Tag Archives: Women

When The Creamy Crack Lures You Back

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Straight and curly hair

Hair is such a personal and emotional thing for women. We can wake up one morning and decide to cut it all off, dye it, wear a wig, get a sew in, or have it braided. It’s no different when it comes to having natural hair or having it chemically straightened with relaxers.

When I first started on my natural hair journey, I was like a sponge. I reached out to fellow naturalista’s and asked questions about their journey, what natural products did they use on their hair, etc. I was so excited and eager! Then I talked to those who were once natural but went back to the creamy crack, and it broke my heart. I couldn’t understand how that could happen because being natural is healthier, it’s liberating, it’s part of our culture. It’s the best thing ever…right? Well, that’s how I felt, and still feel. Fast forward a few years and I’ve come to realize, and respect, that not everyone falls in love with their natural hair. Natural hair is truly a struggle for some women.

For some, natural hair isn’t convenient because of the time it takes to care for and style it. It can also be expensive because of the plethora of products available in stores and on line for you to try, which can easily turn you into a product junkie. Others get disappointed when they can’t achieve the curly hair that they see promoted in advertising. I’ve also heard many times “My hair doesn’t act right natural.” There can be so many reasons why their hair doesn’t act right such as not having a healthy diet, not having a consistent hair care routine, or using products containing harsh chemicals. Maybe they aren’t keeping their hair properly moisturized. Whatever the reason, it’s making some women give up on their natural hair and go back to the creamy crack.

Hair relaxers were coined ‘creamy crack’ for a reason. It’s lure is powerful, and all it takes is one experience to become addicted. It offers convenience and versatility. You can apply it yourself or go to the beauty shop. It’s readily available, and it’s cheap – just like crack cocaine. The “high” that creamy crack offers lasts 3 – 4 weeks, sometimes longer depending on how you feel about having nappy roots (aka new growth). As with most drugs, the side effects of hair relaxers are awful: Scalp burns that often cause hair loss or permanent hair loss, breakage, and exposure to chemicals and toxins that get absorbed through our scalp and into our bodies that can cause a myriad of health issues. Despite the many cons of using hair relaxers, it’s still addictive and you come to depend on it, just like crack cocaine. I have firsthand knowledge since I was a hair relaxer addict for over 24 years.

In the end, I can understand why some do go back to the creamy crack. I have several friends who have big chopped many times, gone back to the creamy crack several times, all for various reasons. At the end of the day, we all have to do what is best for ourselves. But, knowing what I know now about chemical relaxers, and having watched Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair, there’s no way I’ll go back to creamy crack. We’ve broken up for good.

 

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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. ūüėČ

Love in the 4C Hair Natural Community

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loving-natural-hair

~ Loving Your Hair With Natural Care ~

This is my first post of 2017! Hey now!

I stumbled upon a Facebook group called Type 4 Natural Hair. In this group, there is nothing but love and support for those of us with this hair type. Women from all over the world post pictures, seek advice, encouragement, and share tips. It’s such a supportive group and I couldn’t be happier that I found it and am now a member of its community.

Everyone¬†in this group is¬†in different stages of their natural hair journey, and it’s beautiful to read all the different experiences¬†or some of the same frustrations that I once had when I first started. Women and men of all ages are in this group seeking advice and encouragement for themselves or their kids or grandkids. There’s no negativity allowed, no hair shaming or hair type shaming, and that is huge to me. This Facebook group is exactly what any kinky haired, tightly coiled, natural haired person with questions, concerns, or insights to share should want to be a part of. Check out Type 4 Natural Hair¬†and request to become a member. You’ll love it.

 

Love of Self + Culture = Love of Natural Hair

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Angela Davis Art

For¬†the past few months I’ve been reading and hearing disturbing accounts of black¬†women being shamed or¬†made to feel ugly because of the darkness of their skin, the kinkiness of their hair, the fullness of their lips or noses, or the curviness¬†and voluptuousness of their bodies. This isn’t just happening in America, it’s happening in Brazil, Cuba, Africa, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic – any place where there are darker hued people. To me, it’s a reminder of how deeply rooted racism, colorism, and self hate really is. In Louisiana for an example, it is a fact of life that those deemed Creole,¬†who are basically light skinned (might as well throw in “with good hair”) do not associate with those who are darker skinned. They won’t even allow a darker skinned person in a photo with them, let alone stand up in their wedding! In 2016 this is still happening, and it blows my mind.

