Loc'd- Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates

by Alex of TheGoodHairBlog

Last week I was contacted to check out center fielder Andrew McCutchen's Loc Maintenance video. After watching it I knew that this MLB player had to be featured on the blog as this weeks loc'd man! Andrew's hair is gorgeous and it's always nice to see how athletes and celebrities maintain their natural hair while on the road. In the video you will get an inside look at how Andrew's loc'tian cares for his beautiful loc'd mane! Below Andrew answers some questions about his hair on and off the baseball field. I hope you all enjoy! Please leave comments, I would love to know your thoughts on the video--especially if you rock locs. 


For those people who may not be familiar with you, please tell us who you are and what you do.
--I am the center fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the most historical franchises in Major League Baseball.

How long have you been growing your locs?
--I’ve been growing them for almost five years.

What do you use on your hair product wise, to maintain it?
--I really don’t use much. I use oil simply to keep my scalp moisturized, but that is really it.
 
When traveling on the road how do you maintain your hair between games?
--Just that simplistic approach - I use oil on it for the purpose of keeping my scalp moisturized. We play so many games (162), maintaining the actual hair throughout the season can be tough.
 
Is there someone who helps maintain your hair on a regular basis? 
--I don’t have anyone that helps me maintain it on a regular basis. I just find someone in whatever city I am in and when I have some free time to do it. Any recommendations?

How often do you have to wash and re-twist your loc’s?
--I wash my hair every other week and I try get them re-twisted every month. Obviously the re-twisting just depends on the team’s schedule.
 
How do you keep your hair maintained when on the Baseball field?
--I wear a satin cap under my baseball hat to keep it maintained during a game, so it doesn’t take on too much damage.

What do you think about women with natural hair?
--Women with natural hair is the way to go! They don’t have damaged hair and it’ just unique.

Do you think women who choose to loc their hair exude a certain type of confidence?
--Women who choose to lock their hair shows me that they have great patience. There is a uniqueness to it still that does exude some confidence, but it takes a lot of time to grow locs, so it definitely shows me patience.
 
 What are the pros and cons about having your hair loc’d?
-- The pro for me is that I don’t have to wake up and do my hair. I can just get up and go, which is important with my career. The cons are that they get hot when it is hot outside, and getting them done is very time-consuming.

What made you decide to loc your hair? 
--I just wanted something different for my hair really. I thought this would be a unique way to go for me.

Do you have any advice for my readers who are considering loc’ing their hair?
--If you want to have them, you have to be 100 percent committed. It takes time and patience. It’s a full process.

Where can we find you on the web?
--My twitter handle is @TheCutch22.
 

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My name is Alexandra Smith, I am 22 year old single mother of one, full time Media Journalism student and business owner.I share my curly girl experience and other kinky haired goodness on my site "The Good Hair Blog." My overall goal of blogging for the natural hair community is to bring us together,men included by spreading knowledge, inspiration and love about our diverse heads of hair.

Loc'd Man: Tiba



Tell us a little about yourself? 
My name is Atiba Benjamin aka Skinny Trini. I’m a 26 year old IT Specialist currently residing in NW Washington D.C. I’m originally from Trinidad & Tobago and I moved to the US in 1998, I’ve been in the Metropolitan area ever since.

How long have you been growing your locs? 
I’ve been growing my locs for about 7 and half years.

What do you use on your hair, product wise, to maintain it? 
I use non-scented clear aloe gel to re-twist my locs. When washing hair, I use Tea Tree Shampoo and conditioner.

How often do you have to wash and re-twist your loc s and who styles them? 
I get my locs re-twisted once every 2 - 3 months but that is always subject to change, depending on social experiences.

What do you think about women with natural hair? Do you care if your woman is relaxed, natural or loc'd? 
Me personally, I love a woman no matter how she chooses to wear her hair. To me, hair is merely an aspect of a person therefore I feel its just self expression of ones individuality.

Do you think women who choose to loc their hair are sexy? 
Personally, I am more attracted to a woman's intellect not really her hair. I find it to be shallow just to be attracted to one because of their hair preference.


What are the pros and cons about having your hair loc'd? 
 I would say the biggest pro about having locs is that you can make your own natural hair products. Also, your hair is easily managed and can be a lot cheaper to maintain. Cons, I don't really have any.

What made you decide to loc your hair? Have you always had hair or did you start your locs from scratch?  
I had long hair for about 5 yrs before I decided to loc. My motivation behind locking was my culture, in Trinidad wearing locs is a lifestyle and not a "trend". People commit to a lifelong agreement with their locs just as I do.


