Thursday, December 27, 2012

Django Unchained and Kugichagulia: A N.I.C.E. Perspective!

Given that today is the second day of Kwanzaa, and the principle of focus is Kugichagulia, which is to define ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves, I think that  a review of the new film Django is befitting here.  It is actually quite a complex film to discuss so I will begin with an analysis pertinent to N.I.C.E., which is how was the hair of the main Black/African  protagonists depicted and was it on point?  Well, if we begin with the opening scene, there is no other way to describe Jamie Fox's  (Django's) hair (see photo below) than "nappy."  It was beautifully kinky, wild, unkempt and exemplary of what one may expect that a slave would be going through from a hair vantage point.  It was symbolic of the situation that the slave was going through, which was devastating, while simultaneously indicating that one cannot truly be oppressed with his hair representing symbolic strength and growth in the midst of suffering and struggle.  Kerri Washington's (Broomhilda von Shaft's) hair was also beautifully natural in the film and seemingly neat and tamed, exemplifying a sense of strength, character and uniformity in the midst of devastating chaos in her life through deep, overriding oppression.  Her beauty remained apparent, no matter what was done to her, even in her seemingly "damsel in distress" state which surfaced as womanism as she rode off, saved by her man in the end, still with her dignity and natural tresses in tact.  Natural Is Cool Enough was clearly indicated in the film. 


As for the film on an overall basis, perhaps one will  walk away with mixed feelings and emotions and some questions, which may surface are as follows:
1. Was the level of blood and gore in the film necessary?
2.  Is it okay to leave the theater feeling empowered and validated as a result of seemingly justifiable revenge and what does that say about one's perspective regarding retaliation for unspeakable cruelty experienced by the slaves?
3.  Does it make more sense to have more animosity towards the Samuel Jackson character than the white perpetrators of atrocities against the slaves and was he ultimately redeemable or should he have been dealt with in the way that Django dealt with him?
4.  How should feelings be processed towards the Mistress and her ultimate fate?
5. Given the gun debate in the United States at this time, what is the ultimate conclusion regarding guns during that time, particularly in terms of self-defense and retaliation/revenge by the slaves?

The bottom line is that so as not to give-away any essentials of the film, I won't provide answers to the above questions.  However, I will say that the film may leave one thinking about these questions  and more, upon exiting the theater and for many hours after.  Usually, that is a sign that the film was thought provoking and intense and as a result possibly worthy of praise.  I do have to point out that Spike Lee, although he admits that he has not seen the film, indicates that he will not see it and that it is disrespectful to ancestors.  As one who feels that Spike Lee's perspective as a filmmaker is worthy of consideration, I take this to heart.  Perhaps an analysis of whether this film contributes to the legacy of the ancestors of Black/African American people is warranted which is what I will embark on in terms of my own thoughts.  How does this film ultimately reflect the experience of my ancestors?  It is a tough question, which may only be answered by assessing how you feel in the moment that the credits roll at the end of the film and you walk out.  Ask yourself do you feel redemption, betrayal, animosity, pride, shame, etc. and let your own perspective be your guide. Nevertheless, in terms of the character, Django, Kugichagulia (self-determination) was definitely exemplified. 
As for the hair of the protagonists, Django and Broomhilda, in the film, natural hair was definitely showcased, which is historically accurate and definitely showed that the film embraced the fact that Natural Is Cool Enough and that is N.I.C.E.!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In The Spirit of Umoja (UNITY), N.I.C.E. Salutes CMM!

