Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Naturally!

By popular demand, I am beginning a brief series on ideas for maintaining your summer natural.  Whether you are going for the big chop (cutting all perm out of your hair and wearing your hair close to the head) as you transition, wearing the teeny weeny afro (TWA), braids, twists, locks or any other natural style, the key for the summer is to moisturize, condition and style with versatility.


My recommendation, is shea butter.  I have a previous post about what shea butter is, so I won't reiterate it here.  You can find it (I buy it when I travel to Africa and I have colleagues who travel to Africa as well so my supply is often replenished) by searching on-line for sources that sell it or visit a Whole Foods market as they usually have it.  It is readily available so you should be able to locate it.  My recommendation is to use it on wet or dry hair.  I take about a quarter size of the shea butter and rub it in my hands until it is almost melted (it melts from the friction of rubbing your hands together). I then rub it evenly throughought my hair thorougly.  You may want to adjust the amount depending on how much hair you have.  I also use it to twist my locks.  I find that it makes my locks soft and shiny.  I usually do this right after I shower, whether I've washed my hair or not.  I point this out because I don't wash my hair every day.  First of all, it would be too much work because my hair has to be twisted every time I wash it.  The bottom-line is that I wash my hair whenever I feel like doing it.  If I am in the shower and I feel like washing it, I do.  If I don't feel like washing it, I don't.  I make that decision naturally.  I think each one of us knows when we feel we should wash our hair so that's a personal decision. 


I recommend a conditioner whenever you wash your hair.  Sometimes, if I am going to be home for a day or two, without having to go out or if I can just throw a hat on, I load up my hair with conditioner and leave it in.  I find that this deeply moisturizes my hair and when I rinse it out my hair is very soft and easy to twist. I also swim frequently so whenever I am going in the pool to swim laps, I will put conditioner in my hair under my cap (if I plan to wash it that day) as protection from the chlorine. I try to find a conditioner with all natural ingredients.  I'm not recommending a product because this is not about marketing but advice.  The best way to find a good natural conditioner is to find a store that sells natural products (a health food store perhaps). Go to the hair section, select conditioners and read the ingredients.  My rule for buying product for my hair is Natural Is Cool Enough.  If there are words in the ingredients list that you never heard of or that sound like chemicals from a lab and have nothing to do with anything natural that you have ever heard, try to resist buying that one.  You are looking for words like jojoba, shea, coconut and other items from the earth.  Try to avoid harsh chemicals for your hair.  Once your hair is cleaned naturally and moisturized with shea butter (or your favorite natural moisturizer) then move on to styling. 

If you have a short cut, after moisturizing just brush, pat and go.  If you have a TWA a nice colorful headband to match your attire might be something you want to consider.  If you have mid-length hair (up to or close to the shoulder), play around with it in the mirror and come up with ideas that fit you and if you have long hair (locks, twists, braids, etc.) on a hot sunny day, an up-do may be the way to go. If you have locks and you want them to be "crinkly" (also knowm as the loc braid-out or twist-out--see video below) just moisturize and twist your locs and then braid them (three locks) per braid. Leave the braids in until your hair is dry (or a day or two for a longer lasting effect) then take out the braids and voila, crinckles!  The most important thing is to have fun.  Often times, when we approach our natural hair to style it, there is trepidation because we have been told that it is unmanageble, hard to handle, etc.  There is nothing unmanageable about our hair.  It's beautiful once you get to know it, touch it and style it. Below are some pictures and a video to give you ideas.  Go for it ladies because N.I.C.E. for the summer (and always).

See pictures and video below and stay-tuned for new ideas soon.  We would love to read your ideas too so do share.  My next post will be about coloring your hair naturally and more style ideas!

Here are a couple of videos to get you started:
1. A simple, natural style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICx421pK1CE

2. A regal style that will leave you with crinkly locs when you take out the braids (two styles in one) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmfTM8bWCD4&feature=channel and this film is how the "crinkly," "braid-out/twist-out" for locs is accomplished  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0ZB42PTgpU&feature=fvsr


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Black Dolls with Natural Hairstyles: Truly N.I.C.E.