What makes a woman's hair beautiful to you? 
The fact that a woman takes pride in up-keeping her hair is attractive enough. 

Do you have any advice for our readers who are considering loc'ing their hair?
I'd say that having locs is definitely a commitment and process. Locs should be worn for a reason and not a season. 

Where can we find you on the web? https://www.facebook.com/Skinny.Trini.Man

Natural Hair: It's a Sport



Dude's back. And this time, he lost the shirt... *taps forehead with finger* ...clever, this one, with the marketing and targeting his audience.
I totally get it, can't knock the hustle, and actually appreciate the message. Enjoy!


It’s Their Hair, Not Yours...

by Jor-El of ManeManBlog

How can we create a sense of a natural hair community when we continue to “police” one another? By “police” I mean how we (try to) keep each other in line so we don’t break those so-called rules that “naturals” are supposed to live by. I bring this up because I recently had a conversation with a friend basically trying to answer the question, who really has natural hair? We talked heat styling versus no heat styling, straightening, etc. Basically, it helped give me a bit of insight of how I honestly feel about people who identify as “naturals” but who never wear fros or have their hair straight 90% of the time.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t consider some people to be more “natural” than others when it comes to hair care. The less manipulation the better, the less you straighten the better, the more natural/organic products the better, etc. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m really trying to process and own up to my own biases and prejudices.

But this isn’t really about my personal hang ups so much as it is about a trend I’ve seen of people in the natural hair community trying to enforce all these so-called “rules” of what it means to be natural onto someone else. It’s one thing to have these automatic thoughts or perceptions about how someone feels about their hair based on how they wear it BUT it’s a different beast to call people names or try to denigrate their identity as a natural by invalidating their experience. Here are some examples of things I’ve read or heard about natural hair: Stop complaining, at least you don’t have kinky hair…your hair is curly! Straight hair isn’t natural. If you don’t have a fro, you aren’t natural. When are you going to braid that? Why don’t you get locs? But it’s their hair, not yours. So why care? Why do we do this to one another? Why do we do this to ourselves?

It troubles me that for some reason people seem to be hard-wired this way. We categorize ourselves as different from another so that maybe can make ourselves feel better about our own decisions. I do it too and I hate that about myself. I’m recognizing I’m also part of the problem. It’s sort of a wake up call to myself that what one person does to their hair has no reflection on me whatsoever so why should I care? Why should you care?

On the Couch with Hakim

By Jor-El of Mane Man


Today, I’m excited to introduce to you our newest MANE MAN, Hakim! Check out his interview below.


Tell us a little bit about yourself (your name, where you’re from, etc.)

Wassup, y’all! Hakim here! Some call me Hak, Keem or Dream Team (don’t ask, lol)…whatever works for you is cool with me. I was born and raised in North Philadelphia and that’s where I reside today. I love my hood! It’s a lil cray, but I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world! I’m redeemed, a music business professional, writer, music lover, part-time sales associate, uncle, son and friend!

What’s your current hair style?

Right now I have shoulder length locs. And let me tell you, I have a lot of them!!!! Hundreds!!

When did you start growing your hair out? How did the people around you react initially? And now?

I started growing my hair at the end of 2007, I believe. Initially, I just wanted to grow my hair out, but a good friend of mine had started to lock his hair and I was really interested. I always wanted to experiment with my hair but never felt like I had the liberty to explore those options. It was never anything extreme, just maybe a HUGE, HUGE fro, locs, etc. In the urban African American community there is this silent rule that all men must have short hair. Fades and Caesars are cool, and of course the clean shaven baldy but that’s about it. If you had locs, you’re automatically deemed the weed head, Rasta, or just plain ole’ dirty. Any other style or interest in exploring other options meant that you were gay, questionable and/or too eccentric. I hated that and I wanted to break down those stereotypes. When you look at other cultures, men do what they want with their hair. They grow it out, cut it, style it, and color it….so why couldn’t I do that? Since growing my hair for a few years, I can say we’ve definitely grown as a culture. I see young dudes in the hood rocking their skinny jeans with their dyed hair (thanks to Wiz Khalifa), curly tops (Philly style), etc. But we still have a way to go as a community pertaining to what we deem acceptable for men. I started my loc journey the day before Easter in 2008. People weren’t really surprised when they saw that I starting the locking process. Growing up I was the dude from the hood who sang classical music, did musical theater and went to prestigious magnet performing arts school. So I guess that made me different altogether.

