Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Forgotten Ones

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Curly red hair

The subject I’m about to discuss is a sensitive subject for many naturals, mainly because the natural hair movement started out being for and about black women. It was our movement celebrating our unique hair because it wasn’t being celebrated by society or mainstream media. But as time went on, we began to hear from other women who didn’t quite look like us, but had something in common with us: Curly hair that those in their own culture deemed unruly, unprofessional and ugly. They also have a hard time taming and finding the right products for their curly hair. These are women who are of Irish, Jewish, or other nationalities with naturally curly hair.

The fact that these women felt that they didn’t have a voice or platform to discuss their hair issues, which ultimately led them to the natural hair movement of African American women where we discuss every hair issue under the sun, intrigued me. Who would have thought that white women with curly hair would have hair issues? Who could possibly call their hair ugly? Okay, I can see their hair possibly being hard to manage because of the long length and curls, but still! The younger me would have loved to have their hair! It wasn’t until I started to read different articles about their hair struggles and how far back the hair shaming and hate goes that I developed a better understanding and empathy for these women, or as I call them, the forgotten ones. I was also fortunate enough to have conversations with a workmate who began to relate to me her own personal struggles with being a redheaded, curly haired Irish woman. From dealing with bullying as a child, perverted stereotypes of redheaded women as an adult, and being constantly reminded that her naturally curly hair wasn’t acceptable during her twelve year career as a television news reporter. Aside from being a television reporter, those are all things that I know I, as a black woman can relate to.

Our conversations started because she follows my natural  blog and she would tell me how much she loves that I blog about my natural hair journey and how I’m constantly reaffirming that our natural hair is beautiful. Her hair is thick, long and naturally curly. Like African American hair, any amount of heat or humidity makes her hair big, curly and hard to maintain. When she became a reporter, it was put into her contract that she had to chemically straighten her naturally curly hair. Curly hair was not allowed on television. Imagine having to do this every three months and pay $300 each time – for 12 years! During the summer months it didn’t matter if her hair was chemically straightened or not, the heat and humidity would poof up her hair and it would curl up anyway – and she’d get reprimanded for it.  It wasn’t just her who got talked to, it was all female reporters with naturally curly hair who were constantly chastised and reminded that if their hair wasn’t bone straight, it was unacceptable and a violation of rules. Talk about a blow to your self-esteem!

Then there’s the myth that red hair is tied to witch craft and the devil. So being a redhead was like a curse. In certain parts of Europe, having red hair could get you killed. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one. But nothing much has changed because today, having red curly hair still makes you a walking target for ridicule and shunning. My heart went out to her as she related different stories to me about her hair struggles, and how self conscience it’s made her over the years. Finding a beautician who knew how to care for and maintain her curly mane was a nightmare in itself.

What I find to be particularly disturbing and frankly disgusting, is the lack of knowledge, awareness or education within the news industry when it comes to female reporters of different races, backgrounds and hair types. This lack of awareness exists because the powers that be don’t care. What matters to them is ratings and viewer opinion. The viewers want to see female reporters with bone straight hair, therefore that is what the news outlets provide. For black female reporters, this means wearing weaves, wigs, or having to chemically relax their hair in order to be in front of the camera. No Afros or curly hair. To the viewing public, textured or ethnic hair of any kind is unkempt and unprofessional. I’ll let you take a wild guess as to who mostly make up this viewer demographic. Yup, you guessed it, white viewers. Unfortunately, in 2017 we are still dealing with this kind of close-minded thinking, hair shaming, and discrimination.

I make it a point to tell my workmate that her naturally curly hair is beautiful. I love that it’s red. It makes her unique. I love her freckles. They add character and enhance her beauty. In my eyes she is beautiful. Period. Women and girls who have naturally curly hair, regardless of race, need to hear that their hair is beautiful. No one should grow up hearing that their hair is ugly or be teased and called demeaning names. As women, we should uplift one another every chance we get. So while the natural hair movement started out being about us, African American women, it needs to branch out to the women who are also discriminated against, ridiculed, and looked upon as less than because of how their hair grows out of their scalp. Telling a female that her natural hair is ugly isn’t just about her hair. Those hurtful words get internalized to the point that when she looks at herself in the mirror, she starts to view her entire being as ugly. This is where low self-esteem and self worth come into play, and it can stay with you well into  adulthood. These women and girls will no longer be “the forgotten ones” to me. I welcome and celebrate all natural redheads and/or curly haired females. We all should.

And please, don’t say that these women should start their own movement or why can’t we ever have our own stuff to ourselves. It’s not about that. African American hair is unique. It’s beautiful. Our hair is not appreciated for it’s natural beauty still in mainstream media or in general, but we’re also not the only ones with textured, curly hair or who have hair struggles. I’m glad to see bloggers like Curly Nikki embrace curly haired women of all ethnic backgrounds and provide them with helpful tips and suggestions. That kind of welcoming, helpful spirit is what leads to better understanding and communication among women of all backgrounds. Isn’t that what we need anyway?

I found this great article below that speaks about redhead bullying. Check it out and tell me what you think!

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ama-yawson/red-ginger-hair-rare-and-_b_6071202.html

 

Am I in the Twilight Zone?

