Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Natural Is Cool Enough for Chi-Raq's Teyonah Parris and a N.I.C.E. Review in Couplets!

Recently, I went, with my husband, to see the film Chi-Raq. I knew the film would be satirical, but beyond that, I had avoided reading all reviews, beyond headlines, which would enable me to watch the film with an open mind. Because much of the film was handled in couplets, I decided to use the same format for my review below. Perhaps my perspective will provide some insight about this film. There are some serious naturalistas in this film wearing fros and other natural styles. Kudos to Spike Lee for that! So Check out my review below, which was also published by Huffington Post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patti-r-rose/why-black-folks-must-see-_b_8855422
To read the full review, check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patti-r-rose/why-black-folks-must-see-_b_8855422
Also check out this interesting piece where Chi-Rac's lead actress, Teyonah Parris, talks about her role in Chi-Raq: http://www.blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/interview-teyonah-parris-talks-chiraq-female-driven-stories-the-storm-surrounding-the-spike-lee-joint-20151123

Friday, December 18, 2015

Natural Hair In Review, 2015: Weave (Glue and Tracks), Creamy Crack and Wigs Are Being Left Behind

Happy Holiday Season naturalistas!
Sometimes I can't believe that I live in a reality where I felt the need to develop a website entitled Natural Is Cool Enough (N.I.C.E.) in an effort to be a part of what has come to be known as a natural hair movement. The fact that Black women are/were gluing and sewing hair into their scalps for a Eurocentric appearance is sadly understandable, given the history of slavery and ongoing racism that Black people experience for which the outcome of such is self-hatred. The weave, creamy crack and wig situation has become so extreme and intense that it prompted me to do something and say something. For the love of Black people, history, and posterity, when folks come to their senses, I just wanted to make sure that it is/was clear where I stand on this matter. So here is a link for an article that I wrote for Huffington Post that you don't want to miss (The above paragraph is the opening): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patti-r-rose/natural-hair-in-review-20_b_8806080
The conclusion of the article is: "So for the New Year (2016), I hope that the creamy crack, weaves (glue and tracks) and wigs will continue to be left behind for Black women. Also, departing from straightening combs, flat irons, and blow dryers will be an added move toward self-love, in terms of embracing natural hair. I continue to dream of a world, where for Black people, in terms of our hair, Natural IS Cool Enough." So check out the article at the link above. Within it, I have compiled a list of 10, recent, interesting pieces written about Black women (Taraji P, Henson, Victoria Secret's model Maria Borges, and beyond). You don't want to miss this!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Real Game Changing Insight For Naturalistas On College/University Campuses

Before the Thanksgiving Holiday begins, I wrote one more piece, published by Huffington Post, about Predominantly White Institutions, within the context of current Black student protests on college/university campuses.  You will find it here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patti-r-rose/the-real-game-changer-for_b_8612606.html and it is entitled:

"The Real Game Changer for PWI's: Racially Diversifying Boards of Trustees and Administration"


I discuss naturalistas in this article.  Here is a brief quote from it:

"To make matters worse, the day-to-day experience may be disheartening for black faculty at PWI's. As an example, I have actually served as a faculty member at a PWI in which black faculty members, mainly women, felt that they could not wear their hair in natural styles because white colleagues/administrators might find it offensive/unprofessional. I mention this because I have a natural hair blog entitled Natural is Cool Enough (N.I.C.E.)--http://naturaliscoolenough.blogspot.com/. This blog led to formulation of a campus group, which advocated student empowerment and comfort in knowing that Natural IS Cool Enough on campus or anywhere. Black faculty members would also attend N.I.C.E. meetings, which were essentially support group sessions, and lament about their feelings of disempowerment on campus regarding their hair. It was as much of a problem for black faculty as it was for black students!"