The process was fun but also very telling. I was amazed with the locking process and excited to see my hair grow. At the same time a lot of my deep-rooted insecurities came to the surface. I didn’t feel good about myself unless my hair was freshly twisted and accompanied by a nice shape up. I would get irritated when my hair started to get fuzzy and “unmanageable”. So I would try to get my hair retwisted every four weeks and get a fresh line in between. After a few years, I got tired of putting on for people and I just allowed my locs to free-form. So during the Spring of 2011, I stopped going to the salon, I just simply shampooed, conditioned, moisturized and made sure my locs weren’t growing together. It was a very freeing experience for me. I realized that I twisted my hair and got my line ups for people. I cared way too much about how people perceived me. It was bondage. I wasn’t secure in my identity or manhood. But I was glad that I could admit it.

As men we don’t sit down and candidly talk about our insecurities. We mask and hide them but they leak out in so many areas of our lives. I know countless dudes who won’t go a week without hitting up the barbershop, or won’t walk out the door without the freshest lay (outfit for you non-Philly folk) on. These things become so habitual that we don’t see how we may be using them to cover over the brokenness within. There’s nothing wrong with looking good and being well-groomed. However, I think it’s healthy to stop and ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Why do we care so much about what people think? It’s often because we want a sense of validation and acceptance from them. But I’ve learned that affirmation from people never truly lasts; it’s temporal and fleeting.

My exposed insecurities during my journey with my locs forced me to look to the Lord to find my identity. He loves me just as I am, not based on what I do, how I look or any kind of performance. I’m His creation! That’s huge for me. As I continue to rest in His truth, I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not all the way there, but I’m definitely on my way.

How do you maintain your look?

Maintaining my look is pretty easy. I don’t do too much to my hair. I rarely get my hair styled. I wear it down, pulled back or in a ponytail. I try to put something on my head every night before I sleep, but that doesn’t always happen.

I shampoo and condition my hair whenever I feel like it needs to be done. There’s no deep, mystical process for that. If it feels smells and/or looks dirty, I wash it….unless I’m tired, LOL. Shampooing my hair is definitely an ordeal, especially during the fall and winter because you want to make sure it’s dry. During the summer, I would shampoo, condition, moisturize and go out the door. Every so often I do an ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) soak/rinse with baking soda to cleanse my hair from buildup. I feel like I still have some lint or buildup in my hair and it IRRITATES me to no end, so if you have any remedies let me know.

Do you have any favorite products or hair tools that you would recommend to other mane men out there?

Okay, let’s talk about products. I’m realizing that I am pretty selective when it comes to what I use, but for a good reason. I don’t
shampoo or condition with anything that has sulfates. Sulfates are really drying and they simply aren’t good for your hair or body. In the past, I’ve used Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo and my hair always feels very clean after I use it. It’s pretty dope. **AGREED!**

The last time I conditioned my hair I went old school and used mayonnaise and beaten eggs. It did a good job too! For my next wash, I’m going to try all Shea Moisture products. I had to hunt them down but I think it’s going to be worth it. I can actually read all of the ingredients and their products contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, etc. That gives me lots of comfort.

I moisturize my hair with all kinds of oil – olive, tea tree, jojoba, and especially lavender because it’s balances your sebum production and is very calming. When I get my hair retwisted, I use aloe vera gel, Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel or olive oil. That’s about it. In my experience, leaving my hair alone is the best care for it.

Anything else you would like to share?

Follow me on twitter: @Hakim2633
Tumblr (Even though I’m rarely on there these days: http://keemhasthedream.tumblr.com/
Lastly, check out a great magazine that I write for: http://heedmag.com

Thanks for joining us Hakim!

Do you have any additional suggestions of cleansing options to help keep Hakim’s scalp clean?

White Boys and Black Girls’ Hair



White Dude Coworker: Like, I don’t get it. What’s the big deal about having natural hair?

Me: It’s not really a big deal, it’s just a difference in the look, texture, and upkeep of the hair.

White Dude Coworker: Well, what’s the difference? What does natural hair look like?

Me: *pointing to my fresh twist-out* This is natural.

White Dude Coworker: What does un-natural hair look like?

Me: Mostly permed or relaxed hair is considered to be un-natural.

White Dude Coworker: My sister got a perm once, she looked terrible.

Me: What most white people call perms are different from what black people call perms. Perms make white peoples’ hair curly, but make make black peoples’ hair straight.

