Hear about HAIRitage's keynote speaker, natural hair love


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Dozens of Rutgers students and non-Rutgers students alike attended the HAIRitage conference on Saturday, a Black History Month celebration hosted by the Livingston Residence Council and a number of other sponsors and on-campus organizations.

In attempts to make this year’s Black History Month celebration unique and memorable, HAIRitage included discussion panels, workshops and raffles geared towards the embracement of black and afro-Latinx hair.

Saturday’s conference kicked off with an address from keynote speaker Anu Prestonia, a natural haircare mogul who opened one of the first all-natural, black-owned hair salons in New York City.

The entrepreneur shared with the audience her lifelong journey of self-love, a journey that started at just 10-years-old when she lost her hair to chemical relaxers. With a short afro, Prestonia’s natural style made her a trendsetter among her peers, and since going natural, the hair stylist has never looked back.

Prestonia said that through her journey to embrace her natural hair and with the opening of her first salon, she has helped other black women love their hair too.

“I realized that part of my work was helping black people reclaim their sense of self-beauty,” Prestonia said. “I taught women that they could wear their hair in styles best for their hair type, and that they didn’t have to try to look like someone else to feel beautiful.”

More than 13 workshops and discussions were offered throughout the day, including a popular D.I.Y. information session held by Curly in College, an on-campus community that celebrates natural hair.

The organization offered tips and tricks on how to maintain healthy hair to audience members of all hair types, as well as a tutorial on how to make a nutritious leave-in conditioner in the comfort of one’s kitchen. Avocado, coconut oil and honey were provided for the recipe, and audience members worked together to make an all-natural hair product they were able to bring home.

Due to blizzardous weather conditions last Thursday, the HAIRitage showing of Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary "Good Hair" was postponed to Monday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. at the Global Village Living-Learning Center in Jameson Hall. The film was free of charge and followed by a discussion on the concept of having “good hair” within the black community.


Clarissa Gordon


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