When I was a little girl, I loved my dolls.  I had some Black dolls, because my mother would search for them, but most of them were white.  I had Barbie and Shirley Temple and other dolls that did not look like me.  When I had my little girl, we were fortunate.  At that point there was Black Barbie and Skipper and other black dolls were available, looking beautiful, but they all had long straight hair, unlike my daughter's beautiful, long, kinky hair.  I was thinking about this and decided to find out the status of Black dolls today and I located a treasure that I am delighted to share with you; I found Black dolls with locks, braids and all types of natural, kinky hair styles (both males and females).  I felt like a little girl again.  How exciting!  These dolls truly brought a smile to my face.  The artist is Loanne Hizlo Osslie of Tabloach Productions, Inc. For  information about her, chek out this link:  http://www.tabloach.com/.  Truly, this is fantastic.  For all of you who have children in your lives, you may want to spend some time learning about this or perhaps you're a doll fan yourself and want to add to your collection.  I have dolls from all over the world that I purchased for my daughter and my own collection.  Cultural competency and dolls (Hizlo makes dolls of many cultures): Black naturalista dolls....That's a true indication that N.I.C.E.!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Women Denied Jobs Because of Natural Hair!

Although we are in 2010, is it possible to be denied a job because of natural hair? Apparently the answer is yes per this article  http://www.bvblackspin.com/2010/04/21/six-flags-hair-discrimination-dreadlocks/  (which includes videos). This is hard to believe and shocking. The two women pictured below were the women who did not get the jobs they applied for because of their locks. As Bill Cosby would say, "C'mon People!"  I ask the question: Really?  What does your hair have to do with your performance as an employee at an amusement park?  It just so happens that the natural hair style at the root of the story here is locks and I, a wearer of locks, find this notion of denying work to a person because of their natural hairstyle, personally appalling. I have worked as a President and Vice President of organizations, a Consultant, Lecturer and University Professor with my locks.  My hair is a part of who I am and a manifestation of my level of consciousness.  Although, as some aptly put it,  I am not my hair; it is definitely a major aspect of who I am.  When I look in the mirror each day and see my kinky locks, knowing that my hair is maintained in the texture, as it grows out of my head, I feel wonderful about my self.  As I wash and twist my locks and know that every bit of the hair on my head is mine, and that I alone, twist it and take care of it, using natural shea butter, acquired from Africa, and that I do not spend  my hard earned money to contribute to the billions of dollars earned by the hair product industry (except for shampoo and conditioner and the occassional purhase of Gel from Whole Foods to tighten my locks or sometimes natural Henna to add a little color vibrancy), I feel proud. I feel proud of my heritage as a woman of African descent as my hands twist and braid and fashion my natural locks.  Who says that having straight hair or non-locked styles is more professional and why? So, the question that I pose today is should a person be denied a job because she/he is wearing locks or any natural style for that matter?  I am very interested in your thoughts. My closing point today to the sisters who were not chosen to work at Six Flags because of your locks is:  don't let this get you down because perhaps you are meant for bigger and better things and continue to lock on because N.I.C.E.!  You are beautiful in the darkness of your skin, and the naturalness of your hair. Lock on my sisters!  Today, I dedicate the poem (found below their pictures), written by Ossie Davis, to these two sisters.


I find, in being Black,

a thing of "Beauty";

like a joy; a strength;

a secret cup of gladness ...

a native land in neither time nor place ...

a native land in every Black face!

Be loyal to yourselves;

your skin;

your hair;

your lips;

your speech;

your laughing kinds

are Black kingdoms,

vast as any other.

-- Ossie Davis

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Janet Jackson Goes for the Big Chop!

