(Photo courtesy, Jeffrey Alphonso, Instagram: @jeffrey.alphonso) “Picture taken during the first model walk, with three women’s hair designed into the letters BSU for the Black Student Union.”
On November 4th, the Black Student Union ran the Hair Expo at University Crossing, it was a fantastic event. The event celebrated how wonderful and beautiful Black hair is, had presentations on maintaining hair and showcased the talent of Black students at UMass Lowell. The event consisted of musical performances, Black student-run businesses, awe-inspiring model walks and more.
Before the show was a live barbershop demonstration on the stage. You could also check out the booths of the amazing Black student-run businesses. Wrldwide Designs (Instagram: @wrldwide.designs) is a clothing brand whose goal is to promote self-love of where you’re from and who you are. The hoodies are comfortable. YAP Global (www.amway.com/myshop/YAPGlobal) sells organic self-care products. She can ship anywhere, even other countries. YaresBoutique (on Etsy) is a customizable wall collage business with many aesthetics you can pick from. This is a great way to spruce up the wall of your dorm room. Enhanced (Instagram: @theofficial_enhanced) is a company that sells products for Black hair, such as double-layered bonnets, hair growth oil and more. The company’s CEO experienced some hair complications in the past, so she created these products to help herself and others with protecting and maintaining healthy hair. Her products clearly work very well considering how great her hair looked. Nailed by SP (Instagram: @nailedby_sp) is an on-campus nail service that is open to all genders, uses high-quality products and prices range from $40 to $60. The nails displayed on Instagram look amazing and worth the price. After Awakening (Instagram: @afterawakening) is a clothing brand. It’s also a lifestyle community focused on being confident with who you are and not fitting social norms.
To introduce the show, there was a presentation about the Crown Act, an important proposed law that prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hair styles, an issue that many Black people face. It has passed the House but is currently being held in the Senate. Go to thecrownact.com to sign the petition to help get it passed.
The show was packed with performances and presentations that the entire audience was wowed by. The first modeling walk was about BSU itself, the models had their hair shaped into letters. Next, the rapper Osa performed for the first time, where he sang his songs Peas in a Pod and Big Dreams. After his performance was a Q&A session by Tracy Freire, also known as The Hair Doctor. She wants to go into cosmetic science and be in the lab testing and creating cosmetic products. She also educates people on existing products about what is best for their specific hair types.
The second model walk was labeled “Curse to King”, where the male models were painted with gold designs, and the female models were dressed beautifully. After that was an amazing dance performance by the Steppin in Unity Club. Then the Loft Hair Studio did their presentation. They are a hair salon that focuses only on curly hair so customers can have the best experience possible. Eche, a local singer, then performed two of his songs, “Big Chop” and “TMH”. Lastly, a third model walk was done where each group of four models had their own theme, and then the E-Board of BSU came onto the stage to take a bow.
This event was a hit, and audience members loved it. Innocent Nortey, a computer engineering major, said, “I think it’s been well-organized. I think the performers have done well; the models have really did their thing. I really like the concepts they’ve been doing for their walks. The music is good.” Tiana Robinson, a civil engineering major, said, “I thought the show was fantastic; I love the decorations that they did, especially the paint they did on some of the models and the hairstyles of the lettering for BSU. It was just amazing overall, especially the step show; I really enjoyed that. It was a really fun experience.”
The performances were eye-catching, the music was hype and the entrepreneurial students are highly admirable. UMass Lowell is filled with talented and determined students, and who knows, maybe UMass Lowell will be the birth place of a modern-day Madam C.J. Walker (a Black woman that was the first female self-made millionaire in America through her business of cosmetics and hair care products
for Black women). Mallika, the BSU president, said in a statement before the event, “I really can’t wait to take everyone who attends on this journey of who BSU is made up of,” and they really did that. This was the second time BSU ever ran it, so imagine how amazing the following years will be.