If you are a sista rocking natural hair in Detroit and have not heard of the Naturally Flyy Detroit movement, you have been living under a rock. The duo sister team of Espy “EttaFlyy” and Jennifer Thomas professionally know as Sister Flyy 17 are the fly founders of the natural hair group. The group turned meet-up turned epic natural hair experience that is now known as Naturally FLYY Detroit presents: WE ROCK DOPE HAIR! A Natural Hair Experience.
Both sisters are part owner with their parents of Sweet Potatoes Sensations Bakery on Detroit’s west side. When the business upgraded to a new facility across the street, the women began to explore how they could use the space for different types of programming.
“While my sister (Jennifer) was transitioning, she was in multiple natural hair pin boards and would attend natural hair meet-ups. But the closest one was in Pontiac, there was nothing local, so we decided to create a meet-up,” said Espy.
As with any new venture, there is apprehension on whether or not the idea or event will be well received and natural hair meet-ups are no different. “We set a date, but we were worried about who would show up. We thought only thirty people would show up. But then our friends encouraged us to put it on Facebook, and despite being nervous we took their advice and had about one hundred people attend, that’s when we realized we didn’t have enough room.” said Jennifer.
It was mom to the rescue. “Our mom suggested put people in the kitchen. We were shocked she would suggest putting people in her kitchen. Her response? “Black women have been getting their hair done in the kitchen forever, why not?” said Espy.
As the meet-up grew up, it also grew out of the family-owned bakery. “A lot of people suggested we move to Cobo Hall and honestly we really could accommodate the space. However, after a conversation with John George (owner of Artist Village), he insisted on us staying in the community, and we moved the location to Artist Village.” Jennifer said.
Although, George played a role in the event staying in the community that was not the only reason they ladies remained on the west side of Detroit. “There is a certain type of energy and flavor that we wanted to maintain and to show that everything that’s fresh and dope doesn’t happen downtown.” Said Espy.
Each year, the sister’s tagline the event, however, two years ago, while talking about how dope natural hair can be, Espy developed the slogan that would stick. “About two years ago, I said in a conversation, we rock dope hair, no matter what you got, whether you are bald or have locs down your back, you are rocking it!!!” and it’s an experience.” Said Espy.
What started, as a meet-up is now an annual experience of celebration and sisterhood where women reconnect with old friends and bond over transparency and the celebration of natural hair. “Women have said they love the event because it affirms you and the women affirm you and of course, it’s drama free.” Said Espy.
Naturally Flyy Detroit Presents WE ROCK DOPE HAIR! A Natural Hair Experience is Saturday, June 3rd between 1 pm and 8 pm at Artist Village (17405 Lasher Rd. Detroit).