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Super natural: Miss Jessie teams up for the return of Coffee, Curls and Cupcakes

By Kenya Vaughn

“It was just the whole idea of not wanting to go through the same frustration,” River Kia Fronczak said about the motivation for creating a platform to discuss options and misconceptions that come with natural hair last year.

At the time it had been more than 10 years since she made the bold leap of shaving her head bald and growing out the hair she was born with.

Fronczak decided to hold an intimate information session with techniques and talks on the topic of natural hair to equip others with the information she didn’t have – some of which hadn’t been explored during her early days as a natural.

She didn’t know what to expect, but she envisioned about 150 guests gathering to feast on light desserts while learning how to care for chemical free hair or help with the transition from relaxed to natural.

After the influx of RSVPs, they had to make an emergency venue change to Mathews-Dickey’s auditorium to accommodate the anticipated guests – and even then they were expecting about 300. More than 650 showed up.

“It was wonderful, a bit overwhelming, but wonderful,” Fronczak said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly couldn’t have expected that. I was floored … and we were not prepared.”

Based on the outpouring from the community, it was a no-brainer for the event to return. But for 2012, Coffee, Cupcakes and Curls is preparing for big things – and big names behind it – when it returns to Mathews-Dickey in a less than two weeks.

The program is headlined by three giants in the natural hair world: psychologist Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey, a St. Louis native known to 50,000-plus YouTube subscribers as “Beautiful Brown Baby Doll,” andMiss Jessie’s Co-founders/Co-CEOs Miko and Titi Branch, whose product line has generated national sales, media acclaim and celebrity fans like Halle Berry, Keri Hilson, Randy Jackson, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone and Rihanna. As title sponsor, Miss Jessie’s will offer the first 700 guests a goody bag, valued at more than $100 each.

“Having them here is going to be awesome,” Fronczak said. “Having every one of the names that we have lined up is going to be amazing. It’s going to be all about being prideful about who you are.”

The all-star panel also features presentations by Debra Small of HPO Spa Treatment, Tameka Stigers of LOCS of Glory, Vatterott College Beauty School and a Winter Chic Hair Show by Salon Edge Master Stylist Sandra Dee.

“I really hope I can reach those who are brand new to being natural and still don’t understand the technique,” Fronczak said. “I want parents of bi-racial children who haven’t quite mastered the moisture and styling needs of our unique texture. We are really focusing on healthy hair, and the range of people that thirst for this information runs the gamut.”

The Winter Chic theme for CCC 2012 will focus on protecting curls from the dry winters that can be brutal for black hair.

“A lot of naturals suffer from dry hair in the winter months,” said Fronczak. “Guests will learn how to look good, keep their hair looking lovely and – as they say –‘moisturize your situation.’”

The event will offer tips and tools that can be applied all year long, mainly balancing moisture and protein to prevent breakage. She says that many false assumptions will be laid to rest and that guests will walk away empowered by the possibilities – especially that women with natural hair can grow their hair to whatever length they desire with proper maintenance and care.

“When I first went natural, everyone was either rocking locks or low fades,” Fronczak said. “There was this frustration of not having enough products or knowing what products to use. But 12 years later the market has boomed and I just want to make sure I do my part to get the information out to the community.”

Miss Jessie’s Presents Coffee, Curls & Cupcakes (CCC).  Themed “Winter Chic,” the second installment of the healthy hair series takes place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, at Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club, 4245 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63115. Tickets are $5 each and vendor booths are available at $50 at www.coffeecurlscupcakes.com. To learn more about Miss Jessie’s and its

products visit www.missjessies.com.