Naturalistas, although our hair is a key focus of on this blog, as part of our discussion, we must also raise our voices and spread the word about other issues, with our hair in context.  I remain strong in my conviction, ass always, that Natural IS Cool Enough, on college/university campuses too--as Board members, Administrators, Staff and students.  Always!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paris, College/University Protests and Beyond--What In the World Is Going Down?: A Naturalistas Brief Reflections

     Naturalistas!  I have so much to say that I do not know where to begin, but I will be brief.  First, I just returned from Paris where I celebrated my 30th Wedding Anniversary.  I returned home one week before the awful events transpired there so I am still shocked that such a beautiful city has been so traumatized, given our recent joyous, wonderfully romantic time there.  I am deeply saddened in seeing the trauma experienced by so many people in Paris. There have been devastating events in other nations as well, namely Beirut, Nigeria and Kenya, without the same degree of coverage I might add, but my mind is on Paris, because I was just there and what we are hearing about every day, all day, just happened. This in no way means lack of concern for the people in the other cities. In fact, here is an interesingt article questioning the difference in focus on the other cities: http://fusion.net/story/233218/beirut-paris-kenya-media/.

    Regarding Paris, I keep thinking, what if we had arrived just one week later or just stayed a little longer, but then I realize that did not happen. We arrived home safely and my memories of our 30th wedding anniversary, a fantastic and memorable milestone, are actually beautiful, not personally tragic. So, in the midst of my sadness for the people of Paris and other cities where tragedy has occurred, below are some pictures and a video from our time in Paris, where we celebrated one of the most meaningful times of our lives, which perhaps provides a moment of positive reflection on such a glorious city.  This naturalista truly enjoyed Paris and I have deep compassion for all of the people who are suffering through this now. My prayers and thoughts remain with the people of Paris and anywhere on earth where tragedy and fear is present.

     Additionally and seriously important are the events associated with Black students at Predominantly White Colleges (PWI's).  I had to sort through my feelings and reflections on this issue also as I attended all PWI's and I love and adore Black students.  I love teaching them, talking with them, advising them and every aspect of their journey. So to that end naturalistas, here is an article that I wrote about Black students and their current concerns entitled: 

A Love Letter To Black College/University Students in Struggle: Is Ignorant Racism a Distraction?

     I will be writing again soon as there have been some naturalista hair atrocities that I have read about of late, so stay tuned.  In the meantime I hope these positive photos and a video of  our time in Paris will enable a moment of reflection on the beauty of this great city and the joy of long lasting love.

Paris: A Naturalista's Visual Reflections

In the cellar of the Charles Heidseick Champagne Vineyard in Reims


Friday, April 3, 2015

Little Naturalistas and their Mommies: Including Beyonce and Blue, My Sister, My Nieces, My Daughter and Me!

     Recently, I gave a talk for the Yellow Rose Society, a campus, community service organization, comprised of Black women, at the University of Miami.  I mentioned this talk in my previous post (http://naturaliscoolenough.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-nice-shout-out-to-beauty-of-black.html).

      Of course, natural hair was one of the areas of dialogue and I used an article that I found written by the renowned Scholar, Social Activist and Author, Bell Hooks, to inform my presentation. See this compelling piece here entitled "Straightening Our Hair:"

     So interesting was our dialogue, following the talk, that I thought of members of my own family and how this generation is going about caring for the hair of their children. One of my sisters, who is younger than me by many years, has two adorable children, a boy and a girl. Recently, they, along with my sister, visited me, and were treated by my immediately family, to a trip to Disney World.  It was a wonderful time! The night before we left for our road trip to Disney, I put a henna in my sisters hair, washed it and twisted her locks and then washed and cornrowed my little niece's hair.

Me and My Sister and Her Little Naturalista


      How wonderful that was.  As described by Bell Hooks in her paper mentioned above: "These feelings remind me of the pleasure and comfort I felt as a child sitting between my mother's legs feeling the warmth of her body and being as she combed and braided my hair."  She points out further that "In a culture of domination, one that is essentially anti-intimacy, we must struggle daily to remain in touch with ourselves, our bodies and one another."  I am so proud of my sister for serving as an example to her daughter by keeping her hair in its natural state, her choice being beautiful locks to do so. She has no intention of straightening her daughter's hair or to use a dreadful kiddie perm. From time to time, she said she blow drys her daughter's hair to help with manageability but we discussed ways of getting around that by keeping her daughter's hair moisturized, naturally, and braided, or free flowing with easy, manageable styles, without the need for blow drying and the resulting damaging effects. I praise her for sending her beautiful little daughter, a cute little naturalista, and her handsome young son, the message that Black women's hair is acceptable in its natural state as mother's are indeed role models for their daughters in practically every way.