White Dude Coworker: Oh. I don’t see lots of girls around here with hair like yours though.

Me: Probably because they have perms or weaves.

White Dude Coworker: So….Michelle Obama, her hair is natural, right?

Me: No.

White Dude Coworker: Yes it is!

Me: No, really, it’s not. She has a relaxer!

White Dude Coworker: What?!?!?!? *Mouth drops open*

Me: Yup

White Dude Coworker: *long pause* Are you sure?

As nuts as this conversation may sound, it’s not the first time I’ve had to give a white guy a short lesson on my hair, weaves, relaxers, locs, or natural hair in general. No matter how I try to slice it, most white people, guys especially seem to be very fascinated with natural hair.

When I met my husband, the first thing he wanted to do was touch my hair. I had it in an afro puff/ponytail. He was fascinated with the texture, how it smelled, how “spongy” it felt, and thought it was the most unusual thing EVER the way my hair stayed stationary no matter how hard the wind blew. We’ve been together for 4 years and he still finds himself playing in my hair, sometimes greasing my scalp and helping me retwist. He loves my kinks and curls and actually doesn’t care for me to straighten it. He loves afro puffs, twist-outs and braid-outs especially because he says it shows off my texture best. But even as much as hubs knows about my hair now, back when we first started dating, he had to learn the hard way about my day long hair washing sessions and how messy and time consuming henna can be. For a while, he assumed that if a black girl had bone straight hair, it was naturally so. You would be surprised by the strange things that some white guys just assume about our hair in it’s natural state. When I broke the news to a white associate of mine that his favorite actress Gabrielle Union was more than likely sporting a weave in his favorite photo of her, he looked as though he could cry. When he was able to collect himself, he retorted “Well, that’s just ridiculous! I bet she’d be just as stunning without all that fake stuff”. I agree!

Now, I know that some naturals don’t like to be approached about their hair, or even have anyone request to touch or get a closer look, but you gotta remember, not all people who are inquiring are doing so to be rude or nosey. There are some people who are genuinely intrigued by what’s going on atop your head! Let’s face it, there are probably not a lot of people walking around looking like you, and the fact that you are so uniquely beautiful may attract attention. *Kanye shrug*

A Man's P.O.V: Nafis

by Alex of The Good Hair Blog



Name: Nafis
Age: 26
Location: Philadelphia

How important is a woman’s hair to you? Especially if you are dating her, does she have to wear her hair a certain way to keep grab your interest? (i.e. which styles down vs. ponytail vs. bun, hair length? To me, hair is just hair; however, I do feel that no matter what hairstyle a woman wears it should always be well kept and neat. As I get older, I do see myself paying more attention to a woman’s hair now more so than ever before. At this stage in my life, I feel like everything comes into play when dating a woman including their hair. By me being a very active and adventurous person (i.e running, working out, water fun etc.), I need a woman who is ready and down for adventure just as much as I am without the restrictions of a hair issue.

Do you think that there is a ‘Natural Hair Movement’ or trend going on these days? Why do you think so many women are choosing to go natural now, do you think it’s a fad? Right now it does seem like the natural hair thing is big. Honestly, I really don’t know why that is. There are a ton of natural hair blogs and videos out there now so I think that may add to it but also I think lot of times people just get bored and might want to try something different. I was told by a good friend of mine that, “only the strong survive. Having natural hair is a lot of work.” So with that said, I think that will separate the true natural women from the fad followers

Would you support your partner or family members (i.e. mother, sister, daughter) if she decided to become natural? Of course! I LOVE women with natural hair. It says a lot about their character I think. To be honest, I think I’m more attracted to those with natural hair than those without it. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate and have love for all black women but it’s just something about a natural woman that I’m drawn to. Natural women have always stood out to me. They represent a part of our culture that has been stripped away from us. I feel we’ve been conditioned to believe what is considered to be beautiful, normal, or good-looking when it comes to women especially black women and their hair. Natural women have my utmost respect because it takes courage and confidence to do what they’re doing and to me that speaks volumes. I’ve been telling my mother for years to get locs. I think she’d look awesome with them but she won’t do it lol

How important is hair texture to you? If your significant other were to go natural, would the texture of her hair affect your opinions on whether she should remain natural or not? Texture isn't really important to me. Fine, medium, coarse, curly it doesn't really matter. Besides, I can’t be too picky about a woman’s texture when mine is like a Brillo pad lol

What is your definition of “Good Hair” and how do you feel about the word “Nappy?” Growing up, “good hair” to me always meant wavy, soft, straight or long hair. I think we as a people are forced to believe that. Now that I’m older I think that “good hair” is whatever kind of hair makes you feel good. Whether it be natural or weave, relaxed or loc’d, long or short. If it makes you feel good, rock out!

