Hair Journal: Wash Day

photo credit: l’il ol’ me!

So today is wash day. Well, if I’m honest, yesterday was actually wash day, but I was too lazy to do it. I don’t know why. It’s not like I have tons of thick, unruly hair or anything.

I. Am. Just. Lazy. Continue reading

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Fa La La La La

Tis the season to be natural! As the holidays approach, I’ve been thinking about what I want to see wrapped in beautiful paper under the tree, or sticking out of my stocking. Here are some of the things on my list.

Essential Oils

Oils

For the burgeoning mixtress in me, my friend Judes gave me my first set of essential oils for my birthday in April and I was in heaven!  I loved being able to add drops of peppermint or bergamot into whatever conditioner I was about to use, or to create my own pre-poo using a carrier oil as a base.  And let’s talk about the miracle these oils perform on shea butter, which (let’s face it) does NOT smell like roses.

Naturally, I’d love it if Santa’s Little Helpers restocked my essential oils (including that dreaded lavender… yup Vee, I said it!) and carrier oils, along with the coveted Jamaican Black Castor oil, which is nearly impossible to find in Canada.  And I’d really love to get a few that I haven’t tried before too.

I don’t know where Judes got the set she gave me, but I’m sure you guys are resourceful enough to use Google.

To “beef up” this gift, why not purchase some cute bottles from Ikea or Pier 1 to put the oil in?  Look around and be creative.  However, make sure to buy bottles that are tinted.  Direct light makes the oil go rancid more quickly.

Monthly Product Subscriptions

So the product junkie in me seems to be growing bigger and bigger by the day. For a reasonable monthly fee, I can feed my addiction with a subscription to a product-of-the-month club. Each delivery consists of a sampling of hair and personal care products hand-selected for curlies and naturals alike. Sometimes the offerings are full-sized!

The two I’ve had my eye on are curlBOX and CurlKit.

Each of these has its own appeal. While CurlKit seems to focus a little more on products with mainly natural/organic ingredients, I must admit that I’m quite seduced by the beautiful packaging of curlBOX. Did I mention the full-sized samples?

It’s hard to choose between the two… so why choose, right? Hint… hint…

Gift Sets

Gift and a Half!
Oyin Website

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been having a long-time love affair with Oyin Handmade products.

Ever since the first day I stumbled across their hilarious YouTube videos, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the kooky couple (JAMYLAAAAAA BENNU… and her husband) responsible for the uber-moisturizing Juices & Berries, the deliciously scented Greg Juice, and my personal favorite – Shine & Define. So anyone who knows me, knows that I’d love love LOVE to get a box set from Oyin… Say, a Gift and a Half, maybe?  Oh, and they also have a “Black Nerds Unite” tee that I could easily add to my wardrobe.

No Frizz Fizz Cocktail

Curlmart has a gift set with six or seven products from its shopping cart. Or you can even find a nice box set from Shea Moisture called Curl & Shine Kit too.

Jamyla Bennu &
Fellow Nerds

Oyin (yes, I’m back to that) also sells sample sizes of many of their products. Perfect for my stocking, or as decorative bobbles for wrapping my bigger gifts… but no pressure…

Styling Tools & Appliances

Secura – a Reasonable Huetiful Substitute

I have a very old “bonnet dryer” that belonged to my grandmother. The bonnet is a plastic cap, similar to a shower cap, with a hose a-la-vacuum-cleaner sticking out the back, and a very loud motor. I can’t be certain, but I think it’s powered by a little tiny dinosaur… you know like on the Flintsones? When it comes to deep conditioning, it does do the job, but it would be nice to upgrade to an appliance from this century. A shiny new steamer like the Huetiful Steamer would be abfab, but a reasonable substitute would be the Secura S-192.

Gold ‘n Hot
GH3400

A heating cap would be welcome if the much preferred steamer wasn’t possible.

Curlformers

For style experimentation, a set of Flexirods or Curlformers would be nice.  One of each would be even better, since I’m not sure which would work best for my hair.

Things like ponytail clips, barettes, hair pins, and ouchless elastics are also welcome.

And I’ve been looking for a genuine Denman brush for the longest time.