     On another note, I recently saw pictures of Beyonce with her husband and daughter and just with her daughter and I wonder if she understands how much her predominant hairstyle choices, for the most part (although she does wear braids from time to time), as stated in Bell Hooks article "appear white or ... embody aspects of white style"by dying her hair blonde and wearing weave.  Nevertheless, she has endeavored to keep and maintain her daughter's hair, another lovely little naturalista, in a kinky style, which is absolutely wonderful, so she deserves praise for that.

Beyonce and Her Little Naturalista!

     I also have a niece who recently had a child who is now a walking, busy, beautiful toddler.  My niece has chosen also, to keep her little daughter's hair naturally free, which is wonderful because my niece always looks radiant when her beautiful hair is in its natural curly state. Seeing her little baby's curls, wild and unfettered and naturally free, is absolutely wonderful.  Another lovely little naturalista...

 My Niece and her little Naturalista!

     Sometimes, mothers allow their little girls to be what they are not ready to be themselves...naturally free with no perming or pressing or weaving and other measures with professed justification for wearing straight hair.  Bell Hooks points out in her piece that: 

"It hurts to realize connection between racist oppression and the arguments that we use to convince ourselves and others that we are not beautiful or acceptable as we are."  

     I am definitely not judging mothers who struggle with this because when my  daughter was a little girl, I always kept her gorgeous hair natural, even though I was in turmoil about my own hair, hating every moment of it being permed, but not fully ready to make that change, until the day I cut off all of my hair and never looked back and have been natural ever since.  I had that strength and courage while my daughter was young and hence, for most of her life, she saw me with natural hair.

Me and My Little Naturalista (Now an Adult Naturalista)!

     I will close with one more comment from Bell Hook's paper, which, by the way, was published in1989 in her book entitled Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Back, and is as relevant today as it was then:

     "There are times when I think of straightening my hair just to change my style, just for fun.  
Then I remind myself that even though such a gesture could be simply playful on my part, and individual expression of desire, I know that such a desire would carry other implications beyond my control. The reality is: straightened hair is linked historically and currently to a system of racial domination that impresses upon Black people, and especially Black women that we are not acceptable as we are, that we are not beautiful. To make such a gesture as an expression of individual freedom and choice would make me complicit with a politic of domination that hurts us." 

    In essence, I believe that Hooks is right.  At all times, no matter where we are, including our work spaces and as mothers, wives, daughters and beyond, Natural Is Cool Enough:  That's Nice!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A N.I.C.E. Shout-Out to Beauty of the Black Woman and the Yellow Rose Society!

     Recently, I was invited by the President of the Yellow Rose Society at the University of Miami, Phalande Jean (who is also a Co-Founder and President and CEO of PhaJenn, LLC), a fashion accessory company, to discuss "Beauty of the Black Woman: A Conversation On The Perception of Beauty Through Time."  I am thrilled to give this presentation because the topic is so meaningful and important. 
Phalande Jean, President of the Yellow Rose Society, UM
Jennifer Pierre and Phalande Jean, Co-founders of PhaJenn,
a fashion accessories boutique.
For more information visit: http://www.phajenn.com/info/

Their company, PhaJenn, LLC, was also featured in Distraction Magazine. 
Check out the article here:  

I have given presentations for this organization as an invited speaker 
in  previous years because I love the fact that they are;
 "a community service organization of [emerging majority] women that 
strive to promote female pride by self-enrichment and social education." 
This is very much in-line with Natural Is Cool Enough as the goal of this 
Blog is to do the same.  

For more information about the Yellow Rose Society,  check out this link: http://www6.miami.edu/studorgs/

Since many N.I.C.E. readers are not in the city of Miami and are reading from other cities, states and countries and may not be able to attend, I will update you on this exciting event after it takes place.
Also, below is a list of The Yellow Rose Society's upcoming events for Women's History Month 2015,  on this fantastically creative and interesting poster.  A yellow rose has never looked so beautiful!  In the context of the event for which I will serve as the Featured Speaker (see flyer above), be sure that amongst the discussion of beauty of Black women inside and out, over time, I will also talk about the beauty of Black women's hair because without a doubt, Natural IS Cool Enough and of course that's N.I.C.E.!