On occasion, N.I.C.E. salutes a Naturalista, and does so today in the spirit of UMOJA (Unity) as is the first day of Kwanzaa.  Often times, we are led to believe that with natural hair/locks, one's appearance is not Professional.  Personally, I know this is not true because I have worn my locks as a President of my own firm, as a President of a Health Corporation, as Vice President of a Health Corporation, as a University Faculty member and in other roles as well.  It is clear to me that intelligence is in my mind and not in the locks of my hair.  To wear your hair as it grows out of your scalp, naturally, is not an indication of an inability to be wise, intelligent or "professional" or to share the knowledge that you have acquired intelligently, but perhaps an a way of showing your strength, based on your willingness to be a "naturalista" in the mainstream business world.  This is particularly true in terms of the world of finance where knowledge is somewhat esoteric and a certain "business" demeanor is essential.  Hence,  N.I.C.E. salutes Connie Morris-Moore in the spirit of Unity as explained below:


I have known Connie Morris-Moore (then Connie Morris) since grade school and as life would have it, our paths have not crossed in years.  Through Facebook, we reconnected and surprisingly and wonderfully, I was pleased to learn that we are both locked naturalistas!  As I reflect on the first day of Kwanzaa today, which is Unity (UMOJA), defined as striving for and maintaining unity in the family, community, nation and race, I find it befitting to discuss this connection that is exemplified through our hair.  As a professional, there is unity in seeing another sister wearing her locks with grace and courage while taking care of business.  As I look at Connie's website (indicated above), I feel pride in seeing her taking care of business with her locks flowing down her back.  As is is often said, a picture is worth a thousand words and indeed the one above is.  On her website,  Connie represents family (knowing that she is a mother), community (serving as a business person), nation (as a Black/African American woman with pride contributing to economic stability through entrepreneurism) and race ( as a Black/African American woman courageously being who she is with her hair flowing as it grows from her scalp...naturally).

So, Connie Morris-Moore, along with many other women of African descent, who have shown the courage to express that Natural Is Cool Enough, N.I.C.E., once again offers a salute, and this time has selected you,in the spirit of U.N.I.T.Y (UMOJA)!
Happy Kwanzaa to all! 

N.I.C.E. Natural is Cool Enough, Holiday Holy Grail Winner: Kawanda Foster!

Kawanda  Foster wrote:

"My holy grail natural hair product is organic virgin coconut oil. I use it in my hair as a sealant, as a moisturizer, and as a part of my deep conditioner concoction. It keeps my hair feeling soft & moisturized and gives it great shine. You can find it online or in the organic section of a grocery store. It costs between 8 to 10 dollars for a 16 ounce jar depending where you buy it from. Its great for natural hair because it helps your hair retain moisture. And it smells so good!"

...And therefore, she is the N.I.C. E., Natural Is Cool Enough, Holy Grail winner.  I have tried organic Virgin Coconut Oil on my locks, and I agree, it is wonderful.  The main result that I have found thus far is softening of my hair and of course a beautiful shine.  Thank you Kawanda, for sharing.   I will now add Shea Butter (my favorite) and Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, to my two natural hair "holy grails."   Thank you for contributing to our hair care knowledge as we celebrate the fact that Natural Is Cool Enough (N.I.C.E.)!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Natural Hair and Loss of a Job (The Rhonda Lee Story): Thoughts?

This morning, I was watching Soledad Obrien's show, Starting Point, at which time I learned about a woman named Rhonda Lee

Rhonda Lee is a Meteorologist who recently lost her job at KTBS TV in Shrevport, LA.  Ms. Lee has filed a discrimination suit because she says she was fired for violating a social media policy that she says was never communicated to her. Last month, Ms. Lee responded, on Facebook, to a viewer.  Here is the commentary that led to her being fired:

“the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”

Rhonda’s response –   “Hello Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.
I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.
Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.
“Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.

Since the focus of her firing was the commentary on Facebook, rather than her actual hair, my question is what do you think about the content of her commentary above.  Do you agree or disagree with her response about why she has chosen to wear her hair naturally?

Also, below is an excellent piece on this issue that provides insight into other Black women in the media who have chosen to wear their hair naturally Black women, in general, who are naturalistas in the workplace http://sportyafros.com/hair/rhonda-lee-fired-her-responding-to-comments-about-her-natural-hair/

Monday, December 10, 2012

NPR/WLRN Tomorrow at 1:00!

  Prizes for the Natural Is Cool Enough "Holy Grail Hair Product"  Holiday Contest!

