Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ideas for New Year's Eve Natural Do's!

New Year's Eve is nearly upon us.  If you are like me, you have the dress, the shoes, the bag, the accessories and the only thing left to contemplate is your hairstyle for the evening.  Given that N.I.C.E. is the essence of any hairstyle as far as I am concerned, all that I need is ideas.  So, to save myself from extensive trial and error as I'm getting ready for the evening and to find ideas for N.I.C.E. readers, I searched and found some ideas for our beautiful tresses for New Year's Eve.  Whether your hair is short, medium, length, long, braided, locked, free-style or in transition, check out these ideas for inspiration.  Most importantly, have a wonderful, joyous, celebration as we continue on our journey to realize that even on the most joyous, elegant occasions, including, a New Year's Eve celebration, N.I.C.E.!

Inspirational Natural Hairdo's:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Natural Hair Journey: A Wonderful Destination for the New Year!

As we enter the New Year, many of us reflect on our journeys and experiences and ponder decisions that we have made.  For some, self-discovery and self-empowerment is the result.  This story emphasizes that Natural Is Cool Enough, which is a wonderful decision for the New Year.  How about you?  Will N.I.C.E. be your destination for the New Year? Check out the story below for inspiration.

Sharonda’s Natural Hair Story: A Journey to Discover Me

Twist Braids: A N.I.C.E. Destination for an on-going journey into the New Year
     I come from a family of hairstylist. I mean, it’s not what they do for a living, but from my mother on down and my three older sisters; all of them can do hair. I never had to touch my hair. Anything I ever wanted, braids, twist, weaves, perms, hair dye, they did it all! The perms must have started early on in my life like around age 6. I mean my mother had 4 girls, plus her own head; that was a lot of hair to do! As I grew older I continued to perm and process my hair. In my teenage years I got brave. I dyed it a few times, red, gold, you name it. Of course it fell out. With the perms and the hair color my hair had had enough. So I chopped it off and started over. Every week it seemed like, (maybe I’m exaggerating a little) I was doing something different to my hair. I was suffering from an acute case of HADHD or Hair Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I noticed the perms had thinned out parts of my mother’s hair. And I also notice how my hair would never grow past my shoulders. For some reason it would break off or get cut off long before then. I was fed-up!
     The weaves started when I was 14 and just entering High School. I no longer could tolerate looking so young, with short hair, so I called my weave-ologist. If I wasw going to look mature I needed a new look!
 The weaves got more extravagant as I got braver. Curly weave, straight weave, water waves and spiracle curls.I spent a lot of time planning out my hair, and what I would do next. And the beauty supply store was my favorite place to brainstorm. As I entered into college and had to get used to being away from home, I didn’t have a stylist on call 24/7. So I had to take care of my hair myself. I ended up getting it braided that first year.
 The next year I took the braids out and I flat ironed my hair to death, literally. Almost everyday I was putting heat on it. Of course the healthy mane of hair  broke off after some blonde dye and months of perms on top of that.
My Hair With Color
     Finally it was my senior year of College and I was taking one of the classes for my minor in Africana studies. I guess if I had to name the source of my inspiration it would have had to have been Dr. Rose’s classes. I knew all these things about my hair, about the history, about the slaves and “passing” but I had not realized how it affected me. I wanted to be me. My hair was dying to be in it’s natural state. It was my own discovery of me. If any guy or job, or anyone else in society wanted me, I wanted them to accept the real me. My next biggest enemy was my family of stylist. Step 1 of this phase was no more perms! I started to wear hairnets in different colors to cover up the obvious contrast between my permed and nappy hair. I remember the first time I went back home. My mother told me “I hate your hair.” She attempted to help me by offering to do anything to my hair that would get me to perm it. I simply said to her in a respectful manner of course, “You hate my hair because you hate your hair.” These words liberated me and she never bothered me again.  I was right, We had be taught to hate something that was natural to us, and we’d forgotten how to be ourselves, basically how to do our own natural hair! I let my mother put braids in my hair, and I kept it that way about a year. That was phase 2,  letting my hair grow out and chopping the permed hair off. I wasn’t as brave as some of my other sistas who just chopped everything off. So I took a subtler approach and of course gave everyone around me time to get used to this cultural shock. After that time was up, I felt like I had enough time get used to my natural hair. I didn’t have hair on my head until I was 3, and at age 6 it was hidden from me.  One day I asked God, what did you intend for us to do with this hair? My hair style of choice for now is the fro. I’d rock the fro 7 days a week, to church, to work, out on the town. I love my fro. I have tried other styles like braids, twist, and I will continue to discover the possibilities. I will never grow bored with my natural hair. The answer he gave me was that the possibilities are endless. We can take care of it, or we can straighten it with heat or other chemicals that causes it to thin and fall out. The point is he gave us the choice! I’d love to know, what’s your choice and why?