So, I'm back to hair, although I am still lending my ears, eyes and heart to the BP Oil Crisis which continues as an ongoing tragedy.  In any event, in catching up on hair news, I have learned that Janet Jackson has gone for the "Big Chop."  Another naturalista...at least that seems to be the case at this point.  Janet is one who has been very versataille with her hair and has expressed herself naturally in the past.  Remember her as Penny and then the fabulous braids in Poetic Justice, at the Grammy's and now slicked back and short.  Praise for our sister!  She's been through a lot with the loss of her brother in such a public and intense way.   Perhaps this is a new phase of  her life for now.  Hair is often a true indication of our level of consciousness.  Sometimes when our consciousness heightens we need to get to the true essence of ourselves.  Letting go of what is not real about us is often a great way to start.  Of course, this is all speculation because I have no idea why Janet cut her hair but at this point, I am offering her praise and support because if there is one thing that I know for sure it is that Natural is Cool Enough and that's N.I.C.E.!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reflection Exception Continues: Look at What is at Stake!

As the saga of the BP Oil Spill continues, my words remain focused on this crisis.  I followed through on my previous post and traveled to the Keys this weekend to pay homage to the ocean. The Keys are threatened by the BP oil spill which has already decimated parts of the coasts of Louisiana and Mississipi and the Marshes in both of those areas.  Wildlife continues to die from both the chemical dispersants and the oil.  It is the 35th day of the spill and oil is still spewing into the ocean in untold amounts.  So, in the spirit of N.I.C.E., I continue my reflection exception (essentially, I am deviating from my discussion of natural hair momentarily) to share my perspective about this national tragedy. This is the worst environmental tragedy in the history of the United States.  We must pause and reflect on this.  Please check out this website for intense photos of this ongoing tragedy http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/oil_reaches_louisiana_shores.html. BP will make an attempt on Wednesday, once again, to stop the spill. Until then, we must remain vigilante with our thoughts, as this cannot go on!  It is a tragedy and a crime.  Please look at the pictures below and know what is at stake. I share them with you knowing the consciousness we share in terms of our hair. Let your voices be heard on the side of nature because we know that Natural is Cool Enough! All  photos were taken in Bahia Honda, State Park in the Keys (Florida) on May 23, 2010.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A N.I.C.E. Moment of Reflection

This will be a rare occasion, but today, I am compelled to deviate from the focus on Natural Hair to talk about something that is truly impacting me on a deep conscious level.  I am seriously concerned about what has happened in the United States in regard to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The situation is so unfortunate that there are almost no words to describe how daunting this is.  I recently viewed a film called Earthlings, which touched me deeply as I explored, once again, our connection with all sentient beings on this earth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NghzqtqP50Y&feature=related. The viewing was timely as I saw the film before the oil spill, as it was handed to me by one of my students, after class, strongly urging me to watch it.  I did and now I know why.  I have always been a lover of the sea and animals but I believe my level of consciousness was in need of re-awakening because of what was about to happen...the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ocean is a place that I go to often, given where I live and my travels throughout the world, to find peace and serenity.  It is a life giving space on all levels, from the beings who dwell on it, to the energy we receive from it. Whenever there was turmoil in my life such as in the past, the prolonged illnesses of my mother and then my young brother, who are now deceased, I would go to the ocean and walk along the beach to acquire energy from it on cool days and evenings and swim in it on those hot days when respite could be found no where else except in prayer and amongst family.  At other times it has been a place where I have enjoyed the wonderful experience of being on the ocean in boats, cruise ships, snorkeling and beyond, in many places in the world, enjoying it's beauty, it's wake and all that it has to offer, including watching whales play in the water on a beautiful day on a trip designed just to do that...watch the whales play.  I stood and stared at the ocean in Sri Lanka, shortly after the Tsunami, marveling at its powers and fearing its intensity.

Today, I mourn for the Gulf, the eleventh largest body of water in the world which is a smaller part of the Atlantic ocean. I mourn for the eleven people killed in the initial explosion; I mourn for the delicate marshes of the Mississippi Delta, and everything that died in it, where oil  is now present; I mourn for all of the sea life that has died from the use of harsh, chemical dispersants in an effort to try to break up the oil spill in the Gulf.  So far dolphins have been found stranded (12 dead) and 183 sea turtles have been found dead (although some speculate that it is not certain that these deaths are from the oil spill) and oiled birds have also been found. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/21/AR2010052102403.html

