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Baltimore Natural Hair Expo 2010 Part I

Monday, March 29, 2010


Never in my life did I think that I would dread having to write about my experiences at the Expo but I do. Let me explain why.

It was tacky. Stalls every which way and general confusion run amok. It was more of a bustling market. Bustling because there were people stuffed into every nook and crevice and a market because it was just like something you would see in an open aired market back home- jumbled stalls, showing off haphazard wares, calling and crying for the sparse customer. The loud “entertainment” didn’t help. The general din of the entire affair was substantial enough to negate the need for any musical endeavor louder than the drop of a dime. In my case, I felt it was hard to conduct conversations with the stall/ product owners. I am not one for yelling back and forth. Walking in was stress enough, I felt no need to add a headache to the list.

In particular, my pet peeve was the lack of a cohesive theme among many of the stalls. This leads me to define the Baltimore Natural Hair Expo as more of a Baltimore Black Expo/ Market. Why black? Because it wasn’t about natural hair, the prime focus seemed to be more about hawking out various ware from a variety of  themes. One stall featured only recordings of black speeches of note. Another stall sold primarily clothing- African garb. More than one stall sold handcrafted handbags. These were quite good but I came for my hair, my black hair, my au natural hair.


I was disappointed.

Put aside the crowds and the haphazard set up. I was disappointed because of about fifty stalls only ten catered primarily to hair. The cover charge was $10, nominal yes, but I certainly did not come away feeling as if I had gotten my money’s worth.

Initially, I looked forward to the classes which were scheduled to run concurrently with the expo. Alas, none caught my eye, what class did not cater to dreads was more about an afro centric point of view.

But what about my hair!

Maybe I’m too choosy. Maybe I set my standards too high (bear in mind I had no standard set at all since I’d never been to a hair show before). All I can say is that I heard the word “natural” and I heard the word “hair” and I thought that this would have been the glorious coming together which would have negated my need to visit a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

I wanted freshness, wholesomeness and natural.

My mind’s eye was set on essential oils and carrier oils and on experts who could debate the rationales to me.

My mind’s eye was on examples. And of all the things I wanted this was the one that I got, not because of the stall owners who I hoped would be the knowledgeable ones but from the spectators, the people who browsed.

Overall, I am happy that I attended since I was able to cop some product samples. I suggest that if you have not attended a hair show, that you at least attend this one since it’s always fun to be in an environment with people who look like you.

Future posts will have photos of the arena as well as the different hairstyles I photographed along the way.

If you are just stopping by and you are in one of the photos make sure you leave a comment!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, March 29, 2011 6:36 PM

    I was a vendor at this event and I have to disagree with you a bit. It was my first time attending as a vendor but I went to the one back in 2009. I think that the overall purpose was to not just showcase natural hair products, but to emphasize other businesses as well. There were a lot of natural hair companies there marketing their products and I think that by showcasing only hair products, it would be harder to sell because everyone was selling the same thing, as noted by my nephew. That’s why they try not to overstaturate by bringing in other vendors marketing their handmade items. Plus, it’s good for the venue because it has grown to include other crafts and art to be showcased. I had a good time at the event and plan on attending the DC Natural Hair Expo in April. I’m sorry if you didn’t have a great experience there, but don’t stop supporting black venues and businesses. 🙂

  2. Kinky Rhonnie permalink
    Tuesday, March 30, 2010 12:22 PM

    I attended the World Natural Hair, Health, and Beauty Show in Atlanta for the past two years and it was great. There were a couple of challenges with the class organization the second year but the first year was smooth sailing. There are a variety of vendors on hand but the booths are pretty large and the primary focus is definitely hair. I think you’ll definitely enjoy it Gigi.

    Below are a couple of links from my last year’s visit.

    ~KR @

  3. Monday, March 29, 2010 8:44 PM

    This was well said!!! right o!!! I agree i was so pumped, the other years were so different but i guess the recession hit that too…

  4. Monday, March 29, 2010 8:41 PM

    Well the Atlanta one is next week. i hope I’m not disappointed. Sorry girly.

  5. Marsha permalink
    Monday, March 29, 2010 8:07 PM

    Well Said! I agree 100%

  6. Monday, March 29, 2010 7:50 PM

    I went last year but did not have an opportunity to attend any classes. Thanks for sharing.

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