Head Coverings

byEA Etsy Shop

At one point, I was known around the corridors of my workplace as “The Girl with the Hats.” Feels like the old hat fetish has come back. Along with beanies, silk scarves and silk scrunchies, I wouldn’t mind breathing some new life into my hat wardrobe with some cool, funkie new pieces. You know, for those days when I don’t have the time or the inclination to style my hair. Maybe even a few headbands or a fascinator or two.

Etsy has a ton of stores selling cute and original styles.

Books

Natural Hair Bible

I don’t have a library of hair books, though I have read one or two that people have loaned me. Here’s a list of titles that seem interesting to me:

  • The Science of Black Hair (Audrey Davis-Sivasothy)
  • Hair Care Rehab (Audrey Davis-Sivasothy)
  • Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America (Ayana D. Byrd/Lori L. Tharps)
  • Better Than Good Hair (Nikki Walton)

At the top of my list is the Audrey Davis-Sivasothy book.  I have read a few excerpts from it and have heard numerous gurus refer to it.  It’s what you’d call a “bible” for hair care.

Cute for Kids!

There are a few children’s books that would be fun to read to my niece and nephew too:

  • I Love My Hair (Natasha Anastasia Tarpley)
  • I Love My Cotton Candy Hair (Nicole Updegraff)

I could go on and on and on…

Maybe I’ve inspired you with ideas for yourself or for your beloved naturalista.  What’s on your list?

Happy shopping, Santa!

Meteorologist Twisting in the Wind

Did you hear the one about the black meteorologist named Rhonda Lee from Louisiana? She was terminated following her response to a viewer’s expression of possibly derogatory concern, via Facebook, regarding her hair, which is a TWA…

Yeah, it wasn’t funny to me either.

The Facebook of Adversity

The viewer stated:

the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).

Ms. Lee’s response was:

I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.

Natural Instinct

Now, I must confess that when I first read about this, I was inconsolably outraged. My first instinct was to stand squarely behind my naptural sistah, fist raised to the heavens. Have we not reached a point where a woman’s appearance is kept separate from her ability to do her job? Is society still trying to hold non-whites to a standard of beauty that is palatable for some but not all?

Rhonda, bomaye! Rhonda, bomaye!

I saw nothing wrong with her handling of the situation. She approached the comment with intellect, insight, and respect.

Then I started reading some of the comments following the article on Black Girl with Long Hair. At the time there were only a handful (maybe about 30), and most of them expressed the same outrage I was feeling when I read the article. People called the action taken uncalled-for. People said that the viewer had to be a racist or closed-minded at the least. I read through many of the comments, fist still raised in solidarity, emotions running high for the injustice that had been done to this natural-haired martyr. But some of the comments supported the network’s decision to terminate. Some questioned whether or not race had really played a role in this issue.

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Hmmm… maybe Ms. Lee could be accused of having said too much. Perhaps it would have been better for her to have allowed the network’s PR people handle the comment? They could have issued a statement saying something like

The network takes all necessary steps to ensure that members of its news team look their best while in front of the camera. We support Ms. Lee’s choice of hairstyle and thank you for your loyal viewership.

Ooooooooooooooooooh, that’s gooooood…. but I digress.

Dose of Reality

Those BGLH comments got me thinking. Is it possible that the network actually had a strict policy on public relations and social media, and that they had clearly communicated that policy to all of its staff? Could it be that Ms. Lee had violated that policy?

Methinks that might be legitimate grounds for dismissal…

A Little Light Soapboxing

Let’s talk for a minute about Ms. Lee’s fortitude.

Some commentors accused her of bringing race into the situation when it didn’t belong there. However, it was actually the viewer who pulled race into it by identifying her by her skin colour and not by her name. Despite the professional tone of her response, Ms. Lee was still somehow put into the “Angry Black Woman” category. One thing that bothers me is that the second someone asserts him or herself (regardless of sex, race, orientation, religion, or political views) that person is automatically seen as being defensive.

Not cool.

Now let’s talk about people being so quick to assume the Big Bad Corporate Man has been unfair or unjust.