The oil is now on its way to Florida, the place that I live, as it has entered the Loop Current.  This weekend, I will try and get to the Florida Keys, to see the ocean in all of its pristine beauty and glory before the oil arrives.  The Governor of Florida has declared a State of Emergency in South Florida, as a precautionary measure as it is impossible to know the impact that this situation will ultimately have on the area. Nineteen counties in Florida are now under emergency orders.  It is my hope and prayer that this oil spill will be stopped to prevent further damage from being done and that clean-up will be quick and effective with efforts to minimize the damage from all that has been done. Some estimates are that since this tragedy occurred, as we are now 30 days into it, 6 million gallons have already spewed into the Gulf.  I close wondering how it must  feel to be a being and suddenly find yourself in the condition depicted in the pictures below and consequently, I offer the following quotes in the spirit of a N.I.C.E. moment of reflection:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"
Mahatma Ghandi, Indian Statesman and Philosopher
"It is not just that animals make the world more scenic or picturesque.  The lives of animals are woven into our very being--closer than our breathing and our souls will suffer when they are gone."
Gary Kowalski, Author of The Souls of Animals

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Recently, I ran across a "Brain Teaser" that was used as an assignment at a school for instructional purposes with students. Truly, I was rendered speechless.  There is no doubt that I am all about cultural competence and visual affirmation based on demographic characteristics.  But there is something about this "Brain Teaser" that necessitates my having to share this with others to get an opinion.  I assure you that this assignment was actually used at a school and when it was shared with me, after the fact,  I gave my humble opinion.  So as not to bias your too much, I will share my initial reaction. So, when I was presented with this and was asked "what do you think about it?" the most that I could say (at first) was "really?" (meaning is this for real scanning the room for cameras thinking, surely I must be on "Candid Camera") before I could find the words to give a solid intellectual opinion.  So in the spirit of Natural Is Cool Enough, I ask you, what do you think of the Brain Teaser below?  By the way, it was used at a predominantly Black, public school. I am looking forward to your thoughts on this one?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Should Michelle Obama Wear Her Hair Naturally?

This question of whether Michelle Obama should wear her hair naturally is quite a heavily discussed topic.  For some it is a complicated question because essentially, it is mired in politics due to the fact that she is the First Lady of the United States.  So let me clarify my question.  Do you think the First Lady of the United States should wear her hair maintaining the texture of how it grows out of her head?   Below is an article that explores natural hair and black women thoroughly entitled, "Black Hair Still Tangled in Politics.":


Also, consider the pictures below.  How would you feel if you saw Mrs. Obama with the President in public (perhaps at a State dinner or at an international event) with her hair like or similar to this?

Then, consider Mrs. Obama with her natural hair in the images below?  For the First Lady of the United States Is Natural Cool Enough? It seems that Barack Obama (now President Obama) definitely thought so when he met her and that's N.I.C.E.!
(Note that the first picture is her baby picture and picture number four is her prom picture (before she met Barack)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Congratulations to the N.I.C.E. Summer T-shirt Winners!

Thank you to the two winners of the N.I.C.E. Summer T-Shirt Contest.Winner number one is also receiving a gift of Shea butter from Ghana.   Your "Reasons" for wearing your hair naturally are truly examples of N.I.C.E.!  Congratulations and we look forward to your comments in the future! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Natural Hair Insults and Inner Empowerment!

Many years ago, I worked as a Health Educator at a University (name not necessary). I was the only black person in the building, which was the Wellness Center of the campus.  It was my first job after earning my Doctorate from Columbia University, Teachers College and I was pretty excited.  All went well, except an incident which was indicative of  the lack of understanding about my hair, and hence a key aspect of my culture.  I had my hair in braids at the time in a short style.  One weekend, I went to a braiding salon, where these wonderful African Sisters from Senegal braided my hair with long beautiful extensions.  The braids were fabulous!  I returned to the office that Monday and some of my white co-workers were amazed.  One of them asked me if my hair grew over the weekend.  I looked at her in total disbelief and replied, "Yes. My hair grew over the weekend." I was being sarcastic but then I realized that she believed me!  I went to my office, and throughout the day, several of the other employees passed by my office and looked in.  They were looking at my hair trying to figure out how it was so long given that it had been short on Friday.  I just let them wonder and after that I was quite dismayed by the fact that they really, truly didn't understand that I had longer braids as a result of extensions.

