For the third year in a row, Isis Brantely, natural hair stylist, founder of the Institute of Ancestral Braiding and once arrested for illegally styling hair, is organizing the Naturally Isis Hair Parade and Festival. And for the second year in a row, Erykah "Badoula Oblongata" Badu will return to the parade as the grand marshal.
Brantely was arrested in 1995 for working as a natural hair stylist without a cosmetology license. She refused to accept the charge, claiming that the license required more than 1,000 hours of training in unrelated fields. Nine years later her case was overturned and she redefined how licensing in her field works: 35 hours on the basics of natural hair and braiding.
The celebration has been getting a lot of celebrity attention. This year, along with Badu, who will present the Swag Award (because who else could?), rapper Lupe Fiasco will also be attending.This year's theme is "The Empowerment of Women Globally," which is fitting since the festival is also meant to buck Euro-centric ideas about what constitutes beauty. Brantley's nonprofit, The Isis Project, is presenting the parade to raise awareness for groups like "We Are Strong Girls" Alopecia Foundation, Amore Transition Group, Autism For You and The Afiya Center.
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The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. on September 7, at Lamar Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard and ends at 828 Fourth St., the site of the Pan African Connection, where the parade will turn into a festival.