All Articles Tagged "black hair"
Is the texture or style of your hair preventing you from being hired? Sounds like a pretty silly question, however it was precisely the topic at hand during a panel discussion entitled “Black Women, Their Hair & The Work Place – A Dialogue” at Georgia State University.
Approximately 100 women gathered last week to contemplate the idea that their skills, talent and intelligence could be overshadowed by a hairstyle. And more often than not, the concern is based on women of color sporting their natural hair.
Yes, the hair that grows naturally from the roots of our heads could be contributing to the growing unemployment rates. Baffling.
Read more on BlackVoices.com.
When Beijing resident Martha Makuena and husband Paul Luyeye realized that the Black hair market was severely under-served in China, they made history by deciding to fill in the gap and opening the Paulma Afro Hair Salon, reports BBC. Martha and her husband, who are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo opened the salon in an effort to offer proper hair care to Beijing’s Black residents, but quickly found that Chinese locals were booking appointments and enjoying the benefits of the salon as well.
“When we go to local salons, they can’t do our hair. Local people’s hair is oily, but our hair dry. We need products to put on our hair, but local salons don’t have them,” Martha revealed to China Daily.
“The idea came to us because my wife has a diploma in hair dressing. She also has a diploma in fashion design. She knows all of these things and the idea came: Why not set up something like this official in Beijing so that we can help the African and African descendents?” said Paul.
“Everyone is welcome to have an African style in their hair. You might be Caucasian or Chinese or Indonesian. If you like our style, you are welcome and we can do it,” he continued.
Martha revealed that she moved to China in 1998, just two years after her husband’s job transferred him there. All of her children were born in China. For her, a large part of doing business in China is knowing the language, which she speaks fluently.
“Doing business in China is just a matter that you understand each other, the most important thing is the language. You have to understand and once you understand the language, you can understand the person… They don’t look at me as African, they look at me as a person… doing business,” she said.
Paul also shared that establishing a business in China was a bit challenging as investors are eluctant about entrusting their money to foreign businesses.
“It was not that easy. It was as hard as every company in China, as a foreign company when you want to invest, you have to go through a long process…I know it wasn’t easy, but if it were easy, everyone would do it.”
The Paulma Afro Hair Salon currently employs three women who are all from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Check out Martha and Paul’s interview with BBC on the next page.
Did you miss natural hair blogger Curly Nikki’s live chat discussion earlier today? If you have questions about how to keep your hair moisturized, how to trim your own locks and skip the shop or how to find the right products for your texture, check out her response to some of these questions below. If you don’t see your hair questions represented below, be sure to check out CurlyNikki’s new book, ‘Better Than Good Hair.’
Kelly: What should you use on edges that are thinning?
CN: I would recommend massaging nightly with castor oil (which has anecdotal evidence of thickening edges)
Lisa: Have you used the Bantu leave in? I want to use products on dry hair so that I get a fuller longer effect…what products work best? Some products leave a residue dandruff look when I try to use them on my dry hair.
CN: No, unfortunately. I love doing dry twist and braid-outs on blown out hair too. The best results (but least moisturizing) are a lightweight mousse like TIGI Totally Baked. LOVE the results, but my hair doesn’t feel as moisturized as when I use a creamy leave-in. For definition and moisture, try Qhemet Moringa Tree or Cocoa Conditioning Ghee.
WhertheresawillDesiree: After suffering a bacterial infection in my scalp, I had it treated and now my hair is extremely thin in that area..what can I do to make it grow!! it’s been several months.
CN: Sorry to hear that, chica. I’d see a dermatologist first. And see if they recommend a topical treatment or multivitamin.
Rhoda: Kids and trimming their natural hair…I am anxious about trimming my daughter’s hair, but don’t trust any local salons. Suggestions…
CN: You can purchase some professional hair scissors (10-50 bucks at Walmart, Target or Sally’s Beauty) and twist her hair up into 8-20 two strand twists. You can snip the very ends of each twist off, so that your results are even. I do this with my own hair and it works great! However, in my opinion, nothing compares to a professional trim. I’d schedule one with a trusted stylist twice a year.
Melissa: Well, after going natural for about a year, I went back to a relaxer. My hair was so thick and course until I felt that nothing was working, and it stayed dry. For some reason I just couldn’t manage it. I want to go back natural though…so what can I use or do to get it beautiful, healthy, and manageable?
CN: I’d highly recommend developing a solid regimen, and incorporating frequent deep treatments with heat. Also, if you find your hair to be too much to work with every other day or even bi-weekly, you can utilize protective styles, with care (paying attention to your edges and keeping your ends moisturized).
Patricia: I have been wearing my hair natural for over a year. I still about every four months go to the salon, get it trimmed and straightened, but I now prefer the natural hair.
