'Walk the Walk' in Tower Grove Park Promotes Self-Love

click to enlarge A 2020 Walk the Walk attendee poses for a photo. - PHILLIP ELLINGTON OWENS
A 2020 Walk the Walk attendee poses for a photo.

A one-of-a-kind event — stuffed with double dutch, a 5k walk, live music and vendors — is coming to Tower Grove Park to boost self-love and self-care within the Black community.

“We are promoting the importance of mental, physical, and emotional well-being,” writes Leslie Hughes, an event organizer, in an email to the Riverfront Times. “We want guests to see and feel the value in that and hope they leave encouraged to either start or carry on a healthy lifestyle.”

The June 13 "Walk the Walk" will be hosted by Frizzy by Nature, a nonprofit founded by Hughes that promotes confidence among women, largely through Frizz Fest, an annual natural-beauty festival that attracted thousands of attendees in 2019, as well as Dear Fathers, a media platform telling the stories of Black fathers, according to a news release. The event, starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m., costs $25, and both in-person and virtual registration options are available through an Eventbrite page.

This year’s Walk the Walk follows an inaugural 2020 event which drew 200 registrants, according to the release. Registrants will be given a t-shirt and a knapsack.

“Last year’s event was such an amazing time and great turnout, we just want to continue that same positive energy and impact as many more people as possible,” Hughes says in the release.

This year, Hughes expects more vendors at Walk the Walk than last year. A fitness instructor will lead a warmup before the 12 p.m. walk, and attendees will be required to wear masks and socially distance whenever possible, Hughes writes.

She thinks partnering with Dear Fathers will help communicate the event’s themes of self-love and self-care to everyone, including men and children.

“We believe that partnering with Dear Fathers will encourage more men and families to come out and enjoy the event,” Hughes writes. “Both Dear Fathers and Frizzy By Nature both operate with the Black community in mind by creating positive outlets in various forms.”

click to enlarge Attendees in action at the 2020 Walk the Walk. - PHILLIP ELLINGTON OWENS
Attendees in action at the 2020 Walk the Walk.

Organizers created Walk the Walk last year after Frizz Fest, Frizzy by Nature’s signature event, was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release says.

Frizz Fest, which took place annually between 2017 and 2019, grew in attendance from 600 RSVPs its first year, to 4,300 in 2019, according to Frizzy by Nature' website. That event is expected to return this year as well, but Hughes writes that getting approval for a 2021 Frizz Fest from the City of St. Louis has been prolonged due to changes in COVID-19 restrictions.

“The need for change in 2020 is what really inspired the pivot from Frizz Fest to Walk the Walk,” Hughes says in the release. “We wanted to create an event where we as a people could come together for much needed self-love and self-care, and do so safely.”

Correction: Photos were misattributed in photo captions in the original version of this story. We regret the error.
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