At Curlfest, women (and men) share what their natural hair means to them


A sea of kinks, curls and coils gathered together to celebrate natural hair and embrace their curly roots at Curlfest this weekend.

The annual festival, which took place this year on Randall's Island Park in New York City, has grown to become the largest natural beauty festival in America since its creation in 2014, drawing attendees from around the world to proudly celebrate their hair, fill their tote bags with hair product samples, take photos for the ‘gram, and enjoy positive vibes with curly-headed friends.

In truly monumental moments for the natural hair movement, Curlfest carried a special weight this year. California and New York recently signed bills that ban race-based hairstyle discrimination -- protections that the organizers of Curlfest have been working to secure for years.

The festival's founders have made it their mission to empower and embrace women of color wearing natural hairstyles.

"To see it culminate and come together and lead to something as important as a law feels empowering in itself,” Curlfest co-founder Melody Henderson told "GMA." "But we're also looking forward to when it doesn't have to be a law. I think it's still a step in the right direction, and speaks to why there's a need for what we've been able to build.”

“That bill happened because of these people here,” Henderson added. “People are listening and I think that's why it's important to have events like Curlfest because the world listens, legislation listens, politicians listen. That's why we're so happy it happened because we know we're a part of that.”

Read on to hear from women (and men) who spoke to “Good Morning America” about what Curlfest means to them and how they celebrate and embrace their natural hair.

What does Curlfest mean to you? Curlfest means having a space to be yourself. I love seeing all the representation, all the black girl magic. A space where your hair can be accepted and OK, and I feel like that's kind of rare.

Tell me about your natural hair journey. It was a process. I had a relaxer since I was 6, and then when I was in college I cut off all my hair and started growing it out, and I had no idea what I was doing. But it was worth it, I can't see myself any other way now.

If you could describe your hair in one word, what would it be? Fierce.