Tag Archives: Black women

Confidence in Your Cut!

As females our hair can become our security blanket. No one matter tragic our life may be the one thing we always have is our hair. I know a few people who will not cut their hair past a certain length because the thought of their blanket being too short fears them. Even when our bodies get struck down by diseases there are hundreds of wigs we can choose from to allow us feel safe under our newly purchased security blanket. However, what happens when we decide it is time for us to cut past our comfort zone the very thing we have held onto to for years….our hair.

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I’ve had multiple people come to me and mention how brave I am to cut my hair. I believe one has to be mentally prepared for the cut because there are mental changes that happen. For instance, I had shoulder length hair which was very versatile. When I cut my hair I would lay in bed in the mornings and think about how I had to comb down my wrap. Then it would dawn on my that I had a low cut. Another time I found a hairstyle I liked and planned to do it once I got back home. Then it dawned on my again how I had a low cut. Cutting my hair messed me up mentally for a few months.

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I want to clear something up though. When I say cut I do not mean completely off like I have my hair. I simply mean cut past one’s comfort zone. So if your hair is to the middle of your back and you cut it into a bob cut-thats a new style which requires confidence to rock. I transitioned into my confidence. When I first cut my hair I would never go outside without earrings because I left I would look like a boy. However, last night I noticed how much I have grown by going out two days in a row without earrings and feeling beautiful.

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I do believe if I had cut my hair before I was ready to then my confidence with my cut would have been a long journey. Not only do you have to build confidence from within but exemplify your confidence to others. I had a member of my church tell me she was upset that I cut my hair and how she did not like my cut at first. However, after a few months she fell in love with the cut on me and does not want me to grow my hair back. (She is not the first person to tell me to not grow my hair back) Her comment simply results from the confident and the security in knowing how well my new hair cut complimented me.

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Overall, whenever YOU are ready to cut YOUR hair make sure you stand firm to your decision because you believe it is the best decision for you. Guess what?? If that cut does not compliment you, let your hair grow back (because it will) and cut it in a new style once its able to be cut again. No matter how your hair looks find the beauty within yourself and rock your hair to the fullest!!

~B.R.A.T. (Black, Radical and Thorough)

Dark Skin Girls Documentary: A Review

On Sunday night, Oprah played a documentary on her television network OWN, titled “Dark Girls”. The documentary was to tell the trials and tribulations that the darker skinned girl had to face here in America. I would like to just say that I applaud Oprah for publicly shedding light on this subject. It is definitely a major issue in the black community, in all aspects.

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I am a dark skinned female so it was nice to see how others shared their stories of complexion issues. Did I feel moved, liberated, or free from the ignorance of my peers? Absolutely not. I would have loved to see the documentary get more “real”! What was said by the interviewee’s barely scratched the surface of the deep rooted issues in our community when it comes to the hues of our black kings and queens. It gave me about 80% of rawness, when I was hoping to see 100%. Most of the street interviews were extremely ignorant, although I know first hand that that is exactly how most think, it still didn’t answer my question of WHY do people think like this? Where do these thoughts stem from?

In my opinion it starts at home…mannerisms are often taught & learned at a young age. If a child is taught at a young age that a lighter complexion brings about superiority they will carry that with them for life until corrected. Many people love to place blame on media telling us whats beautiful and whats not, but I have to tell you that WE control the media. We have the authority to filter what we view and what we do not. I’m not saying that the media is out of the blame pool but it is not completely at fault. Many black women place their complexion issues on our black men. Are they really the ones to blame? Unfortunately I refuse to touch on this subject in this piece but I will say this: Is it unfortunate that I cannot look to my fellow black brother for liberation in my dark skin beauty? Should I feel the need to be liberated by them?

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As black people I often feel that we seldom take blame for our own actions. Black people love to pass the buck. While we sit and try to figure out whose fault it is that we have hash tags on twitter like #TeamDarkskin & #TeamLightskin everyone else has already came to the conclusion, Its self hatred. Everybody wants to be black except black people. Other races legit think that its cool to be black, except for black people. Whether they tan, or they try to copy our mannerisms, they still want to be just like us. Meanwhile our own people are doing everything that they can so that they can fit in with them! How backwards are we? Don’t get me wrong other races do struggle with complexion issues within their own communities and the documentary did touch on it slightly, but thats not the point. I’m black so my focus is on my own community and how I can make it better. This documentary was not created to put down black people, nor was it created to demean lighter skin women and to praise the darker skin ones, but it was created to bring about equality. Although we cannot expect to see great change because of the documentary, it definitely got people talking and that it what is most important. Twitter was buzzing, and it gave people a chance to talk about the situation and understand exactly how some people think.

At the end of the day we must remember that we are not our skin, but simply the SOUL that lives within. Color is a social construct. How you look physically has no meaning until humans place social variations on them.
 Stay black and Beautiful Kings and Queens.

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-Jasmin Voyd 

I Am Not My Natural Hair.

Since I cut my hair I have had a lot of people compliment me on my cut and express their love for natural hairstyles. Occasionally afro centric individuals will approach me on the “Sista” tip assuming because I cut off my hair that I am into being afro centric. It always makes me wonder what individuals thought of me when my hair was natural yet pressed. Did they view me as another conformer to society by having straight hair. Did they feel I was wasting my time being natural if I did not want to embrace certain hairstyles?  So I pose the question ‘does having natural hair always mean you have to wear an afro or twists?

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My answer to the question is no. Having natural hair is a healthy hair choice not a lifestyle. Too often we associate hairstyles with lifestyles and that is not always the case. I know plenty of women who wear their wear straight who are heavily involved in being afro centric. On the other hand, I know women who wear afro centric hairstyles who could care less about empowering any one let alone African Americans.

 

Too often people feel the need to dress the part to show they are involved in certain things. For example, a lesbian does not have to dress like a male to prove she is a lesbian. Women do not have to have afro centric hairstyles to prove they are involved in afro centric activities. We need to learn how to embrace diversity in every scenario.

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Similar to African American women being judged on their hair in the workforce we have adapted the same mentality in our every day lives. We longer assume someone with natural hair may have other reasons for having the hairstyle other than to be afro centric. We have to start asking questions and finding out about the person instead of assuming they are a certain way based on their hair. I know for certain I am not my natural hair.
~B.R.A.T. (Black, Radical and Thorough)

Miss Jessie’s: Product Recommendation

During our preparation for finals I decided to try a few products by Miss Jessie. As most know, Miss Jessie’s is on the expensive side of the natural hair care products. However, as I was browsing around on their website I noticed they had a “Free Samples” tab. Everyone loves free samples-especially college students. I clicked on the tab immediately and discovered I could select two different products for free (you have to pay for shipping and handling which is $1). In addition, they will let you try their new shampoo “Super Slip Sudy Shampoo” for free. I selected the famous Curly Pudding and Curly Butter Creme. 

 

Curly Pudding

39_mj1As the instructions stated I washed my hair (I use KeraCare Shampoo and Conditioner) and while it was still wet I applied the Curly Pudding. The instructions recommends for it to dry naturally or use a diffuser (fancy name for blow dryer) for quick dying and added volume. This particular day i had a meeting to attend and inserted the Curly Pudding about 30mins before I needed to leave-it did not dry fast enough naturally. So I had to use a blow dryer.

 

As the first day went on my curls looked amazing. Actually, for the next few days my curls looked amazing. However, I did not like the way my hair felt. It was soft but not as soft as my hair would be without any products. Curly Pudding for me gets a 4 out of 5. I loved the curls but did not like how long it took to dry and the difference in the texture of my hair.

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Curly Butter Creme

Once again I followed instructions (I do that well). This time Curly Butter Creme instructs to insert the product in one’s hair either wet or dry and can be used as a daily moisturizer. After I washed my hair and dried it the best I could-I inserted the Curly Butter Creme. This product has a minty smell to it. While applying I felt a cooling sensation (please let me know I am not the only one to feel this sensation). However, once the sensation went away my curls looked amazing once again. I was a little nervous on the first day that I would smell extra minty. So Curly Butter Creme gets a 4 out of 5 from me. Yet again I loved the curls but did not like the uneasy feeling of smelling extremely minty all day.

 

History on Miss Jessie’s

Unknown-11Miss Jessie’s was founded by two sisters, Miko and Titi Branch, in 2004. They named their product after their paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie, who would use an egg and mayonnaise treatment for their curly natural hair. In 2000, the sisters decided to open a natural hair care salon together. While the salon was becoming a success, Titi realized there were not any products that catered to their clients needs. So she worked hard and created Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. From there multiple products came about, such as Curly Butter Creme, Baby Butter Creme, and Curly Meringue. The products have been featured in multiple magazines and received numerous awards. Miss Jessie’s has sustained a prominent place in the hair care world and it plans to stay there for years to come.

 

My Recommendation

Of course every product compliments every texture of hair differently. As African American women our hair naturally curls up (some call them n**** naps). If we allow our hair to fall into its natural state before placing multiple natural products then we would not have to buy products to make our hair curly. If wanting to enhance the already natural curl I would recommend Curly Butter Creme. Despite its cooling sensation, the product left my hair much softer than the Curly Pudding. Would I use Curly Butter every day like the package suggests? No. However, I would consider using it once a week. Lastly, please support Miss Jessie’s (www.missjessies.com) even if it is ordering their free samples to see what works best for you.

