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The Expo pushes all aspects, culture, economics. I’m a vendor myself

I make dolls. We want people to make money a lot of the money we

make we spend it right back with the vendors in the community

so its really community and culturally based.



9th Annual 

International Locks Conference 

Blends Natural Hair, Health, and Beauty

By Junious Ricardo Stanton


Sharon Goodman has produced for nine years a community oriented grassroots natural hair care and beauty conference. The conference has grown over the years from a one day five-hour event that attracted fifty attendees to now being a three day weekend affair with an international flavor that attracts thousands. 

Over the years, Goodman and her staff have expanded the conference and extended its scope to include additional aspects of culture, hair care, health, and healing modalities. “Each year," she explains, "it grows more and more; more people know about it; more people attend; and we’ve extended our scope. It used to be called just the Locks Conference, but now it’s called the Locks Conference, International Hair, Health and Beauty Expo

"We’ve added a lot of holistic health practitioners, complimentary modalities, and topics like disease reversal, yoga, stress management, vegetarian cooking, and how to have healthy happy homes. So not only do we want to concentrate on celebrating the beauty of ourselves on the outside, but we want to build up the beauty on the inside, body, mind and spirit.”  In addition to natural hair care products created by black entrepreneurs and sold by black vendors and natural hair care stylists who gave demonstrations and worked on attendee’s hair at the Expo, this year’s conference offered thirty workshops on a variety of topics and issues focusing on holistic health, roots, and culture featuring African drumming, doll making and entertainment, and the hair hut that focused on healthy natural hair, natural hair maintenance and styling. 

Goodman was ecstatic at the growth and evolution of the Expo. “Last year we had one thousand five hundred people come through in two days. I was so happy. Last year was the first year it was held at Harambe Institute. John Skif (the Chief Academic Officer of Harambe) used to attend the conference when it was at Community College and Temple University. He was so taken by it that he invited us to come here to his school. 

"We use the club (Club Diamani adjacent to the school), the courtyard, the school the whole place and when people come in and see the black art all around, because this is an Afrocentric school they appreciate it more.” 

Photos: Herman Ramsee & son (?), vendors at the Locks Conference

Akosua Ali-Sabree— therapist, holistic healer and poet—served as Operations Manager for the Expo. For her, the Expo is empowering. “The  significance of this Conference is that out of all the activities we have in Philadelphia the Lock Conference allows a number of different communities to come together to learn and exchange — communities that normally wouldn’t come together. It allows small business people to display their wares, people have things they want to do in the workshops or share with folks this is the venue for that. It’s a real family environment. All ages can come to share and I’m real excited about that. As a practitioner that’s what I’m about; people relaxing, being stress free, learning more about their ancestry, learning about the possibilities in the world.”

Most of the attendees wore natural hair styles — including locks and braids — and the Expo gave off a more culturally aware vibe. Goodman is anticipating an even bigger event next year to celebrate their tenth anniversary. “Next year is going to be our tenth and we’re going to go all out. It’s going to be a whole week thing. We’re going to go to other school besides Harambe, different other venues like First Friday and the Library, we’re going to do something there. So I want this to go on and on.” 

Goodman is genuinely appreciative of the community support the Expo has received over the years and she attributes that to the Expo’s growth and popularity. “The community is very supportive. Every year we get more and more people. This year we had to turn away some vendors, a lot of vendors wanted to attend the affair is so great.” 

While people come from all over to attend the Expo, it retains a local flavor. “Most of the vendors are local. We have some from as far away as Atlanta Georgia, New York, Washington. And I see this year we have quite a few African vendors, too, from the Motherland.” 

Goodman indicated a lot of the traffic to the Expo was from word of mouth. “We did a survey last year and we found out much of the awareness about the Conference was from word of mouth, our ad in the New Observer, and the post cards we sent out. We hang out flyers, posters, and things like that. But, from the survey, people said they heard about it from word of mouth. Plus its always the same time, the first weekend in October so people know about it and remember.”

In keeping with the concept of economic development the Expo encourages helping African-American entrepreneurs promote their products. 

“The Expo pushes all aspects, culture, economics. I’m a vendor myself I make dolls. We want people to make money a lot of the money we make we spend it right back with the vendors in the community so its really community and culturally based. This really a community event.

We don’t go out to big corporate sponsors looking for sponsorship, we go to the community and we get sponsors from the community. We have duafe Holistic Hair Care, LeRoi and Cinza Simons and Chic Afrique, people right from the community willing to support us and come back every year.” 

Over the course of the weekend, the Expo features a fashion show, workshops, vendors, spoken word artistry, entertainment and the culminating event a hair show and competition. “Natural hair stylists, master braiders, and this year we added a barbering aspect, master barbers are going to come and show their stuff. They put on skits, plays and vignettes and they are going to be judged on their styles and creativity. The judges will be professional and lay people who are creative who know stuff about styling. There will be first second and third place prizes for locks, braiders and barbers they will be judged and graded on creativity, technique and overall presentation.”

