You Beautiful Black Woman to host ‘fight night’ hair show

GVL / Courtesy -

GVL / Courtesy –

Jessica Harsevoort

You Beautiful Black Woman (YBBW) will put a spin on boxing when they place hair stylists in the ring to show off their talent at YBBW’s annual hair show. This free event will take place Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room.

Also called the “YBBW Fight Night,” this presentation will be similar to a runway show in which student volunteers will model various African-American styles of hair and clothing.

Aside from shedding light on African-American culture, the purpose of this event is to recognize the unique talents of people at Grand Valley State University. Stylists made up of GVSU students and alumni will come up with unique concepts based on the theme. They will then choose the hairstyles, costumes and music for their specific visual presentations.

“Each year, we have a theme for our show to give the stylists the opportunity to showcase their creativity,” said Nyia Slade, the vice president of YBBW. “This year, we chose boxing because it is a more competitive theme that will give the stylists the ability to go up against each other and have fun doing it.”

There will be four rounds to the hair show. Each round will have its own category to represent various textures, styles and color of hair that African-American women may wear, ranging from braids to curls.

By the end of the night, there will be an overall winner picked by a panel of judges. The crowd will also be able to vote for their favorite style in the final act of the evening: the knockout round.

“My favorite part of this event will be seeing the audience get excited about the different hairstyles and getting to see what the stylists bring to the stage,” said Zaria Reeder-Wesley, president of YBBW. “You never know how elaborate the hairstyles will be.” 

As part of the interactive event, there will be presentations correlating with the rounds while the models walk through the crowd to display their outfits and hairdos. Between demonstrations, there will be trivia questions about African-American culture, such as hair care, to interact with the audience.

“It’s very engaging and lively,” Reeder-Wesley said. “It is a relaxing environment where you get to have fun and cheer for the people you see on stage.”

Every year, the event grows in size. While the event typically has a large turnout, coordinators are anticipating even more attendees this semester with up to 400 people involved as both participants and viewers.

“Although we are a predominantly African-American organization, we are open to the public and are putting on this event for all of Grand Valley,” Slade said. “We are trying to put everything across the board and relate to everybody.”

While the mission of YBBW is to unite women across campus and to spread awareness of African-American woman, membership is open to all students in order to promote diversity. In addition, the cause for the annual hair show aligns with the values of YBBW to culturally enhance GVSU through meetings, events and community service. 

The YBBW organization has multiple chapters across Michigan with groups at Ferris State University, Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and more. The YBBW Beta Chapter at GVSU has up to 50 members.

“My favorite part has to be the bonding that we have in the organization,” Slade said. “It’s almost like a sisterhood. You get to meet and connect with various people based off of things you have in common.”

YBBW’s annual hair show is LIB 100- and 201-approved.