United Women of Color host annual hair show, promotes community

Jorge Espinoza

Once again, the United Women of Color hosted their annual hair show, showcasing a plethora of different hairstyles and beauty within the Black community. 

The event, which was a part of a series of events in honor of Black History Month followed this year’s theme of reclamation. 

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Marcela Riddick, president of UWC, said the event was rooted in tradition in which they work to find new people, new judges, artists and vendors to showcase every year.

“There’s a lot of stigma around Black hair, Black identity, and since Black hair is so closely intertwined with Black identity, it’s nice to show support and help progression and show people that we can destigmatize.”

-Malik Jackson, Hair Show Winner

“Tradition is our core value of all the events we put on, and we work really hard to make sure we’re showcasing our community,” Riddick said. “That’s another thing that UWC is about, we want to showcase all of the incredible people within our community.”

Riddick said she hopes the hair show will encourage people to do what they want with their hair.

“I like to think that people got the courage to do their hair the way they want to do their hair,” Riddick said.

Malik Jackson, a third-year student studying biomedical sciences and the winner of the hair show, said that hair has a large impact on the way that people outwardly express themselves. 

man wins first place for hair styling competition
Malik Jackson was the winning stylist of the hair show sponsored by the United Women of Color club, winning a $300 cash prize. (Susie Heath | The Collegian)

Jackson said that for Black individuals hair is a large part of how one sees themselves, how they are portrayed outwardly and how to carry oneself.

“It’s always intriguing to me to see how people care to do their hair and to me, it’s an outlet to express yourself outwardly,” Jackson said. 

Jackson said that the hair show allowed him to show support in regard to stigmas around Black hair and identity.

“It’s great to show support,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of stigma around Black hair, Black identity, and since Black hair is so closely intertwined with Black identity it’s nice to show support and help progression and show people that we can destigmatize.”

Riddick said that the hair show is a way for people to feel exceptional about who they are as individuals.

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“Going up on stage you are the person people want to look at, you are beautiful, you are exceptional in every way,” Riddick said. “So it’s really awesome for people to have this experience to be on stage.”  

Mohammed York, a fourth year studying Dance and model for the hair show, said that the show gave him the ability to show people what Black beauty looks like. 

It was fun, I live for the cameras and I live for the getting out there and showing people what Black beauty is,” York said.

York said this event makes a difference because Black people are constantly told not to be themselves.

Kenyatta Richardson, a Ram Events coordinator and liaison for the Black African American Cultural Center, said the hair show showcased the possibilities of one’s hair.

“There’s not just one monolithic way to look,” Richardson said. “I think we learned there were so many differences here, we all look beautiful doing it whether you cut your hair or style it in some way, y’all look phenomenal.”

Richardson encourages people to attend more events like this as a way to learn about new things. 

“Even if you’re unsure or you feel uncomfortable, break out of your comfort zone and come learn,” Richardson said. “We’re here at this institution to learn and it’s not just in the classroom, this was a learning experience outside too.”

Jorge Espinoza can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @Jorgespinoza14.