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Rebel Spotlight- Good hair is healthy hair.

“Women of other ethnicities, their hair falls by nature. It drops, and drapes, and hangs loosely. But a Black woman’s hair rises by nature. It blossoms against the current of life. At its best, it swirls and spins like the earth, or the sun – a supernova of sublimity and strength. And like any other heavenly body, a Black woman’s natural hair demands nothing less than orbit: total praise from every physical thing within her influence, all revolving around her omnipotence – instinctively, humbly, and altogether. Whether dynamically drifting, or stationary and rooted, every living thing that finds itself before a Black woman’s natural hair is designed to stare and wonder.”

Women who rock natural hair are claiming their natural beauty and showing the world that curly, kinky, loc’d and braided hair is beautiful too. These are Rebel women that are breaking the mold about what society believes to be ‘good hair”; straight, soft and long hair. These women are lawyers, doctors, actresses, teenagers, mothers, everyday women. For years black women have been told that their natural hair is not good, not worthy to be worn. Now black woman want healthier hair and are shedding the perms and weaves. No more chemicals causing burns, hair damage, or temporary to permanent hair loss. Natural hair is fun and versatile.

In 2007 it was reported that Ashley Baker, a fashion editor at Glamour Magazine told a group of female attorneys at a law firm that African / Black-oriented hairstyles were a fashion ‘don’t’ – “no offense, but those ‘political hairstyles’ really have to go.” Society is uncomfortable with ethnic hair, and it is uncomfortable about race. We have been socialized to believe that straight hair is the preferential “professional” look of choice for woman. An undertone that natural hair is unacceptable, unprofessional and even ugly continues to exist. Society associates natural hairstyles with black empowerment, and with women of color standing up for themselves and for their rights.

Going natural is an outward expression of a woman’s inward journey to her wholeness and wellbeing. For many women it means embracing fully who you are, including a head full of hair not traditionally regarded as beautiful. Natural hair for many is about confidence, a journey of self-discovery, and an overall healthier relationship with their hair as it naturally grows. We should encourage our daughters to embrace their own natural beauty. We need to be mindful of the images we parade—or allow to be paraded in front of them. We need to drop the mentality that you must have a certain kind of texture to go natural. Learn to embrace whatever hair grows from your scalp! Good hair is hair that is healthy and makes you feel beautiful. Women wear natural hair with a crown of honor. 

  

“Don’t remove the kinks from your hair; remove them from your brain. —  Marcus Garvey

A rebel company promoting positive images and outlets for natural hair women: “The Curly Girl Collective (CGC) strives to create innovative experiences that foster acceptance and celebration of curls, kinks and everything in between. Through targeted events, a unique web portal, and focused digital marketing initiatives, CGC connects women internationally and serves as a tangible resource of information within the natural hair movement. CGC aims to create a platform ripe for conversation, affecting more than just hair choices, but addressing the spectrum of subjects that start with hair, and end with self-actualization.”

Natural Hair Resources

-There are many sites, Blogs, Vlogs like Youtube to educate you.  We all have different reasons for wanting to have natural hair. Get excited about what you want! Options for different styles and hair care routines… (http://shatterproofglassdolls.com/, http://www.afrobella.com/, http://www.curlynikki.com/)

- There is a whole world of natural hair care products locally and overseas. They are ‘natural’ with the ingredients they put IN the bottle! You can even make your own..(www.goodhairblog.com, http://motowngirl.com/)

-Be Bold! Be Confident! Be Proud!

Natural since creation… No chemicals here…

The other day a young man approached me about an idea he had for a documentary about women and the journey they take to become natural. He asked about my transition to locks and how many years I have been growing them.  I was perplexed and my face let him know exactly what I was thinking.  Hiding my true feelings has always been difficult because my face usually tells on me.  So to clarify I said, “I’ve always been natural. I don’t know anything else”  and he understood.  I don’t know anything about the transition or the obstacles people go through to embrace their natural crown.  Thank God my parents had enough sense not to be like the others who put that creamy crack or any other chemicals in my hair.  No offense to those who did. I’d like to think all of our parents did what they thought was best for us.  Even my grandparents on both sides were pro natural.  In fact, I use all natural products and am partial to Jahbulani’s Hair Care products which can be ordered online at http://www.jahbulaniproducts.com/index.html  .

I grew up in a house where my parents and all 9 of my siblings had locks.  All family members weren’t fond of locks but they didn’t encourage me to cut my hair and have it processed like the rest of the world. A few months ago I participated in a video shoot which featured women with natural hair.  I was so shocked to hear the stories about their journey to become natural. I seriously can’t even remember seeing a comb in my house as a child.  Some of these beautiful women had horrible experiences that led them to cut the chemicals and rock a fro, locks, braids or press.  The conversations we had that day were random but eye opening.  Some were teased because of their natural hair.  Others hated having their hair done because it was difficult to manage.  Most just wanted a perm to look “pretty” according the society standards at the time. I mean the list went of reasons went on and on.  For the first time in my life I thought about what it would have been like if my parents had taken me through the same process.

When I was growing up I thought my hair was normal.  It looked just like my brothers, sisters and parents.  When I went to school at P.S. 36 on Morningside Drive in New York I don’t recall anyone teasing me because of my hairstyle.  But when I moved to Florida I was teased all of the time!  No one else looked like me.  People would drive by our house and stop in front of the yard and stare.  My classmates would call me names like Madusa, snake lady and thought I was dirty.  They didn’t know that my mother was a clean freak and assumed that I didn’t groom my locks.  My mother would not have tolerated anything other than clean hair.  While at school I often had to defend my younger brothers who also had long locks were harassed.

My 9 year old nephew is currently enrolled in public school in Florida and he wears his locks proudly not only because his hair looks like his aunts, uncles, cousins and parents, but also because his classmates, teachers and other people in the professional world wear them as well.  I wore my locks in a turban when I was his age.  Today he sees his mother, aunts and other women sport all kinds of hairstyles just like the other women without locks.  He has watched us regularly groom and style our locks. We have up do’s, coils, twists, braids, curls, you name it. I style his hair every time I see him.  In college my locks grew so long they were past my knees.  But it was so normal for me and my nephew as well.  I NEVER saw these things as a child when I was his age excluding a few relatives who had long locks.  I am glad to share these experiences with my nephew.   My mother even wrote a children’s book entitled, “I Love Locks” for my nephew and other children so they would know how different locks may look.

Back to the young man with the idea for the documentary… I didn’t give him all of this information.  I’m just sharing a piece of my hair journey with you.  Let’s continue to make our children comfortable in their skin so they are proud of what they were naturally given.  I love my locks and can only imagine being natural.

This video was directed by Shannon McCollum, Director of Photography and editor, Ari J Johnson, Artistic Director Jamila Crawford for Dead Prez’s latest song “Beauty Within”.  The official video debuted at the 15 project.  The show was hosted by an amazing fine artist Fahamu Pecou and the featured guests were Lil John Roberts (Master Drummer), Stic.Man (Dead Prez), Angie Stone (Singer/Songwriter-Musician) and Shannon McCollum (Photographer).   I know what you are thinking.  What a line up! Backstage and the green room was just as exciting as behind the scenes on this video shoot. If you missed this edition of the 15 Project no worries. Subscribe to our blog so you can see the posting for the next one.  Now watch this phenomenal production in celebration of natural beauty.

I embrace my natural, do you?

*Thanks to Carlos Bell and Yemi Toure for capturing the pictures above.

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