Tuesday, October 09, 2007

13th Annual International Locks Conference Is A huge Success

13th Annual International Locks Conference Is A Huge Success

The thirteenth annual natural hair, health and beauty conference known as the International Locks Conference was held this past weekend at the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partnership Charter School located at 910 N 6th Street in Philadelphia. The two day conference attracted participants, exhibitors and presenters from all over the country and offered a venue where people of African descent can come to celebrate, honor, enhance and learn about their natural beauty. Each year the conference expands and attempts to raise the bar and expectations by bringing exciting new hair stylists, fashions, natural skin and beauty products created by people of African descent while simultaneously hosting informative and thought provoking workshops on a variety of holistic health, wellness and beauty related topics. In addition the workshops, stylists, natural products there were authors, vegetarian food vendors and wholesome activities for young people. The conference i a family affair that celebrates being, well, nappy and natural.
Mama Akosua Ali-Sabree and her family have carried on the vision and legacy of Sharon L. Goodman the founder since her transition to the ancestral spirit realm several years ago. Akosua, her family and a dedicated cadre of supporters and staff make the International Locks Conference one of the largest and truly most outstanding African Centered cultural and beauty events in the country. This year’s theme was Consciousness Rising and the planners and organizers certainly actualized the theme in the 2007 conference. Mama Akosua is a perfectionist who always wants to put her best foot forward and represent African people in a way that honors us and the ancestors. She was pleased with this year’s conference despite the hard work. “It’s easier on one hand to put it together once we get the logistics and space together. The challenge is keeping it fresh. We really work to get new vendors without eliminating the old vendors because a lot of people come to the conference specifically looking for certain vendors, so getting the right mix of people and allowing the craftsmen and artists to be in the mix and maintaining that balance is important because a lot of people think it’s all about making money. So if there are two vendors doing the same thing we can’ have that. We try to honor everybody and what they are doing. So the human interaction can be challenging but the event itself is exhilarating. There are people who come here just to be in the positive energy. There are people who come to make an event of it, they come from out of town, they book a hotel and there are vendors who come every year who come because they do well and they say we are stepping it up every year.” Mama Akosua shared.
The hard work pays off because the expectations are high and the expectations manifest in a their execution and a heightened enjoyment for all concerned. “They expect us to step it up and we get a satisfaction from that. The people who expect it to step up get satisfied because we are on task with that. The ones who come just to be in the energy are thrilled just to be here, the others who come whose expectations are not high, who think we are going to be late or things like that are surprised when they come and experience the conference.”
The use of the Walter D Palmer Charter School was a first, and it turned out to be a perfect fit logistically. Activities were held both indoors and outside in the school yard. The weather was good so people could easily flow in and out to partake of all the conferences’ exhibits, vendors and activities. The planners experienced larger crowds this year and the spacial logistics and flow were more to Mama Akousua’s liking. “Because Monday is a so called holiday more people are coming out. The conference is always the first weekend in October because this is the last event after the summer vending season and many venders and exhibitors are looking for an event between the summer and the winter vending seasons. The only thing I would do differently is have the food inside. Other than that this is the closest to what I would have if we had our own spot. For the most part I’m satisfied. The feedback has been good and overall I don’t have anything to complain about.”
The International Locks Conference is the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country. From the look and success of the 2007 conference, this trend will continue well into the future. Mama Akosua Ali-Sabree and the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee plan all year long to make the event successful. So if you want to be a participant in next year’s conference go to www.locksconference.com or call 888 305-6186.



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