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My tired is tired

For real. I’m so tired of coming across these weird crazies on these here interwebs! All I want to do is encourage and help my fellow 4c naturalista’s in their natural hair journey and receive the same in return. I thought joining some natural hair groups on Facebook would be a great way to bond, get great tips, and just talk hair. Share our experiences with the good, the bad, and the ugly of having natural hair. And then the crazies come out and want to tell you what you should and should not say, how to say it, how you should and shouldn’t feel, and tell you that your opinion is wrong or doesn’t matter because they are the hair guru and you’re either their disciple or you get kicked out and blocked from the group.

You can’t have healthy conversations or even disagree without being chastised like a child. But here’s the problem: I’m a grown woman. I have my own opinions, and they can be strong opinions at times. I reject anything that smells like censorship of my opinions or ideas, especially when I’m presenting them in a respectful manner. With that being said, I’m seriously thinking about starting my own 4c hair group (not really) to show people how groups should be: Fun, respectful, insightful, encouraging. I don’t even care if it’s just a handful of people who join it. As long as those few and I are supportive and encouraging to one another, that’s all that matters. I know it seems like I’m a glutton for punishment, but I refuse to believe that there isn’t a group out there that is a pleasure to be a part of that discusses everything 4c hair and the moderator isn’t some lunatic that wants to control it’s members! Sheesh…

Showing and Accepting Love

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Sisterhood

This past weekend my husband and I were grocery shopping. While shopping, I noticed a beautiful woman shopping with her elderly mom. She was a tall, plus sized woman with no makeup on and just naturally beautiful to me. She walked with a quiet confidence. It was very regal to me. To top things off, she was natural and was rocking this huge, amazing puff with big hoop earrings. I had made a mental note to compliment her before I left the store. Sadly, I never did. This isn’t like me. Normally I would have been on top of that, but I was distracted more than the usual because we were at a store that we weren’t quite familiar with, so I was more focused on finding what I needed.

We eventually left that store and went to another one across from it to pick up other items we needed. While walking down an aisle, the same woman and her mom were at the end of the aisle. As we got closer to them I heard her say “Wait mom, I need to talk to this beautiful sista.” I look up and she said “I just had to stop you. I saw you in the other store and I told my mom that I thought you were so beautiful. You are a beautiful queen.” My heart melted, y’all. I was so humbled and taken back by her kindness, and amazed that we both had intentions of complimenting each other! We’re complete strangers, yet we both saw beauty in the other. I interrupted her because I had to tell her that I had intended to pay her a compliment as well. I told her “I felt the same about you! You, queen, are also beautiful! And your puff is AH-MAZING!” She rolled her eyes like “Oh my goodness, are you kidding me?” And I said “Stop it. Yes it is. It’s beautiful and you are rocking it girl! Accept it!” We both laughed and she said “Okay, I’ll accept that. But I had to stop you. I think you are a beautiful queen.” Again my heart melted and I said “Come here, I’m a hugger and I need to hug you. Thank you so much for that” and gave her a big, strong hug. My day was made after that. I felt good, I felt uplifted.

I appreciated this strangers love, it was so genuine and heartfelt. We talk about uplifting each other all the time, complimenting each other and building each other up as women, but how often do we actually do this? I know approaching strangers doesn’t come easy for everyone, and I’m not telling anyone to walk around and hug random strangers, but don’t pass up on an opportunity to compliment someone. As humans we need that love. As women we need that love. As natural haired women, we need that love and sisterhood. Giving and receiving love lifts the spirits in a way that nothing else can.

P.S.

After the stranger and I parted ways, my husband says “I mean, you aw-ight looking…I don’t know about all that beautiful stuff she was talking about!” I punched him in the arm as he laughed. He knows he married a beautiful queen. 😉

I Picked THE HOTTEST Weekend…

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Its Hot

…To take down my micro braids!! Good lord it’s HOT!!!! The take down process ended up being a day and a half. The detangling, washing, deep conditioning and styling took another five hours. When I say I’m exhausted, please know that I mean it!!

My hair is in small – medium sized plaits that I will take down in the morning for a curly fro style. I’m not posting any pictures of it’s current state because 1) It’s too darn hot 2) I’m sweaty 3) Sweaty on me = not cute in my book 4) I’m too lazy to put on decent clothes to take a picture.

I did watch some videos and read some blogs about how to detangle hair after taking down braids, and one very helpful tip was to use conditioner. I applied a liberal amount to my hair with a little water, and slowly and gently detangled sections of my hair. It was very time consuming but worth it. Had I tried to comb through the product build up, dead hair and tangles,  I would have lost a lot of unnecessary hair. My hair feels soft, my plaits are bouncy and juicy, and my scalp feels very clean.

I had my micro braids in for three months and didn’t have a lot of product build up. The hair shedding I experienced was normal and I haven’t noticed any bald spots. 😉 My hair grew A LOT, especially in the back which is where it typically grows the fastest.  I gave my hair (the ends in particular) and scalp a lot of TLC this weekend and will continue to do so going forward. Scalp massages are the BEST!

The one thing I didn’t get a chance to do because I didn’t have any on hand was a protein treatment. I need to purchase some product ASAP. Otherwise, this was a long, hot weekend dealing with nothing but my hair. But, it was a labor of love. Show your hair some love and it’ll love you right back! 🙂