All Articles Tagged "black hair"

What Would You Do If A Stylist Refused To Do Your Hair Because She “Got A Bad Vibe” From You?

July 25th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Stylist Refused To Do Your Hair

Image Source: Shutterstock

Black people have a lot of thoughts, rituals and superstitions associated with our hair. Baby boys don’t get a hair cut until their first birthday. If you count the number of dread locks on your head it’s bad luck. When you comb your hair, remove it from the comb or brush so no one can take it and use it for voodoo. And chief among them is don’t let anyone with bad energy touch your hair. I have to admit, the one about bad energy is real talk, real spit. The transference of energy is real and your hair is too close to your brain and your mind to mess around. So once you observe a behavior that is less than savory, you might want to choose another beautician.

Rarely do we think about this principle the other way around. What if stylists don’t like the energy or attitude of a client? Is it appropriate for them to refuse service?

That’s what happened to a woman named Kacey when she attempted to get her hair braided by a woman who works in the DMV/Atlanta area, Nisa.

Stylist Refused To Do Your Hair

As you can see, Kacey said that she was on time for her appointment and was also polite and quiet. Obviously, we weren’t there and can’t say what actually happened between the two women. But the fact that no explanation beyond “got a bad vibe” was given is a bit unprofessional, right? In fact, Nisa wasn’t even going to speak to Kacey directly. She had her assistant send a text. Furthermore, I cannot understand why, if the stylist refused to provide a service, was Kacey charged a late fee.

According to Black Girl Long Hair, the stylist posted a video on her Instagram page saying that “she has the right to refuse service to anyone that she does not feel comfortable around. As an artist, she feeds off energy, especially when it does not have anything to do with her.”

She eventually deleted the video and replaced it with an image of text.

&& I will! | ALL money is not GOOD money!

A photo posted by Al’ (Nisa) (@nisaraye) on

In the comment section, you can see Nisa going back and forth with a few people who disagreed with her. When someone questioned her about charging Kacey a late fee, she asked the person if she had access to her bank account, alluding to the fact that she didn’t charge the woman at all.

I don’t know what to make of this story, mostly because we don’t the details beyond the fact that she ultimately didn’t do the woman’s hair. But I do know putting two braids in my hair and then telling me you’re not going to finish because of bad vibes is not a good enough reason. You’re going to have to give me something else. Did I not speak kindly to you? What was it about me that gave you bad vibes exactly?

I sincerely hope Kacey didn’t pay that late fee. Fee for what?!

What do you make of this story. What would you have done in this situation?

ORS Is Changing The Conversation About Black Hair With #NoStereotypes Campaign

July 17th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: ORS

Photo Credit: ORS

The conversation of African-American hair has been ongoing since the days of Madam C.J. Walker and beyond. But more than ever, with the enthusiastic #BlackGirlMagic movement inspiring young girls and women to embrace their power and beauty, many are building upon that notion.

Most recently, ORS Olive Oil launched a new campaign called #NoStereotypes, and it’s all things #BlackHairMagic. With the hopes of changing the conversation about black hair to one of positivity that doesn’t judge one due to texture, type, style, length, and color, the haircare brand used the tagline: “Beautiful hair comes in all types. Not stereotypes.”

This campaign “gives voice and emotion to many of the judgments we make about one another, and ultimately challenges us to rethink these hurtful actions,” said Shawn Tollerson, Chief Operating Officer for Namaste Laboratories, the makers of ORS. “It’s a call to embrace and respect our unique beauty, and the beauty of others.”

Watch the campaign below.


Sanaa Lathan Says “No Makeup. No Weaves” For Summer ’16

July 5th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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What are you doing without this summer? Well, if you catch me out and about in NYC on the weekends, you’ll see that I’ve decided to forgo makeup and full shirts (#teamcroptop). As for stars like Sanaa Lathan, she’s ditching not just makeup, but weaves, and we’re loving it.

The actress, who is currently working on the upcoming Fox show Shots Fired, took to her Instagram page to let her followers know that this summer is all about going au naturel for her.


A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

All that hair! Lathan continued to show it off on social media, stepping out with a friend with her curls (and cheekbones) popping:

Me and my road dawg @tamietran. Happy 4th! 💜

A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

In an interview with Hype Hair last year, Lathan said that while she loves “weaves and wigs and all of that,” she had been embracing her own hair more and more.

