Nappy Out Loud 1.0 ~ The Movement

I know that this site is for naturally curly and kinky hair and there are many of you that are not African-American. Know that I love you, but in this post, I’m not talking directly to you. However, I am a believer that we can all learn from one another and apply universal lessons introspectively without regard for source or intended audience so read on.

Now, on with the post.

From Eric Garner to John Crawford to Michael Brown this has been a rough summer in Black America. The above named, may they rest in peace are not the only lives that we have lost to the spirit of hate. We have been killing one another at record rates in the city of Chicago and all across the country. Why?

David Banner posted on his Twitter Feed

@therealbanner : “Our situation is more psychological than people will admit. Black kids kill black kids for the same reason cops do. They see no value.”

I believe that now more than ever it is important to push the agenda of self-love within our community. Not just inside the natural hair community but every child of the Middle Passage on this side of the Atlantic (because it’s not just a USA plight) needs to be able to look in the mirror and see both beauty and value.

So what do I propose that we do as sisters in the struggle to reconnect and with our heritage and our roots? I propose an extremely small step as an act of solidarity that we go weave and makeup (heavy) free for the next 30 days. What will that do?

Remember the first story in this series where I told you all about how young black girls would stop me in different places and ask me about my hair? I want them to do that you too! The more of these young ladies we can reach the more that we can instill pride and display the value in who we are as a people and they will then possibly influence the young men. Don’t forget to tell them what you do for a living and be sure that you pay them a compliment in kind! (no big deal right?)

It’s not going to shake up the world… we won’t make the news… it won’t be on CNN… but I can remember growing up and seeing the women in my mother’s circle of friends wearing and making African garments and reading stories or singing songs to their children about Kings and Queens and the concept of the Village. Years later I can readily grasp at how proud I have always felt to be Black, even in the face of being called out of my name. I have been able to defend myself with my words because they had been given to me by my elders.

“I am proud of my heritage and who I am.”

We all hail from different tribes and countries, many of which we are not aware of the exact origins, but the curls and kinks connect us, our skin in every shade connects us and our history in the collective sense entwine and unites us. Let the children see who we REALLY are. Be Nappy Out Loud for 30 days and share your pictures/stories  with the hashtag:

#NappyOutLoud

 

on every form of social media. Show us pictures of you doing work in the community, excelling academically, having good clean fun with friends, being a family, etc. (THE NEXT BIG POST IN THIS SERIES WILL CONTAIN A COMPILATION OF ALL OF YOUR GREAT PHOTOS THAT WE CAN FIND ON THE WEB)

The media would have us believe that we are less than human. We can’t be too surprised as this has been the consistent propaganda ever since the south wanted to count slaves so they could obtain greater representation and the North wasn’t having it, (look it up for yourself…that’s off format, but it’s true).

Let’s do this very small thing in an effort to restore the children’s vision of just how valuable and beautiful we are. Perhaps they will be more inclined to respect, protect and love one another.

Follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting my #NappyOutLoud pics @Marri76.

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Fun with Fake Fake Hair…

Who said that weave had to be an instrument of self hate and a perpetuation of European standards of beauty?

( A bunch of the old head naturals….. you know you can name at least 3)

Well I’ve always been fortunate to find textured extensions and there are some people who believed that some of my HUGE Diana Ross-esque #BigHairDontCare styles over the years were mine.

When you are transitioning, protective styles are your friend. They help you get used to your new face, and start owning your style. Weave in particular is a great playground to experiment with lengths and colors to determine what your hair goals will be. Below are a few gems that I’ve come across that are fun to use, inexpensive and they hold up well. Please keep in mind that for me to keep a hairstyle for 3 weeks is an indication that I’ve been messing up the money, or I don’t feel well. I say that because I have never gone the distance with these brands so I don’t know if it will stay in your head for three months. I don’t condone that anyway, but that’s for another post. 🙂

Wa-wa Super

Zury Tika SUPER

Marley Braid/ Kinky Twist

Model Model Water Wave Synthetic

and now good old-fashioned $2.99 Jumbo Braid Kanekalon. (Who knew, right?)