It rained Saturday but that didn’t stop the traffic to the Expo. The vendors were out in force and the attendees didn’t allow the rain to deter them.

Byron Pugh, a vendor, was pleased, “This is attractive to me because of the atmosphere. The actual area, the purpose of us being able to come together be in one place where we can really be able to meet our culture and connect with other people who are really trying to buy things that are hopefully more culturally aware, be aware of who they are and learn and be taught in a place where they can feel good about themselves. And hopefully walk away with a good feeling about where they came from and what they did that day.”

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My Black Is Beautiful (Episode 1)—Defining Black Beauty  / My Black is Beautiful (Episode 2)—Shades of Black

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“My Black Is Beautiful” Campaign Connects With Black Women

The campaign which includes a series of events across the country and a show in its second season on BET, has received a huge boost by its association with celebrities such as Queen Latifah and Angela Bassett.

Three years ago, “My Black is Beautiful” was an idea that was created by African American employees of the company.  A campaign meant to start a conversation about beauty and change the negative portrayals of Black women in the various forms of media. Currently, over 70 percent of African American women feel that they’re portrayed negatively by the news media. The goal of the program is to encourage Black women of all ages to define and promote their own beauty standard. News One

Good Hair Movie—Chris Rock Sells Black Hair / Good Hair on Relaxer


Natural v. Perm Debate: Negative Focus on Gymnast Gabby Douglas’s Hair

Enough with the Black Hair Session—Gabby Won

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Our Hair is Unprofessional?—MarKeese Warner—12 June 2012—Like many students across the country, I have been looking for a summer job before I start my senior year at Pennsylvania State University where I’m studying engineering. As I’m living at home in Maryland for the summer, I thought working at the nearby Six Flags would be a great summer job. I’ve been going to Six Flags with my family for years and have even had season passes on occasion, so I applied for a food service job. However, as I started to go through the interview process, I was disturbed to find out that I couldn’t work at Six Flags because of the texture of my hair. Six Flags has a strict policy that prohibits employees from having dreadlocks (or "locks" as some people call them) as they classify them as an “extreme” hairstyle along with mohawks and unnatural coloring.

Locks are predominantly worn by African-American, Caribbean and African people as an expression of how our hair grows naturally. My hair is important to me and part of who I am. I’ve had locks for about five years.

Being disqualified as a potential employee because of my hair made me feel defeated; as my hair is representation of my personal growth through the years. It hurts to hear major employers like Six Flags call my natural hair and texture “extreme.” Unfortunately, throughout history, many people have demonized locks. It is disparaging for Six Flags to accept substantial amounts of money every year at their parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada from patrons who wear their hair as it grows naturally, but the company would refuse to hire any of those patrons with locks. We spend way too much money at places like Six Flags Theme Parks for them to discriminate against any members of our community. Let us also exercise our voice with our dollars.

There is no excuse in 2012 for such abhorrent employment policies. In a time when the "voice of the people" can indeed be witnessed to move mountains, let us in one accord raise our voice. In a country that purports itself to be the greatest "melting pot" of social values and ideals, it’s time for Six Flags to stop its discriminatory policy by categorically refusing to employ people because of their natural hair. Please join me in asking Six Flags to stop discriminating against people with locks.—seeingblack

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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Tomorrow's Tomorrow: The Black Woman

By Joyce A. Ladner

Tomorrow’s Tomorrow is a pioneering sociological study of black girls growing up in the city. The author, in a substantial new introduction, considers what has changed and what has remained constant for them since the book was first published in 1971. . . . Joyce A. Ladner spent four years interviewing, observing, and socializing with more than a hundred girls living in the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis. She was challenged by preconceived academic ideas and labels and by her own past as a black child in rural Mississippi. Rejecting the white middle-class perspective of “deviant” behavior, she examined the expectations and aspirations of these representative black girls and their feelings about parents and boyfriends, marriage, pregnancy, and child-rearing.

Ladner asked what life was like in the urban black community for the “average” girl, how she defined her roles and behaviors, and where she found her role models. She was interested in any significant disparity between aspirations and the resources to achieve them.

To what extent did the black teenager share the world of her white peers? If the questions were searching, the conclusions were provocative. According to Ladner, “The total misrepresentation of the Black community and the various myths which surround it can be seen in microcosm in the Black female adolescent.”

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies. 

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanaper

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: The economy is not an efficient machine.

It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest. We’re all better off when we’re all better off. The model of citizenship depends on contagious behavior, hence positive behavior begets positive behavior.

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Predator Nation

Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America

By Charles H. Ferguson

If you’re smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren’t rich, you’re now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident.  Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite.  It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers.  It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008. Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite.

Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes—there is no other word—committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis.  And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.Read Chapter 1

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 31 May 2012




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