“I’ve been wearing my hair natural a lot lately. For me, it’s all about changing it up. In terms of my real life, I’ll put it in cornrows and put some conditioner in it and then take it out and it’s really big and wild. I’ve been loving that lately.”

In case you missed it the first time, Lathan revealed a very full head of hair in 2013 after taking out a weave:

Sanaa Lathan facebook pf

Source: Facebook

We’re glad to see the actress, as well as influential stars like Alicia Keys, stunning either way, embracing their strands and encouraging other women to show off their natural beauty as well. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing weaves and all the MAC your makeup bag can handle, but there is an issue when it seems that you rarely feel comfortable enough to step out without such accouterments.

Don’t Want To Cut Off Your Locs? Comb Them Out: 6 Things To Know Before You Do It

June 30th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you have locs, you’ve probably heard the all-too-familiar question: “So how long do you think you’re going to let them get before cutting them off?” After reaching down near your butt to signal when you will likely part ways with your locs, you probably start to wonder what life without them will be like. What styles are you going to wear again? More importantly, what will you look like with short hair if you’ve never really had a substantial haircut or big chop?

But the truth is, which I realized quite a few people didn’t know (via Instagram), is that cutting off your locs isn’t the only option available to you. It’s the easiest, of course, but if you’ve grown attached to that hair, there is a way to keep at least a large amount of it. Loc removal has grown in popularity over the years, but the truth is, it’s a tedious process. I realized this after watching my college roommate spend upwards of three weeks with her locs in a tub of deep conditioner, hacking away at them while covering what was loose and what was still matted with the biggest hat she could find to go to class. Still, the fro that was left behind after removing her locs was a pretty good size. Was it healthy? Not likely.

So after seeing people ask a wealth of questions on social media about loc removal, I reached out to gain some insight from Dr. Kari Williams, celebrity hairstylist, the creator of those goddess faux locs everyone from Meagan Good to Eva Marcille have been wearing lately, and the owner of Mahogany Hair Revolution, a natural hair salon in L.A. Here are a few things you need to be clear about before deciding to go the loc removal route.

Be prepared to do it on your own.

“It’s not really a service that is offered, Williams said. “There may be some salons, maybe specialty salons, that offer the service. But ultimately, locs are matted strands of hair that have been matting together, more times than not, for years.” With that being said, Williams noted that it’s an incredibly time-consuming process depending on how long your hair has been locking and how long your locs are.

“The reasons why salons I know of, because I know our salon doesn’t offer the service, just don’t offer it is because it can take up to a week to detangle the locs,” she said. “Again, this is matted hair we’re talking about.”

Don’t assume that your loose hair will be as long as your locked hair.

“Often times, people consider the option of combing out their locs because they’re under the impression that if they comb out the locs, their hair is going to be as long as the locs are,” Williams said. “And you know, unfortunately, in the Black community, we’re obsessed with length. So the reality is, people have to understand that locs are an accumulation–the reason they are able to get so long, is because it’s an accumulation of hair that has shed from the scalp.”

So, to be clear, she pointed out that when you comb out your locs, you will encounter a lot of hair that stayed in the loc shedding and breaking off because it’s no longer attached to the scalp. If you were hoping to drape with loose hair in the same way you had length with locs, think again.

“Combing out the locs, the length of your hair may be longer than you recalled. But, ultimately, to comb out the locs, the hair is not going to be as long as the locs.”

Be prepared for quite a few struggle strands.

Williams has had clients who’ve done loc removal on their own come in to get their hair done, and the results weren’t so pretty. Dry strands, frayed and frizzy, require a lot more work after loc removal.

“When you’re combing out the locs, the amount of friction, just from combing through that matted section, it pretty much wears and tears at the cuticle layer of the hair strand,” Williams said. “So the hair itself, after detangling this matted section, is not going to be in the greatest condition. It’s more than likely going to be extremely damaged. It’s going to require a lot of conditioning and more than likely, another cut. So again, you’re talking about cutting away length.”

She continued, “Yes, doing several conditioning treatments, a number of trims and maybe cuts, you’re able to get hair back together, but it’s really a process. It’s not like a magical, ‘Oh I combed out my locs. My hair is back in this awesome fro.’ It’s definitely a process that requires diligence and patience and like I said, a couple of conditioning treatments. You can’t completely repair that cuticle, but at least you can feel it and help it in a way where styling is easy.”