The Prize is a 16 oz. Tub of Shea Butter and BVLGARI Soap

Only 4 Days Left to Enter! Use the products for yourself or give them as a gift.  Shea Butter is wonderful for your hair (and body) and BVLGARI soap has a wonderful fragrance.

Share a one paragraph description of your "Holy Grail" natural hair product including:  1) how you use it and why,  2) where we can find it,  3) the cost and 4) why you think it is perfect for natural hair.  Your product must be 100% natural.  Your entry must be submitted by December 15, 2012.  The winner will be selected by N.I.C.E. on or around December 20 and will receive a
16 oz. tub of 100% Natural African Shea butter as a holiday gift for your natural tresses along with a lovely scented surprise (hint: BVLGARI)!  Submit your entry by commenting on this Post with your paragraph.
Note:  You must be a member of  N.IC.E. to participate.  So join today if you are not already a member and let's search for that Natural Hair "Holy Grail" for the Holiday Season!
For the Winner, your gift will be on the way...Good Luck!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Beyonce and Baby, Historically Natural!

Priorities change for new mothers and the focus becomes the baby.  Natural hair styles become a beautiful choice for easy hair care and a carefree untamed look.   Braids, whether from one's own natural hair or extensions are often the choice and go back to our early African roots. African women have used extensions, various types of braids and locks as styles for their adorning hair crowns throughout history.  For a very interesting history of African hair braiding, check out this website: http://www.ehow.com/about_5792009_history-african_american-hair-braiding.html

So Beyonce and her little Blue Ivy, with her natural curly tresses, are highlighted here as beautiful examples that Natural is Cool Enough (N.I.C.E.) for a new mothers.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Introducing the N.I.C.E. "Holy Grail" Hair Product Holiday Contest!

It is that time of year to spend extra time with loved ones, give and receive gifts and look our best for the holidays.  For Naturalistas the goal is to do so naturally.  Recently, I have been involved in conversations with naturalistas about transitioning to Natural Hair, what to do with their hair (before and after transitioning) and most importantly, what is the "holy grail" of hair products for Natural Hair?  As many of you know, from previous postings, my favorite product is Shea butter.  I use 100% natural shea butter from Africa as part of my natural hair regimen . Shea butter keeps my hair soft and provides that lustrous shine.  It is not the only item that I use but if I had to choose a "holy grail" of hair products, for moisture, condition and shine, for my natural locks, shea butter is my selection.  What's yours?

So, here is the contest announcement:

Share a one paragraph description of your "Holy Grail" natural hair product including:  1) how you use it and why,  2) where we can find it,  3) the cost and 4) why you think it is perfect for natural hair.  The key is that your product must be 100% natural.  Your entry must be submitted by December 15, 2012.  The winner will be selected by N.I.C.E. on or around December 20 and will receive a
16 oz. tub of 100% Natural African Shea butter as a holiday gift for your natural tresses along with a lovely scented surprise (hint: BVLGARI)!  Submit your entry by commenting on this Post with your paragraph.
Note:  You must be a member of  N.IC.E. to participate.  So join today if you are not already a member and let's search for that Natural Hair "Holy Grail" for the Holiday Season!
For the Winner, your gift will be on the way...Good Luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Second N.I.C.E. Winner: Eboni Person's Review Shines!

Recently, at a showing of Chris Rock's Film Good Hair at the University of Miami, students were given the opportunity to participate in a writing contest by writing a review of the film.  There were two winners.  The second place winner was Eboni Person (depicted below)who will receive an Africana Studies Program's Fannie Lou Hamer Award on November 27 at a Reception in her honor along with the first place winner.  Congratulations Eboni!  Your writing and analysis of the film is excellent and N.I.C.E. Salutes you!  Please enjoy her entry below.


Eboni Person
Good Hair Film Review

One day the young daughter of comedian Chris Rock came up to him and said, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” It was that question that started Rock’s journey to uncovering the meaning of good hair and exploring the multibillion dollar industry that surrounds Black hair.
In the 2009 documentary “Good Hair”, directed by Jeff Stilson, Rock successfully explained the meaning of good hair through interviews with members of “Black Hollywood” and hair care professionals. And, of course, Rock could not leave out his own witty commentary.  
The simplest way of defining good hair is straight hair. And the best way to transform “bad hair,” the hair that naturally grows out of the scalps of black people, is to relax it. A Relaxer is a cream that is applied to the roots of the hair. As it sits in the hair it chemically alters the natural hair texture; preferably making curly and coarse hair, straight and smooth.  
The film explained that along with relaxers, hair weaves are worn to achieve the European look and standard of beauty. The purchasing of weaves is an expensive habit. A habit indulged by the rich and famous, as well as normal working class citizens. Rock traveled to India to see the hair cut off the heads of Indian women. The hair would then be turned into hair weaves and shipped into the U.S. The demand for hair in the states is so great that in India 10 inches of hair is like gold.
Rock backed away from the social and economic aspects of hair to show the entertainment side of black hair. He went to the annual Bronner Bros. Hair Show in Atlanta where hair stylists compete to show how creative and unique they can be with their styling skills.
Bottom line, the film was thought provoking and illuminating of a once touchy subject; black hair. It had some solemn moments, but Rock always knows how to lighten a mood.

A N.I.C.E. Winner! : Christopher Pinto's Critique of "Good Hair" is Enlightening!

Recently, at a showing of Chris Rock's Film Good Hair at the University of Miami, students were given the opportunity to participate in a writing contest by writing a review of the film.  There were two winners.  The first place winner was Christopher Pinto (depicted below)who will receive the Africana Studies Program's Fannie Lou Hamer Award on November 27 at a Reception in his honor along with the second winner.  Congratulations Chris!  Your writing and analysis of the film is excellent and N.I.C.E. Salutes you!  Please enjoy his winning entry below.


After supposedly gaining Civil Rights in the United States, African-American warriors for equality began their removal of the centuries’ long ideological degradation of the Black Community. With three simple words they hoped to instill and inspire their generations, and all that followed, to embrace the internal and external magnificence of being African-American. Black is Beautiful. While such a basic concept, its power cannot be denied. This public affirmation, after centuries of systematic, ideological abuse and the indoctrination that the color of their skin was the reason they were being subjugated, came as a long overdue awakening. Black people no longer needed to conform to white standards of beauty. They were given this amazing gift to allow the attributes that God and nature had given them to be the new definition of beauty in their community. Thus, it is so disillusioning that the Black Community shunned this view and still embraces the standards of beauty that white supremacy deigned to them.
       Chris Rock’s film “Good Hair” examines the role of hair in Black America and how the standards for what qualifies as “Good Hair” still adheres to being white hair. Particularly for the women of this group, hair that is considered natural or nappy is unfavorable. Straight hair and hairstyles of white women are what is viewed as the most attractive type of hairstyle.  The effect of this view manifests itself in various forms.
      The most common way for black women to achieve hair similar to white women is to have “weave” or an outside extension put in. As Rock discovers, weave is extremely expensive, on average costing between $1,000 and $3,500. Even women who cannot reasonably afford weave will sacrifice necessities to have the extension done. The Black Community has always accounted for a disproportionate amount of socio-economic disparity. As Rock examines, weave is one of the constructs which maintains this disparity. Women are using money that could be used for food, children’s needs, and even schooling in order to support their hairstyles. On an opposite note, many black women have broken into the ranks of professionalism and earn more than enough to support their weave habits. While these women may not feel the economic struggle directly, they have portrayed an image to White America; that an educated black woman must have “white hair” or weave. They are the perpetrators who make it so much more difficult for qualified women with natural hair to succeed in the business world, solely because they don’t project the image of a black professional woman.
     Still on an economic note, Rock points out that the weave industry is dominated by Asians and Asian-Americans. The products that Black America uses for their hair are most often sold through white companies. In a market solely based on African-American money, the community sees very little of that return. As happens in economics, this monopoly of the weave market leads to massive exploitation.
     Rock examines the social effect of black hair standards as well. Black men feel that there is a lack of intimacy with their wives and partners because they aren’t able to touch their hair, as they do with women of other races. Women also teach their daughters at a young age to conform to these white standards of beauty. Rock interviewed a toddler receiving a perm, and while she was able to say that the process would make her beautiful, she didn’t understand why straight hair is considered beautiful. Indeed, many women who have bought weave their whole lives don’t understand why doing so makes them “beautiful” they just buy into the theory that it does.
     Rock’s “Good Hair” should then serve as a cry to the Black Community. From its very roots, both hair and historical, this industry and ideology has only served as a structural restraint of natural African beauty. Until Black America sets the example for change, this cultural genocide will continue to prevail and enslave future generations.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

