Bronner Bros Hair Photo by Jerome Dorn

ATLANTA – Black hair took center stage in Atlanta over the weekend, with thousands converging at the Georgia World Congress Center for the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show.

The four-day convention, which kicked off on August 4th, attracts more than 60,000 attendees to participate in classes, seminars and special events. Over 300 exhibitors and 500 distributors also showcase their products and services.

“This is the most exciting show of its kind in the world,” said Bernard Bronner, president of Bronner Bros., Inc. “The whole city has embraced us and once again we expect record crowds.”

Now in its 65th year, the biannual convention is recognized as the largest beauty and trade show of its kind in the world. In fact, one of the show’s trademarks is its over-the-top hairstyles and extravagant outfits.

“It’s a necessity to be here if you’re serious about the hair industry and networking with people of color,” said radio personality Michael Baisden, who was at the convention signing copies of his new book, Maintenance Man 2: Money, Politics & Sex.

Former Real Housewives of Atlanta star Dwight Eubanks made an appearance on Sunday. He said the show is Atlanta’s hair and beauty equivalent to Fashion Week in New York. “I started as a runway model for Bronner Brothers and from there I was inspired to do hair.”

Others celebrities who attended the show over the weekend included the likes of teen girl group OMG Girlz, actor and singer Mishon, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, R&B singer Sammie, and model Cynthia Bailey.

HairAreUs.com, an Atlanta-based company that sells human hair to salons and individual clients, was one of the exhibitors at the show. Sales representative Lee Taylor said this is the second year the company has attended. “Coming here is a great way to get our name out,” she added. “We meet people from all over the States and even overseas.”

Tamika Brown, a stylist from New Jersey, has attended the show for the past five years. “I come every year to find out new developments in products and the latest styles.” Chantell Lacy, a hairdresser who flew in from Virginia, echoes the same sentiment: “I come to learn new styling techniques and attend training sessions.”

The Bronner Bros. Hair Show is in many ways a microcosm of the power and importance of hair in the African-American community. So much so that Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas, has even been criticized, mostly by black women, for how she wears her hair.

According to Chris Rock’s film Good Hair, 30 to 34 percent of all hair products in the U.S. are purchased by black women, even though approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population is comprised of African-American women. Sixty-five percent of hair care revenue comes from hair weaves, styles created by adding expensive hair extensions, according to the same documentary.

Bronner Bros. is a privately held, family-owned company. It was founded in 1947 by the brothers Dr. Nathaniel H. Bronner, Sr. and Arthur E. Bronner, Sr. Nathaniel’s son, Bernard Bronner, now leads the company. It is one of the largest private African-American hair and skin care producers in the United States. Bronner Bros.’s headquarters is in Georgia.

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti