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           

Monday, August 20, 2012

Accessorizing and Adorning our Natural Style: N.I.C.E. Says Yes to Torched by Natalie!

There is a new company that N.I.C.E. is ready to bring to your attention so here goes the story.  My daughter, graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), some time ago (her Natural is Cool Enough Hair Story, "Strike A Pose," can be found here: http://naturaliscoolenough.blogspot.com/2010/05/strike-pose.html)  and while there she met a wonderful friend named Natalie who is an Attorney, who was also completing her Master's at HGSE.  So, fast forward a few years later and my daughter is successfully teaching and Natalie has a day job as a Human Resources Professional and has started a FABULOUS jewelry line (check out "About Natalie" here: http://torchedbynatalie.com/page.html) and her boyfriend is her web designer. The ring below is one of her pieces, and she named it after my daughter, the Courtney Rose ring.  So you know I ordered it!  It's just beautiful with the infinity swirl (also known as a bow) and the pearl which is my daughter's birth stone.  I have provided a link for the company, entitled Torched by Natalie, and info. about this gorgeous ring directly below.  So how does this relate to N.I.C.E.?

Relevance to N.I.C.E.

Now, as I scrolled through the TorchedbyNatalie website, I started thinking about the importance of adornment and accessories to accentuate natural hairstyles and I found a number of her pieces, as examples, that would serve to set us on fire, in a beautiful way, once we finish styling our natural do's and are ready to accessorize.  The first is this gorgeous headband. I can definitely see this worn as a crown on hanging locs or as an updo or any natural style.  It's elegant and chique and definitely receives rave reviews from N.I.C.E. 

Just picture the headband adorning these styles, as an example, 
or this:

The other really cool aspect of TorchedbyNatalie is that she makes some of the jewelry herself.  Take a moment to read her story and get some insight on how this all started and then consider further the N.I.C.E. additional picks below for accessorizing.
Her Torched story in brief:

Additional N.I.C.E. picks from Torched by Natalie:

Ok, back to accessorizing: I particularly like this piece entitled The Tribal Dance Necklace.  The earthy colors and textures will definitely accentuate any natural do an this necklace can be worn for any occasion.  I have also added this one to the N.I.C.E. list!

Info here:
The Tribal Dance Necklace

Picture stepping out with this beautiful necklace with a natural do like this:

or these styles..

The next piece to add to the N.I.C.E. TorchedbyNatalie selection is The Flame Thrower Necklace.  Now tell me that one would not be on fire with a natural do, perhaps a shortfro, long locks, a sassy natural updo or whatever you prefer with this beauty around your neck.  Fabulous!

Info. here:
The Flame Thrower Necklace
Picture thsi necklace with this short and sassy style,
natural hair styles

or this...

My last pick, is the The Double Striped Lace Bracelet.  Although my list is not exhaustive because there are so many more of the Torched pieces that I love, this one really speaks volumes.  It is gracefully understated yet bold and would be a simply elegant edition to that wonderful little black dress that we all have in our closets.  Picture a coiffed short cut or sassy curls, and a gentle accentuation on the risk.  You'll be Torched for sure with this one so another N.I.C.E. pick!

Info. here:
The Double Striped Lace Bracelet

Picture this bracelet on either of their wrists:

So I have given you the N.I.C.E. picks that get rave reviews for their potential to accentuate our classy styles with our natural do's.  Now I recommend that you visit the website yourself,  http://torchedbynatalie.com/index.php, and make your own selections so you to can get Torched by Natalie!  Enjoy! Also, check out her blog to find out which red carpet fashionistas have already been Torched! 
N.I.C.E. definitely says YES to TorchedbyNatalie!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Giovanni's Gloss, Shine and Leave-in Treatment: End Summer Naturally!

As I near the end of summer, I realize that my hair has been on a tumultuous journey.  There has been lots of swimming (in both the ocean and in pools), intense sun exposure, weather changes due to travel nationally and internationally, hats and wraps, hennas, moisturizing, twisting and braiding of my locs, updo's and free flowing styles. So, to try and replenish my hair, I went on a search to find two products that would boost my hair with both vitality and shine.  I found those products and I want to share them with you.  The first is VitaPro Fusion Protective Leave-in Hair Treatment by Giovvani.  What I love about this product is the ingredients and the fact that it is for all hair types. It is also certified organic and contains natural ingredients, which include rosemary, nettle, thyme, birch leaf, chamomile, sage, St. John's wort, coltsfoot, balm mint, horsetail, red clover and grapefruit seed extracts.  In short, it is filled with lovely herbs.  So I bought this product and tried it.  It is light and cool and it's a spray bottle so I just spray it in.  It feels light and refreshing and makes my scalp feel soothed and moisturized.  There is no residue left on the hair so after styling my locks, I spray with Vitaprofusion and go!  This product definitely gets rave reviews from N.I.C.E.!

The next product to share with you is also by Giovanni.  In addition to conditioning my locs, I also want them to shine.  So I found a second product by Giovanni called Shine of the Times, High Gloss Hair Mist.  I am also very pleased with this spray because it accomplishes one goal that I am happy about.  It makes my locs shine! Again, the product is Certified Organic and contains Soybean protein, rosemary, nettle, wild bergamot, california poppy, rose hips and sunscreen.  I am pleased about the natural ingredients so when I am ready to step out and need, glossy beautiful shine, without that oily, greasy look or feel, I just spritz with Shine of the Times, which also gets a N.I.C.E rave review!
It took a lot of effort to find these products after trying several others that I was not happy with.  I also make mix and prepare my own oil concoction for my hair, which I think is a wonderful way to go, especially in these economic times when it is prudent to be financially conscious. But sometimes, a little splurge can go a long way!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

For Robert Griffin III (RG3), Braids Rule!

A Heisman trophy winner, college football's top individual honor, the second pick in this years draft  and he signed a 4-year 21.1 million dollar contract with the Washington Redskins! There is no doubt that all of this is fantastic for him. His parents told him not be afraid to be smart so he graduated a semester early from high school and earned a degree at Baylor in three years.  

As for his hair he explains: "I don't have dreads. My hair is braided off the scalp." His intention is not to dread but to keep his hair in braids. For Robert Griffin, III, braids rule. Braids have a rich history.  Check out the following link for interesting information regarding the history of braids: http://students.cis.uab.edu/archived/uabphd18/main2.html

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The N.I.C.E. Olympic Top Choices for 2012: Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson!

The Olympics are over and I must say I am already looking forward to Brazil in 2016.  The athletes were fantastic this year and of course, in addition to observing their skills,  I was also observing their do's to see which athletes had the perspective that Natural Is Cool Enough for the Olympics.  There were many but two that stood out were Jason Richardson and Aries Merritt, both  110 Meter Hurdlers who won silver and gold, respectively. N.I.C.E. sends a  shout out to these two amazing brothers for their athletic excellence and their hair choices...Fabulous!

Interestingly, per the quotes below, both of them had comments about their hair.

Jason Richardson: "I am the crazy, skinny guy with the hair.  I definitely think I am a kind of Samson," the 26-year-old said. "I think there is a lot of power and majesty in my hair. "I wouldn't feel like myself if I didn't have my hair."

So, Jason Richardson, after first acknowledging your fantastic athletic skills, N.I.C.E. chooses you as an Olympic Top Choice for 2012 for your natural and beautiful locks and congratulates you for winning a silver medal!
Also, after first acknowledging, you, Aries Merritt, for your excellent athleticism,  N.I.C.E. also selects you as an Olympic Top Choice for 2012 for your wonderful cornrowed and individual braided style  and congratulates you for winning a gold medal!

Aries Merritt: "I always have to pull it back," Merritt said. "I don't want to say it is a distraction, but I don't want it to get in the way.  I don't have a name for it," he said. "It's just conrows and the rest is braided individually in the back.  It takes a little time to make it look nice, but it's all for show."

And a beautiful show it is Aries....Thanks for showing the world that for the Olympics, Natural is Cool Enough!

N.I.C.E. for the Olympics for sure!