Hair's to you!

Hair's to you!

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment

Saturday, August 18, 2018

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CANDICE Williams, first runner-up in this year's Miss Jamaica World Cornwall pageant, says she is encouraged by the growing number of contestants who are opting to go natural.

Williams, 25, was one of the guest speakers at the second staging of Coir Connection held at the Taylor's Wedding Centre on Sandhurst Crescent in Barbican, St Andrew, last Saturday.

“We have a have movement going on... So the dream is to have the entire Jamaica and world embracing natural hair and understanding that this is who we are and we are beautiful,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

The beauty queen, who hails from Westmoreland, said she had made the decision to go natural prior to her coronation final in July.

“I was adamant I wouldn't wear any extensions, and I saw where the producers of the show were very receptive of me wearing my natural hair,” she said.

Miss Jamaica World Cornwall pageant was won by Issia Thelwell, while third place went to Keronica Lewis.

“I think the natural hair trend has been on the forefront for a very long time. I remember the first person I saw was with an Afro was Terri-Karelle Reid, she was Terry Karelle Griffith at the time. We have persons, such as Davina Bennett, who have come on the scene and created a buzz. And now, in 2018, I can say all the entrants, except one, in the Miss Jamaica Cornwall all had natural hair and they were all dark-skinned ladies,” said Williams.

Griffith was Miss Jamaica World 2005. Bennett, with her distinctive Afro, placed third in the 2017 Miss Universe competition. Prior to both, Joan McDonald — who sported a natural hairstyle — won the Miss Jamaica World title in 1978. At the time, she was hailed as breaking new ground.

In recent interview with the Jamaica Observer, organisers of the Miss Jamaica World contest pointed to a global trend of “natural beauty” for the number of dark-skinned contestants in this year's pageant.

“There is a revolution taking place in the global pageant world and Jamaica hasn't escaped it. Following up on the performances of ladies, like the dreadlocked Dr Sanneta Myrie at Miss World and the Afro queen Davina Bennett at Miss Universe last year, many Jamaican ladies are stepping up to the plate with much confidence and acceptance of their natural beauty,” said Aston Cooke, co-franchise holder of the pageant.

Myrie finished in the top five at the Miss World contest held in China in 2015.

Patrine Joseph, convenor of Coir Connection, explained the idea behind the two-year-old event.

“It is a conference held to encourage, support and help black women to embrace, appreciate, and love their natural hair and themselves in their natural state,” she said. “The event was a success as women felt safe and comfortable to testify about their expriences and struggles they feel in a society that marginalises them because of their natural appearance.”

Other guest speakers at Coir Connection were: blogger Dayna Nichole; television personality Emprezz Golding; and The University of West Indies lecturer Dr Lisa Tomlinson.

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