My question is, I completely understand that every hair day is different, and I DO know my hair type (When wet it’s probably close to a 2C and 3a. It can get a little overwhelming (and expensive) trying to find the perfect combination. Any suggestions/videos?
CN: Your hair is lovely (i can see your profile pic!) and I’m happy to hear you’re embracing your natural texture. You’re right in that it’s going to take tons of experimentation to find which product combo will work best for your texture. If I can make one recommendation, it would be looking into AG Fast Food + Recoil. It seems to be a popular product combo among curlies with hair similar to yours. I’ve tried it with success as well! It gives curl definition, moisture and shine with moderate hold. Good luck!
Nicole: I don’t color my hair. Does henna come in any other colors besides red? I’d like the benefits of henna without the color. My hair is a mixture of browns.
CN: Henna stains red and red alone. Any other mixes you see at the store (brown, blonde, etc.) contain other ingredients and I recommend to avoid them. Purchase body art quality henna from a reputable vendor (butters-n-bars) and mix it yourself. For more info on henna, check out this link–
If you want to try a similar plant, check out cassia (turns grays golden… but imparts a clear sheen to dark hair) check out this link
Maria: My hair is naturally curly, because of straightening it so much it won’t curl anymore, what can I do to get it to curl again.
CN: Sadly, if your hair is heat damaged (breakage OR loss of curl) there’s nothing you can do but trim away the damaged bits or grow it out (pretty much the same as transitioning). I experienced heat damage almost 10 years ago (white dot breakage), and I’d trim a little every month to prevent from a drastic chop. I kept my hair balanced (tons of moisture and soft protein treatments) and utilized protective styles to keep manipulation and friction low. I hope that helps. Sorry you’re going through this! Lots of us have been there. For tips on safer heat styling, check out this link-
Anndrea: What products can I use on my daughter so her hair is not so dry.
CN: I love Qhemet and CurlJunkie products on my daughter. They’re mostly natural and don’t cause her sensitive skin to break out. Qhemet is a highly moisturizing line and my daughter’s hair is DRY and the Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee keeps her hair moisturized for days.
The jokes never end when it comes to Black women and how serious we take our hair, but truth be told, we only go so hard because we’ve been taught to from a young age. As little girls you’d be hard pressed to see us without some type of accessory in our head — shout out to our mamas — and most of us just kept that trend going right up through middle school, junior high, high school, and even college. You can probably already name five things off the top of your head that you’ve worn in your hair at some point without even trying, and if you need help remembering the rest, check out this list of hair accessories every Black girl has rocked at some point.
We’ve all been there before. You head to a fabulous new salon to perk yourself up a bit, but wind up leaving feeling worse than you did when you walked into the place. While there may not be too much you can do to fix the current situation except grow your hair out or wait a few weeks to recolor, these tips will help you avoid any future hair scares and get the style you want the next time around.
Just like most of the world, I’d love an updated picture of Blue Ivy. But knowing how some folk on the internet act, I can completely understand why Jay and Bey haven’t released a picture of her since she was first born. After all, when that picture of she and Momma Bey shopping was leaked, trolls, instead of commenting on how cute she was; started talking about how her mother shouldn’t have procreated with Jay-Z because of his heavy cheeks. A part of me feels like when that picture leaked the Carters were like, “Oh, that’s how ya’ll wanna play it? We had some updated pictures for you; but since you’re sneaking shots, no more pics for another six months.” (Did you read that in your best BeyJay voice? Good.) And if they happened to stumble across some of those narsty comments about their child, we might not get any updates until she can wave to the cameras herself. What parent would knowingly subject their daughter to that mess, even if she is too young to understand it right now? While I definitely feel like the Carters are teasing folks with all of these faceless photos, I can also see how they’re trying to protect her as long as they can from the cruelties she will inevitably face. Life is going to be hard for her. I mean, there are already people claiming that we haven’t seen Blue’s face because she has some type of physical deformity. Stop it!
But that’s really not what I’m here to talk about right now. The latest baby Blue slander comes after the two pictures of Blue in the Bahamas were released. Out of frustration, and probably the jealousy that no one ever admits, people started going in on Blue’s “unkempt” hair. There were several women who were reprimanding Blue’s parents for “not combing” it. Umm let’s discuss. Doesn’t this sound shockingly familiar? Where have we heard this before? Wasn’t there another black girl whose hair was ridiculed all over the internet? Does the name Gabby Douglas ring a bell? What about Willow Smith? Black women love to regulate the hair choices of other black women. The practice used to just be reserved for the grown, but now the kids aren’t even exempt. Again, we’re talking about a child…a baby this time, who is on vacation celebrating her first birthday, not giving face in a Gerber commercial. As a future black woman, stressing about her hair and how to wear it, is something Blue Ivy will probably encounter in due time. But for now, as a one year old, frolicking in the Caribbean, she ain’t got no worries.
