Most Black women take great pride in the upkeep of their hair. Many endure weekly visits to beauty salons, and wait patiently for hours as their hair is washed, set, dried and styled and even endure a bit of discomfort with hopes that the final product that sits atop their head looks like a crown.
Due to the delicate texture of most manes of the African diaspora, a method of protection, what many Black women call “protective styling” is also necessary. These methods often include braids, wigs, weaves, or any style that allows a woman to give her tresses a rest from combing and other styling procedures that often damages the hair. These styles are especially popular in the summer when humidity may destroy and frizz a polished hairstyle.
One stylist who specializes in creating fresh braiding and weaving protective styles for celebrities and everyday women is Brejia Blocker. As a highly skilled hair artist who has been working at her braiding craft since age 12 and can create everything from variations of banana braids to crotchet weaves, Blocker works her magic at 2685 Metropolitan Parkway in Atlanta. Her stunning styles have been seen on VH1 and featured in magazines, but she also has a close friend, business partner, and sorority sister to thank for some of her success.
Blocker met Jelisa Raquel, her publicist and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated sister, at a probate show held at her college, Savannah State University.
“[Blocker] was in Savannah. I was in Atlanta,” says Raquel, who is also a blogger and labels herself a “serial entrepreneur.”
“I was working with a celebrity who was on a TV show,” Raquel recalls. “And the celebrity called me up and she needed a braider, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got a sorority sister for you.’”
Blocker’s hairstyling was then seen on television, which was her ticket to a larger clientele and more connections. Raquel also benefited by gaining a new client in Blocker.
The teamwork and sisterhood Blocker and Raquel have maintained since the beginning of their relationship has become a running theme in every project on which they collaborate, including their latest campaign.
The ladies birthed Braid Like a Boss, a summer campaign showcasing protective styles that help give hair a rest in steamy temperatures. The talented women put together what Blocker calls a “fun and flirty” photo shoot presenting some of the cutest protective styles of the summer that she flawlessly whips up for her clients. Of course, the theme reflects the nature of Blocker and Raquel’s sisterly alliance.
“This shoot displays the real meaning of girl power, supporting other women, [and] fierceness,” Raquel explains. “The [models] look like every super girl group that ever existed, but revamped.”
Blocker went on to explain the fashionable braiding styles she executed on each model.
“We went for a classy look. She already had her hair down in a sew-in, so what I did was put her in an updo, braided her hair in two braids and brought it up to make a halo effect.”
“We did waist-length banana braids. I actually call it a ‘swirl,’ because [of] the braid swirls, and it has that wind effect. She was kind of like a thuggish type look.”
“She had the ombré black-to-gray braids, and that’s just a cool look for a new way to do [ombré hair coloring]. You can choose any color; you can go from blonde to black, black to blonde, purple, black to purple. [The gray hair] was just something to give the braids more ‘popage.’ ”
Book Brejia Blocker by visiting www.styleseat.com/ezimprovedbeauty. Follow her on Instagram @ezimprovedbeauty and @brejia.
Visit Jelisa Raquel’s blog at www.broadcastingbeauty.com and follow her on Instagram @thabaddestrho.
Khleo Armstrong for the Manner Co. @khleo.a HeyFriday.com #HeyFriday
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