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If you are a Miss Jessie’s fan or just trying it out for the first time-let me know how it compliments your hair.

 

~B.R.A.T. (Black, Radical and Thorough)

III Sisters of Nature: Product Recommendation

           Growing up I never had to worry about doing my hair because my mom is a cosmetologist.  So whenever it was time to do my hair she would use the products she had in the house and I never thought twice about it. Well there came a day when I was all on my own. It was February 2012 in London, England and I just cut off all of my hair. I had to experiment and find products to get my hair to be healthy. While looking in different beauty supply stores for a natural hair care product  I came across a contanier that said Once a Week by III Sisters of Nature. I thought God sent it to me from heaven because you guys know I do not like doing a lot of work when it comes to my hair. I took the product home and began to use it once a week. I noticed  a major difference in my hair.  

            III Sisters of Nature was created by three real sisters with a lineage of women who have created hair care products. Their goal was to create products for their three different natural styles without any harsh and unnecessary chemicals but with a reasonable price (only $12.99). Their products do not contain alcohol, waxes, silicone  petrolatum, mineral oil and plastics. Overall, the product line consists of two conditioning creams, three styling creams, a sulfate-free shampoo and leave-in conditioner.

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This past week I washed my hair with Once a Week and paid close attention to how my hair reacted to the product.  Once a Week is meant to coat, protect, and repair dry, fragile, and damaged hair and strengthen curls. When I first cut my hair off the texture of my hair seemed to change overnight. Finding this product meant it may repair my fragile hair. Over the past year I’ve noticed some changes with my hair however this week I noticed a shine to it. I continued throughout the week to run my hand over my hair to make sure it was still soft. 

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            Overall, III Sisters of Nature has my vote as a great product to try for your hair. Additionally, it is great for any financial situation because the products cost $12.99 and sometimes they come with a smaller container attached to it. At times I feel like I am never going to finish my container so you will be able to get your money’s worth. Lastly, please support these sisters by checking out their website and trying their products. Let me know how III Sisters of Nature compliments your hair.  

 Credits:

http://www.3sistersofnature.com/

“I Too Am America”: Post-Racial Reality by Upendo

So I’ve named this post after Langston Hughes poem “I Too, Sing America” for many reasons, the most significant reason being that America still has yet to formally/properly recognize its “darker brother”. I mean yes our President is Black and yes he has paid homage to our ancestors, but after today I pose the question “Why isn’t there a Slavery Remembrance Day?” After a brief conversation with one of my young sisters at Seton Hall University about today’s 36th Annual Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Service I wonder have we become complacent? As a child who has been “ghettoized” in the inner-city life I see little if any progress for our people. The system still has the same oppressive capitalist agenda that enslaved our ancestors over 400 years ago and yet we all, (Black, White, Latino, Asian, etc,) are caste in it. We are still slaves selling our labor for as little as 25 dollars an hour as a server or 7.25 at McDonalds. Don’t get me wrong get your money, (we all have to survive), but what do we own? What capital have we built other than human capital?  What about the condition of the Motherland? We are worth much more than that and have the resources to do much more. Instead, we are feed into the illusion of the celebrity life and media of all facets to pacify this burning rage to  to escape this Matrix. .

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I had the honor, (along with a fellow brother and sister),  of introducing 16 Holocaust survivors, veterans, and liberators who each lit a candle in remembrance of all those murdered during the Holocaust. Over 15 million people. Each person had a story to tell from there experience as a survivor, not a victim. It dawned on me after the ceremony that we too should have a remembrance service as children of survivors,(if not survivors ourselves), veterans, and liberators. We are constantly victimized by Eurocentric history where stories of rebels like Martin Delany, Nat Turner, and the Haiti Slave rebellion have been lost. Have we too soon forgotten those lives stolen and those that have died during the Middle Passage? Or even brothers and sisters like Harriet Tubman, Fanny Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X?

I’m still singing our song of redemption and dreaming for the day that Africa will write her own history of dignity. As Nas said our diaspora IS the final chapter; it is time we WAKE UP from the American Dream. It was never meant for everybody. Do we as a people even still have a dream or have so forgotten that “[We] are the Hope and Dream of the Slave”? (Maya Angelou) Our ancestors are probably turning in their graves; it is no wonder that the world has literally been shooken up with natural disasters. The ancestors are calling, but are we listening or is Soulja Boy too loud? We may be living in a time that is more tolerant of the so called “other” but prejudice and discrimination are still very much a reality. But, people don’t seem to respect or have concern for the history of slavery and racism. They seem to have become topics “That are not up for discussion” just as much as rape or repressed as if it never happened. Holocaust, Genocide, Slavery of any kind against any people is wrong. I empathize with all who have gone through any of these experiences and I honor every survivor of any wrongdoing because all who have survived are Strong Beautiful and Inspiring beings.

