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UW-Stout's Natural Hair Night

There are three hair types and three subcategories to those types. The first type is 2A-2C, this is when the hair is looser with waviness to it. 3A-3C are tighter curls that vary from big loose curls to tightly packed corkscrews. Finally, 4A-4C is very tight curls that range from springy coils to wiry Z like angle curls.

Free products seem to catch everyone’s attention no matter what it might be. Hair products are no expectation, especially when college students are involved.

Recently on the UW-Stout campus, a Natural Hair Night Event was coordinated by the organization, Speak Up. Speak Up is an organization that focuses on social justice programming for engagement, action, knowledge and understanding people. The programs that the organization implements are student-run and student-initiated and focus on social justice, diversity, and inclusion.

The Natural Hair Night event has been going on since fall 2018. Vaughn Hess, Jr., a student member of Speak Up said, “This event was formulated in order to promote hair diversity and a way to embrace wavy, curly, and coily hair and its beauty in a world where straight hair is deemed the standard beauty in western culture.”

Everyone is welcome at the events, including college students, staff, as well as community members. “Since there are little to no resources here in Menomonie, for students, some particularly people of color, to go to, Speak Up created a space where these students are educated about where they can find resources specifically for them,” said Vaughn Hess, Jr.

The guest speaker for the recent event was Bobby Black, a licensed cosmetologist who currently works at the Mall of America in the Twin Cities. He also has a bachelor’s degree in theater performance from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

During the event Black discussed all things hair. He started out by discussing how the protein keratin is a key structural material that makes up the hair and helps it grow. He said genetics and consumption on a daily basis are other factors that make up what our hair looks like.

Black told curious students’ what products they should and shouldn’t be using. He explained during the event that people need to be open to different products and experiences in order to receive the perfect hair.

Students were able to get answers from a professional about their hair. One student asked how she should clean her hair if she loves taking hot showers. Black said, “Stop doing that.” And everyone laughed. He said hot water causes your hair to dry out, so try washing your hair separately from your body.

“All of our hair is like a snowflake. It might look similar but that don’t matter, they different, and be okay with having difference in your hair because what you may need is not what the next person may need,” said Black.

After Bobby’s educational presentation, Speak Up held a raffle where they gave away free beauty products and involved the students in a game that asked questions about certain hair types and what they looked like.

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