It’s really not essential that her hair be laid at this point in her life. I’ve seen plenty of black girls whose edges have been virtually rubbed out by the time they’re three because their mothers have overdone their hair. Pulling a baby’s fragile strands into tiny pony tails, held by tiny rubber bands and “ball-balls,” is not the way to promote hair growth, especially for black girls. It’s too much tension which leads to breakage. And then folks would be talking about the fact that Blue Ivy doesn’t have any edges. I don’t know if the new parents are taking all of this into consideration or if they’re just living their lives and ignoring the naysayers. Either way, it really doesn’t matter. How they choose to style or not style their daughter’s hair should be of little concern to us. And believe me, if her hair was laying just right, folks would be claiming they were doing too much. It really is a no-win situation.
Since this little celeb princess is in for a lifetime of ridicule, and I know not talking about her is completely out of the question for some, can we at least stop the shade until she’s old enough to turn around and defend herself against it?
I recently read an article that said women shouldn’t go natural because no one has time to wet their hair every day and moisturize every night. I nearly choked on my dinner. Do people do this? Realistically, are people out there tending to their strands at every waking moment and following “the rules” to a tee? I find that hard to believe. While we are all prone to stressing over the strict do’s and don’ts of proper hair care every now and then (guilty as charged!), I’ll let you in on a little secret: Sometimes, and perhaps I shouldn’t be telling you this, it’s OK to let some things fall by the wayside for a little bit. Besides, stressing about doing everything right all the time will only make your hair fall out anyway, right? Here are a few so-called hair rules you should feel free to break.
“Danielle, when did AJ start dressin’ like a hippie?”
My aunt asked my sister this question about me with a half-puzzled, half-disgusted look on her face a few months ago. I laughed when my sister told me. Thinking about it now, being able to laugh about it is remarkable.
Here’s the story: ‘Nappy,’ ‘pickaninny,’ ‘Buckwheat’ and ‘wild’ were the descriptors many of my family members met me with when I first decided to give hair straightening a rest in high school. So I went back to straight bangs and low buns to avoid any confrontation.
At 25, I cut my hair. I wanted the relaxed ends gone. I wanted my ‘fro back. Only this time I was scared out of my mind to reveal my ‘fro to my family. And I was met with the same downright mean, almost self-hating feedback from a family who – though God-fearing and most helpful – has always had SOMETHING negative to say about my unique ventures and style choices since I was small. So I tucked my hair away under wigs for the better part of three months, discontent with the short length of my hair and afraid of what they might say. But then, one family member got so incredibly disgusted with that and reamed me out for not wearing my own hair. I reached a boiling point. Internally, I was screaming, frustrated and confused. I craved acceptance from my own blood, the acceptance that an unknown passersby gave me in spades from time to time. I wanted my family to “get” me and I was tired of feeling like I had to adjust myself just to make them comfortable and keep them quiet. So, I took off the wigs and decided once and for all to walk in the glory of my ever-growing kinky curly hair. Eff what they thought. I needed to do what felt right for me. My kinks felt right and I wore them. A confidence I had never known started to sprout in me.
That confidence spilled over from my hair to my fashion choices. I had always dressed conservatively because it was safe. My family complimented the pencil skirts, kitten heels and starched shirts. That was acceptable. That was ‘right.’ Imagine their surprise when along with the ‘wild’ red frohawk, I began sporting gladiator sandals, cut off shirts and long flowy bohemian maxis? I was owning my style, my choices, my ideas. One decision to wear my hair how I wanted to, for MY own reasons, snowballed into my entire life changing. I was figuring out what felt right FOR ME. I wasn’t just agreeing with everyone else’s opinions for fear of being hounded for thinking outside my family’s box. I was proudly spinning their rough sneers into the fine silk of self-acceptance. And it felt darn good.
At first, I didn’t realize that I had stopped allowing myself to be a victim of my family’s criticism and had actually started embracing it. All I knew was that my life was passing me by as I conformed to someone else’s ideas instead of finding my own. I was in my mid-twenties and had no idea what my personal style was. Imagine that. Living life as a reflection of everyone else, always being too afraid or feeling guilty for wanting to look into the mirror and see just exactly who is staring back.
Once I got a good glimpse though, I made it my business to honor that girl staring back at me. Whatever choices I made from that moment on were guided by my God-given intuition and individuality. Sure I would take sage advice from those around me, but to be completely ruled by their opinions to the point that I lost myself? Never again. I had to really get it into my system that not everyone (least of all family, sometimes) is going to agree with the decisions I make. My preferences won’t rub everyone the right way all the time, but that’s all right. God created us to be individuals, not mindless clones of one of another.