If retaining length really is that important to you, instead of loc removal, consider growing out your locs before cutting them.

As previously stated, a big reason people opt to comb out their locs is because they want to keep some of the length it took years to accrue. But there are ways to retain a good amount of it while still walking away with healthier strands.

“As you’re preparing to transition out of your locs, just allow the locs to grow out for a couple of months without retightening them,” Williams said. “Keep the hair clean, brush it back until you have a good amount of new growth–whatever you feel comfortable with. And then, just cut the loc at the point where the loc meets the loose hair. Then you’ll have length where you can transition into twists or braids or some other style that will allow you to continue to grow out your hair to a length that you feel comfortable. All that new growth is new hair, healthy hair in great condition, and you’re cutting away the matted locked hair.”

Be prepared to get some criticism for combing out your locs, but always do what works best for you.

Every now and then in forums about loc removal you will find someone criticizing people for going to such great lengths to retain their hair length. And while Williams isn’t crazy about people combing out their locs due to the lack of knowledge about the process and what comes after it, she isn’t here for the judgment.

“Everybody has a different face and head shape as well as dips, humps and bumps in their scalp. Short hair does not fit everyone,” she said. “It’s a matter of preference. I think we all have a right to how we prefer to wear our hair. Our hair is how we present ourselves in the world. If they don’t want to present themselves to the world with short hair, I don’t have a problem with that. But let’s talk about a plan on how you can retain some length and transition into a style you do feel comfortable with. At the end of the day, they have to feel comfortable and confident when they step out of the door. So for those passing judgment, they should hold the judgment. It’s our decision how we want to wear our hair. And it’s no one else’s business how I choose to wear my hair, or how someone else chooses to wear their hair. It’s just a matter of a process. What’s the healthiest way to transition out of locs back into loose hair if that’s what someone wants to do?”

At the end of the day, be realistic if you’re thinking about loc removal — and have good products on hand.

If you have already made up your mind that loc removal is the way you want to go instead of cutting your hair, Williams said it’s important to be prepared for the work, have the right products (for instance, the Ann Carol cleansing conditioner by Williams which “softens and helps to break down dirt and debris”) to help you do it and restore your hair, and to be realistic about what the outcome will be.

“I just want them to have the facts about the condition of the hair,” Williams said. “There are other ways they can transition out of the locs without the time-consuming, tedious process of spending up to a full week combing out their locs. And ultimately, I want them to see that they’re only able to retain half of the length of their locs and they then have to go through a month or two months of deep conditioning treatments to make sure the hair is healthy enough and just looks good.”

If you are ready for such a commitment, get to work…


Artist Shani Crowe Pays Homage To Cornrows In New Exhibit, BRAIDS

June 21st, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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For centuries, braids have been making women of color feel powerful. To highlight how braids continues to make Black girls feel magical as well as the history of the intricately expressive hairstyle, Artist Shani Crowe decided to document her relationship with braids at Brooklyn’s Museum Of Contemporary African Disporan Arts (MoCADA). Appropriately titled, BRAIDS, Crowe told Refinery 29 what inspired her to curate such an exhibit.

“As a child, I would get my hair braided every two weeks by one of my aunts or an older cousin. I picked up the skill from watching my relatives braid, and practicing on dolls. When I was around 11, and my aunts couldn’t execute the designs I wanted, I began braiding [on] my own. I was a walking advertisement for myself, and ended up attracting clientele,” Crowe said. “This project is an unapologetic assertion of my pride in my braid art, my culture, and my African ancestry.”

Refinery also asked Crowe for her thoughts on the Kardashians or other non-Black celebrities trying to make braids trendy. Revealing that she’s grown tired of this particular conversation, Crowe still dropped this gem on the matter: “I’ve learned that spending efforts to change someone’s opinion is often mute, as that person has to choose to change their minds or see new perspectives when they’re ready. The only person I control is me, and I choose to create and photograph beautiful braids to honor Black women and hopefully foster connectivity and Black unity.”