My Fro

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do You Shift?: An Anchorwoman Goes Natural!

What is shifting?  According to the authors of  Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden explain it as follows:

 "to cope with racial and gender discrimination, African American women have at times altered their speech, appearance, and behavior. They have shifted emotionally as they struggled to feel good about themselves in a hostile world. And often, in myriad ways, they have fought back." 

Do you shift?  Consider  the following questions, posed by the above authors, and see what you think...

 1. Do you ever feel that you are working overtime to put others at ease?
 2. Do you have to leave your true self at the door in order to placate White colleagues?
 3. Do you downplay your abilities or strengths for fear of outshining Black men?
 4. Do you speak one way at the office, another way to your girlfriends?
 5. Is it sometimes a struggle to feel good about your looks?
 6. Are you constantly battling stereotypes?

I think it is very insightful to check out this video of  Naturalistas per the following link: http://www.theybf.com/2010/11/30/news-anchor-goes-natural-ratings-soar .  These beautiful women
decided that N.I.C.E. and concluded that they would not shift in terms of their hair any more. News Anchorwoman, Rochelle Ritchie, of West Palm Beach, Florida, featured in the video above, actually had increased viewer ratings after this N.I.C.E. move.  However, she was not the first broadcaster to take the natural plunge in terms of her decision not to shift, in the mainstream reality.  Tonya Mosley, of Seattle, Washington, depicted below and who is a broadcast reporter, also did the same.  Now there is no doubt that in these cases, N.I.C.E.!  The Natural revolution continues!

Tonya Mosley Then and Now
Rochelle Ritchie Before
Rochelle Ritchie Now

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beyonce's Stocking Shocker!: Happy Natural Thanksgiving to All!

Beyonce has caught the eye for many people throughout the world for her talent, grace and style.  There is no doubt that she has all of those characteristics and a phenomenol voice.  Two groups, that particularly pay attention to her are young Black girls and women, who have the daunting task of trying to fit into a society that is often times reluctant to accept their natural features.  I was quite surprised to hear Beyonce announce on the view that she wears four pairs of stockings to keep everything tucked in while performing.  Hence, the body image that she provides is one that conforms to many tricks of the performance trade. Check out her comment on the view per this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dssvrw8nkr4

Her honesty is appreciated and it would be wonderful if those who admire her, particularly the two groups mentioned above, could hear this loud and clear.   Additionally, there are questions about her skin tone, or at least how cosmetic companies portray her per the pictures below:

The question is, why is her natural skin color not good enough in the world of hair and cosmetics?  What kind of message does this send to young women and young girls?  Why is it that the beautiful skin tones of Black women, based on their natural hues and vibrantly kinky hair styles are "white washed" and straightened? On Thankgiving day, Beyonce, a beautiful sister will perform during her television special.  Her music, style and grace will be evident and we should be proud of her success.  However, on that day, to every Black woman watching her, also be thankful that a greater success, will be  if you can look in the mirror at your beautiful natural skin color and your wonderfully natural hair (if it is in the texture that grows out of your scalp) and say wth pride, Natural is Cool Enough.  That you should be thankful for, because it says a lot about your fantastic self-esteem and level of consciousness and that is N.I.C.E.! Happy Natural Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Natural Tips for the Naturalistas: Oprah and Dr. Oz Are On to Something!

