Ode to Culture: Loc Service and Conversation Circle is a BIPOC-centered living room-style pop-up exhibition fundraiser and community documentary that explores the essence of exchanging care, understanding, support, service, and equitably. This project carries the essence of our elder's living room of tall tales and wisdom. Ode to Culture is family talk and storytelling through the lens art, hair, and culture that offers professional loc and twist services, showcases local arts who focus on identity, has a hair product donation and a Day of Service Distribution Drive that brings it all together.
Ode to Culture Loc Service and Conversation Circles is an opportunity to give back to our people while building long-lasting legacies and practicing new ways to keep resources circulating within communities of color. During our circles, we will collectively and intimately discuss themes of hair culture, identity, divine connection, storytelling, gender roles, respectability, work culture, beauty standards, representation, history, joy, creativity, ancestors, intergenerational perspective, loc exploration, and spiritual practice.
This 6-month traveling exhibition manifests through gathering together, documenting our stories, and serving one another. Through the interconnections of hair, we are collectively building a safe liberated living room space for cultural celebration, affirmation, likeness, and difference that honors our journey(s) as we evolve throughout generations and time. Through sharing our personal and shared stories, together we dive into this conversation and collective experience that is sacred, historical, unified, authentic, painful, and deeply ancient beyond the countries and communities within the diaspora.
Ode to Culture is an empowering experience for us to be ourselves, share our stories, learn with others, develop new connections, and feel supported in starting, continuing, or denouncing our loc journey. This project provides a space to be immersed in community love that directly gives back to ourselves and our community in the best ways that we can.
-Loc or Twist Out Service
-Snacks & Food
-Maintenance Tips & Knowledge
-Small gift from a BIPOC owned business
-Take Home Scarf or Durag
-Culturally Themed Hair Photoshoot
Circle Participation Cost:
TBA per person for the entire experience and hair service
*Comes with one free ticket to Friday's exhibition opening.
TBA per person for the entire experience, without hair service.
Kids: TBA for loc service and experience
*Kids under 10- Free
*Kids ages 10-18 -
The Circle Participation cost funds ALL BIPOC artists and stylists on this project.
This supports with providing FREE loc and twist services for those with financial constraints.
The Participation Cost includes funding hygiene products (towels, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, undergarments, water, etc..) for individuals and families in the locally, regionally and internationally.
By participating in Ode to Culture Conversation Circles, you are receiving professional services during the experience, but you are also donating to your community, paying BIPOC creators in your community, connecting with new people, and helping to keep resources circulating within your community.
Tickets will be available when circles are announced in city or community area. Circles will be announced on Instagram.
Circles will begin Spring/Early Summer of 2023.
Circles will begin in Spring/Early Summer. The project will be held in different communities for a weekend space over a 6-month duration. Circles are interchangeable and center on adults, youth, and intergenerational gatherings. Circles can be held in any space that is affirming to BIPOC communities – their needs and expressions.
Friday- Living Room Styled Exhibition: Opening night:
Community can view the exhibition that features local artists whose work centers on hair, culture, identity and connection. This will include visual artists, performers, hair stylists and a live open mic. Their work will be displayed throughout the space and for purchase.
Saturday- Loc Service and Conversation Circle
Sunflower Drum Welcoming Ceremony, Starter Loc, Retwist, Loc Cutting Service, Discussion, culturally based Photoshoot. General Participation costs supports all artists and stylists on project as well as funds hygiene products for shelter-less communities of color.
SUNDAY - Day of Service: Community Distribution Day
We will gather as a group and travel to different locations in the community to distribute out sandwiches and hygiene products (made into kits) to street involved individuals and families.
The 6-month project will end with an all-day Donation Drive & Community JOY Market where the project documentary will be on view. The Community Market will also include vendors, professional development services, need based workshops, community activities, live music, food trucks, and community-made murals and installations. That day will involve --- a rising voluntary community service food distribution and a day/night community celebration that supports local businesses, highlights the celebration of our community and provides workshops that cater towards creativity and practice (how to braid hair, kids hair maintenance, hair tips and styles). Location TBD.
This project is centers Queer, Hetero, GNC, Trans & Cishet Queens, Kings and Queerdoms of color and welcomes mindful allies.
This is a moving project that travels within California and the U.S.
We're coming to a location near you.
From Curator & Organizer Janae' "Jaee" Sumter
Like in many cultures throughout the diaspora, historically and communally, getting your hair down is an act of storytelling between generations.
As a person from New Orleans, locs or what we call them in Nola, “dreads” was a norm in our upbringing. Growing up, everyone in my wards/hood(s) had locs, afros, perms, braids, or weaves and it was not a taboo like you would find in some communities. I grew up lovin’ and challenging that aspect of myself and my community. It was black and it was us. I didn’t grow up in an economically advantage community, so we knew how to support and uplift each other through service, creativity and exchange with one another. From weekly food pantries at the church to yard sales, swap meets, parties, free crawfish boils, and local community businesses, it was normal.
I still remember my childhood memories when my grandma would bring me to one of the neighborhood hair braiders to get my hair braided. I always left being fed with good food, conversations, warm hugs, and some cute braids. Goodness was a normal human act like good ole southern hospitality. It wasn’t a second thought because we all got a story.
This act of sacred giving to ourselves and each other is as communal, honest, and traditional as an “I see you” moment of recognition. As I began to move into different cities and countries with their community cultural understanding, I quickly learned the differences and similarities. This included views, language, perception of hair, and ideas of separation as well as togetherness. This balance between cultural understanding and radical self-exploration.