On MoCADA ‘s website, Crowe eloquently wrote: “BRAIDS is a series of photographic portraits celebrating the beauty and nuanced artistry of hair braiding. Influenced by an Afro-centric, non-linear time sense where past, present, and future are intertwined and concurrent, BRAIDS draws from a variety of eras. It is an amalgamation of inspiration from ancient artifacts, traditional African braid styles, popular culture, and Afro-futurism, filtered through my perspective. Each portrait can be appreciated at face value, but the imagery conjures a specific nostalgia for African American women who remember both having their hair braided and braiding someone else’s. The opportunity for deeper understanding among Black Women allows a paradigm shift, where a group seen as a double minority has an inherent advantage. By referencing an intergenerational collective memory, seated in the crest of the Black feminine experience, I create an instance of privilege.”

BRAIDS  will be featured at MoCADA until July 10.

Check out a sampling of Shani Crowe’s pieces below.

"I will show you, you're so much better than you know" -Sade #PSA #SUNTRUST #BRAIDS

A photo posted by Shani Crowe (@crowezilla) on

Can't get enough of "Shakere" @imanimoon #homieSisterBae #earthsforever #BRAIDSbySHANICROWE

A photo posted by Shani Crowe (@crowezilla) on

A photo posted by Shani Crowe (@crowezilla) on

Finally! A Video That Debunks All The Ridiculous Myths About Natural Hair

June 20th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: Successful Black Parenting Magazine

Photo Credit: Successful Black Parenting Magazine

Right about now, we all should be giving a round of applause to Janice Celeste, the founder/Editor-in-Chief of Successful Black Parenting Magazine. Just a few days ago, Celeste shared a video on  Huffington Post to “educate those on the other side — the non-black side” about the beautifully textured tresses that naturally grow from our scalp.

The animated video titled “13 Crazy Things White People Think About Black Hair”, harps on the many myths that non-blacks have about #teamnatural. In the past year, we’ve seen a heinous amount of natural hair shaming ranging from young girls being expelled from school and banned at work to being belittled at salons. “It’s insanity at its best,” Celeste explained.

One of the preconceived notions that made the list was “Black natural hair, like Afros and Afro-puffs are a distraction.” The video goes on to explain, “Well that’s a huge insult and is borderline bullying. That’s how my natural hair goes when put in ponytail holders or when combed. Saying it is a distraction is like saying my face is a distraction because it’s what I was born with. Asking me to process or relax my hair to make you feel comfortable is like asking me to get plastic surgery so you can look at me.” PREACH! 

Press play to watch the “13 Crazy Things White People Think About Black Hair,” and feel free to share it with a non-black person that doesn’t understand black natural hair.

Student Banned From Graduation Because Of His Beard, Gets His Own Ceremony

June 20th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Student Banned From Graduation Because Of His Beard, Gets His Own Ceremony

Photo Credit: WLTX 19 News

Last month, we wrote about Andrew Jones. The Amite High School senior was named valedictorian of his graduating class. And while the valedictorian is highly recognized at graduation ceremonies, usually delivering a speech to the entire student body and their families, Jones was denied that right. The Louisiana honors student was told, during the day of his graduation that unless he shaved his beard, he would not be able to participate.

According to The Advocate while Jones had someone clean up his goatee by trimming it, he refused to get rid of it entirely, even at the request of his parents. The school asked him to shave it because the beard violated district-wide policy that stated:

“Hairstyles and mustaches shall be clean, neatly groomed and shall not distract from the learning environment nor be a safety factor for any of the school’s curricular offerings. Beards will not be allowed. Any hairstyle that distracts from the unique environment of a school shall be dealt with by the principal or his/her designee of that school.”

While three other students arrived with beards and shaved so they could participate in the ceremony, Jones, who earned a 4.0 G.P.A., said he refused to comply with the request because the rule had not been enforced throughout the school year. The school took his gown from him. Jones and his family say they know of other students in the district who were able to participate in graduation ceremonies with beards.

Democratic state representative Katrina Jackson and Rev. Roosevelt Wright, in response to what they believe was unfair treatment, sponsored a graduation ceremony for Jones.

According to the Epoch Times, The ceremony was held at the African American Heritage Museum in Hammond, Louisiana on June 17. Students from Jones’ graduating class were set to attend.