Would you rather your partner wear her hair natural or in a weave? Why or why not? As I mentioned before, I’m a very active person and I would like my partner to be also to a certain extent without her hair holding her back. But above all else, I want her to be happy so if that means wearing a weave then that’s something I would have to deal with. However if I had to choose, it would be natural.

If you are involved with a woman do you think she should consult with you when it comes to making changes to her hair? Not really but I think that depends on the change. If she wants to go completely shaved after having a head full of hair, I think some type of heads up would be nice lol But after awhile, I think you kind of know how far your woman will go with her hair.

Why does it seem like some men are “hung up” on hair length? Does it matter to you? Again, I think this is something that has been forced on us through the media and everything else we as a people are so consumed with. The long hair fetish goes back decades along with this whole “light-skinned” non sense. For YEARS, they’ve been the only symbols of beauty for black people in this country. It’s been regurgitated and passed down from generation to generation. There was a time when a black person wouldn’t get a chance in Hollywood if they were darker than a brown paper bag. I think this way of thinking has stuck with us. Her length is not important to me.

Would you be supportive in your partner’s journey to go natural?
Without a doubt.

What makes black women and their hair unique and beautiful to you? Everything about a black woman makes them unique and beautiful. Their lips, hips, ass (Can I say ass on here? Lol), sassiness, even their hair. They all represent beauty. This might sound crazy but to me natural women have a sense of “realness” about them that makes them unique. Immediately, you get the sense that they are down to earth, cool, and open minded. That right there alone is a beautiful thing. There is nothing more beautiful and sexy than a confident, educated, curvy, down to earth, open-minded natural black woman.

Who is your favorite “curly girl?” (i.e. celebrity, actress, friend, ect.) Erykah Badu, Amel Larrieux, and Alexandra Smith all three of these women are dope and amazingly gorgeous.

Me, Him + Natural Hair

by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

It is not everyday that I sit down and think about how my choice to go natural affects those around me. After all, I am doing this for myself right? My boyfriend however, recently announced that he plans to switch things up a little (maybe a lot) by deciding he wants to grow some luscious locks. I admit I was caught a little off guard, because of course, the roles had now been reversed. This awakened a sense of curiosity about his initial feelings when I started my journey, so I decided I would go ahead and ask the man some questions!

B:When you told me you wanted to grow dreadlocks, I was definitely surprised. Did alarms go off when I first told you I was no longer going to be relaxing my hair also?

D:To be honest, as a person who is accepting of others and their decisions it came as a surprise but I was more intrigued as to the reasons why. I wanted to know what prompted the decision and as to whether you would stick with it or give in to temptation.

B:Why do you think some partners are unsupportive of their significant others currently going natural?

D:My answer to that is because they are selfish. I mean when you get into a relationship you should be supportive of your partner’s desires. I think it has a lot to do with the perceptions of others and the inability to be seen as being different from others. I also believe that there are other issues such as a lack of understanding and knowledge.

B:Society tells us that anything that isn’t straight and sleek is undesirable. How have you managed to break away from these influences?

D:I was there one day trying to make sense of things and I began asking questions. Asking why things have to be done a certain way and why true individuality or doing things different is commonly frowned upon. I came to the conclusion that a lot of people are influenced by family, traditions and what people say. I mean, why should what I look like matter when applying for jobs or gaining new opportunities? Surely as I say, it should be qualities within and skills that matter.

B:Many of us women worry about still being able to look good for our partners in the bedroom while maintaining hair styles at night with scarves etc. Does the night time hair routine put you off?

D:It doesn’t put me off personally because of my understanding about the need to protect the hair. I also know what you look like without the scarf so I do not think it is an issue and doesn’t stop anything from taking place. I think that for a lot of people though, they have a particular image when it comes to the bedroom and the fact that a headscarf or something similar doesn’t subscribe to that image may be putting them off. I think that being able to work around this issue is the key to a good relationship.

B:As the partner of someone currently transitioning, what have you found hardest to deal with? I won’t be offended…much!

D:I would definitely say the amount of time spent on hair maintenance. It seems like every other day 3 hours are spent deep conditioning. I know the need for maintenance though and I guess good things come to those who wait i.e. beautiful natural hair!