     Are you interested in trying something new to enhance yourself naturally?  Lately and gradually, I have peaked at the Dr. Oz show and have gained some worthy insight.  From time to time, he offers tips from  around the world which are of great interest to me.  Generally, the information is natural and positive so I decided to try a few of them to see if they have merit and I have been pleasantly surprised. I think that Oprah Winfrey was on to something when she introduced Dr. Oz to the world and they are both on to something big in terms of their belief and promotion of natural and healthy products. 

Dr. Oz and Oprah
      The first suggestion, through one of his guest hosts, is the use of a combination of egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil and honey in your hair. This is a South African secret of beautiful hair. So, during my weekly grocery shopping trip to Whole Foods, I acquired organic eggs, organic extra virgin olive oil and organic honey.  Subsequently, I mixed the three together in a bowl and proceeded to put the mixture in in my locs.  I left it in for a while, washed it out and to my amazement, my hair felt wonderfully soft and moisturized.  So, this is now a weekly routine for me. 
Another suggestion, per the Dr. Oz show, is the use of Coconut oil on the skin as a moisturizer.  So, I also acquired organic coconut oil at Whole Foods and after showering, I use it as a moisturizer.  The result after doing so for two weeks is beautifully moisturized skin.  The great thing is that my skin does not feel too oily and I find that it keeps my skin moist for the entire day. According to Dr. Oz, this wonderful secret is from Belize.  I have visited both of these countries and so to find that the wonder and beauty of both has something so nourishing to my hair and body is great.  Anything that is natural and healthy and is beneficial for the Naturalistas furthers my belief that N.I.C.E.!  If you have any natural beauty tips for the naturalistas, let us know.  Natural Beauty tips from around the world are welcome.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cultural Competency for the Naturalistas: Would this happen to Whoopi Goldberg?

Recently, I wrote a book published in March of 2010 by Jones and Bartlet Publishing, Inc. There are stories, written in this book in a form that is called Case Studies, to get the thoughts and opinions of individuals who read them.  Also, there is one chapter, (the last, but not the least), that is specific to women. So, check out the Case Study below from the book.  I am definitely intersted in your opinion and whether the folks who were to provide service to this woman understand that Natural is Cool Enough (N.I.C.E.).  For example, do you think this would happen to a true Naturalista like Whoopi Goldberg as an example? Book available at www.jblearning.com/catalog/9780763761646/ or   http://www.amazon.com/Cultural-Competency-Health-Administration-Public/dp/0763761648/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1290018881&sr=8-1
CASE STUDY ( pgs. 131-132, Chapter 11)
An African American woman enters a healthcare facility where she is to receive a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of her spine.  She has long hair in the style known as locks.  She is greeted by the receptionist and asked to have a seat in the waiting area until the technician is ready to see her.  A White, male technician arrives to escort the woman in for the proceudure and briefly discusses the process of the MRI with her.  During his overview,  he indicates to her that she will have to remove any metal objects (such as pins in her hair and jewelry) and that she should remove her hair for the process.  The woman is appalled by his latter statement and indicates to him that her hair is her own and cannot be removed.  He responds by stating that he has served a number of Black women who have weaves and other "false" hair often held in by pins, so he was basically taking a precaution.  The woman in is highly insulted and asks to speak to the Administrator on duty.  A White woman, in an elegantly tapered suit, arrives, hears the concern, and explains to the African American woman that the technician meant no harm but it is the policy of the facility to be thorough with all patients in terms of the provision of information and that he was correct in inquiring about her hair in the manner that he did to ensure safety during the MRI process.  She offers no apology and curtly responds, "I hope this resolves your concern as he was merely following our required protocol."  The African American woman responds with a disappointed and curt thank you and leaves the building, promptly vowing never to return.  She seeks her MRI at another facility.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lauryn Hill: This Sister Knows That Natural Is Cool Enough!

