Natural Hair & Care

What I am Loving: Janelle Monae’s Style February 11, 2009

Filed under: celebrity,fashion,natural — R.D. @ 12:23 am
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Nominated for a Grammy for “Many Moons” in the Best Urban/Alternative performance category, Monae, who insists that she is “not a Red Carpet gal”, commands attention with her elegant coiffe and non-traditional outfit.

Halle Baldy February 8, 2009

Filed under: natural,natural hair care — R.D. @ 9:38 pm
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I almost killed myself trying to find the remote to turn up the volume, when I heard that Halle Berry was going to shave her head bald for her role in the upcoming film Nappily Ever After. Although Halle won’t be wearing her hair for this role, she will be wearing two hats; that of an actress in the film and that of co-producer.

“It’s a movie called “Nappily Ever After” and it deals with this issue of women and their hair,” Berry explained in a recent interview. “As women we define ourselves by our hair. I always have my whole life. When my hair’s not right, then I’m just not right and many days I won’t leave the house if my hair is not right. I still struggle with this hair issue,” she remarked while pointing out that her character “is forced to look at what beauty is, and it comes from inside…I’m going to get the lesson on film, and hopefully other women will get it, too.We get so fixated on our hair and so this movie is about this woman whose hair gets damaged and she decides in a drunken stupor to shave her head completely bald.”

Based on the eponymic novel by Trisha Thomas, the movie promises to explore themes central to the lives of many women. Interestingly, Nappily Ever After is only the beginning of Venus Johnston’s hairstory. In Would I Lie to You, Trisha Thomas’ character moves across the country and leaves all that is familiar behind her. In Nappily Married, Venus is forced to reconsider her decision to cut her permed hair when she decides to take on a new job.


About the novel:
African-American advertising agency executive Venus Johnston has had enough. Enough of the painful, expensive hours spent relaxing her “good” hair and enough of her four-year relationship with medical intern Clint Fairchild, which has lasted too long without a ring. She shaves her hair to a quarter-inch stubble, tells Clint to pack his bags and spends the rest of Thomas’s empowering debut novel building a new life to match the new woman she’s become. Clint, on the rebound, meets beautiful, longhaired and marriage-ready Kandi Treboe and proposes on an impulse, despite evidence that he’s not over Venus. Meanwhile, Venus confronts issues of sexual harassment and racism in her predominantly white Washington, D.C., firm, where she begins to receive threatening notes. The crisis at work fuels Venus’s fears that she’s not strong enough to survive her new freedom. Has she made a mistake by abandoning the security of her boyfriend and her long, straight hair? Kandi develops into a complex character, with her own set of concerns and a sense of humor about the lovers’ triangle. Her perspective provides an interesting counterpoint to Venus’s obsession with the consuming culture surrounding black women’s hair. Clint’s confusion over his choice between the two women is treated honestly, and Venus’s discovery that she has moved to new psychological territory carries emotional weight. This exploration of an African-American woman’s journey to self-acceptance is not without flaws (spotty writing and loose ends tied up too fast), but Thomas refuses to let her characters slide into stereotype, and she keeps the pace fast and funny. -Publishers Weekly

Talking about hair: Just my thoughts February 5, 2009

Filed under: natural,natural hair care — R.D. @ 11:06 pm
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So I’m a graduate student at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) and the second semester has started. In one of the first sessions for a class that I am taking, the professor asked us to introduce ourselves and talk about a cool new piece of media that has captured our attention or that we absolutely love. (It’s a class about designing and producing educational media) Although we all sat in a circle, he called on us randomly. The entire time, before he called on me, I argued with myself over whether I should discuss my favorite program (LOST) or this blog. Remember, this is a PWI. Discussing LOST would be much easier and many more people would be able to identify with me. I opted to talk about my blog and was pleasantly surprised by what happened next.

