Photos by Melanie L. Brown for Steed Media Service
Why did you decide to go natural?
When I first went natural it was on accident. In 1995 I had gotten braids for the first time and I didn’t understand how to take care of my hair. When I took the braids out and so with the new growth and the perm it just matted up and in some places I had to cut the knots out and so that started me on the process of going natural, going natural by accident.
How do you take care of your natural hair?
Simple shampoo, simple conditioner, and simple hairdressing. For shampoo sometimes I’ll go as cheap as a Suave or I’ll go as pricey as the Wen shampoo you can order online. I really do like for my hair it works really well. Conditioner, I’ll use anything from you know store bought cheap mayonnaise to a simple creme conditioner you can buy at you know Target, Walmart nothing super fancy. One thing I will always always use that I’ve used for years is Wild Grow Hair oil. I’ll use other light creme moisturizers. Trim my own hair.
Your two favorite styles for your hair?
I take a small curler and I wrap the hair around it or I’ll do a small two strand twist take it out, put it up in a puff or not or whatever; let it do it’s own thing and keep it moving.
I am natural because …
I am natural because I think that’s what I intended to do, it’s the thing that really works for me. It’s what looks the best, feels the best.
What would you tell someone about going natural?
You’ll experience yourself in a way you’ve never experienced yourself before, you’ll accept yourself in a way you’ve never accepted yourself before. You will have all these internal conflicts with your identity and you will come into being who you were supposed to be.
Two emotions you felt while going natural?
Embarrassment and pride. Most of the embarrassment because I was so young and at the time nobody was going natural and then they have to come to terms with the reality of the texture of your hair and then that deals with your identity and your attitude about what it means to be black, what it means to be African and you know those coils mean a lot and when they start growing out your hairs in ways that you didn’t think they would it’s something to deal with. Pride because you’re able to be yourself and do things and I feel like I look different with my hair and you know and you accept who you are fully in a different way once you come to terms with you know what this is my hair this is what it does this is what it can’t do but the thing is you can do so much more than I thought it could. I can manipulate it to look so different, have so many styles, and have more freedom. I will say it was even within maybe the past 5 years I’ve reached another level of acceptance it’s like…look this what it is, this big nappy afro that’s my hair and I own it…So if you don’t like it you know what you can do, turn your head that way.
One thing that surprised you about going natural?
How involved the upkeep of your hair actually is.
Have anyone ever asked to touch your natural hair?
They’ll ask as they’re touching your hair a lot of times they’ll just reach. I find that happen more times than people ever asking. No I haven’t had anyone ask because they just do it.
What are your social media handles?