Jones, who played on both the football and basketball teams and worked a part time job, was also awarded student of the year. This fall, Jones will attend Southern Louisiana University, where he earned both athletic and academic scholarships.

Jackson said that when she initially heard Jones’ story, she believed he should have just cut his beard off. But once she learned that he was allowed to participate in other school activities with facial hair, she thought the rule was being unfairly enforced on a very important day.

In a statement, Jackson and Wright said, “He was unfairly excluded from the most important day of his life. A beard should NEVER upstage academic excellence.”

Jackson continued,” It’s wrong to enforce that policy on a young man who had worked so hard to achieve his goals. Students are responsible for following rules, but we as adults are responsible for enforcing them. As adults, we can’t arbitrarily enforce rules. This was a rule that was never enforced until graduation.”

I happen to agree. Obviously administrators didn’t take the rule too seriously throughout the school year. Furthermore, this reads as yet another attack on our hair. The trend of shaving mustaches and beards is a very European one, while many Black men (and Black women) prefer facial hair. We all know that beards are all the rage these days.

But that’s another story. I’m happy that Jones got to have the ceremony he deserved. And with achievements like the ones he made in high school, I’m sure with the places he’ll go, all of this unnecessary drama will one day be a distant memory. Life is so much bigger than high school.

Press, Relaxers And Jheri Curls: T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh Talks Her Natural Hair Journey

June 13th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Talks Her Natural Hair Journey

Last week we published our exclusive interview with actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh where she talked about her acting career, diversity in the industry, why she retired for a while and her thoughts on Raven Symoné’s comments on “The View.” But when it got to the topic of her hair, Keymáh had a lot to say. So we decided to break up our conversation into two parts. Check out her hair journey below.

I know that you wrote a book about natural hair. And I don’t think I consciously recognized that as long as we’ve seen you on tv, you’ve been natural. How was it received back then and how is it received now?

I wrote a book about it for a reason. Laughs. Actually, for a few reasons. I decided to write the book early on. When I was still on “In Living Color.” And I didn’t actually write the book until some years later. I was on “Cosby” when I finished the book. There was a while when I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t really need to write this book anymore. People are starting to wear their hair natural.’ Because when I started there was no one. No Onnnnne. You might find a couple of people with locs, a couple of people with a short afro. But no one was styling natural hair so they did not know what to do.

I remember when I came on the set of “In Living Color,” and the hair person looked at me and she said ‘Look at all this hair. I love it!’ And then she reached for a hot iron. And I said, ‘No, no, no.’ And she said, ‘So…what…oh…um…” And I knew right then, I’m in trouble aren’t I? She didn’t know what to do with my hair and no one on the show did and no one that they knew did. And this was the show—In Living Color’s crew was phenomenal…everybody on that lot was at the top of their game and they didn’t know anybody. So I did it myself and they watched me.

They didn’t even try to do it after that.

The beauty of that show is that it allowed for that completely because we wore wigs on the show and so it didn’t matter what my real hair was doing because you didn’t see it until the end of the show. And I could do whatever I wanted at the end of the show. Had I begun working in television on a different kind of show, I don’t think that would have been acceptable because someone would have had to comb my hair all the time and no one knew how. I don’t know. Maybe it would have been ok…but maybe not.

So, at that time it was very frustrating that nobody knew how to comb my hair. And I thought, ‘I’m going to get them a book on how to comb my hair.’ And there was not one. There was not one book on natural hair in 1990. So I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I should come up with something so nobody else has to go through this.’

At the next job I had, which was “On Our Own,” they went and got somebody from the hood and brought her in to do my hair. They didn’t want me to have to do my own hair because it wasn’t just a minute at the end of the show. They looked and couldn’t find anybody in the industry and we ended up bringing somebody in, who eventually joined the union. And that happened time and again. And I’m very proud to say that I got people in who probably would have not. Because it’s not easy to join any union.

t'keyah 1Over the years, more and more people started wearing their hair naturally and now, it’s a revolution and not at all a thing.
But early on, I was told straight out by casting directors, ‘Oh, you’re so pretty, if you would just do something with your hair, I could hire you for this role.’ My hair just was not considered attractive. It was not considered acceptable and people didn’t want to deal with me with my hair naturally.

