Impressive, warm and inspiring are the words one can used to describe this event. The very first Master Pioneer awards ceremony was held on September 18, 2011 at the Brooklyn Museum. The event was designed to honor those in the natural hair industry who paved the way for existing and aspiring natural hair stylists, those currently embracing their natural tresses and even existing bloggers, vloggers and the like.
You see, these award recipients were into natural hair before it became headline news or was even considered to be a topic to discuss or blog. These honorees took action to change legislation, worked with for justice against companies discriminating against natural hair and even opened some of the first natural hair salons in their areas.
The building itself is a work of art. Attendees entered and were directed to the elevators. Upon exiting the elevator you knew you were in the right place! There were beautifully natural people everywhere! Dressed in funky ensembles, semi-formal apparel and even formal evening gowns. Men, women, young, old - no mater what - everyone was beautiful!
This 'gathering' of sorts afforded everyone the opportunity to network, socialize and even take photos before entering into the auditorium. As you walked into the auditorium, your senses were teased with largely printed photographs of natural hair styles (courtesy of Keston Duke) on canvas. This was a nice touch.
Lighting was just right as guests were greeted by a screen adorning 'The Masters' logo as well as a personal escort to their seat. Before the event began, guests' minds were stimulated by this wonderful episode of spoken word entitled "HAIR PEACE: A Natural Hair Anthem".
As attendees listened, you could hear multiple verbal grunts of agreement like 'Mmmh!' and 'Whooo'. This was an excellent way to set the tone of the event.
And then...there was Nickey! As soon as the video ended there was a brief pause followed by this amazing voice! It was Nickey! This woman can sang! She performed her set and the words to her songs were so appropriate!! Folks sitting around me couldn't help but comment on this great gift that Nickey possessed. Repeatedly, you could hear folks 'whisper' "Oh, she can sing!".
Way to go planners and organizers on setting the tone for the event.
One by one, the honorees were welcomed to the stage first by hostess Julia Chance and then by an individual who has been touched by the honoree. In some cases the second introduction was done by a past apprentice, cohort or even a family member. This ceremony was so personal! I loved it!
Each honoree had a story to tell. No matter the story, there were always 'take-aways' and lessons to be learned from each story.
Sitting in the audience as a fellow natural hair care provider, I understood their sacrifices, love for the art that is natural hair and of course their passion. Thanks to each one of you for sharing your stories. I personally learned so many lessons in that one evening.
For our Visual Pleasure
After a few were honored, Team Black presented their work in the form of fashion styling and of course natural hair! Everyone was fierce from head to toe! There was lots of creative energy flowing in the room!
The After Party
I bow my head and am ashamed to say that I did not go! Daggone it! From what I hear, it was an awesome networking opportunity. Oh, how I would have loved to go!!! Your girl was tired from walking 12+ blocks from my hotel to the museum in boots with 3-inch heels. Hotel folks told me it was a couple of blocks away. Dear Mr. Hotel clerk...'Plus what?'
Realizing that I have no poker face at all, I thought it would be in my best interest to stay away from meeting new people that evening. It would be nothing worse than to meet these honorees with a 'stank face' because my feet hurt. I didn't want to take the chance of building an ugly reputation.
My after party consisted of returning to my room. And I managed to snap a couple of photos!!!
I will definitely be there next year!
Thanks to Anita Hill-Moses for being obedient and taking a seed, nurturing it and watching it grow. This event touched so many and I look forward to next year September 16, 2012.
Learn more about The Master Pioneer Awards:
- Tina Opie: My Ethnic Hair Journey
- Essence Online (Event Gallery)
- Essence Online (Natural Hair Gallery)