So, a nappy headed hippie, you say? ‘Nappy headed’? Okay! It looks good on me so I’ll be that! Hippie? Well, all right! A lost concertgoer from Woodstock anyone? I’ll take that too, because life is too short to be boxed into a life stitched together by everyone else’s thoughts, insecurities, fears and standards. At some point, by breaking free and embracing the suck regardless of how anyone tries to spin it, I know who I am now and I’m comfortable in my own skin, my own ‘fro and my own style.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Check out her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
While most folks will be ending the year, reminiscing about the most important stories of the year, I want to draw attention – again- to what I believe is, hands down, the dumbest “major” news story to come out of 2012: The stir-up over Gabby Douglas’ hair.
Seriously, the girl flipped, straddled and somersaulted her way to individual Olympic gold, becoming the first Black woman to do so in history, yet for months the nation, particularly Black America, was gripped by the “harrowing” tale of 16 year old Douglas’ ponytail and rough edges. If you were like me, you didn’t care one way or the other about her hair or whoever had something to say about it. However, after the umpteenth time seeing it in your newsfeed, or having it show up in your inbox or being asked about in in casual conversation while at lunch, you were forced to have an opinion.
No less than five people asked me my thoughts on the Douglas “hair controversy,” including my 82-year old grandmother, who said she heard about the story while watching one of her entertainment gossip shows. She thought that “they” should leave that girl alone. Who the “they” was, she didn’t know. And fact, nobody really knew. But eventually major news sites grabbed the baton from gossip blogs and began publishing various articles and columns, not only lambasting these nameless hair detractors but also tie this hair “controversy” into a much bigger conversation on black women and natural hair. Even Douglas, who was still in the midst of competing at the Olympics, was forced to break focus and address these nameless hair detractors.
Likewise, there was a lot of self righteous hair-dignation in the Black blogosphere and Twitterverse. Memes and long diatribes via Facebook, expressing opinions from both sides of the “controversy” did little but to fuel what was an already simmering beef between #teamNatural and #teamWeaveandPerm. At one point my Facebook news feed began to look like Madame Re-Re’s Beauty Salon from Spike Lee’s School Daze. And after a while, the Douglas name stopped being spoken about in reference to this newly christened moment in black history but instead, she became the poster child for some very complex themes, which at times felt a lot more deeper-rooted than a discussion about hair.
According to this story from earlier this year in Ebony, “The story can be traced back to one blog post, quoting all three disparaging comments, that Jezebel slapped a few more tweets on as proof of a trend. Everyone from NPR and LA Times has since weighed in, all seemingly basing their analysis on the Jezebel piece and a small sampling of tweets. Outlets have specifically searched for negative tweets about Gabby, probably ignoring more celebratory tweets. We should question whether the coverage reflects an actual trend, or confirmation bias creating a news story out of a few isolated fools being mean on the internet. It’s possible that the real viral story is the original piece and the media furor it’s spawned. “
I agree that media outlets played a major role in why this story had legs. However there is also something to be said about why a story that amounted to pure “gossip” on Twitter had resonated so much, with so many people, to the point of going viral for months? Does our public discourse on Gabby’s hair change the fact that she is a gold winning gymnast? Of course, we all know that Gabby didn’t need our praise or accolades to win the medal. Heck, most folks had no idea who she was until after she won the gold. But it is just a shame that her name and her history making Olympic win now has an *asterisk next to it. And probably for the rest of her life, she will always have to answer questions about her hair.
Are you growing tired of the debate over natural hair versus chemically-treated tresses? Well, Andrea Pippins, a Baltimore-based graphic designer, is so frustrated by the ongoing question of whether women should go natural that she created a four-poster series of prints entitled “Crowns of Color” that not only celebrate natural hair, but all African-American hair choices.
It is all an effort to get black women to celebrate their hair whichever way they want to wear it. “With all due respect, I am personally tired of the natural hair conversation in regards to one having to defend the choice to go natural, encouraging someone to go natural, or speaking to it from a place of political debate,” said Pippins in an interview with Colorlines Magazine [via Clutch Magazine]. “For me, the conversation has totally shifted. Although my work has always been about embracing natural hair it initially came from a place of, ‘You should do it, too.’ I don’t feel that way anymore.”
According to Pippins, hair should be to each her own. “I think women should be able to do what they want as they wish and that they express their beauty in a way that speaks to them. So now I really want to highlight and focus on how beautifully diverse, stylish, innovative and fun our hair really is. I will add though that the re-emergence of natural hair has elevated hair innovation and style to a whole other fabulous level,” she told Colorlines.
In the colorful posters Pippins created, she takes a lighthearted look at the hair debate. They series feature women with various hair styles– relaxed to natural.
What do you think of the posters?