All of the above require a crafty mind and some creativity in styling since they are all synthetic and you can’t just wand it up and go, but the finished look is fun and most of all gives a natural looking finish. This is a short post, but I want you to see just how much I’ve been able to do with synthetic hair. Hopefully you feel inspired to take your protective styles to another level without spending a fortune on hair:

Enjoy my fake fake hair gallery. If I don’t name a stylist then I did that style myself.

 

Zury Tika Super stylist Ebony C. Cincinnati, Ohio Circa 2010

Zury Tika Super stylist Ebony C. Cincinnati, Ohio Circa 2010

Circa 2010 Wawa Super  top left. Synthetic ponytail both pictures on the right, and shrunken wash & go of my own hair in that time frame bottom left.

Circa 2010 Wa-wa Super braided front Stlyist Ebony C. Cincinnati, Ohio top left. Synthetic ponytail both pictures on the right, and shrunken wash & go of my own hair in that time frame bottom left.

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Crochet Braids 2nd Attempt, all around leave out, pinned up style. Marley Hair

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1st Run Crochet Braids. Stylist T.Daniels, Cincinnati, Ohio Model Model brand synthetic water wave.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Crochet Braids. Straight. Blown dry sealed.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Crochet Braids. Straight. Blown dry sealed.

Jumbo Braid Crochet Braids, same installation, Perm Rod dipped ends.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Crochet Braids, same installation, Perm Rod dipped ends.

 

 

 

 

Marley Hair Twists

Marley Hair Twists

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Updo.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Updo.

Nappy Out Loud 0.1

So I hope you all rock with me on this. This is the first post of many where I plan to explore the life of being natural in a world that hasn’t quite figured out what that means. These posts are strictly for entertainment/encouragement. I still want it to be easy for you to find the tips and tricks but this part needs to be shared. These will fall under “The Journey” category if you ever miss a story and want to find it quickly.

Currently I’m in Ohio and the natural hair movement here is a bit different. The spectrum ranges from the militant “Overstand me” black is beautiful crowd; to the divas that are along for the trend and the thick swinging hair. Then there are people like me that are in the middle and see the economical, mental and physical benefits of not subjecting oneself to European standards of beauty on African hair and body.

So what’s the point of starting this series?

Because I still get stared at walking down the street when I’m having a big hair day. Not just from the little old white ladies that you expect to serve you major side-eye, but from people who I think look like me. I know I can’t be the only one.

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I used to make up stories for people when I caught them staring.

“It must be because I’m tall.”

“Maybe I’m wearing something that they haven’t seen before.”

Or my favorite line that I know my man is thoroughly tired of;

“Do I look crazy?” 

The fact of the matter is that there are not many, in this area at least, that are un-apologetically Nappy Out Loud.

Nappy Out Loud: The act of having nappy hair outside, in front of people, on purpose.

Now I embrace the fact that I’m unique, but what I’ve embraced even more are the phenomena that take place (I looked it up, that’s the right word) when I’m out since I’ve just owned my individuality in style. The young girls that stop me in malls or out on the town and start conversations about my hair just when I really start to feel my odd ball vibe turn up a notch.

“I’ve been thinking about going natural.”

“Is that all your hair?”

“How long have you been natural? I just started, what do you use?”

So if you’re out there hiding under a weave, a hard press or just in a state of not being quite ready to give the world your 100% natural self. I hope that in the upcoming weeks (or however long this still makes sense to do) as I share stories of what I’ve experienced you find the courage to be Nappy Out Loud!

Be sure that you subscribe and share with all of your friends (CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON IN THE TOP LEFT). I plan on telling you all the stories that I usually keep to myself, as they occur. From the people who I catch staring and what I say, to the ones that actually have the nerve to touch my hair or say something crazy. (LOTS OF IN-LAW STORIES ON DECK …. They’re not ready).

Join me on this journey, Nappy Hair, Out Loud, In front of people.

-Clutched pearls and twirled curls

 

The Fine Print

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The devil is in the details. 

So I thought I’d share a hair journey moment brought to you by moving too fast and not reading enough.

