Expo puts sisters’ passion for natural hair on display
By Chambria Gordon
When Valenica Jones first tried her hands at cosmetology 1990, she didn’t expect it to take her as far as she has gotten in the business.
Her drive is the passion she’s developed for working with natural hair that still drives her today, she said. Nowadays he works alongside her sister, Denise Jones, at Mandisa Ngozi, a salon that they own.
They are believed to be the first to own a natural hair salon in Florida. For six years now they’ve been staging the Natural Hair and Health Expo, the most recent edition taking place this past Sunday.
“The reason why we are here and why we have this event every year is because we want to inspire people,” said Valenica. “We want to uplift them and educate them about black hair.”
Bouncy curls, neat locs, unique braids, and natural twists were the main display at the event.
“Hair care is our biggest concern,” said Denise. “We don’t use any chemicals in our products and we don’t offer perms.”
Their brand has gotten to the point that the sisters make their own hair products. The line includes natural aloe and shea butter crème for dreadlocks, natural hair oils for braids and black soap.
“People need to know the damage that these chemicals do to their hair and body,” Valencia said. “Your hair goes hand in hand with your health,” said Valencia. Our event allows people to come out and learn more about your hair, skin and body. We want to make sure people have access to these products.”
Obviously, the sisters use the Expo as a marketing tool. More than 50 vendors, motivational speakers participated in the event, which also featured live music.
“This is one of my favorite events to go to every year,” said Bailey Clark, local hairstylist. “I love the natural and scented hair oils that they sell here.”
Several vendors sold hair products while others brought beauty to life through art.
Kadija Christie, who is just as passionate as the sisters are about natural hair, took time to demonstrate the difference. With every stroke of her brush, she decried perm hair while showing love for kinks and coils.
“The beauty of our hair is exploited and commercialized,” said Christie. “We feel like we need to perm our hair because we won’t be beautiful or we won’t be accepted but it’s not true.”