You can look at movies, even now, at who’s wearing their hair naturally and who’s not. And the kind of roles you get with natural hair and the kind of roles you get with straight hair. I was offered things that negative characters have natural hair, positive characters have straight hair. Downtrodden characters have natural, curly, kinky, nappy, coily hair and you get cleaned up and have straight hair. And that’s the fairy tale lie we’ve been sold and I hope never to buy into that. That would do a disservice to every girl of color, every girl of kink in the world.

I call it my David and Golith…I’m there with my slingshot and Golith has got that big ole hot comb.

It’s changed a lot but you don’t have to look far to see the meaning, in film and television, of natural hair vs. straight hair. The battle is not over yet.

So did you never have a relaxer?

Oh yeah! I grew up by the stove with every Black girl of my generation, hiding burnt ears on picture day and at funerals. And learning that I was unacceptable as I was, learning that I was  not attractive as I was, that I could not take a proper picture in my natural state. That something had to be done with me, to be pretty, acceptable. And so, I was in that group, absolutely.

As I got older and friends started getting perms, I didn’t understand it. I thought permanent meant you did this thing once and you couldn’t go back. And when I went away to college, right before I went away, the lady, Mrs. Lee, who lived on the corner of my block, gave me a perm. And I thought, ‘This will get me through college.’ And a month after I get to school, my new friends are telling me, ‘Girl, you need a touch up.’ ‘What’s a touch up?…Oh no, you mean someone other than grandmother or Mrs. Lee or my sister is going to have to do my hair?! Nhhmmm umm. Not going to happen. So I started cutting my hair and by the time I came home for Christmas, I had a short, curly fro because I was putting whatever in it, Pink or something. And I had cut out the perm by the time I came home for Christmas. Shocked everybody. But I liked that freedom. And that was my first foray into natural hair.

t'keyah 2Then, when I pledged a sorority, the pressure of looking “acceptable.” I said, ‘I better get a perm so these girls will like me.’ So I got my second perm. My hair wasn’t having it. I had this permed natural, the whole time I was on line.

But I kept that going. After school I came back and I started modeling. And because of one of my teachers and mentors, I started investing in wigs. And I got a wig that looked like what my hair looked like when it was straightened and curled. I would go back and forth between the wig and the real hair and straightening it and wearing it naturally. And I missed that freedom that I had when it was natural and I never got another perm again. I got touch ups but once I cut that out, I never did that again.

So, I was modeling and I got called for something called “Relaxed Look.” And I’m naive still, I’m thinking it’s something that looks like your hair’s relaxed even though it’s not. And they started talking about money and I’m spending that money in my mind. And they had only called for models with natural hair. So I’m thinking it’s a natural hair product. So cut to they love me, they want me… When they said, ‘And if it takes…’ my mind didn’t hold on to that. So by the time I’m sitting in the chair, getting this chemical slapped in my hair, I realize ‘Oh, I’ve got a curl!’ It was actually a wonderful campaign… and the commercials aired on “Soul Train” which made me really cool. But I didn’t like having a curl. And I never got even one touch up. And if you think that your hair will break out after a perm if you don’t get a touch up, get a curl.

Not long after that, I guess maybe the next year, I auditioned for “In Living Color.” So my hair was broken off so bad, I had it braided tight to my scalp. And I didn’t ever wear it out. And it was like that when we shot the pilot. It was nothing that I could do with it. And when I got home from shooting the pilot, I went straight to a barber shop and I said cut off everything. And I have worn my hair naturally since then. And that was in the summer of 1989.

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

So you were way ahead of the movement.

And you know what tickles me–I remember the day that I was watching “Soul Train” and Cicely Tyson came on that show with those braids. And I thought this has to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And I’m sure that that was somewhere in my brain, the whole time after that. And thank God for her! To show me what was possible in me.

The Book

When I was questioned whether or not to write the book, I started doing my research and I saw, ‘Oh there are a lot of other books on the market. I don’t need to do this book anymore.’ Then I look at my fan mail and it’s still people saying, ‘How do you do your hair like this?’ And I thought, ‘Well, people still want to hear from me about my hair.’

And most of the books [about natural hair that existed before mine] were informational and not attractive. And no offense but I noticed that none of them were beautiful. None of them said this is how beautiful Black women are. This is how beautiful natural hair is. And I discovered later why. It’s because beautiful books are very, very expensive. So most of the books, if they had pictures, they were smack in the middle or they were in black and white. You didn’t pick it up and ‘Wow.’ So I said, I’m going to make it beautiful as I possibly can, which meant full color photos for every style. I want them to have the Cicely Tyson reaction that I had.

