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February is officially recognized as Black History Month, although celebrated all year long. Recently, DeLand-area residents celebrated one of the many aspects of black culture: hair!

Kimeca Caine, a local cosmetologist for more than 15 years, has spent much of her time caring for all hair types and providing a platform for individuals to love the hair they were born with.

Her interest in and passion for self-care, self-love and self-awareness launched the first annual Curly Girls Hair Festival Feb. 3.

More than 100 people from East and West Volusia gathered at Chisholm Community Center in DeLand to learn about the many ways to maintain healthy hair, and how to be comfortable with their hair texture and length. They also learned about potential hair loss.

“We had an aunt bring her nieces to the booth who are struggling with inner beauty and the texture of their hair. We see this often, and minister to our young ladies while they are receiving services. Thank God we have witnessed a difference when they begin to love themselves,” said Lillie Wiggins, who owns Spa Dazzle Hair Salon and Spa.

“My goal was to provide a platform to educate women and girls with curly hair on how to maintain their hair, with styling tips and products, while providing vendors an opportunity to meet the community,” Caine said.

With more than 20 vendors present, there were plenty of opportunities to network, engage in activities, and purchase products that are often not found on our neighborhood shelves.

“I had the honor of being a vendor at the Curly Girls Hair Festival. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many people celebrating the diversity of hair,” local author Ann-Marie C. Garden said. “The presentations that promoted all-natural products for healthy hair and the importance of nourishing our bodies to ensure overall health were a bonus. I know this event just happened, but I am already looking forward to the next one. We need more events in our communities that advocate the importance of self-love, and I believe Curly Girls Hair Festival did just that.”

From start to finish, the presenters provided the audience with alternative options to maintain healthy hair and scalp.

“The speakers spoke their own truths, from the owner of a hair-product line Allen Bird, to a caring nurse, Orjanette Bryant, educating the audience on how to create their own products at home. For an event celebrating women, Angie Bee proudly spoke about her journey with alopecia. Dr. Pearson spoke on healthy lifestyle changes to encourage hair growth, and long-term salon owner Mitzi Caine presented models with natural hairstyles, while Dierra Lake, a Tampa resident, ended the program with a talk on being confident with whatever hairstyles one is rocking,” Caine said.

The day was filled not only with information about taking care of our hair, but also information for those concerned about hair loss.

Guest speaker Evangelist Angie Bee, founder of the Beautiful & Bald Beauty Bazaar and Fashion Show, along with LaDwyana Jordan, vice president of the Eatonville Chamber of Commerce, and model Melissa Modeste shared their experiences with alopecia and the various forms of this autoimmune disorder, which can cause hair loss.

For more information, visit www.BoldBeautifulAndBald.com or www.NaaF.org.

This event was the first of many, as Caine continues to encourage women toward acceptance, self-care and self-love. To learn more, email to kinkscoils.waves@gmail.com, or call 386-490-2748.

— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City. Send email to cameronchronicleslive@gmail.com.

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