B:Finally, what made you decide to go natural and lock it up?

D:Well because I have been an interested observer during the transitioning period so far, I feel inspired. Also the amount of information I have found out through research, and the need not only for good looking but also healthy hair. For a long time I have generally been against people using weave as I think that people should be proud to show off their own hair. My decision was based on what I mentioned earlier about society judging people based on my appearance, and I guess me growing my hair allows me to make a sort of stand by non-conformity, as well as joining in on the natural hair journey.

Have you had the chance to find out what your Significant Other REALLY thinks?

Let’s Hear It For the Boys!


By Andrea Dawn

Recently there’s been some discussion in the natural hair community about husbands and boyfriends who don’t support their partner’s decision to go natural. Some of the stories are heartbreaking. It can be devastating for a woman to realize that the man she loves can’t or won’t accept something as basic and organic as the hair growing out of her scalp.

It’s good to discuss this issue from time to time because it can help a woman gain perspective and clarity, and possibly help her decide how to manage the conflict.

For every man who doesn’t support his partner’s natural hair journey, I like to think there is another man who does. I believe it’s equally important to share stories about the support and encouragement we receive from our partners on our natural hair journey. Too many “my husband/boyfriend hates my natural hair” tales can discourage and even scare away women and girls who are contemplating going natural.

My hair was relaxed when I met my husband. I wore a weave on our wedding day. Five years into our marriage I decided to big chop and go natural. He fully supported and encouraged me before I big chopped. When I returned from the salon with ¼ inch of hair on my head, he told me I looked beautiful. One year later with me rocking a big, thick, kinky, coily afro, his support continues. He always tells me how beautiful my hair is. He touches it a lot because he loves the texture of it. And he shows just the right amount of interest when I share my tales of pre-pooing, plopping, product testing and pineapple-ing. His support has definitely made my journey more enjoyable.

I’m sure there are plenty more husbands, boyfriends and significant others who are equally as supportive and encouraging. Let’s share some positive experiences!

Does your husband, boyfriend or significant other support you on your natural hair journey? If he wasn’t initially supportive, did he become more supportive over time? What does he say or do to show his support?

Ask A Brotha Series- Featuring Joseph Desmond


via A Curl's Best Friend

Age 24
Degree in English and Political Science from Temple University
Currently Works for the P.A. Senate
Also Builds Professional Resumes


How important is the hair of the woman you have interest in?

Hair is not important to me; (as long as it is clean, looks attractive and healthy I’m good.) Yeah, I guess it kinda matters.

How do you feel about naturally kinky, coiled and curly hair? Is it attractive to you? Why or why not?
I love this type of natural look. I think it is more than a purely visual thing though; my mind tends to reflect on how this look (historically in America) was demonized or stigmatized and the woman wearing it reflects (even if It is not her reality) an expression of not only natural beauty but resilience.

If you see a woman with a weave or straight hair what is your initial perception of her?
Please don’t let it be painfully obvious that it is a weave, I mean Virgin Indian is expensive, but work it out lol. But really at this point I draw no conclusions; when I was younger I once thought “Oh she’s embracing a Eurocentric form of beauty” and there are times when those feelings surface, but an individual is so much more complex than the way they wear their hair. It ultimately means very little.

When you see a woman with natural hair what is your perception of her?
Means very little, it’s easy to fall into the reverse “Sista must be deep! She can probably read me poetry in sweet Swahili.!” But I’ve met vapid women with natural hair, and incredibly layered and intriguing sistas with processed hair….it’s not a defining factor. The only constant I feel is that women with natural hair may require a little more confidence and strength to wear it; and those are beautiful attributes.

Is there a type of natural hair texture that you prefer? For example: lose curls vs. a textured afro vs. locks/ long vs. short?
Prefer is such a strong word, but for some reason locks are my thing, wouldn’t say a preference, but a definite weakness.

Why do you think women, mostly women of color fear that men will find them to be less attractive once they go natural? Do you think that fear is justified at all?
I truly believe women of color have internalized the negative feedback they have received in regards to their natural beauty. When the overwhelming majority of mainstream images that represent beauty don’t look like you, or what you have, it will influence your thinking. Worse even are the men, black men especially, who embrace ‘other’ forms of beauty while rejecting hers.