In this picture, Lauryn Hill is performing at a Homecoming event at the University of Miami in Florida.  I had read several reviews about her comeback, in various venues, and most of the comments were unfavorable. However, my opinion, after going to her concert, is that she is still amazing on a number of levels.  First of all, she sang some of her new songs and some of her old jams as well adding a new touch to them that expresses who she is today, a more mature Lauryn.  She seems a bit mor seasoned by life, more hardcore and intense.  I like what I heard but I especially liked what I saw...a serious, natural Afro, essentially what one would have called,  back in the day, a "Fro."  Her hair is a true statement of her consciousness.  It is almost as if she is saying, through her natural, for those of you who may think I have changed during my hiatus to raise my children, do know that I am still conscious, I am still natural and I am still your soulful sistah!  To me, Lauryn, without a doubt, is self assured in her understanding that N.I.C.E.!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Calling All Naturalistas: You are Invited to experience a Journey of a Lifetime!

Recently, I took another trip to Africa, this time to the country of Egypt.  It was a powerful experience for me.  Some of the highlights of the trip were to see the drawings within the tombs, statues in the museums, the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Cairo Musem and riding a camel through the desert.  A key point of interest for me, was to realize, through observation of images of women depicted in the tombs, statues in the museums and viewing of mummies, that the women wore their hair in styles that were very afrocentric, whether it was actually their hair or Nubian wigs (some argue the latter).  I returned with a sense of pride, feeling clear that I had connected with a very important aspect of history, beyond what I could have ever imagined.  Many people reviewed my photos and asked if I would organize a similar trip to the one I took so that others could have the same experience.  I took on this challenge and contacted the company that handled my trip and asked them if they could assist me with this process.  Below, you will find the result.  If you are interested in this amazing journey,  please comment on this post, indicating your interest. Your response will go directly to my e-mail and I will respond to you and answer any questions that you may have.  On this journey, there will be a special session for all naturalistas...a private gathering  in Egypt, for all naturalistas to talk, meet, greet and discuss their beautiful natural hair, on the continent of Africa, in the midst of  the beauty of the remnants of Ancient Egypt.  I hope to meet many of you on this glorious journey!

Rose World Tours invites you to travel on a Marvelous journey to Africa, to explore the beauty and wonder of Ancient Egypt.

11 days / 10 nights including Cairo, Luxor and Aswan featuring 5 * hotels and a 5 day / 4 night Deluxe 5 * cruise (with outside Nile view cabins). The dates are July 21 through July 31. The fantastic prices are listed below: (A $500 deposit is required to hold your spot)

$1295 per person, double occupancy i...f there are 21 or more total travelers

$1325 per person, double occupancy if there are 15-20 total travelers

$1375 per person, double occupancy if there are 7-14 total travelers

Single Supplement: $495

NO triples allowed.

Round-Trip International Air flying JFK/CAI: Additional cost of $1250 per person not including air taxes.

Current cost of air ticket taxes is $208 per person, however, taxes are subject to change.

CONTACT for more information: drpattirose@gmail.com

Lectures about the wonders of Ancient Egypt will also be provided by for a nominal cost of $100 for two sessions which includes a detailed package with information and historical insight. A special event will take place for N.I.C.E. to highlight the glories of natural hair and the beautiful natural styles of Ancient Egyptian women. Knowledgeable tour guides will also be available throughout the tour. Optional excursions are also available including Abu Simbel (Temples of Ramses II and Nefertari. Camel Trek to San Simeon Monastery and the Nubian Museum).
This Trip is definitely appropriate for all who feel that N.I.C.E.!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Willow Smith Gets It Too: Wisdom from the Mouth of Babes!

Last night, I watched Willow Smith's video, Whip My Hair.  As I observed it closely, my first impression was that it was a celebration of hair...but specifically the hair of people of African descent, namely braids.  The video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymKLymvwD2U&ob=av2e is colorful, vibrant, creative, entertaining and most importantly, enlightening.  Here we see a little girl utilizing braids, through the long held African tradition of extensions, to exude color on to an otherwise drab environment.  This is truly N.I.C.E. Note that the camera zooms in on her "heart shaped" braided style as she gives a quaint smile to the students sitting, dressed all in white with drab, sullen faces.  The room suddenly exudes with color and energy as the students rise to the occasion.