N.I.C.E. At the University of Miami: A Gathering of Intellectual Naturalistas!

Last evening, on an historic night in which President Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States, a second exciting event also took place, as we kept our eyes on the preliminary results of the election night results streaming in the background. Natural Is Cool Enough had its first session at the University of Miami to discuss our natural hair! A lively and in-depth discussion took place about whether we think natural hair is a reflection of a level of consciousness or just a style, what we do with our hair after washing it and it is in its natural state and whether we know what to do with it, whether we are concerned that natural hair is not perceived as professional enough and what professional means to us.  We also shared our natural hair stories.  Our next meeting will be in January 2013, as we will begin our new year, naturally.  Definitely, Natural is Cool Enough at the University of Miami is off to a good start and there will be more new exciting ventures including guest speakers, natural hair product reviews, style tips, the politics of natural hair and beyond! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Author Event at Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida!

Just a brief post to let you know that on October 10, at 6:30 P.M., Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL will host an Author's Event on my behalf which I want to share with you.  Please see information per this link:

I will give a complete talk about why and how I wrote the book, how I got it published and discuss highlights from the book!  I will be sure to highlight the natural hair "case study" in the book as this work definitely contains cultural competency matters relevant to N.I.C.E.!  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oprah on the Cover of Forbes, Naturally: You Go Girl!

Not only did Oprah Rock her natural on the cover of her own magazine in the most recent issue, but she did the same on the cover of  The Forbes Magazine Special 30th Anniversary Issue, standing in between Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.  All I have to say is that there is no doubt that Oprah knows that Natural Is Cool Enough and to sum it up, You Go Girl!  Natural Hair definitely works in the business/corporate world, for sure and don't ever let anyone suggest otherwise!  Oprah is stepping forward as a natural hair Role Model, and letting the world know that Natural IS Cool Enough and of course, even for the richest people in America and that's N.I.C.E.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Prince's New Style: For Him, Natural Is Cool Enough

Prince has  always been unique in many ways and that alone is a sign of strength and creativity. There is a reason to cheer given the fact that he is about to proceed with a concert in Chicago, to bring awareness to the economic crisis and people who are suffering financially and beyond.  Perhaps, in proceeding with such a worthwhile endeavor, the natural style will serve to highlight his level of  consciousness and awareness about what others are experiencing during these trying times. Whatever his reason for his natural do, one can be certain that at this time, Prince has decided, once again that Natural Is Cool Enough!
Current Prince...

Prince from Back in the Day...He's Back, Naturally!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

U.S. Open Naturally: Serena Wins Again!

Serena has done it again, winning the U.S. Open in natural style. This is her 4th time winning the U.S. Open and it has been a banner year for her. Selena also won singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon and the London Olympics.  Once again, she let the world know, by stepping out with her natural, beautiful hairstyle, that she knows, without a doubt, that Natural is Cool Enough!  Fabulous!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Politics Aside: For Michele Obama, Is Natural Cool Enough?

Politics aside, there is no doubt that Michelle Obama is an absolutely intelligent, beautiful and glamorous African American/Black woman. Without taking varied political perspectives into consideration, and focusing on the purpose of nearly all of my Blog posts and it's theme, Natural Is Cool Enough,  I can't help but wonder, what the impact would be if Mrs. Obama were to stop making her hair totally bone straight and let her natural hair, as it grows from her scalp, be seen, in public, particularly when she is giving a speech as important and as eloquent as the speech she gave last night at the Democratic National Convention.  I wrote about this back in May of 2010 and continue to ponder this: http://naturaliscoolenough.blogspot.com/2010/05/should-michelle-obama-wear-her-hair.html.