So I’ve been rocking the crochet braids this week and getting lots of compliments.

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One of my coworkers decided that she wanted to try the technique to add a pop of color to her locks. She has type 2b fine hair so finding a store with the color she wants in her texture proved to be a task.

Off to the store we go after work in search of some Crayon grade colored bulk hair. 

Fast forward,  that just doesn’t exist in a retail to the public environment. 

Being the creative genius that I imagine myself to be I suggest that we find a high level blonde (613 to be exact) and deposit the color she wants. Makes good sense,  sounds easy enough to achieve right? 

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Add this to some developer and we’ve got color right? 

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Baby,  when I tell you that hair served every level of little old lady bouffant tea… It looked like she went gray.

So why did that happen?
1. Notice the label on the first picture…. bogus human hair.  They had the nerve to lock it up with the real deal. Human Hair Quality is a nice way to say synthetic. Unless it’s a silk protein fiber, you can forget about color unless you spray it. 

2. That color was a tint!  The swatches lie. We should have never expected a vibrant color in the first place.

In the end we ended up just adding the tint to the ends of her hair.

I shared all this as encouragement in your DIY journey.  Reading is fundamental!  I hope you got a good laugh, we certainly split our sides when we realized the number of mistakes made in our execution of the style. We completely abandoned the initial plan and decided to try it on a day that we hadn’t just worked for hours having fried or brains. 

Hair is a process,  but tonight was a tribulation. If you can’t make it to a salon be sure that you read every label, like I’ve been preaching over the past year. Even the seasoned Old Fros get caught slipping. 

As usual ask questions when it stops making sense.
#LOVE

The Secret Life of Edges

(AMEN)

So you want to know what happened to your edges. After years of micro braids that revealed nothing but scalp because they were so “crispy” and weaves so tight they could be used as Kevlar helmets, slicking down with brown gel, and when that went out of style switching to beeswax but still only shampooing your hair every two weeks….

NOW you ask;

have you seen em’….. tell me have you seen ’em?”

*dun dun dun*

“Whyyyyyyyy oooh why did they have to leave and go awaaaaaaay?

(That was for the old heads, now that I’ve joined the over 25 life membership club)

Let’s break down what took them away and close with what will bring them back shall we? Let’s go.

Balding Point 1. Tension. (we’ve discussed this before)

Balding Point 2. Products. (here’s the refresher) Here’s the news. You can use just about anything on your hair for a short period of time and almost never experience a horrible dramatic/traumatic experience aside from chemical relaxers and color (you need to know what you’re doing with those two things). However products like edge control were designed to keep you hair laid for the night/moment, not all week. What you begin to do when you use heavy wax, creams, and alcohol base products is slowly either suffocate or dehydrate your hair. Cleanse your hair and keep product buildup to a minimum. Moisture is not product. Let’s not make that mistake. If your hair requires the addition of oils, that’s not what I mean by product. (Please don’t walk around here with your hair dry telling people I said keep the product down)

Balding Point 3. Manipulation. (in case you missed it). So you can click on the link and get my growth routine. I would also like to add this scenario to help you understand what’s taking place. It’s not that you move your hair, it’s how you move and manipulate it. Some people do their hair every single day and never experience breakage and strife. If you are one of the growing population in the Sisterhood of the Disappearing Edges consider this; Ever look at someone who doesn’t shave their legs but they wear tight high socks? Ever notice how the hair has a line that it starts to thin somewhere near where the socks usually start? If your hair is not very coarse (thick at the strand level) you might be rubbing out your hairline. Know your limitations and style accordingly.

Random Building Points.

  • Don’t sleep in a wig that is not secured to your head. That’s like sleeping in a hat and if it’s the kind with an elastic band, it will rub against your hair.
  • Shampoo your hair at the level in which you add buildup to your hair. If you slick down your hair daily you should try to cleanse every 5 days or so. (even that’s a long time but touch your hair and see if it feels weighed down or crunchy)
  • Wrap your hair with satin or silk in your down time.
  • Don’t endure the pain. If your style is keeping you from being able to go to sleep it may be really cute, but it’s not worth losing your edges over. Take that down. I know sometimes a style doesn’t feel tight until later, especially if your Braider starts with wet hair and your texture shrinks, but speak up in the chair if you feel that they are doing too much.
  • Seek professional assistance. If between you and your sink side stylist, you can’t get more than just enough to cover the track in your leave out section of your weave, stop by a salon and let someone that knows how to care for your hair build a program for your hair’s rehabilitation.

