Tour America’s Biggest Celebration of Black Hair

The Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show, the country’s largest professional beauty event geared toward women of color, took place in Atlanta over the weekend. Sponsored by the 68-year-old beauty-product brand Bronner Bros., the show attracts several thousand mostly black and mostly female hairstylists, makeup professionals, and beauty entrepreneurs who pay $20 to $150 to attend each year.

The swirl of seminars and presentations is designed to offer them career development and networking opportunities while tapping into the reported $500 billion buying potential of the black-hair-care industry. “I come every year, twice a year,” says stylist Ashley Anderson. “It helps you stay ahead of the game.” And the contests, which range from wild hair sculptures to intricate nail art, give beauty artists a chance to show off their skills.

The world of cosmetology looks quite different now than it did in 1947, when Nathaniel Bronner Sr. realized that the beauty products in his sister Emma’s shop were selling faster than copies of the newspaper. Nathaniel and his brother Arthur Bronner Sr. started teaching classes at an Atlanta YMCA, and the trade show evolved naturally from there. The first incarnation hosted 300 attendees — no small feat for a pair of African-American men in the Jim Crow South. Today, the biannual shows see upwards of 22,000 visitors from as far away as China, Japan, and Holland.


hta;dr.. The hair in the first picture is too awesome; I didn’t make it past it to read the post before I had to reblog.