So, I'll just pretend that my weekend started on Thursday evening, for the sake of the post title :) I kicked off what turned out to be an amazingly busy yet fun weekend with the I ♥ My Hair meet up on Thursday evening.
This is just a portion of the lovely, intelligent, and HILARIOUS women that came to the meet up. In the span of just a few hours, we networked, laughed, chatted, shared tips, swapped products, and had some great discussions.
The product swap selection made me salty that I didn't stop home first and grab something to bring - Jane Carter? Kinky Curly? My favourite conditioner - Herbal Essences' Hello Hydration? Maaaan...I couldn't believe that this was all up for grabs! I was able to chat with a few of the ladies who picked up some of the products I've used before and give them some (hopefully) helpful tips.
We got into some great discussion on various topics surrounding loving our hair. Do men approach natural haired women differently from relaxed haired women? Is this natural hair thing a "fad"? How knowledgeable are Toronto hair salons in handling natural hair? The conversation was lively to say the LEAST.
The best thing about the meet up? Vibing with so many cool women, 99% of whom I had NEVER met nor seen before in Toronto (a refreshing thing)! Being able to discuss certain experiences or thoughts that I had, and see a room full of women nodding back in agreement was great. Being able to disagree respectfully and share opposing opinions in a grown-up way was even better. Update: I also was fortunate to meet the lovely Kim from Canadian Curlies - I've been loving her blog, and she posted her own review of the event here - complete with an awesome picture of her, Añya and I (better than the ones I had :)).
I'm very big on supporting other women over and above hair type, so I was so happy to support Añya's amazing initiative and interact with these awesome chicas. Hit up I ♥ My Hair to keep on top of future events!
Let's talk about Friday night:
This man is dope.
That's Nelson George, if you weren't aware. Google him for all the details, but I just want to let you know how AMAZING his documentary, Brooklyn Boheme was on Friday!
Let's start from the beginning. I found a jewel of a venue on Friday night. The Toronto Underground Cinema on Spadina at Queen is incredible. It just has such personality and is deliciously vintage, from the old-school movie posters lining the walls to the red and white striped popcorn bags. I don't know about y'all, but as soon as I enter a movie theatre, I must buy popcorn. So after the Mister grabbed me a bag, we kicked back to start the show.
Before the main event, we were treated to a visual slideshow of Mark 'Kurupt' Stoddart's art. If you're not familiar with Kurupt, you need to get familiar. I've never seen someone combine a passion for art with a passion for supporting their community more effortlessly than him. His artwork is crazy (I WILL be buying a piece to grace my first home next year). His T-shirts are hot. His positivity and motivation is infectious. Trust me, this last point is truth. Do yourself a favour and hit up his website www.liwi68.com on a hard day. See if you don't feel infused by the words and quotes he shares there, not to mention the art.
After we were mesmerized by Kurupt's work, we settled into Nelson George's documentary (go here to see my earlier post, complete with trailer). I. Was. So. Inspired. The history of Brooklyn (specifically Fort Greene/Clinton Hill) told by the people who lived and breathed it since the 1970s was priceless. Rosie Perez, who still lives in the neighbourhood, had me cracking up with her stories of Spike Lee and Wesley Snipes' legendary house parties. I learned about the Rodeo Caldonia, a performing arts/feminist troupe of women like Lisa Jones (author of Bulletproof Diva) and Lorna Simpson (photographer/visual artist). I got schooled about where the spoken word tradition of snapping fingers came from - the Brooklyn Moon Cafe. I saw how all of these ambitious young people of colour put their heads together to embrace various art forms and make a name for themselves, on their own terms. Sadly, the documentary also covered the changes to the integrity of the neighbourhood and the Black arts scene once gentrification took over.
This was a top-notch production, and I know I was made better by watching it. I love history, art, and seeing people of colour doing amazing things, so Brooklyn Boheme had it all. I left there wanting to start a Rodeo Caldonia of my own...
To finish off the night, we had a Q&A session with Nelson George himself. It's no secret that this man is highly intelligent. However, he was able to connect so well with the multi-generational, multi-racial audience and answer our questions genuinely. He made no secret about his disdain for Drake (lol), but seemed appreciative and humbled by our acceptance of his work.
We ended off the night with an impromptu message from the owner of the Toronto Underground Cinema. It was a bit of a sobering message, because he basically let us know that he was in financial straits, and told us how vital it is to support our small businesses and community initiatives. It tore my heart to hear him say that the Cinema may close in as soon as 2 weeks, but he vowed to not allow that to happen. People, we NEED to support our community! Please hit up www.torontoundergroundcinema.com to keep this amazing venue in business. Check the event and film listings to see if anything tickles your fancy, and make sure you tell a friend to tell a friend!
How was your weekend? Did you get into anything fun? Did you happen to be at the I ♥ My Hair event or the Brooklyn Boheme documentary? If so, let me know what you thought!