 

That’s it. Just wanted to hit you with some quick tips because the scary trend I’m seeing is missing edge concealing weaves without treatment. There are lots of Kitchmatology tips and techniques floating around and I don’t want you out here thinking that the only solution to your missing hairline is to slap a sneaky weave on it and pray. You can take control of the outcome of your hair if it’s not something medically or genetically induced.

 

As always ask questions if it stops making sense.

#LOVE

 

The Decision

I listen to The Breakfast Club every morning on iHeart Radio, and since it’s Monday, I thought it would be appropriate to title this post after the famous segment that sometimes feels real, but there’s no way that it is because the stuff is just so extreme, “The Decision”.

I chose this name because all weekend long people have been discussing in the different hair groups about what it means to be natural. I’ve shared my story on my decision, this time I’d like to take a look at the mentality behind a couple of the comments I’ve read and let you decide how you feel about what was said.

 

1. “It ain’t for everybody”

I’m a weirdo, so every time I hear that phrase, the above is what pops into my mind. This is a phrase that people have complained about/ celebrated in the hair community at large. Going natural is a personal choice to return to dealing with your hair as it grows from your head. That’s all. It’s not a calling to a higher purpose, it’s not a callback after an audition, it’s not the red or the blue pill. It’s a choice. It calls on your self-esteem, confidence, resolve, independence, and style preference for an answer… but it’s still just a choice.

There are two things that I don’t like regarding this comment.

A) The old head veterans like myself that take on that phrase is if returning to natural prior to 2003 put us on some conscious crusade in which we have survived the front lines, and anyone that comes along later has to get initiated into the sisterhood.

“Have you had your co-wash today?” *Insert Natural Hair pseudo-Greek step*

B) The select members of the relaxed  that use the term as a distancing phrase. As if they could not bare the thought of waking up one day just like God made them…as if it would diminish them to a level that only YOU the natural that clearly doesn’t care how the world sees them can exist comfortably.

There has to be a better way for us to convey that we are all beautiful any way that we decide to wear our hair. Any words akin to a “Girl, I don’t know how you do it” coming from either direction helps no one.

2. You say you’re natural, but what does that mean?

So we’ve got the Natural Hair Mafia that comes out to challenge anyone claiming their set.

“Well do you weave? Then you ain’t real.”

“How are you natural with that blonde in your hair?”

Your return to natural is your own journey. Nobody can define that for you. If you decide that your journey includes wearing a weave as a protective style so be it. If you decide that you just want your original curl pattern and not the color, that is also your business.

Don’t fall victim to the bullies that question your affiliation. Support is the key to this going from a fad to a movement to a lifestyle. The truth of the matter is: The curriculum availability is low, black people the world over are the only people who I have encountered that do not have a solid grasp on what it takes to style and care for our hair exactly the way that it grows from our head. In my opinion I believe it’s because we have the most versatile hair in that we can do either curly or strait, sculpted or free. It’s alarming but once you cross the line from relaxed to natural, lots of us rely on YouTube for answers.

You may have come here looking for some motivation to stay or return to natural. I hope that this brightened your day when you get hit with the situations above. Being/going natural is simply a decision. Knock the wind out of the big bad wolf and do what you feel is best for you. Women have survived for centuries as beautiful both with and without chemicals…. Ancient Egyptians were putting lead and copper on their EYES for crying out loud, we don’t need to try to get anyone on one side or the other, how about we just let one another live.

The Natural vs Nurture

Remember that post a while back about how we still need to do something to our hair and that being natural is not an excuse to just not do anything at all?

