It was another successful year for the “Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health & Beauty Expo,” as they held their 18th Annual conference last weekend.
The Locks conference held at the Imhotep Institute Charter High School, 2101 West Godrey Ave., hosted more than 5,000 people throughout the course of the weekend with various hair, financial and children’s workshops, speakers and vendors.
The weekend also included zumba fitness sessions, live music, panel discussions, food, an annual hair show and various other activities.
The organizers were pleased with the great turnout and positive response. One of their main initiatives, to promote Black-owned business , was also accomplished.
“The whole conference is put together to promote African-American owned businesses,” said Sakinah Ali-Sabree. “We have vendors from all over the country. We bring all these people in to see all of the positive energy and support. Everyone that comes for the first time really feels loved and feels like it’s family.”
Ali-Sabree has been assisting the conference since she was in high school in the 90s. She began volunteering in high school and continued in college. She was pleased this year’s conference — with the theme “Rock’n and Lock’n,” was a success.
The conference was formed in 1994 when a group of young women joined together to plan an event focused on celebrating the unique beauty of their natural hair.
The women wanted to provide a venue for exchanging goods, services and information. With a mission to inspire social change and instill a sense of empowerment, the Annual International Locks Conference has developed greatly since its founding.
Veronica Freeman, a volunteer coordinator for the conference, assisted with one of the reflexology workshops. Freeman was also pleased with the turnout and felt the marketplace of vendors proved to be a major success.
“The market place was one huge area that was set up with vendors and along the hallways we also had vendors on the second floor,” she said. “Entrepreneurs were present with different types of products and creativity and a lot of the products were well made.”
Organized by the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee and Hair-ITAGE, the conference welcomed guests from all over the country including, Massachusetts, New York, California and various countries in the Caribbean.
“People truly are interested in raising our consciousness to provide us with information to make us even stronger in our stance as people of African descent,” Freeman said. “I spoke with a gentleman yesterday who came from New York and a woman who came from Boston — and there’s all types of religions and I think it gives us the opportunity to gather together, put down our differences and just be one with each other.”