Magic Radar Alert: “The A Team” presents The Natural Hair and Health Expo, March 12, 2016 at the BJCC
Posted by: Ted D. Davis, 03/06/2016
Jeffrey and Victor Simmons are owners of Visions Beauty Distributors, a Helena, Alabama based cosmetics wholesaler. Affectionately known throughout the industry as “The A Team”, they hosted the Natural Hair and Health Expo in 2014 and 2015, the largest natural hair event in Birmingham with over five thousand participants both years, as a way to provide continuing education to stylists, and highlight the latest in natural hair care products and services. This year’s edition of the event, scheduled for March 12, 2016 at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center North Exhibition Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is expected to exceed some seven thousand participants. Featuring musical Neo soul star Vivian Green, free health screenings, and a bevy of hair and health authorities, the event is sure to serve as a lightning rod for both physical and spiritual growth. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”, and this event will serve as a large-scale atmosphere in which those in and interested in the natural hair and health industry can be sharpened by the plethora of experience at their disposal.
Magic City Radar was given the privilege of talking to Victor Simmons ahead of the event about its significance, and its impact on stylists and attendees. Simmons, a flamboyant and energetic personality who one can completely believe spearheads an event of any magnitude, made the interview quite an “event” itself. It is as follows:
TDD: What’s your start in Natural hair?
VS: “My brother and I are third generation in the hair care industry. We carry one of the top three ethnic lines in the world. Let me give you a bit of background. When we started, THE style of the time was the Jheri Curl, and we sold all of the biggest names in products for that style in droves. And, when that trend changed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s we changed with it in order to grow. When the natural trend came in, we went with it. We’d talk to stylists who were pro weave, which I’m not a fan of because it damages and breaks the beautiful, natural nature of the hair, and many of them were not on board with the trend toward natural hairstyles. I’d urge them to consider implementing this new trend, and when they wouldn’t I knew their end was imminent. Now look at how the natural hair trend has exploded. If you don’t change over time to meet the demands of the moment, what happens?
TDD: You die professionally?
VS: “There you go” (laughing enthusiastically with me)
TDD: You mentioned that you carry one of the top three ethnic lines in the world? Is the Expo geared towards Birmingham’s ethnic community, or is there something for the broader community as well?
VS: “It’s geared toward persons of color, only because that’s the market we’ve served for three generations. I’m not ashamed to say that. We serve the ethnic community primarily, but if the Caucasian community wants to attend, we want them there because we can help them as well. Say, when and white woman and black man have a baby, often times that white mom has no idea how to care for their child’s hair if biology sides with dad’s texture. We have a knowledge base in place at the expo that can teach her how to properly care for her child’s hair, and we’re proud of that”.
TDD: By providing free health screenings you show that your service is not just about hair health. Why is holistic health important to a cosmetics guy?
VS: “We provide free health screenings because African Americans, who so far represent the majority of attendees, aren’t as adept in caring for their health as are Caucasians. Everywhere in society, there are images, video, and commercials depicting whites taking part in healthy eating and exercise, and caring for their health, whether or not that’s true of the masses. Let’s face it, that presence is not necessarily dominant in the black community. Many of us still cook with butter. How old are you”?
TDD: I’m forty-six (laughing because I know where he’s going).
VS: “Sixty years ago, we still cooked our food primarily in lard, and today many blacks still cook largely with butter, which contributes to higher cholesterol levels in our community. We take the responsibility to teach African Americans to take the best care not only of their outside but the inside as well”.
TDD: This is a fairly large scale event predominantly attended by young, trending African Americans with a dominant taste for hip-hop. Why choose Vivian Green as musical guest rather than say, Nicki Minaj (laughing)?
VS: “Ahhhhhh, I can’t afford her (laughing)! If you can pay the fee to book her, she’ll be the musical guest in 2017. But we’re happy with Vivian this year. She’s beautiful, soulful, has dynamic stage presence, and I’m looking forward to hearing her sing “Emotional Rollercoaster” live”.
TDD: You decided to feature two male fitness models as guests. Would not two fit, sculpted females be more inspirational for a group of attendees who are largely female?
VS: “Not for the purpose of the participation. Men get breast cancer too, and need to understand the benefits of taking care of themselves in an attempt to offset contracting the disease. We know that exercise helps to prevent and fight it, and who better to serve as an example to men than male fitness models? It’s not a woman disease. Men get it too. It would have been easy to tap two fit women to model at a female dominated event, sure, but guys will be there, and our models serve as example to them, primarily”.
TDD: What’s special about Taren Guy? Why should attendees look forward to her contribution?
VS: “Man, she’s outspoken, knowledgeable, aggressive, and cares for ethnic hair. Specifically, her sphere of influence is so far reaching that we had to have her if we could book her. I picked her up from the airport on a recent Sunday morning for an appearance, and marveled at how her mobile device blew up like it was a week day during business hours. When I asked her why so much traffic, she told me that she’d tweeted about some aspect of natural hair care and that within hours of doing so she’d gotten some ten thousand hits. She’s a woman who can help stylists and the general public alike with natural hair care trends and innovations”.
TDD: Finally, who should market and advertise with the Natural Hair and Health Expo?
VS: “Every woman who has natural hair and health goods, services, and knowledge to share with the world around them. We couldn’t be happier if five to seven thousand attendees all have something that they’d like to market with our service”.
Magic City Radar is excited to bring you in advance coverage of the natural hair and health phenomenon that is exploding in our city and in the African American community among others, and details of the Natural Hair and Health Expo and it’s promoters. For more information see www.naturalhairandhealthexpo.com. We hope to see you there!