Why do you think hair is such a touchy topic for women of color?
Because it was made a touchy subject. Hate to sound like a history buff, but black women’s natural beauty has been ridiculed by Europeans as early as the 19th century (ie: Sarah Baartman) She was paraded as a freak show (literally in a circus) because of her thighs, buttocks, etc. Her body was put on display in France after her death and only recently (about 2000) were her remains returned. Additionally “dread” locks are called what they are because they were seen as dreadful or disgusting by Europeans. It’s a touchy topic because blacks do not own their images in terms of how they are portrayed in mass media or even intellectual circles. I think what compounds these images are probably a black woman’s experiences, from painful comb-outs during childhood, to being teased at school, to being ostracized in social circles, to the time consuming and sometimes painful process of altering her hair; so many emotions are tied to it. It being a ‘touchy’ subject seems inevitable.

How do you feel about women who spend a lot of time, money and energy on their hair?
If the money, energy and time is hers then let her spend it.

Do you think men should have a say in how their significant other wears their hair?
I think at most a man or partner should make their feelings known, after that she should be allowed to wear it however she pleases.

With all that said, how would you prefer your daughter (if you have one or not) to wear her hair?
My daughter would not even smell a relaxer or altering chemical until 18, at that point it is her choice.

Lastly, do you have anything else you would like to share with the masses?
What is more beautiful than a black woman? I can think of nothing. Thanks for the interview.


Shanti Mayers and Antoinette Henry are best friends whose friendship took root in Philadelphia 10 years ago. Now as adults, Antoinette lives in Brooklyn New York pursuing her dreams in theater while Shanti still resides in Philadelphia raising her one- year old daughter. The creation of their blog “A Curl’s Best Friend” is representative of the creators and their love for natural hair, their appreciation of beauty and talent, their need for self -expression and their admiration for the many faces and voices of womanhood. Keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr!

Your Man and Your Natural Hair Styles

by Briana of The Mane Source

My hubby has always been supportive of me and my natural hair. When I first told him that I wanted to go natural and the possible bogusness that could ensue during my transition, he was understanding. When I first big chopped and awoke up with a make-shift high top fade because my sides were smashed in, he was gracious.

There’s one thing that my husband has absolutely NO tolerance for, and that is a frohawk. He detests them. If a frohawk was a person, he’d probably burn him or her at the stake. Ok, maybe he doesn’t dislike them THAT much. He doesn’t hate fro hawks in general, but he doesn’t care for how they look on me. Over the last 3+ years of my natural journey, I’ve worn frohawks many times. I had no idea how much he disliked them until a couple of months ago. O__o

I, on the other hand, LOVE frohawks. Its my favorite style in the whole wide world. If a frohawk was a person, it would be my best friend. We’d dress alike and EVERYTHING. Seriously. What about you?

Is there a particular natural hair style that you rock that your significant other hates? If so, what is it? Do tell. ;)

Teaching Our Sons to Love Our Natural Hair



by Wendy15

I was about to do a braid out on my hair a couple of days ago and my 4 year old son came by and wanted to "help" which usually turns into a big mess whether it's in the kitchen or cleaning up. Yes, if he helps clean up... God help you... I hesitated before I said no though. It occurred to me that this was one of those "teachable moments". We focus a lot on teaching little girls to love their natural hair. But what about little boys. They will grow into men who love natural kinky curly hair and have daughters with kinky hair.

He said "Mommy can I help you?" I asked him "Do you like mommy's hair?" He said "Yes". I said "Mommy has kinky curly hair, do you think it's beautiful?". He said "Yes". That might have just been his distracted answer as he was combing through it at the time. So I kept talking. "I love my hair, kinky curly hair is very beautiful". He stopped combing, seemingly un-distracted now and says "Mommy I like your kinky curly hair, it's pretty". I thanked him for helping me and made a big deal of what a good job he did. It was a bit tangled by the time he was done as his little hands didn't have the technique, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I plan to have him help me more to teach him how to handle natural hair. When he grows up and gets married maybe he'll be the one teaching his little daughter or son about what I taught him.

Side note. I also have 16 year old who has watched me go natural. He asked me why girls put weaves in their hair. I told him that women have lots of options with their hair and weaves are one option. Apparently he sees a lot of girls as school with weaves and he's not too fond of it. He says some of them are badly done. I'm sure he has other opinions about hair, but I'm taking these opportunities to try teach my boys about the hair that grows out of the head of women, not so much to skew their opinion towards natural hair, but to teach them that natural hair is beautiful in its natural state which is different from what I learned when I got my first perm at age 7.

What are your thoughts about this topic?

NATURAL HAIR: YO BOYFRIEND DON'T LIKE IT?

