CLINTON, Tenn. — On Sunday afternoon, Anderson County's Black community members strutted down the runway. The second-annual Afro-Centric Hair Show featured dozens of different hairstyles through the decades- and even showcased future styles for textured hair.
The show was a part of Green McAdoo Cultural Center's second-annual Juneteenth celebration. The center functions as a community meeting place and state museum that documents the story of the Clinton 12 in 1956. They were Black students who entered the all-white Clinton High School, making it the first desegregated public high school in the South. They recognize and feature Black history in Tennessee and throughout the county.
Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Confederate states received the news that the Civil War was over and they were free.
President Joe Biden signed this day into a federal holiday in 2021.
"Every time I think I look back on this day, I always think about how my ancestors were able to be free. I just think about myself and how glad I am to be able to be free and how I'm able to express myself," said Lanyah Lutsey.
Lutsey was one of about a dozen models in the hair show on Sunday. She wore green and red makeup to match her yellow, green and red braids.
"It has like the colors of its actually Rastafari colors, but it also represents the Pan-African and liberation colors as well," Lutsey said.
She said the show was a great way to express herself within the community.
"This is probably one of the neatest fashion shows or hair shows that I've ever participated in," Lutsey said. "It was very fun being in something that is all about people that look like me."
The organizer of the event, K.C. Colemon said that the expression of freedom was intentional. She hopes the show helps people see the culture and versatility of textured hair.
"It's about freedom. It was about freedom of expression, freedom of many different things," said Colemon.
The Douglas J. Aveda Institute in Downtown Knoxville decked each of the models out in their liberation looks.
"There are so many things that our ancestors represented for us that we want to represent today," Colemon said. "And we also want it to show what our future looks like an Afro-centric hair."
Some of the models even showcased their natural hairstyles. Alexis Alsup said she's been working on hers for over a year.
"These are my natural locks, I have been growing them for a year and some change," Alsup said.
The Aveda students wrapped red, green and yellow thread around her locks to make them pop in the show.
"To have the liberation colors in my locks is so meaningful," Alsup said.
In addition to the hair show, Green McAdoo hosted Liberation day bingo, a cake walk, food and jazz music for all guests.