In Brazil, there’s a young woman named Nayara Justino who is a model and actress. She¬†made history by being the first dark skinned woman named Carnival Queen. Sadly, she was¬†stripped of her title because of the racist outrage over her dark skin. The people wanted the tradition to continue of only¬†crowning a¬†lighter skinned Brazilian woman. This poor woman was called every racist name in the book on social media, and the judges cowardly caved into the¬†public outcry and stripped her of her crown and giving¬†Nayara no reason for doing so. Much later they denied taking her crown because of the color of her skin,¬†even though everyone knows that’s exactly the reason why. Let’s be real –¬†if the public never had a problem with her being Carnival Queen, she’d still have her crown, right? Right.

I hate hearing and reading about these things, but I’m glad for social media because without it we’d never hear about these things happening. Mainstream media never report about these types of things because they want you to believe that¬†the world isn’t as racist as it is. Well you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that racism in America and in other countries is alive and well. It’s this narrow-minded thinking¬†that¬†keeps black women and¬†women of color¬†from loving everything about themselves. This is why it’s so hard for women to even attempt to love their natural¬† kinky,¬†coily¬†hair¬†because all they hear and see on tv and in print ads is that straight, long hair is the only hair that is beautiful, and it’s the only hair you should want.¬†Curls and kinks are ugly, unkempt looking,¬†and wild. Just writing this makes me cringe at how ridiculous this thinking is, but it’s out there and the roots run deep in the minds of many black women and black men.

Recently I watched the documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution on PBS. During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a call for black pride because of the hideous racism and persecution taking place¬†against blacks at the hands¬†of white people. Loving ourselves, our culture,¬†skin color,¬†and¬†natural hair were just some of things that were¬†encouraged by the Black Panther Party. Seeing all of those beautiful, natural afros of various sizes, textures, and colors in this documentary made me smile. It made me swell with pride because all of these people looked like me, they had hair like me and they wore it proudly. After the demise of¬†The Black Panther Party, that pride¬†in our natural hair¬† practically¬†disappeared as chemical relaxers and Jheri Curls took over. Fast forward to today and you have¬†black women¬†once again saying no to¬†putting¬†harmful chemicals¬†in their hair and yes to proudly wearing their natural hair. Many call it a movement, others call it a fad. Ask the manufactures of chemical relaxers and beauty salons about their sales for the past ten years and they’ll tell you it’s not a fad. Today, women are more informed and aware of the harmful side affects that chemical relaxers cause. There is a plethora of information all over the internet at our disposal to educate ourselves with. So no, this is not a fad. This is a lifestyle change and natural hair is here to stay.

Collectively as women, we need to¬†help and¬†encourage each other whether if we are natural or not. Don’t look down on those who aren’t natural, be encouraging. Remember, most of us were addicted to the creamy crack for many years too! Don’t preach to them, be informative. Compliment one another and be an example. Be willing to discuss your hair journey if given the opportunity. Your story could help someone else make that final decision to go natural.¬† Before I went natural, when I would see black women rocking their afros, afro puffs, or twist outs, I always felt their hair was beautiful. I felt a sense of pride seeing them rock their natural hair because I always felt our natural hair is beautiful. I wouldn’t hesitate to compliment them and tell them how beautiful their hair was. Then I had to look at myself and ask¬†“If you know natural hair is beautiful and it’s healthier for you, what’s keeping you from going natural?”¬†I had no answer, and I had no excuse because there was nothing holding me back. My daughters were natural, so again, what was holding me back? Nothing. I got educated and I took the plunge. I big chopped.

There is nothing wrong with loving our culture. There is nothing wrong with loving our blackness. And there is definitely nothing wrong with loving ourselves and our natural hair.

 

Please check out It’s Just Hair!

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As promised, here is my interview with blogger Erin Elmore of It’s Just Hair! I had a ton of fun talking hair and everything else under the sun with her! Please check out her blog where you’ll meet women from all over discussing their hair and how it empowers them. If you’re a lover of short hair like I am, you’ll also see a TON of cute, jazzy hair styles and colors to drool over!

http://hairishairishair.blogspot.com/2014/03/sonya-classy-pixie.html

~Sonya