This video arrives on the heels of the wonderful Muppet creation per my last post, entitled, about the video I LOVE MY HAIR, which was created by an Italian Father, who is also a Muppeteer, who was concerned that his little adopted, Ethiopian daughter was expressing a desire for Eurocentric hair as she played with her dolls http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130653300&sc=fb&cc=fp.  It appears that through creative ingenuity, the mouths of babes are being utilized to help rectify the problem of lack of love for what comes natural...our natural and beautiful hair.  Although Willow has a number of styles in her video, each one exudes color with the emphasis on "Whipping the Braids" as if they offer some type of vibrant, alter-ego to the tame, smiling girl at the end quaintly letting on that she has just revealed some kind of necessary secret.  Ultimately, Whip My Hair is a commentary that N.I.C.E!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sesame Street Gets It!

The big question that often comes up is how should Black/African American people, in a society that often emphasizes that natural is Not cool enough, help Black/African American Children understand that natural is cool enough?  How should one go about teaching them that wearing their hair naturally, as it grows out of their scalp, is beautiful, wonderful and an expression of outward beauty.  It appears that Sesame Street has embraced the notion of fostering this idea in the minds of children.  Below is a link to a video called I LOVE MY HAIR.  This video expresses the fact that N.I.C.E. in a wonderful way for children.  Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoxGImLRRXo. Truly,  N.I.C.E!

I LOVE MY HAIR (Image from Sesame Street Video)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Natural Is Cool Enough Is Transitioning!

Natural is Cool Enough is about to make a wonderful transition!  After all, transition has been one of the main themes of N.I.C.E..  So the next step will be a transition to all things natural including natural hair, natural foods,natural cosmetics, natural travel, natural health and beyond! For all of the members and followers of Natural Is Cool Enough, stay tuned and expect to be enlightened and informed and look for the wonderful changes coming soon!  Natural Hair will remain a primary topics but taking the natual concept further will only serve to enhance who we are...true Naturalistas!

As a transition gesture and one more opportunity to share your fabulous hair journey, N.I.C.E. is giving away one more T-Shirt and the last of the "natural hair" t-shirts.  They were a limited edition, never to be made again, so get yours now and remember, Natural Is Cool Enough, always...

Contest Rules:
1. You must be a member of  N.I.C.E. to enter so step one is to sign up!
2.  Write your hair story and how you made your transition/journey to natural hair.
3.  Be one of the first three people to post your story.
4.  One winner will be selected from the three.
5.  The first person to receive a comment on their story will be the winner!

The T-shirt is below!  Good luck!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Advertisements Leaning Toward Natural Hair

In the past, I posted a comment regarding my perspective that natural hair is becoming more mainstream in terms of advertisements and that there is a trend in that direction.  I also expressed that I would continue to watch this and share when and where I see it.  So, once again, a natural find!  Check out t-mobiles current ad showing a Black man and child with locks!  It appears that for T-Mobile, N.I.C.E.! To view the add, go to the following link and click on #1 (the Kids are free ad)  http://www.t-mobile.com/ .  (Note that this does not serve as an endorsement of T-mobile or any of its product but merely the provision of an opportunity for you to view an add featuring natural hair).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Natural Hair Book: Get Read on!

Naturalistas!  There are a number of excellent books on natural hair and I thought that providing you with a list would be very helpful to continue in your wonderful experience of knowing that Natural is Cool Enough.  This list is not a novel idea because a number of Blogs that focus on natural hair have moved forward in preparing a list so I thought I would just share their links with you so that you can see the lists and get exposure to other Blogs (if you haven't already) which focus on natural hair.  So, the list of links is below.  It is so exciting that so many books have been written about the subject of late.  I hope you will find several to choose from and absorb the detail, especially for those of you who are transitioning and still in need of support or who just want insight and information regarding maintaining your natural hair.  I will try and update you with information on books often. Enjoy!