In 2019, I started my loc journey, two weeks after the passing of my grandfather, now an ancestor who died from COVID when I was living in China. I began to remember those sweet and bittersweet memories and I began to miss the sacredness of exchange. I woke up one rising, started my two-strand method, and never looked back. At that moment, my ancestors guided me back to the vitality of why every one of our stories is worthy, healing, and our own. In that, I remembered that community service is the key to liberation and understanding.
We all have our own hair story that does or does not define us. We've all cut our hair at one time or another, dyed it, and rocked it in a big or small fro. We've all had braids and hot comb burns that gave us that quick jerk and slick side-eye. We've all had braids and cried when it was too tight. We've had faux locs and protective styles that we covered up with a turban on a “not so hot” hair day. We’ve also been called slurs for how we choose to be liberated in and by our hair. We’ve all had to hide aspects of ourselves and we’ve all had to find ways back to being ourselves.
Our hair is a part of our story. It is a powerful, abundant living entity with its way of expressing love to us through community, storytelling, likeness, and difference. This project honors every part of our story and who we are as individuals and as a community who supports each other, even though difference.
LOC Service donations will provide services for folks confined by financial resources. Donations can be monetary or in other accessible ways that will cover those in need with an opportunity to experience the circle and receive FREE services.
Barrettes for kids
Kids Hair products
Food (canned and pantry goods)
New or lightly worn unwanted clothes
Item-based donations are physical items that will provide folks in need with products to take home and for volunteers to pass out to the community on our Community Volunteer Day, which will be day after circle.
Monetary donations support providing hygiene products (towels, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, water, etc.. to shelter-less individuals and families in high-need areas in the U.S. and internationally.
Project Videographer & Co-Social Media Coordinator
Sweet Herbal Honey Apothecary is looking for one BIPOC Project Videographer & Co-Social Media Coordinator who is an intentional person.
Someone who is a highly creative, honest, visionary, team player, professional, leader, dependable, creatively solution-based, organized, accountable, empathic, free-flowing, community-hearted, and great with social media.
We are looking for someone who connects directly with this project and has their own story that they would love to tell through the lens and possibly in front of the screen.
Yes, this is a traveling-based paid opportunity, but the community and their stories are the focus. We are looking for someone who keeps the community in mind and heart.
With traveling to different spaces, you will be traveling with Jaee and they are looking for a teammate who is not only fire with the lens but powerful at capturing stories in their rawest, honest, caring, and divine form.
This is NOT a Full-Time position; this is a Freelance project-based paid gig that is need-based.
You will be working closely with Jaee throughout the entire project, so we are looking for someone committed and open to how things may potentially change throughout the project.
You will be documenting each circle and interacting with the community.
You will be editing or co-editing the documentary and supporting it with vision execution (please note that this is teamwork and you are not working FOR us; your ideas are welcome and can be integrated into the overall project.
You will also be co-supporting Jaee for promotion, marketing, content design, and publicity.
We will work collaboratively in promoting the project through social media, video clips, and newsletters on both business platforms as well as the visual vision of the documentary that best supports you, the community message, and the overall project.
You will be traveling to different cities within the California area and in the U.S.
This is also an opportunity to build your artist portfolio, make connections and expand your skills.
-People person & Compassionate
-Photography skills in portraiture
-Canva and/or Adobe skills
- BASED IN CALIFORNIA
What should be included in the email:
1. Basic information & Background (name, number, location, your creative work)
2. Purpose: How does this project align with you, your story, and what you care about?
3. Background & Portfolio or Link to Website
4. A small paragraph about yourself as a person
5. What and/or who are your inspirations?
Step 2: Interview: A casual professional virtual interview with Jaee.
We are looking for someone who is themselves, so be yourself!
After the full process, we will email and announce the artist who is most aligned with the overall project.
Applications are closed.
Project Locticians & Hairstylists
Sweet Herbal Honey Apothecary is looking for BIPOC Experienced Locticians and Hair Stylists who are intentional, highly creative, technical, patient, encouraging, personable, team players, beat with your hands, professional, open-minded, organized, accountable, and empathic.
You will be supporting the project through styling during the sessions and promoting the project and circle in your city, community, and in general.
Circles will be 5-6 hours with breaks.
This is not only a paid opportunity but also an opportunity for you to continue building your styling portfolio (social media and/or physical documents of your styles during the exhibition).
You will be supporting people -- youth, adults, and all genders with starting their loc journey. All loc methods are welcome as this gives the chance for participants to choose what feels best for them. This is a traveling exhibition. This means Jaee and the selected Videographer will be traveling to your community, and you will join the team as guest stylists to work with your community in providing these services and overall care during the experience.
- There will be no more than 8 stylists per circle chosen to style during the experience within that city the circle will be held for that duration of the period. Stylists and their businesses will be highlighted and interviewed for the documentary and added to Sweet Herbal Honey's Digital Community Archive to support stylists with receiving future paid opportunities.
Yes, this is a paid gig, but the community and their stories are the focus. We are looking for folks who keep community care in mind, and heart. and their hands.
Please stay on the lookout! We will post cities and stylist calls on our Instagram.
We welcome all POC Individuals to apply to join the team. All genders, expressions, sexual orientations, disabilities, identities, spiritual/religious beliefs are welcome. Our team and participating circles are inclusive, non-judgement, honest, respectful and open minded.
Besides that, be you -- we welcome who you are.
Payments to all artists and stylists on the project will be distributed within 2-4 business days) after each circle and split evenly and fairly.
We ask that 10-20% of your earnings go towards Sweet Herbal Honey Apothecary LLC to support organization fees, funding to hire artists, and donating to a community-focused cause in your neighborhood that the circle team collectively agrees to.
- General or specific questions about the project:
- To contribute to the project in other forms
Please email the curator - organizer, Jaee Sumter
To host a circle in your community,
Please email us