And what surprised me– I thought the women that are thinking about wearing their hair naturally, the women who’ve just converted and they don’t quite know what to do next will buy this book. And they did. The book was very successful. (I’m working on the second edition.) But what surprised me was the single dads or weekend dads that wrote to me saying, ‘Thank you so much because so-and-so was looking tore up because I just didn’t know what to do.’

And the White moms saying ‘Thank you so much, I have such a better relationship with my daughter now that I know how to comb her hair.’

And I thought, ‘Wow, I did not see that coming.’

And the other thing that trips me out is when I see an older women with the natural hair and I want to go up to her and say, ‘Hey girl, you’ve probably been doing it a long time before I.’ And they say, ‘Oh, you were my inspiration.’I get a kick out of this wave of people who, thank goodness, have a no memory of natural hair being odd.

You can purchase Natural Woman / Natural Hair: A Hair Journey, here.

How To Protect Your Hair From Summer Sun Damage

June 9th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

One of the best things about summer is the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the sun. Rooftop pool parties, lunches on the patio, dancing around at festivals, and tropical vacations give us all a much-needed opportunity to soak up some rays.

When you are in the sun, it’s important to stay protected. And your hair needs just as much protection as your skin, or it could suffer from summer sun damage and end up dry and brittle.

But how do you know that you’re getting a little too much sun to the point that it could hurt your hair? The signs of sun damage are easy to spot — if you know what to look for. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve collected several surprising signs here. Plus, we’re presenting you with all the ways you can protect yourself while you’re enjoying the outdoors (without having to wear a hat).

“Winx Club” And When Cartoons Teach Our Children To Hate Their Hair

June 2nd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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"Winx Club" And When Cartoons Teach Our Children To Hate Their Hair

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One thing that always shocks, saddens and infuriates me are the ways in which people underestimate the intelligence and capabilities of young children. They’re brighter than we think and with each passing day, they gain more clarity about the world around them. And while it can be exciting, it’s simultaneously terrifying as these same children are picking up on the negative messages about our world as well.

We’re all familiar with the Kenneth and Mamie Clark Doll test. Their experiment has been referenced and even duplicated often to show the messages children, both White and Black, are internalizing about race and subsequently themselves. Those messages come from somewhere. Family, friends, school, teachers and even the media. So it’s imperative that young children, especially young children of color, view programming that affirms and uplifts their identities. It makes sense. And it would stand to reason that a children’s programming creators would not only recognize the importance of such a concept but seek to ensure that their programming reflects that choice.

Sadly, one cartoon dropped the ball on this front.

It happened during a scene from season 1, episode 12 of their show “Winx Club.” The show, the first Italian animated series to be sold in the United States, is about a teenager who discovers she has magical abilities and eventually enrolls in a school for fairies. At fairy school, the teenager and a group of girls form Winx. The show didn’t get picked up by Nickelodeon until season 3. So, while the offensive episode didn’t air in America, “Winx Club” is currently shown in over 130 countries. Children of different cultures and ethnicities all over the world saw this particular episode.

In it, the show’s lone Black character laments the fact that her hair, which is “usually straight” has puffed up into an Afro. She doesn’t call it an Afro though. She doesn’t have a name for the perfectly coiffed orb. Instead, she spends an entire minute wailing about the abomination that is her hair, that is the hair of so many Black girls and women across the world.

The implications of the scene cannot be overstated. With every sob, the message about the perceived ugliness and unacceptability of her now less than straight hair, her undeniably Black hair, is driven home into the impressionable minds of young children.

And the reactions of her friends to this hair is no better. At first, I thought they would try to encourage her to embrace this new texture. Instead, they poke and prod at it, cringing at the feel of it. Another group, the enemy of The Winx Club, a group of witches, sarcastically congratulate her on her new look, sending her running off down the hallway, still crying at her “misfortune.”

The scene has since been edited out of that particular episode but the fact that it ever passed inspection not only speaks volumes; it is extremely terrifying to think of the message children, especially the little Black girls who watched this cartoon, received from it.