Even at my second year at Curlfest, walking into the festival still felt similar to walking into a family function with a bunch of cousins you don’t know. You stick close to the friends/family you came with, but every once in a while someone would reach out. And instead of some random relative telling you that they haven’t seen you since you were a baby or commenting on how much weight you’ve gained, there was a genuine compliment waiting there. And the good vibes are contagious. Every “go ahead, sis” and “Where’d you get those braids” made me feel a little taller, stronger even. There's nothing like a solid compliment from another black woman, and I had landed on planet curl crush.

I also had the pleasure of meeting co-founders Gia Lowe, Simone Mair, Tracey Coleman, Charisse Higgins and Melody Henderson; a crew of melanin goddesses with a knack for flawless candid photos. In the VIP ticketed area,  I was loading up on free products, toting new gift bags, holding a mini photo shoot with Gina Lowe on stage and chatting with the eccentric Tracey Coleman, arguably a Boomerang queen; It was an unforgettable, influencer-studded experience and the best Curlfest to date.

I call it the Curlfest effect; a melanin high that’s best explained in pictures. There were enough looks at the fourth annual event where every shade, shape, color and texture was represented and all of it was magical. Of course, I took a few notes from the bold, beautiful black women that showed up to slay Prospect Park: 

1. Confidence is the natural hair movement.


Photo: Mark Clennon

2. Your glo’ up can always be someone else’s lesson. 


Photo: Barrington Simpson/ SHARK BAIT GRAPHICS 

 3. You look good in every color, believe that!


Photo: Verne B/BikesnBaconPhotography 

4. Empowerment is best learned by example.

Photo: Mark Clennon

5.  No need to "do it for the culture." You are the culture. 


Photo: Mark Clennon

6. We're a movement by ourselves, a force when we're together.


Photo: Mark Clennon

7. It's never a competition. There is always enough magic to go around.

Photo: Mark Clennon

8. You've  been lit since before the hashtags.


Photo: Jordan Edwards

9. Speaking truth to power is also spreading positive vibes.


Photo: Mark Clennon

10.  Embracing who you are is your superpower.


Photo: Jordan Edwards

11.   Solidarity doesn't mean compromising your values.


Photo: Verne B/ BikesnBaconPhotography

12.  You are not a trend. You are eternal. 


 Photo credit: Mark Clennon

13. Black sisterhood is everything. Get you some! 


Photo credit: Verne B/BikesnBacon Photography

If you missed out this year, even these beautiful pictures don't do the vibes justice! This Curly Girl Collective phenomenon is worth waiting in line to spend the whole day engrossed in your favorite brands, great music and flexing for the 'gram. See you next year!