Afros, Community and Acceptance at CurlFest 2019

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

CURLFEST 2019, RANDALL’S ISLAND, NYC

“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 http://www.curlfest.com for information on their next event in Atlanta this fall.

#curlfest2019 #curlfest #curvygirlcollective

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes http://www.jovannareyes.com

NYFW 2017:The Shows: GYPSY SPORT

Article and Photos by Jovanna Reyes

The Gypsy Sport runway show was the second time I was in Gallery One in Skylight Clarkson Square.  It was dark and extremely hot in the photographers pit.  It didn’t help that I was wearing a fuzzy black sweater I couldn’t remove.  I was standing next to photographers that were just as sweaty and pushy.  I share that so you could understand how miserable I was until the show started.  My misery was quickly forgotten.

Designer, Rio Uribe, started the show with an introduction to his collection.  His travels to Europe, Mexico and Los Angeles with their overwhelming problems of homelessness influenced his collection.  Once the drumming began, two young street performers using drum sticks and plastic paint containers, I was entranced.

I knew what was coming and I wasn’t disappointed.  At one point, I found myself looking over my camera just to take it all in with my natural eye.  It was jarring, refreshing and what is desperately needed in the fashion community.  A designer that embraces where he came from and refuses to sell his soul and artistic base for the masses.  The European photographer next to me kept yelling “bravo” from the pit, loving each and every unexpected look on the runway.

His model lineup were of varied backgrounds and represented gender without barriers.   There was fluidity and ease in his representation.  There were crocheted dresses that reminded me of Latina grandmas table covers. Pink camouflage, lace, traditional pinstripe, velvet and the most haunting  for me, a model draped like a Shaolin monk.

His outerwear replicated the tents of European refugees and the makeshift structures created by the homeless on L.A. streets. He finished the show with “EXPLOITED” AND “the BUSINESS” patches on the backs of his final two garments.

Rio won’t let you turn away and ignore them anymore. Bravo Rio…Bravo!

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