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I found Hope today for our people in a Polish woman named Luna who encouraged me to be Brave and to step out on Faith. Lord knows I have been struggling with so many fears and anxieties about the future and what it has to hold for the children. But, she believed in me today more than I believed myself to simply be who I am and to speak as I am. I didn’t have to say a word, she knew by looking at me the burden that is weighing heavy on my back. The burden to set our people free and to continue to push forward. She opened her heart and shared her story of Hope and said  to me “You have to believe you will be free no matter how hard it gets, that is key.” So right now I believe and I believe that we should remember who we are and stop hiding behind what the media sells us. We are much more than Beyonce, Jay-Z, Obama, Al Sharpton. We each are creators, musicians, fighters, and lovers rich with culture, knowledge, and wisdom. Each of us holds the POWER to redeem and emancipate ourselves. SO LET’S DO IT! Educate yourself become well versed in politics know the name of the game and observe so you can play to win and winner takes all. Someone grab a Black girl and tell her that she is Beautiful ask her to sing her song of Joy and Strength. Tell a young Black boy that he is a Warrior, a Protector, and a Lion fierce with ambition and pride for his people.

Today was a liberating experience to see people come together to host such an uplifting event of remembrance that gave Hope back to the community. We are all brothers and sisters, all one flesh and blood and we all can live in harmony together if we recognize, embrace, and accept every piece of who we are. My Beautiful Black people remember who we are as a people because if we don’t no one else will fight for us. No one is going to stand up and demand respect and dignity for every person of African decent expect ourselves. As one of three African American students in the entire auditorium and it baffled me to so few. We have to acknowledge slavery and the Native American genocide as a moment in history like the Holocaust and stop sweeping it under the rug.

We still live in genocidal conditions today and are being eradicated, yet ,we continue to buy Jordans and follow the system like Black Zombies. I’m not saying that we should all dwell on Slavery, what I am saying is that it is time we stand up and say “I Too, Sing America” because I Too Am America. We are a part of American history and it is troubling to see how programs such as Black Studies are somehow becoming extinct as if the fight for A Black Identity never existed at all. Or maybe it’s just not in style to be Afrocentric anymore. But whatever the case, if we do not demand our own dignity and pride in our heritage, is else going to? Has our ancestral past become so obsolete that we are willing to assimilate and condemn our souls to the Shadow hell of Eurocentricty? I mean hello, everything in the Political Arena has become a strategic move on the Chess board and Our Queen, (Africa), is in trouble. Yet, it seems the concept of Black politics has been whitewashed just as much as Beyonce, (no offense Bey I feel you but I dont hear you). We so solemnly question the motives of celebrities and the media and what it is being programed into our minds for us to believe. Newsflash: THE REVOLUTION IS NOT TELEVISED.

THE MESSIAH IS IN YOU. WE are MOSES.

Being that I am a fourth generation out of slavery and a first generation college student I have bore witness to the struggle of a revolutionary. I am no reactionary woman that is for sure. And for my brothers as Assata Shakur once said, “A Revolutionary woman can’t have no a Reactionary man”. So I implore you to WAKE UP! STAND UP FOR YOU RIGHT! Support one another and love one another! Stop fighting each other and UNITE! Remember who we were, who we are and who we will be after today. Because Hope is alive, but I question are we?

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Peace and Respect,

UPENDO

Introduction…

 

 

 

 

As requested, AfroMadu has a segment specifically for natural hair. Here is the open forum to comment, discuss, and inquire about natural hair, its politics, how to manage it, and seeing people overall everyday maintenance with natural hair. Please feel free to comment and share things you would like to add to this segment at afromadu@gmail.com. 

Meet the Editor!
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About a year ago, I decided to cut off my hair to see how it would complement my facial features. While making my decision, I struggled with how I would take care of it. Too many times I heard conversations of women with natural hair talk about how they use shampoo, conditioner, leave –in conditioner, cream to elongate their curls, dry their hair, then finally, use moisturizer spray to hold the curls just to have a “natural” hairstyle. So I decided, that because of this trend of using numerous amounts of products that I would do the least possible treatment to my hair.

 

 

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I believe the beauty in going natural is to embrace how one’s hair transforms into its most natural state without the interference of too many products. So I plan to explore all of the “Natural” hair care products/concoctions to see which ones actually compliment one’s natural state or interferes with it. I want to see if my hair can be as healthy and beautiful before I cut it. I am also interested in learning about the products and stories of others as well. Let this journey begin.

 

– B.R.A.T. ( Black, Radical and Thorough)