Photo by Melanie L. Brown for Steed Media Service
Why did you decide to go natural?
My boyfriend. I was 19 and I got a perm when I was like 11 and I remember him coming up to me and was like, “Get that out your head, you don’t need it no more.” My mom never wanted me to have one in the first place but when you go to … and I hate to say this … but when you go to schools like Beasley and Whitney Young amongst the quote unquote Black elite and all the girls are light-skinned with hair weave and not even weave but always blow-dried by Ossama or Yehi’s — I was kind of intimidated. You know and a lot of people always think when you’re light-skinned then everybody noses are even smaller, they’re tinier and their hair all doing this [gesturing movement] I didn’t feel, I still didn’t feel pretty enough, so I ended up getting a perm against my mom’s wishes. But you know you get older and my boyfriend was like, “take that out.”
How do you take care of your natural hair?
Shea butter has become my truth. When I feel ugly, ashy, dry, old looking I put shea butter on me. I did use to use a lot olive oil after a while starts to dry me out.
What are your three favorite products for your hair?
Coconut oil, jojobo oil, but shea butter daily, African hair food. It’s like an African hair grow and it’s a gel, but it’s all-natural products inside. It’s actually pretty healthy for it so it’s a moisturizer as well. Nepiltar oil by Brother Ackway. He has a rosemary option and a lavender option. Great for your scalp, great moisturizer.
Two emotions you felt while going natural?
Fear and then relief. Once I got over the fear and once I did it there’s relief like there’s no more, “oh my God, it’s raining.”
Overall benefits to going natural?
Stress free if I’m going swimming, if I’m exercising I’m not concerned about my hair being messed up.
Your two favorite syles for your hair?
Twist outs when it’s long; and when it’s big, peasant flat twists.
I am natural because …
I am natural because I am God because I am African because how I was made is how I’m supposed to be so I don’t need to chemically alter it or make it better than because it was best the way it came out.
What would you tell someone about going natural?.
A. It’s healthy for you. There was studies done on black women getting their autopsies and it was found there was a green film at the top of their brain because of the perms that was put on their heads from years and years that means that perm seeped through their scull down to their brain and we talk about post traumatic stress syndrome or post traumatic slave syndrome. Just the stress black women especially our anger sometimes that we got whole “angry Black woman”. I wonder why…we got all them chemicals constantly irritating and affecting your brain. I’m sure I can’t rule out that’s not an aspect of it so this will free you from some of your health issues. That’s one. Two…It’s so many hair styles you don’t look like a clone.
One thing that surprised you about going natural?
What surprised me going natural being light-skinned people quote unquote assumed I had “good” hair.
Has anyone ever asked to touch your natural hair?
… Absolutely, natural or not that’s what happens to black women. If asked it’s whatever it’s cool. Humans are curious right you know it’s just depending on who it is that aspect doesn’t really bother me. Hair care is a lot of energy. That’s why I cut my locks off … because I needed to switch out my energy and start fresh. So you got just people transferring their energy to you and if I’m not feeling your energy, then no thank you, but other than that it’s not a problem.
What are your social media handles?
@theblackmall on Twitter and IG