OMhh Presents 7th Annual International I Love Braids Day + Braid Love Celebration
Theme: In the Eyes of Nina Simone
Date: Saturday, July 29th, 2023
Locations: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, Outdoor Concourse & The All Purpose Room, 1368 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11216
Time: 12 – 5 pm
- Join the Celebration…Live DJ, Mannequin Models, Live Braid Art Hair Show, Book Signing. Meet & Greet Natural Hair Industry Leaders, Panel Discussion- Hot Topics, Giveaways, Games, Shopping, Delicious Eats, and so much more. #ILoveBraidsDay2023
What is International I Love Braids Day (IILBD)?
July 29th is International I Love Braids Day. It is a joyous occasion to honor the history and design of Braids as a cultural and artistic expression of beauty. Braids have a long, proud history that can be traced as far back as 30,000 years ago.
Founder Debra Hare-Bey created this day as a reminder of the importance Braids once held in the past, and the self-confidence, empowerment and beauty they spark and inspire today. Braids are an integral part of culture and world history.
International I Love Braids Day is dedicated to the cultivation of Braids. It is the crowning glory for the legacy of Braids. To date, IILBD has received two Proclamations— Trenton, NJ (Mayor Reed Gusciora) and Brooklyn, NY (Borough President Eric Adams). July 29th is the official day to celebrate International I Love Braids Day. Now 48 more states to go and the continent of Africa!
Who is Debra Hare-Bey?
Debra Hare-Bey is an industry leader with over two decades of advocating for women and their crowns. Debra is best known for creating the signature look for Erika Alexander—Maxine of Living Single one of the most iconic and recognizable hairstyles in television history. Erika recently credited Debra on social media for creating her signature Nu-Loc style. Debra’s work has graced the pages of countless fashion magazines. In addition, she has created her own line of products that are completely vegan–OMHH.
As the former Associate Editor of Braids & Beauty Magazine, Debra was a strong supporter of professional natural hair care. Debra used her columns to address important issues, provide accurate hair care information and create a standard by which all other hair care magazines were judged. Braids & Beauty Magazine was the first of its kind with the most anticipated pictorials, and hair care information.
Debra was one of four women instrumental in changing the Cosmetology law in NY. The law was changed to include Natural Hair Styling as a viable option for licensed stylists. The new law opened the door for hair care professionals who did not want to work with chemicals. It was a major accomplishment for African-American women, Braiders and natural hair enthusiasts. As a result of Debra’s leadership she was appointed as a proctor for the New York State Board of Cosmetology Natural Hair Styling Exam. Most recently, Debra has shared her unique expertise as an advisor to the creative team at Sesame Street, providing input on the design of textured hair puppets and their storylines.
In Debra’s own words:
What was the inspiration for IILBD? My inspiration came from my passion, love, and respect for Braids. I completely understood and adored the unparalleled culture and rich history Braids represent. As a Master Pioneer Braider, it was important for me to create a lasting, proud legacy centered around every aspect of Braids and the talent of Braiders. It was equally important to highlight the obvious: Braids are beautiful, glamorous, attractive and all of the other complimentary terms used when describing untextured hair. Personally, Braids have carried me through so much as the perfect style choice for most of my life from childhood to the present. They have always been the one thing that I come back to time and time again. Braids empowered me to be my best self because I was presenting my best self!
From idea to fruition, how long did it take to plan International I Love Braids Day? “It’s was about 15 years in the making fueled by determination and amazing people helping me along the way. Thank you to all who understand the vision.”
Describe the day you received the Proclamation. “Glorious! It was everything I dreamed and more. The day had finally come to fruition. Each Proclamation was different but equally exciting. I remember so clearly feeling like this was a grand reward for dreaming so big. It served as confirmation for staying true to what you believe — dreams can come true. I was so proud. I created a day of freedom, not just for me to openly love and celebrate my craft but a day that the entire community near and far could officially celebrate Braids.”
“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me. No fear!” – Nina Simone
And then there were two… International I Love Braids Day + Braid Love Celebration (IILBD + BLC)!
BLC is the fun, interactive, *FREE outdoor celebration of IILBD when July 29th falls on a weekday. BLC will always be the Saturday after July 29th and may be written as IILBD Braid Love Celebration or IILBD + BLC.
Food, Music, Games and Giveaways
- Shop, Eat, Enjoy… IILBD Braid Love Celebration has many boutiques featuring the best artisans, designers, jewelers, and more. The food options range from vegan to soul food with a “sho nuff, sho nuff” dessert heaven that will prove to be simply delicious. No need to pack a lunch; you’ll need your hands free for all of the dancing.
- Live music from hot DJ sets of Caribbean and Afro beats will keep the celebration jumping.
- Games, games, and more games will help set the tone of family fun.
- Giveaways, swag bags and discounts are all sponsor-driven activities.
Is International I Love Braids Day + Braid Love Celebration just a local event?
- IILBD + BLC will be celebrated locally, state by state and on the continent of Africa. IILBD is officially July 29 and will maintain that day (when possible) around the world. IILBD + BLC will also include the name of the host city, state, country or continent. For example, IILBD Braid Love Celebration MD, IILBD Braid Love Celebration Sudan, etc.
Is IILBD + BLC a Curated Celebration?
Yes. We curate the celebrations by theme. Each year a new theme is selected. Listed below are past themes including the current theme for the 2022 three-day weekend celebration.
- 2022- Braids are the NEW Black
- 2021- Live in Color
- 2020- Juneteenth… freeish
- 2019- Adornment
- 2018- Freedom to Be
- 2017- Celebrate Braids
The pandemic changed our lives forever and gave IILBD + BLC an opportunity to recalibrate — A documentary was born
2019 proved to be a trying time for everyone. It was the fourth International I Love Braids Day and we were in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfamiliar words and actions became our new normal. Quarantining, social distancing, face masks, washing hands, and on and on left us feeling out of sorts. We quickly had to figure out if and how we could move International I Love Braids Day forward.
How would we move it forward? Two words came to mind that helped guide our decision. The words were pivot (rest and turn) and flexibility (willingness to change or compromise). Through those words and a willingness to think outside the box, the decision to go virtual was born.
Braids Made History! Then we made history virtually.
- Why celebrate Braids?
- International I Love Braids Day + Braid Love Celebration Informational
- OMhh Presents 5th Annual IILBD Braid Love Celebration Registration/Tickets Tickets, Sat, Aug 28, 2021 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite
- July 29, 2021- International I Love Braids Day Celebrates It’s 5th Year!
- OMhh Presents: 4th Annual International I Love Braids Day- July 29, Virtual Edition 2020