First Blog:  Don't Worry Be Nappy!  http://www.tytecurl.com/v02/hairbooks.htm
( Has a list of 10 books (including children's books) about Natural Hair).

Second Blog:  Coco and Creme!  http://cocoandcreme.com/2010/07/natural-hair-summer-reading-list/
(Has a list of 5 books about Natural Hair)

Third Blog:   Althea Prince, Ph.D   http://altheaprince.com/default.aspx
(Focuses on Dr. Prince's Book, The Politics of Black Hair!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Scenting our Natural Hair with Essential Oils: Lotus Oil Contest!

Per my last post, I shared the details of a wonderful trip that I recently took to Egypt.  I am still basking in the enlightenment of this trip as I continue to read all of the wonderful books that I bought from there as well as many other wonderful items.  One item that is particularly special is pure lotus oil from the lotus flower.  The smell of it is so wonderful and special that I absolutely must share it.  So I am having another contest!  Win Egyptian Lotus Oil in a beautiful Egyptian glass bottle to scent your natural hair!  How?  Here are the rules:

1. You must be a follower of this Blog, so if you are not, sign up!
2.  Share your natural hair story...how did you transition to natural hair? (if you want to add pictures, I will add them if you send them to me by e-mail). If you shared your story before, update us.  Winning something on this blog in a previous contest does not mean you cannot win again.
3.  Tell us what you know about the Lotus flower and its relevance to the Ancient African Egyptians and why you think this oil will be a wonderful fragrance for your natural hair. 

Deadline for Entry is Saturday, August 28 at Midnight!

I will select a winner and your Egyptian Lotus Essential oil in an Egyptian glass bottle will be on the way!  Have fun!

Below is a picture of the beautiful lotus flower that I took in front of the Cairo Museum (which holds most of the artifacts of ancient Egypt) and a Papyrus piece of Lotus flowers presented to Isis by Ramses II (my favorite piece which hangs in my home).


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

African Hair In Antiquity: Natural Was Cool Enough!

Recently, I took a wonderful trip to Egypt where I journeyed from Cairo to Giza, cruising the Nile to Luxor and other cities, all the way to Aswan and ultimately to Abu Simbel to see the great tombs of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. I was also able to see the temple of the female Pharoah Hashepsut and acquired significant information about Queen Nefertiti and her Husband, Pharoah Akhnaten. A highlight of the trip was also the Pyramids and the Sphinx.   Although I have traveled extensively throughout the world, this journey was the most profound and enlightening.  I took over 1000 pictures in Cairo and at the various sites, tombs, temples, etc. and while doing so, among other things, I focused on the hair of the ancient African Egyptians.  A quick map of the world or of Africa will show one quickly that Africa is located in North Africa.

Below is a collection of photos that I took personally as well as additional photos of mummies which I obtained through web research since in the Royal Mummy Room that I visited at the Cairo Museum, where most of the precious items of Egyptian Antiquity are stored, including all of King Tut's treasures found in his tomb, pictures are not permitted. Photos are not permitted at all in the Cairo Museum but were permitted in the Nubian Museum in Aswan. I purchased a book which includes photos of most of what is in the Cairo Museum as well as a book entitled Royal Mummies which includes all of the Mummies in the Royal Mummy Room. So, below, for your consideration, are pictures of a small sampling of the African people of Egyptian Antiquity and their hair. If you are squeamish about mummies, this post may not be for you but surely we can see that for these African people of antiquity,  N.I.C.E.!


The pictures above and to the left, which include braided hair, kinky hair, short cornrowed styled hair and afro styles as well as an afro pick are clear indications of the Natural Is Cool Enough perspective of the African people of  Egyptian Antiquity, from the Pharoahs and Queens to the Common people.  There is also documentation that African Egyptians during antiquity (ancient times) also wore wigs (often braided) and used henna which accounts for the red hair of some of the mummies such as Ramses II (not pictured here).