As I explored the web, after her speech, I wasn't surprised when I saw comments from Black women noting that they were on the fence about keeping their hair natural or transitioning to natural hair, but after seeing FLOTUS during her speech, they were going to go ahead and get a perm or straighten their hair otherwise.  Some think that First Lady Michelle Obama uses a flat iron, others say it is a perm, and some even argue that there is some weave involved.  Essentially, no one knows that will reveal this, nor should they, but what is absolutely clear is that something is being done to change the texture.  So, here are some pictures, in case there is some uncertainty.

Mrs. Obama is a Princeton graduate, a Harvard Law graduate and she is married to the President of the United States. Other than being the President herself, what role would she need to be in before wearing her hair naturally would be acceptable? I can't help but think how intense it would be if side by side pictures of Michelle Obama and Ann Romney depicted Mrs. Obama with her hair rather than like this...

but like the style depicted in the picture immediately below.  Maybe African American/Black women across the web and all over the world who are on the fence about going natural or not would say, I am going to go natural too...with Mrs. Obama as a role model, in terms of hair. Perhaps little Black/African American girls in the U.S. and around the world would look at their hair and want to emulate Mrs. Obama's natural hair.

So, although the First Lady, for whatever her reasons, chooses not to represent the notion that Natural Is Cool Enough in her role as first lady, there are others to continue to look to for this type of role modeling.  It's nice to see the covers below with Jill Scott and Oprah as they are literally representing natural hair in the public eye.  For these two ladies, with politics aside, it appears that your perspective is that Natural Is Cool Enough!

Maybe one day we will see Mrs. Obama gracing a magazine cover like this:


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fairy Tales, Naturally: For Our Children, Crump Agreed That Natural Is Cool Enough

When my children were little, I used to read to them incessantly.  I wanted them to experience the joy of reading as I do.  But unfortunately, I noticed that none of the books had images that looked like them, and I was particularly concerned that none of the princesses, etc. had hair like my daughters...natural and beautiful.  So I traveled to Harlem, and went to a bookstore and I found what I considered gold...Fairy Tales that had been adapted artistically to make sure that children of African descent would be able to identify with the characters in terms of hair, images, names, etc. My intent here is to focus solely on the images because all of them have beautiful natural hair such as Afrotina and the Three Bears and Rapunzel, as examples.

Additionally, in preparing for this post, I decided to do a bit of research about the Illustrator and to my surprise, I found the link that follows, containing the information below about him.  His name is Fred Crump Jr. and he was an Art Teacher for 32 years before retiring.  One of his former students wrote a very heartfelt piece about him which is available at this link:

Here are excerpts from this excellent information:

About the Illustrator
"He was also working as a Children's book illustrator at the time of teaching.  He would use his sample pages to teach us what went into good illustration and all of the details. He specialized in making fairy tale books for African American children, retelling African folklore and also retelling classic fairy tales with African American children in the roles of the main characters because he believed it was silly for all the old fairy tales and princesses to only be white children.  He thought it sent the wrong message to minority children to see that only white people had a prince charming or happy ending.  I recall his statesments on that stuff really striking me, as I had never really thought about race before...let alone all the characters being white!  He really encouraged us to make sure we learned to draw people who "were not like us."

(Although I searched the web for pictures of Fred Crump, Jr., the only image I was able to find is this illustration drawn by his former student who wrote about him, per the link above).

“You must learn to draw every man before you can really draw any man.”

  -Fred Crump, Jr.

I was absolutely touched when I read this piece because Fred Crump, Jr. truly made a difference in my life, as a young mother, and the lives of my children.  I remember being so excited about those books and bringing them home to my children and reading those stories to them with so much pride.  My children are adults now, but I bring those books to class with me each semester and share them with my college students in my Africana Studies course, to help them understand the importance of children seeing images in literature, which they can identify with, particularly in terms of positive stories with happy endings.

