“Our mission is to make texture synonymous with hair” – Pekela Riley
The annual Texture Hair Elevated (T.H.E.) Summit, a groundbreaking celebration of the beauty, authenticity, and ever-evolving elevation of textured hair, graced the Omni CNN Center in Atlanta, GA on October 8-9, 2023. Over 500 textured hair enthusiasts were in attendance.
Founded by global artist hairstylists and co-founder of the Global Artistry Council – Pekela Riley, Tippie Shorter, and Kauilani Godwyn – T.H.E. Summit 2-day event is an unapologetic declaration of texture as the apex, that challenges traditional beauty norms.
For years, the beauty industry has centered its focus on a very narrow and non-inclusive definition of ‘good hair.’ T.H.E. Summit boldly challenges this, establishing textured hair as the new standard of beauty. It encourages the celebration of the extraordinary skillset and brilliant ecosystem of stylists and educators that champion natural textures and the most inclusive spectrum of textured hair types, from coils and curls to kinks and waves.
T.H.E. Summit is a platform designed to empower hairstylists and educators in a way that has rarely been seen before. This event offered a space where textured hair enthusiasts could learn, share, and connect with others who are passionate about celebrating textured hair. Hairstylists and educators were given the tools, knowledge, and inspiration they need to redefine beauty standards and help their clients embrace their natural hair texture – which includes extending their natural hair beauty with True + Pure Texture curly hair extensions and textured hair extensions.
T.H.E. Summit & Global Artistry Council Co-Founder, Pekela Riley, shared her thoughts on this transformative event.
How would you describe the empowerment feeling you have after hosting T.H.E. Summit this year?
T.H.E. Summit was absolutely beautiful. It was everything to me. We’re shifting the culture of our industry in affirming and centering stylists of color.
It’s a space for everybody, but we’re completely centering stylists of color – and they feel that.
All throughout this elevated experience, it felt like family. A feel-good safe place where you get to show up in your God-given talent, with no code switch.
The lack of code switch is so liberating.
The natural way that we show up and exchange knowledge is as great as it should be.
What exciting events took place during T.H.E. Summit this year?
We had 2 days of mainstage textured hair presentations by the most gifted artists and educators at the top of the gain in pro beat.
The presentations were highly informative, transparent, and passionate – giving truth to power for all things texture. Everyone in the audience took something tangible from T.H.E. Summit and our presenters to their salon and to elevate their career mindset.
Our mainstage presenters were:
John Mosley - SalonCentric
Rachel Redd - Redken
Monet Sykes - Redken
Jamal Edmonds - Mizani
Evie Johnson - Mizani
Al Campbell - Mizani
Jada Jenkins - Mizani
Michelle O'Connor - Matrix
Brea Retic - SalonCentric
Greg Gilmore - Morroccanoil
Barri Gibson - Morroccanoil
Tatiana Dudley - Morroccanoil
Kia Sterling - Texture Vs. Race
Jamez Smith - Texture Vs. Race
Dinah LeFranc - Texture Vs. Race
Terrence Davidson (Special Guest)
On the first night of the first day we also had T.H.E Summit Award Show to celebrate the past and present trailblazers in our industry. We honored the legendary Charles Gregory Ross – who was iconic for bringing stylists onto movie sets like Tyler Perry’s movies and the hit TV show “How To Get Away With Murder.” Ross broke down barriers in creating a pathway for artists to do Black and textured hair on film sets.
We also honored the “Godmother of The Natural Texture Revolution” – Diane Da Costa, the first to create a texture curriculum for The “My Lady Book” – our universal cosmetology curriculum. Da Costa is also the author of “Textured Tresses,” the first book to categorize hair types as “TEXTURE” encompassing loose curly, coily, tightly coiled, and wavy hair textures.
In addition, we awarded the following trailblazers for these categories:
Snapshot Awards Category:
Barber of the Year: Khadijah Davies
Colorist of the Year: Jamez Smith
Haircutter of the Year: Evie Johnson
Stylist of the Year: Brendnetta Ashley
Enhancement of the Year: Keisha Mines
Up Next Stylist of the Year: Sharday Walker
Collection Awards Category:
Hairstylist of the Year: Brendnetta Ashley
Editorial Stylist of the Year: Jamal Edmonds
Up Next Stylist of the Year: Ariana Greene
Why are T.H.E. Summit awards so important to the industry and culture?
The difference with T.H.E. Summit awards and other traditional industry award shows and events is – we understand hair is texture. So we center texture and celebrate it throughout our awards show.
Our mission is to make texture synonymous with hair. Yes, I need texture to be synonymous with hair.
We no longer have to deal with feeling undervalued as hairstylists and educators at mainstream award shows that made texture a “sub-category.”
The impact of being celebrated in a sub-category is your worth is devalued and demoted to “sub” – which means “subtracted” and below. The consolation prize is we’re compartmentalized as a good “texture stylist”.
Nada. We’re declaring to our beloved community that you’re a badazz stylist…period.
Are there any sponsors you would like to thank for supporting T.H.E. Summit?
Absolutely! Thank you to the following phenomenal brands for championing T.H.E. Summit:
There’s a quote that states: ““What’s the point of a revolution if there’s no dancing afterwards?” Within this texture revolution…is there any dancing at T.H.E. Summit?
LOL! Yes…we had us a time! We danced and partied, as the energy and flow was a celebratory one, bringing a euphoric flow of night life into the day.
Texture enthusiasts at T.H.E. Summit felt an incredible sense of belonging. We were moving and swinging just like a breath of fresh air…feeling all of the Texture Love as freely as our textured hair tresses blowing in the wind – a dance of freedom painted with every strand.
What are the Top 5 Reasons to attend T.H.E. Summit next year?
#1: T.H.E. Summit is the perfect opportunity to learn from some of the most respected stylists and texture experts in the industry.
#2: This event is designed to elevate, educate, and equip stylists of all backgrounds with the tools they need to work with all clients.
#3: T.H.E. Summit Awards provides a unique opportunity to celebrate talented artists and further encourage their growth and development.
#4: The Global Artistry Council brings you texture hair workshops at T.H.E. Summit, facilitated by texture hair mentors and experts.
#5: T.H.E. Summit gathers like-minded professionals who share a passion for textured hair artistry. We affirm that stylists in our community are more than enough and appreciated – and we enjoy the reciprocation of elevated energy amongst the stylists in the audience that affirm we are enough and appreciated as well.
Trust we’re going to keep T.H.E. Summit movement of celebration and elevation going no matter what!
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