, adorned with their beautiful natural hair, walked the stage and shared their thoughts on loving and embracing the healthy, natural you. The pageant not only focused on poise, looks and hair but also focused on intelligence, confidence and inner beauty. Although the judges Sharon Williams author of real beauty A to Z, YouTube sensation MahoganyCurls, Celebrity Stylist Christopher Ryan, Sammi Haynes and former Miss Black Alabama Laquitta ParShai Wilkins had an array of top contenders to choose from, they finally agreed upon Birmingham-native Jazmund Walker as the first Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Queen. 1st runner up went to Keisha Jones-Peeples and 2nd runner up went to Whitney Gay.
“I went into this competition to achieve one of my bucket list goals,” says pageant winner Jazmund Walker who works as a communications and outreach coordinator for the non-profit organization CAMP College, College Admissions Made Possible. “I had no idea that I would win the Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Pageant! I’m typically a behind the scenes person and my focus has always been on helping others achieve their dreams. I was told many times in my early twenties that I should model or try out for a pageant but I never felt confident enough to do so. However, when I saw the advertisement for the Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Pageant, I knew it was time to conquer my fear and give it my best shot! Now that I’ve won the crown, my goal is to inspire young women in my community. I am a girl from the projects the eldest child and the first in my family to go to college. My title platform will promote education and avenues to reach your full potential. I encourage every young woman to do something that lives outside her comfort zone. Be fearless so when you look back you can at least say you tried and gave it your best shot.”
The Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo was made possible due to key sponsors, including: radio stations WAGG, KISS-FM and JAMZ, Design Essentials®, Amtrak, Brownstone Total Healthcare, Snatch My Waist, SHEEN Magazine, iPUSH Magazine, Breezes Resort and Spa Bahamas, Laura Vincents LLC, Sam’s Club Wholesale, Natural Girls Rock, Cooper Green Health Services, Angela’s Kiss of Shea and Chocolatetopz.
For more information on the NHHE/Pageant, go to www.naturalhairandhealthexpo.com