Another scenario was when I went to my daughter's PTA meeting.  I had locks at that point and they were pretty long.  A white woman walked up to me and told me that she just loved my hair and asked if she could touch it.  She had already reached out and was holding one of my locks.  I was very uncomfortable but basically just offered a slight smile until she said "How do you wash it?  Do you ring it like a mop to get the water out?"   That was it!  Although I knew her question was probably innocent, I turned to her with a firm look on my face and said, "I wash it just like you wash your hair and I don't appreciate you comparing my hair to something that is used to clean the floor." She apologized softly and walked away and I walked away in the other direction.  I was younger then, and didn't quite have a grasp of the lack of cultural understanding that often emerges from people who don't understand differences and that have expressed themselves in an insulting manner, without malice, but moreso out of lack of understanding.  Nowadays, I am much more courteous about such matters but have placed energy around myself with such confidence that no one dares to touch, question or comment about my hair unless I welcome it. My power and energy emerge in my stride, with my locks dangling as I move and the look in my eyes if one starts getting too close, and a comment is unwelcome, which says "Don't even think about it (see picture below)!  If one dares to do so, given that I am the author of a book on Cultural Competency, I use the opportunity of such an encounter to educate within the context of love and to let them know that N.I.C.E!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Black Men, Loving Black Women's Hair, Naturally!

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my son, who is in Law School.  He is home on break and had just watched "Good Hair" and was quite surprised about what he learned about the damaging effects of the chemicals in perms and the weave process.  Essentially, he said to me, "I think natural hair is best for Black women.  Actually I prefer it!"  A moment of pride for a mother happened right then and there.  I have had natural hair since he was a very little boy and his sister has had the same (for most of her life). So the notion of a perm and weave, in regard to Black women, has not been a part of his purview in terms of life at home.  He wrote his senior essay at Yale about the reality of "passing" and black people in the 20's and 30's and within that work, he talked about the history of Black hair.  I think that what we as Black women have to understand is that Black men also have to come to terms with our hair stories because in many instances, they truly don't understand the depth of this situation for Black women.  However, many do appreciate who we are, naturally. Nevertheless, I'm proud of my young man.  The statement above, from a Black Man, my son Brandon (pictured below), truly made my Day. Surely, N.I.C.E.

To that end, please find an open letter  from Leonard Pitts, Jr. (lpitts@miamiherald.com
Leonard Pitts Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. He is the author of Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood. His column runs every Sunday and Wednesday).

