The landscape continues to evolve in beauty and self-expression, yet few voices resonate as deeply as that of Taliah Waajid, a trailblazing natural hair stylist turned advocate whose journey is as inspiring as it is transformative. As the founder of her eponymous hair care line, TALIAH WAAJID, her impact reaches far beyond the confines of the salon, shaping the very essence of how Black women embrace and celebrate their natural hair.

Taliah’s story is one of perseverance in the face of adversity, a testament to the power of passion and purpose. Over two decades ago, she boldly decided to relocate from New York to Atlanta—a move that would test her resolve and resilience in ways she never imagined.

“What I had to do when I came to Atlanta was to connect with the cultural community; people that were into Black culture. And I had to connect with the small number of people that were already wearing their hair naturally, and initially, those were the people that supported the show. Eventually, after starting and growing the hair care brand, {TALIAH WAAJID} in Atlanta, I was able to get more and more people to come to the show. They got to see that there were not just rebels wanting to take everyone back to Africa, these were just regular people who just want you to know that you have a choice in how you wear your hair.”


Despite the obstacles that stood in her path, Taliah remained steadfast in her commitment to her craft and her community. She saw firsthand the transformative power of natural hair.

“To be able to show women the different options in styles are one big reason why I do this show. It’s not just an afro for Black Power or braids with beads…what you can expect to see is natural hair in every way in every form possible and even ways that you can’t even imagine. It is a place for creative expression of beauty. There are no constraints to what a person can create at The Natural Hair Show. You’ll see yourself there because it’s just a great combination of visuals that positively speak to where we are with natural hair and embracing your natural self,” Taliah explains, her words imbued with a sense of conviction. “It’s more than just hair, it’s loving who you are…”

Taliah’s journey took a pivotal turn with the release of the iconic film, Poetic Justice, directed by John Singleton, starring Janet Jackson wearing her hair in poetic justice braids—a style that captivated audiences and sparked a cultural phenomenon. Suddenly, again Black women were inspired to embrace braids.

“After Poetic Justice came our women wanted to wear braids so that was my way in. I was able to show clients that they could leave the chemicals alone long enough to see some tremendous strength and growth in your hair.” Taliah reflects, her eyes alight with the memory. 

Fueled by this newfound sense of empowerment, Taliah sought to create a platform where Black women could come together to celebrate and elevate their natural hair. Thus, the Natural Hair Show was born—a groundbreaking event that has become a cornerstone of the natural hair movement for over two decades.

“We started The Natural Hair Show over 20 years ago with about 100 people and about 12 vendors. I knew that we needed to do a show that showed natural hairstyles and educated women on the benefits of wearing natural styles and maintaining natural hair care,” Taliah shares, her pride evident in every word. “So, this was produced back at a time when no one was wearing natural hair. I had a very niche business, and I’d moved from New York to Atlanta, which was a completely different culture in Atlanta. Every time I would tell someone about wearing their hair naturally, they’d say, “Oh, it looks good on YOU, but I could NEVER EVER wear my hair like that. It’s a space where we can come together to share knowledge, inspire one another, and reaffirm our beauty and worth.”


As the Natural Hair Show prepares to mark its 20th anniversary this April, Taliah’s legacy as a pioneer of natural hair advocacy is more profound than ever. Through her unwavering dedication and passion, she has not only transformed how Black women see themselves but has paved the way for future generations to embrace their natural beauty with pride and confidence.

“I just knew that if more women saw the actual benefits of wearing their hair natural, they knew they had a choice in styles. Back when we started, 90% of my clients at the time were wearing relaxers. Once I was able to show them that their hair could grow if they left it alone, I knew that eventually, the industry would catch on to where we are with natural hair today,” Taliah muses, her gaze steady and resolute. “It’s what prompted me to do a show like The Natural Hair Show. I’d heard of the Bronner Bros Hair show and was so in awe of it, but it was the chemicals being used that I just could not get with.”

Indeed, Taliah Waajid’s journey is a testament to her steadfast belief that natural is the way to go. Through her innate advocacy and unwavering commitment, she has not only changed the conversation but has ignited a movement that celebrates the beauty and diversity of hair in all its glorious forms.


The 2024 World Natural Hair Show takes place April 25-28 at Atlanta’s GA International Convention Center.


Images provided by Taliah Waajid