Curl Craft Club Hosts Clovers and Curls Event

SUNY New Paltz’s only natural hair club is back! The Curl Craft is the new version of Kinks, Coils and Curls — a safe space to celebrate and learn about natural hair.
SUNY New Paltz’s only natural hair club is back! The Curl Craft is the new version of Kinks, Coils and Curls — a safe space to celebrate and learn about natural hair.

The Curl Craft is the revival of New Paltz’s first natural hair club, Kinks, Coils and Curls, which strives to offer a safe space for people of color embracing their natural hair, texture and all. Angelina Mena, a fourth-year digital media management major and the president of the club, led the charge in hosting events as the rebranded group during the fall 2023 semester after the original E-board graduated. Since their beginning, they have hosted educational meetings, game nights and DIY-style hair mask and mirror decorating events. The revamped club’s message is essentially the same, with a focus on boosting self-esteem and breaking stigmas for people on their natural hair journey.

“It could be annoying, feeling uncomfortable with your hair,” Mena said. “You can’t leave your hair. I just want everyone to feel like they can embrace their hair.”

Even as the president of the club, Mena has struggled with feelings of being an outsider because of her hair’s texture and often straightens it to avoid maintaining her natural hair. Experiences like hers are exactly what make the club so necessary. 

“We want more people to come because I know there’s a big population of students who have curly hair and may feel out of place at the workplace,” Mena said.

There is deep-rooted stigma and shame when it comes to natural hair because of the dominant Eurocentric beauty aesthetics throughout our culture. The natural hair movement aims to protect predominantly Black hairstyles and defies racist standards by celebrating and normalizing kinky, curly hair, especially in the workplace. U.S. courts have received case after case about workplace discrimination when it comes to natural hair for decades. It is important for SUNY New Paltz to have a space for community and confidence in natural hair when so many have faced hair-based discrimination and been taught to be ashamed of it.

The Curl Craft wants to reach as many people as possible, and they have grown exponentially through their events collaborating with fraternities and sororities as well as New Paltz Athletes of Color. Even though the new-and-improved club only started last fall, more new and returning members fill every meeting.

Their most recent event on March 13 titled “Clovers and Curls” gave students the chance to make their own hair oil. The turnout was so great that the club ran out of bottles for the hair oil, which they replaced with sauce containers for the remaining attendees. They provided coconut, argan and tea tree oil so students could mix and match the hydration, shine and strengthening benefits to fit their personal hair needs and goals.

“Even if they don’t have their curly hair, they can always come to find ways to protect it and keep their hair healthy,” vice president of the club and third-year sociology major Emeli Medina said.

At the event, students brought and made friends, making hair oil blends with the common goal of taking care of themselves and their hair, and in these acts of self-care, taking care of each other. To Medina, this supportive, growing community is the best part of the club.  

“Even though I’m showing people, I’m also learning as well,” Medina said. “It helps continue my journey with natural hair by seeing other people with their natural hair too. I want other people to feel that way as well.”

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