It’s easy to be blinded by the fact that something allegedly unfair is happening to a visible minority. Because the “victim” here is a black woman whose hair doesn’t look like the conventional professional, we rush to her defense. Because she is educated and articulate, we assume that she is within her rights to dress down people who are supposedly being racist, derogatory, or offensive.

But before we make such judgements or take sides, shouldn’t we get all the facts?

That is all.

Angry Blog Woman

Listen to me, but I don’t wanna hear you!
Photo Credit

For a long time, I actually avoided participating in social media in any way.  I’ve always had strong opinions on the way social media is influencing modern society.  But I’ve also come to realize that it is a very integral part of life nowadays, so I need to get over myself and join the rest of the world in the global village.

One of the key reasons I started Nappy Head Chronicles was that I wanted to be part of a community, trading and sharing.  Just the other day, vinegarandwater  spoke about that very subject on her blog.  I was starting to feel like the community thing was taking shape for me.

Don’t Drop Your Seed Everywhere

As a relatively new blogger, I have been treading quite gingerly when it comes to discussions and commenting.  I’ve tried to choose carefully where to leave my stamp and I’ve tried to make intelligent observations or ask relevant questions.  Sometimes, I’ve thrown in a joke or two.  The feedback has been very positive on my own blog and in the various discussions I’ve participated in on other blogs.

All in all, it has been a very good experience… until today.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Someone in the blogasphere posted about how her mother seemed unsupportive of her decision to become natural and was always trying to get her to “do something” with her hair.  I made the mistake of commenting on her post.  I thought I was being witty and supportive.

Turns out that I was not.  At least not in that particular blogger’s opinion.

She was quite hostile in telling me that she wasn’t sure whether or not I was being snarky and condescending but that she was choosing to believe the worst.  She went on to give me quite the tongue-lashing (or the blog equivalent as such).  She informed me that she doesn’t carry the burden of all black women, and that her post was not whining or a need to cheer up.  She also pointed out that she trusts no one and that I don’t know her or her mother.

I was put in my place.

So What Was the Lesson Here?

Everyone comes into your life as either a blessing or a lesson.  In this case, the lesson IS the blessing.

The lesson — the best laid plans really do often go awry.  No matter how good your intentions are, everyone will not always be delighted by what you have to say.  Not all bloggers are created equal.  Just because they choose to share their thoughts and feelings on a miriad of subjects in such a public way, it doesn’t mean that they want or care about your opinion.

“This is what I have to say.  Read it, but keep your thoughts to yourself.”

It took me a minute to get over the shock at this blogger’s utter cynicism.  Then I just felt sad.  Sad that my words had had negative impact on someone.  Sad that sharing my own experience did not comfort her.  Sad that whatever was going on in her world had hardened her so much.  The good news is that I’m over it.  I’m not so jaded by life that I can’t see silver linings, half-full glasses, or any goodness anywhere at all.

Angry Blog Woman is quite right.  I don’t know her.

And after this, I don’t think I want to know her.

How have you dealt with negative feedback on your blog, on other blogs, or in any other forums?

SuperFudge

Everybody’s been talking about UN Ambassador Susan Rice and her alleged botched handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack in September.  Did she lie to cast President Obama in a better light during the home-stretch of his 2012 campaign?  Is she competent?  Should she be considered a viable candidate for Secretary of State?

So the other night, the lure of late-night television was too much for my tired-but-insomniac eyes to resist.  Jon Stewart was in fine form, yucking it up about the soapbox sermon by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge in Rice’s defence.  Funny stuff.  Check out the clip he showed here:

My favorite part of the video is when Rep. Fudge alludes to not being the most educated person around, only to have her peanut gallery homie remind her that she’s an attorney.  In true Baptist Minister fashion, she checks herself and belts out

“…But I’m close!”

Knee-slapping, I tell you!

But seriously, I applaud Rep. Fudge for speaking out.  Her message was loud and clear: criticize all you want, but don’t question her qualifications for the job.  She spoke boldly and with unwaivering confidence.  I admire that.  I think we need to see more of that from women in positions of power.

I’m not saying whether or not Ambassador Rice was right, or whether or not I agree with Rep. Fudge.  All I’m saying is…

Mmmmmmhmmmmm… Preach!