Afros, Community and Acceptance at CurlFest 2019

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes


“The only natural beauty festival in the world that was created by five Black women for Black women.” ~Simone Mair, co-founder of the Curly Girl Collective and CurlFest

Glistening, pride, power, natural, love. The only words needed to describe the scene at Randall’s Island in NY this past weekend. The throngs of natural hair beauties, at least 100,000, covered the green grass of Icahn Stadium for the sixth annual CurlFest 2019. The music throbbed non stop, as you heard inspirational words at the Empowerment Stage.

Hair, skincare and drink sponsors offered free braiding, entertainment and products to all the attendees. The early birds left with Creme of Nature gift bags filled to the brim and didn’t mind waiting on the long lines for product.

Mack Wilds, Yandy Smith-Harris, Tiffany M. Battle, Jacque Reid were just a few of the celebrities and influencers to grace the CurlFest Empowerment Stage.

The encore to Saturday’s festivities was the RollerFest, sponsored by Target at the LeFrak Skating Rink at Prospect Park. The venue decorated with every primary color in existence and a ball pit, showcased a throw back skate party with Top DJs on stage and in the rink.

There were smiles and laughter at every turn. A successful event indeed! Visit for information on their next event in Atlanta this fall.

#curlfest2019 #curlfest #curvygirlcollective

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

NYFW First Stage-Galtiscopio

galtiscopiodesignerphotoGaltiscopio’s debut at NYFW First Stage at the Dream Hotel Gallery was a hit musically and on the runway.  The brand led by Ying Lau as the Creative Director started the evening with Ray J, R&B singer and cast member of Love & Hip Hop reality show. Christian Combs, P. Diddy’s son, also performed midway through the show.

Ms. Lau’s love of music, vibrant colors and accessories were evident throughout the production. Her attention to detail could not be missed.  The fabrics and colors were varied but the jewelry, from double layered embellished watches to crystal headphones and slick hairstyles, unified the collection.  The silks were dreamy and the leather garments had just enough edge for any downtown ‘nista.

One of my favorite shows of the week.  Ms. Lau has set the standard for the Galtiscopio girl, glamorous, edgy luxe with a touch of diamonds.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next season.






























FYI…Tory Burch and video director, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, appropriates from Black music without using Black models

FYI…Another marketing campaign created without forethought and inclusivity.  Why Tory? Why?  We love Tory Burch for her adorable TB flats, she even has them in size 12, and her quality ready to wear collections but her Spring 2017 campaign video, directed by Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, was offensive and lacked diversity.

Click on this link to view the video: Instagram @theshelahmarie Tory Burch video post.

Tory Burch apologized via twitter but then removed the apology, along with the video.

My question is why are we not asking the video director, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, what she was thinking when creating and editing the video? Was she not aware that using the line from the song ‘nappy hair’ and then having an all white cast of models singing it would be even remotely offensive?

By using the monkey purse as an unusual object in the scene, she created a focal point in the video with the aforementioned purse. The monkey purse stands out and demands attention. That’s video 101, you knew what you were doing with its placement. Her use of the song bite from “Juju on that beat” that refers to ‘nappy hair’, a negative term for African American hair texture, sung by three Caucasian women becomes even more offensive.  It was cringe-worthy.

Here are my questions to, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, the video director:

  1.  Why did you not use a person of color in your video? There was obviously room in the shot for a third person.  Which leads me to the next question…
  2. Why a monkey purse?  As a professional creative director and videographer, mood boards are used and 99% of everything in a video is purposeful, why the monkey purse, if you were using an Afrocentric song?  Did you not realize that a monkey reference is offensive to the Black community?  Click on this link for you to understand why: Huffington Post: Comparing Black People to Monkeys
  3. Why haven’t you apologized for your creative choices that were in a national campaign?  If you’re objective was to make a “fun” video and you were told that you offended someone with your choice, should you not apologize?

You may ask why am I taking this further after the video was removed by Tory Burch. Ms. Burch and her company acknowledged their mistake, apologized and removed the video.  Meanwhile the creative behind the video and person responsible for the final cut, hasn’t acknowledged her offense.  Why is that important?  She is the creative director for several magazines.  An influencer in advertising and magazine editorials, as an Italian fashion editor and creative director to international luxury brands, her opinions and creativity feed the funnel of fashion content.  Her past videos for Tory Burch have over 10 million views.  She needs to apologize to a faction of people she markets to.  If she doesn’t acknowledge the offense to us, who will? Who really does?

That’s my FYI…

Here are more links on the same topic:

Please feel free to give your opinion in the comments below.  Offensive comments will be deleted and reported.  We are all here to learn from each other.

Jovanna Reyes