I told my new classmates that I had very recently created a blog devoted to African-American hair care, and the uniquely political aspects of our hair styles and choices. People seemed genuinely interested and some asked me to share the site, but this wasn’t the most surprising part. Right after I discussed the blog, my professor told me that he was recently reading a book about Madame Walker. He asked me, ‘Do you know Madame Walker?’. I smiled when he said this and nodded yes. He explained that it might seem weird to me that he is reading a book on Madame Walker but that as a native of Indiana, he  had become particularly interested in hair and hair products because of the variety that are available there and the fact that Madame Walker is from his hometown. I told him that it wasn’t weird and that blackhairstory was all of our history, which brings me back to the debate that I was having in my head before I told my classmates about the site.
I was nervous about sharing the site, nervous about appearing radical or afro-centric, nervous about being placed in a black box by my white classmates and professor, nervous that they might visit the site and be totally confused and nervous and that it would just be dismissed. But I believe what I told my professor. Black hairstories are part of American history. It made me so happy that my professor was reading a book about Madame C.J Walker. It also made me realize how we are often engaged in internal dialogues about ways to minimize or diminish our differences. Maybe if we ignored our internal dialogues and started speaking honestly to each other instead, we might be able realize the similarities in our differences and just be ourselves. White students have approached me and talked about how some of the issues on the site resonate with them because they have curly hair that they are compelled to straighten very frequently. What a first class!

What I am loving: Sasha and Malia’s natural hair January 30, 2009


Lola, you have great hair! January 26, 2009

[Chris Rock, Lola(C) and Zahra(R)]

Lola is the muse behind Rock’s film Good Hair

Following black dollars January 24, 2009

Filed under: extensions,weaves,wigs — R.D. @ 3:00 pm
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• Even though African-American women make up less than 10% of the population they buy 70% of all wigs and extensions purchased in the United States.

• Where does the money end up? Following the money, we see that black dollars are pumped into Korean owned businesses. Koreans dominate the Black hair industry. In fact, a top beauty magazine about African -American hair is only published in Korean (Beauty Times) for black beauty store owners.

• In South Central, Los Angeles, the owner of Beautiful Wigs says 99.9% of his clientele are African-American.

• Koreans have been creating their own products, which are sold in black beauty supply stores. By creating their own line, they buy out existing black-owned companies and control retail and wholesale distribution.

• Many Korean owned stores refuse to purchase black produced hair products. They are telling black companies that their products are no longer in demand.

• The archives of a (The Chosun) respected newspaper in Korea reveal a relationship between early Korean business owners and the United States that has existed since the 60s. The government was urged to ban the export of raw hair so that no one, except for Koreans, could export Korean hair. Months after the Korean ban, the US banned the import of wigs made from Chinese hair! This ban on Chinese wigs allowed Korean wig merchants to have a monopoly on the wig and weave business.

• A quote from The Chosun: “In the past, wigs were considered luxury goods in the West, but these days they are considered a necessity, especially among black women in the United States.”

For more information, check out Aron Rainen’s documentaries on black hair. They can be found in the side bar under the documenthairies section.


Natural and beauty are not mutually exclusive terms January 10, 2009

Filed under: fashion,natural — R.D. @ 7:11 am
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(Click picture to enlarge)

Many assume that wearing a natural hairstyle begs conversion to an ascetic daily regimen or lifestyle. While my crown is adorned with locks, I enjoy looking and dressing very well. I especially love to style my hair! A natural coiffure is not incompatible with the latest trends. Discover the website of the Haitian Bruno sisters in Brooklyn. See yourself differently. Their refreshing website redefines beauty.

Their philosophy: “missbruno sprung from the marrow of our lineage, making twists and turns jusqu’ it morphed into the trans-worlds collection you see today. specifically, we are two sisters: brooklynites by way of Ayiti; designers, by way of musik and film; independent, by way of clothing made directly from our collective hands. our designs thrive on our philosophies on life: wholistic, lush, simple. we make things meant for sustainable living and other unassuming revolutions.”

Imagine seeing these beauties on glamour, vogue, seventeen, allure, people, etc. imagine that!