I’d like to modify my comments. While I strongly believe that one should refrain from being out in the world appearing that they have completely run out of “cares” to give; there’s a thin line between staying polished and being obsessive. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of quite a few fun and interesting natural hair groups and one thing that I notice is that many have not embraced the freedom.

 

As a former “Processed Princess” (something else I learned in one of the groups) I can remember a time that I could not leave the house without full accessories. I looked like an old school internet chat room avatar when I left the house. Even if I had on a hat, I had earrings and a flashy belt that made the look come together so I thought. I projected a load of insecurity which in turn attracted the wrong crowd of people and for a while I didn’t have a firm grasp on who I was without all of the junk on me.

 

How much of that comes from early childhood?

I am in no way bashing or putting down any of the women in my family, let’s be very clear. However, leaving the house for even the most simple trip was an ordeal everywhere I ever stayed. There were creams followed by lotions, combined with scents and topped with powders and lightly mist with sprays. Anything that wiggled was cinched and any hair out-of-place got a healthy slicking with some product and either an “edge brush” or a fine toothed comb. Scarves/Headwraps were reserved for African garments and most certainly not mixed with any American clothing. Keep in mind that the African garments were all special occasion wear and they too had to be cinched and pulled and tied into place.

There was never a time that I felt comfortable to just throw something on unless I was going out to get dirty (which upon meeting some people who knew me as a very small child, I was exceptionally good at avoiding for my age). In my early days of going natural I felt so unkempt that I was in the salon chair WEEKLY with a TWA(teeny weenie afro). I’d never witnessed anyone that left the house without everything slicked, taped, shined and greased get a warm reception from anyone that I knew.

 

Why would we want this for the next generation?

it’s easy to discuss celebrity kids because they are always on the news and in the public eye. The thing that has disturbed me for the past year is the level of conversation surrounding a particular toddler with extremely rich and powerful entertainers as parents (Yes, Blue Ivy). In the beginning I found myself instinctually on the side of “please do that baby’s hair” but as I’ve worked with so many of you and had an opportunity to observe others as well as think introspectively about this journey…. they are right on point. I have two Goddaughters with natural hair, I take the time to re-style the Barbie dolls so that they can have a toy designed to build female self-esteem that looks like them. Doesn’t it make sense to allow a child to become comfortable with exactly who they are without all of the things that we smooth, slather and sprinkle on them?

Think of the difference it would make in how some of these women that we see on television that degrade themselves just to become popular and in turn set horrible examples of being rewarded for being everything except who you were made to be. If we concentrated our efforts on not placing the same passed down insecurities that we’ve received from generations before us, what would the world look like in 15 short years? Would we start to see more Willow Smith and Blue Ivy imitators than our current situation of plastic, distorted body image, emotionally damaged women? Would Mona Scott have to find a new demographic to exploit because the ones that we would foster in this new generation cannot be bought because they know their worth and recognize their own face and hair?

 

I’m not saying that we should all just stop doing our hair and stage some Happy to be Nappy protest. This isn’t Occupy the Beauty Supply Store. I just want more for the young girls coming up now. They have a chance to be so much more powerful upon their formal introduction to adult-hood than my generation and the ones before. Powerful in a sense that they can learn to love and accept one another and not be as catty and judgmental as many of us have learned to be.

Learn to Love Your Natural Curls and Kinks….and One Another’s

 

It’s Our Special Day *sing that*

*Do you know what today is?
It’s our Anniversary!*

My deepest appreciation and gratitude for the support/ encouragement/questions/ feedback for the past 365 days. We’re babies in the natural hair blog community but you have shown SO MUCH LOVE! 

Thank You for trusting me enough  to ask questions. Thank you to my unofficial team that supports OohMyHair.com in the shadows.

S/O to The Natural Hair Blog Directory for pulling this hair veteran with a baby site into the fold. 

S/O to the mighty Google team for inviting me to be a member of the Helpouts community.

Last year I just wanted to share my story and help other people fall in love with their natural curls and kinks. The trajectory of this site brings me to my knees daily in Thanks. 

*Imagine me singing Whitney Houston’s  I will always love you*

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My original natural hair^ 🙂 (it was slicked back in a press & curl)