So,  N.I.C.E. recognizes  and praises Fred Crump, Jr. for knowing and understanding that within the context of his beautiful illustrations and the re-telling of classic fairy tales, Natural Is Cool Enough!  Below you will find Mr. Crump's autobiography and many of the covers of his beautiful books, illustrated with African American/Black children in mind.

Autobiography of Fred Crump, Jr.
Fred Crump, Jr. was born in Houston, Texas on Junes 7 1931.  He received a Master's Degree in Art from Sam Houston College in 1961.   He moved to Palm Springs, California and taught art at a junior high school for 32 years. After retiring from his teaching career, he began a career as an author and illustator of Children's books.  In addition to teaching, writing and illustrating, Mr. Crump also wrote for magazines such as "Humpty Dumpty, Playmate and Turtle."  Mr. Crump brought the fairy tales of childhood to African-American children in a way with which they can personally identify. Mr. Crump died, October 29, 2005, at the age of 72.  Crump, whose final book, Three Kings and a Star, was released a month before his death.  He devoted the final chapter in his life to retelling popular children's stories for African-American audiences. Mr. Crump had more than 40 titles. 
Source: http://www.djcoffman.com/2010/08/09/mr-crump/

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's In Your Hands: Money Saved by Styling Your Own Hair, Naturally

Once again, the prices at the pump have risen!

 Unemployment remains on the rise and costs for almost everything that you need has increased including groceries and beyond. 

Saving money is a plus during these times and one way to accomplish this is by taking care of your own hair, naturally.


When I was a teenager, I mentioned to my mother that I wanted to learn how tho do extensions, after having my hair braided at an African Hair Braiding Salon in Harlem, NYC and paying a lot of money to have it done.  My mother told me to try it  on a doll so I could practice.  Excitedly, I bought some synthetic hair, pulled out one of my dolls from childhood, which my mother had saved, and I tried adding extensions to her hair.  After trying a few times, I was amazed that braiding in the extensions, cornrowing, single braids without extensions and preparing other styles on the dolls hair, all came to me naturally.  I asked my mother, how come I was able to do this and she stated the following:  "It's In Your Hands."  What she meant by this is that braiding and cornrowing and handling of hair naturally, had taken place in the hands of my African ancestors and knowing how to care for my hair, consequently, came natural to me.  After realizing all that I could do with the dolls hair, I started doing all kinds of interesting things with my own hair.  I added braided extensions, cornrowed my hair, braided it without extensions and ultimately my natural hair decision was locks, I absolutely take care of my own hair and never spend a dime to let anyone style it.  When I think about how much money I have saved in taking care of my own hair, I am very pleased!

So, how do you get started if you are not doing so already.  My recommendation is to simply wash your hair and condition it, towel it dry and then look at your hair in its natural state, in the mirror.  Then use whatever you need to get started (comb, brush, moisturizer, etc.) and just go for it without hesitation.  If you know how to braid or twist, start there.  If not comb it out and wear it freestyle.  If that doesn't work, just play around with it until you can walk away from that mirror with a natural style that makes you smile.  The  most important thing is not to be afraid or worried about what other people may think about your created styles.  You have to be naturally you.

Think about how much money you are spending now for a stylist and products and how much you would save if you did your own hair. Every time you go to a salon or buy a hair product within a month, write it down.  Multiply your expenditures by 12 and figure out how much you spend, on average, per year on your hair. You may be shockingly surprised.  Yes, it may be a luxury to have someone else do your hair and even a social or relaxing time for you.  But imagine what you could do with all  of that money if you did it yourself including gas, high quality food, travel, saving...essentially, whatever you choose.

So, below are some pictures of natural styles, including freestyle, locs, braids and beyond that you may want to try.  You don't need a tutorial or videos or books or anything to move forward in styling your hair.  Just remember all you need to know to take care of your hair naturally.  It's in your hands!  That's N.I.C.E.

Natural Hair Style 2