Curly Girl Collective brings ‘joyous experience’ CURLFEST Roller Set back to Brooklyn

The CURLFEST Roller Set dance party was a celebration of Black beauty, self-care and showing up as one's authentic self.

Curly Girl Collective is back like it never left!

If you aren’t familiar with Curly Girl Collective, its founders Tracey Coleman, Melody Henderson, Charisse Higgins, Gia Lowe and Simone Mair are the women behind CURLFEST — the largest natural beauty festival in America.

On Saturday, Sept. 17th, they returned to Lefrak Center at Lakeside, Prospect Park in Brooklyn for CURLFEST Roller Set, a roller-skating dance party. After two years of COVID-related cancellations and going virtual, the founders were excited to be reunited with their community in person.

CURLFEST founders (from left) Simone Mair, Melody Henderson, Charisse Higgins and Gia Lowe. (Photo: Vonecia Carswell)

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Mair tells theGrio. “We created this event in 2019 as a fun way to just have fun and joy and celebrate. We brought it back, really to emphasize a sense of Black joy, because we’ve been through a lot in two years. And the spirit of roller skating is really rooted in celebration and freedom and having that joyous experience.”

Guests were able to support local Black-owned businesses, show off their dance and skate moves to the music by DJs Taela Naomi, DJ STAKZ, Lab Sounds JELANI and Ty-Michelle, plus receive sponsored product goodies from SheaMoisture, Aunt Jackie’s, Miss Jessies, Scotch Porter, Curls and EVOLVE.

“Skaterobics” founder Tanya Dean (center) and her crew performing. (Photo: Vonecia Carswell)

As the event’s hostesses and attendees embraced one another’s energy throughout the day,  whether that be in conversation, giving compliments, or hitting the dance routine to Master KG’S smash hit, “Jerusalema,” it was a reminder of the importance of safe spaces to gather and just be.

The women of Curly Girl Collective took a moment to share how their events are a form of self-care.

Guests at CURLFEST Roller Set dance to the music. (Photo: Samantha Ellis)

“What we do for Curly Girl Collective and CURLFEST, it really taps into being your authentic self, caring for yourself, taking time for yourself,” said Henderson. “Self-care is embedded into what we do.”

“It’s all about taking time out to value what you look like, how you feel, and how you show up in all spaces as you truly are,” Higgins maintained. “Sometimes we pour out a lot; we put a lot of energy out to be ‘less than’ sometimes in the workplace. We feel discriminated against. We feel like we’re not being represented in the same way . Sometimes you need to take a step back, pour into yourself, take time alone to reflect on who you are and what makes you unique.”

“Our events are all about self-care,” according to Mair. “You’re allowed to have fun. Celebrate with your friends, celebrate with community. Stop trying to be maybe the strong person in every group and just really have fun.”

“Everything about Curly Girl Collective and the CURLFEST movement is centered on self-love, self-care, self-celebration,” Lowe said. “It cultivates a spirit of self-care because we are here gathered together. We are here exchanging positive energy, positive vibe and love and celebration in the midst of all that’s happening in the world.”

Check out the video above for the recap.

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