Sisters, your natural hair is beautiful to me


An open letter to African-American women:
It's about the need to be beautiful, I know.
As goals go, that one is neither extraordinary nor gender-specific. But it's different for women, isn't it? A man's sense of self worth is seldom endangered by crow's feet. On him people will say they convey ``character.'' On a woman, they convey wear.
And if it's different for women, it's different and then some for women like you, saddled not just with the need to be beautiful, but also with 400 years of racial baggage, 400 years of ginormous Jemimahs, shrill Sapphires, ugly Aunt Esthers and angry Angelas seared into the public mind, 400 years which say you cannot be beautiful if your lips are too proud, or your skin too dark or you don't take that nappy hair God gave you and make it look like the hair he gave somebody else.
As you may have guessed, our subject is Good Hair, Chris Rock's new documentary on the industry of African-American hair care. The comedian has called it the ``blackest'' movie he's ever made. Truth is, it may well be the blackest movie anybody's ever made.
That's not to say other people would not get the jokes or the thesis: that in the search for ``good hair'' -- i.e., hair that is straight and fine like white people's -- black women burn their scalps with corrosive chemicals, buy thousand-dollar weaves on teachers' salaries, and support, according to Rock, a $9 billion industry of which black folks own virtually nothing.
But being black, having been inculcated with that sense of lowered worth they feed you right along with your strained peas, will enable you to nod knowingly when Rock recounts the moment one of his young daughters asked him why she doesn't have ``good hair.'' It will allow you to laugh in recognition when women describe the elaborate rituals of protecting their hair once it has been straightened or weaved. It will require you to wince in pain when Rock tries to sell black hair at a weave shop (weaves are often human hair from India) and is refused because nobody wants that kinky African stuff.
The very notion of ``good hair'' springs from that same wellspring of self-denigration that offers the N-word as a fraternal greeting and once filled our newspapers with ads for skin-lightening creams. It suggests the difficulty of loving oneself when one uses as a yardstick of worth another culture's physical standards. As in an old episode of MASH where a Korean boy wanted the doctors to fix his eyes and make them look ``American.''
But of course, there was nothing at all wrong with his eyes. And ``good hair'' -- I preached this to my curly-haired son who grew up mystified that his hair fascinated so many people -- is any hair that covers your head.
Unfortunately, saying this is like shouting in a hurricane. A million media images tell us beauty looks like Paris Hilton -- and only that.
So go on, sister, do what you do. I ain't mad at'cha. But neither am I fooled by your chemicals and weaves.
I am your brother, your father, your husband and your son. I've seen you in church with big hats on, giving children the evil eye. And at the jail on visiting day, shoring up that wayward man. And at the bus stop in the rain on your way to work. And at the dining table with pen and paper, working miracles of money. When I was a baby, you nursed me, when we were children, I chased you through the house; when we were dating, I missed half the movie, stealing sugar from you. I saw you born; I took you to your prom; I glowed with pride when you went off to school. I have married you and buried you. I love your smile. A million times, you took my breath away.
You are the rock and salvation of our people, the faith that remains when all hope is gone. So if it's about the need to be beautiful, maybe it's time somebody told you:
You already are. You always were.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

N.I.C.E. Summer Free T-Shirt Contest! It's On!

The N.I.C.E. Summer T-Shirt Contest is on! Search the posts on this blog and answer the three questions below to win. Then, share your five "Reasons" after you answer the three questions . You must answer all three questions, share your five "reasons" and be a follower of this blog to win. The first two people to answer all three questions correctly and that share their five "Reasons" will be the winners! Good luck!

(Please note that questions have been changed after the first winner since answers were provided.  The questions below are for the next respondent)

1. Who just moved forward with the "Big Chop"?

2. Who talked about the "ills of the kiddie perm"?

3. Who is the author of the book,  Thank God I'm Natural?

Reasons: Tell us 5 reasons why you agree or disagree with black women wearing natural hairstyles (there is no write or wrong answer for this one). Just share your five reasons, which is your unique point of view.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Singer Chrisette Michele Goes for the "Big Chop"

Often times, when Black women decide to begin their natural hair journey, they begin with the "Big Chop."  That's essentially what I did.  I had two little children and a perm and I was looking at myself in the mirror everyday and saying, "this is not me" as I combed through my hair.  I had already made the decision not to go to the beauty parlor any more due to the time it took to do so and the cost.  I just didn't want to shell out my money to the salon any more.  So, I talked with my husband about my great idea to cut it all off and went to a Barber and said, go for it.  I wore my hair in what was known then as a "boy cut" for awhile but I got bored fast.  The most I could do with my hair was spray it with sheen, pat it and go.  This was convenienent but the self-stylist in me missed the creativity of being able to wear different styles whenever I pleased.  So when I read about Chrisette Michele and her decision to chop it off, I could relate.  Although our stories are very different, and most of ours are, I think what she has done is to say N.I.C.E!

Chrisette recently explained to VIBE:

The turning point for me to shave my head was when I was out on tour. I had some pieces glued into my head because I didn’t want to dye my own hair, and the glued on piece would not come out of my head so I said I’m shaving my head because this is ridiculous. This does not make me Black. This does not make me a great singer; this makes me have a piece of hair stuck to my head and I was like, "I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.My stylist once put a lace-front on me for a show that I did. I wanted to try it out. They take adhesive and put it around the edges of your hair and then they lay stocking material on top of that adhesive and then the rest of the stocking has hair attached to it and then this stocking material blends into your face and then they take makeup and put it on top of that stocking material and blend that into your face. I’m not sure if that’s healthy. I think you might get pimples and I don’t like pimples. I knew girls who shaved around their hairlines so that their lace fronts would lay better. I don’t know about that.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Knowing Better and Doing Better and Natural Hair

This morning, I was thinking about whether knowing better actually leads to doing better.   Recently, I watched the film, Food Inc. which is all about the food industry and why it is important to know what we are eating, so that we can eat better  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqQVll-MP3I.
This moved me further on my quest to eat healthy food.  Then, I watched the film Earthlings, which as its ad says, "makes Food Inc. seem like a Disney film" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E-LxTVENqQ.  I was deeply touched by this film and further moved to make my already healthy diet even better. Now, in terms of my household, I have gone completely organic and when I eat out, I try to make the best choices possible.  I also swim each week to make sure I exercise and I keep my hair in its natural state, in the form of locs.  When I learned that perms are absolutely not the best option for my hair, due to the chemicals and the impact on my wallet as well as the illustrious history of the natural hair of Black women, I moved to locks after "the big chop" to get rid of all  perm in my hair, then braids, and finally locs which I have now had for 19 years.  I thank Maya Angelou for her quote:

"When you know better, you do better" because that enables me to avoid looking back with feelings of guilt about any aspect of my life in the past and to get in the present with what I know now and what I am learning  and continuously do better.  The more I learn the better I will be.  Therefore, now that I know about the beauty of my hair in its natural state, for me, N.I.C.E.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Strike a Pose!

Today, my daughter was about to leave the house to go shopping and I said to her, "your hair is fabulous..let's take a picture of it for my blog."  It was quite a moment because for many years hair has been such a topic of discussion for me and my daughter.  When she was a child, I kept her long, beautiful hair absolutely natural.  Basically, her style was wash and go and cute twists and braided styles.  As she grew older, succumbing to peer pressure and the desire to conform to the hairstyles of her classmates, she decided she wanted a perm.  I closed my eyes, expressed my opinion against it and let her go and explore.  During college and grad school she progressed to braids and twists (extensions added by me on her visits home and sometimes by a braiding salon).  When she returned home from grad school, I remained a hard core naturalista with my locks continually growing as a true expression of me. I am committed to remaining natural. In any event, my daughter had taken out her braids and was in the "I don't know what to do with my hair now" scenario.  Her ultimate decision, after a lot of dialogue, was to go completely natural...to wear her beautiful hair, naturally, as it grows out of her scalp.  It is so absolutely beautiful and really helps to radiate the true essence of her. As she is about to leave home and go off  to serve as a Teacher for Teach for America, she is doing so as a true, fabulously beautiful, intelligent, naturalista. This post is a celebration of my daughter Courtney's  natural hair, in all of it's beauty, coils, and curls.  Truly N.I.C.E.!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dove Ad and Natural Hair

As I continue my quest to determine if black women and natural hair is becoming part of the mainstream for television ads, I noticed this evening, a commercial for Dove Soap in which their was a Black woman in the ad with beautiful kinky hair. The Dove ad below also features a similar depiction.  What do you think? Some say it is not kinky enough but I am not sure if I feel the same. This ad appears to show a twist out style. As I continue searching for ads and observing whether natural hair has gone mainstream in the United States, I will keep an open-mind, hoping that N.I.C.E. in television and print ads.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Natural Hair in Ads Continues

Today, I noticed per an on-line banking advertisement that once again a Black woman with natural hair is depicted.  This continues my perspective that an appreciation for Black women's natural hair is going mainstream.  I also thought it interesting that the depiction below is in the context of "Live Green. Get Green" and that the women is in a field of grass with flowers all around her.  It appears to be recognition of the natural aspect of this woman, namely her hair, in alignment with the earth (going green).  What are your thoughts about this?  Is a natural movement taking place in terms of advertisements?  I will continue to keep you posted on this because I think it is N.I.C.E.