Sjsafety18 writes:
@MissDaniBlue from twitter asked me what I thought of a girl who is natural dumping her boyfriend because he doesn't like her hair. In typical SJS style, I said a few words.





CN Says:
Homeboy's well versed. *tips hat*

"...explaining why you need him at 1 o'clock in the morning, to go out to Walmart and get you some Eco Styler Gel..." #dead

For Better or For Natural


by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics.blogspot.com


Dear CC:


My natural hair (not pictured) is extremely thin but healthy, however, I have worn a wig for many years. I have recently been exposed to your blog, among many others, all celebrating natural hair. I had no idea this world existed, but I am glad I know now. I am ready to take the wig off and wear my own hair with the help of a few styling ideas from friends. There’s only one problem, and his name is Mister. I met my Nigerian husband seven years ago at a gathering at a mutual friend’s home. I have worn my wig throughout my entire marriage and my husband has never really seen me without it except for at bedtime. I know what you’re thinking, a man from the Mother land prefers fake hair? Well yes, exactly. Clearly he has adopted the Western idea of beauty and I never really thought about it until now. He loves my wig, which is just a basic black wig with large sized curls, the kind achieved through a roller set. He is not at all pleased with my decision to ditch the wig. He even made a few negative remarks about the appearance of my hair without the wig. I want my husband to be satisfied with the way I look and be attracted to me, however, I am ready for a change.

My Response:

First of all, welcome to the world of Natural Hair Media! It is amazing how many resources are out there dedicated to the topic. Every day it seems there is another blog unturned. Second, your dilemma is not at all uncommon. I have witnessed many women concerned about changing their hair, natural or otherwise, and whether or not their spouse/significant other will “approve”. I’ve been there myself. You love your man and you want him to find you physically attractive. I am not going to give you the “it’s your hair, not his” speech that can be heard in any circle of women. Instead, I am going to offer a few suggestions on how to ease your guy into your new look.

1. Show him natural hair is sexy too!
Men are attracted to confident women and if you wear your mane with confidence, he can’t help but be attracted to you. The positive energy you put out there will reach him and hopefully be reciprocated. This could also be a time to introduce some role play into your lives. Explain to him that it will be like dating a different woman.

2. The Touch Factor

Touch is sensual and intimate. Encourage him to touch and feel your soft coils and he may start to view the whole idea differently.

3. Share with him what you’ve learned

Sometimes people reject things they don’t understand. Don’t bog him down with the details because he could probably care less about the a b c’s of trichology. Tell him your reasons for wanting to proudly display your natural tresses. Once he sees you in your fresh, cute styles, he will soon forget about that wig. Eventually his response will be “if you like it, I love it”.

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.


Can you relate? Have any advice?
Share below!

Autumn Responds to Yesterday's Marriage Post

Autumn writes:





Um… WHOA, WHOA, WHOA! Yes, this happened for real. And YES, there were A LOT of elements missing from the post. Of course, it’s a personal story re-told in “glimpse” fashion to make a point.

I do not need to defend the conclusion of my story. But I will say this: I STILL HAVE MY MARRIAGE, AND IT’S A BEAUTIFUL ONE. I STILL HAVE MY NATURAL HAIR, AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL TOO. My husband did not really want to end our marriage (re-read the post). I am currently in a more-than-humanly-normal hormonal state (re-read the post).

Hair: Just as trivial as the idea of divorcing someone over hair, is the idea of NOT making at least an EFFORT if your spouse expresses disappointment – especially if it is a change from your initial self (i.e., not TRYING to lose gained weight, not TRYING to dress more attractively, not TRYING to be more sexually active – if you were before). Also, I believe that physical attraction is VERY important in relationships – possibly more important to men than women.

Marriage: Our love story is sweet and full of depth, not bitter and shallow. Marriage in this country is being downplayed something fierce, as evident in how fast most commenters said they would let their marriage and their children’s two-parent household just…dissolve. Men can be insensitive and often are, but they are not ALWAYS cheating. Women can be intuitive and often are, but they are not ALWAYS in tune with what their spouses are feeling and can often ignore important signals to focus on other things like work, children, etc. And thank you to commenter DFig for this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3

Conclusion: The negative feelings toward “nappy” hair out there are REAL. People, even loved ones will say some VERY mean things. I wanted to present a DIFFERENT way to react to the negativity (especially regarding unsupportive spouses). It’s NOT all about YOU. It’s about EVERYONE – all races, all sexes, all religions – and it’s about our children, too. That might sound too deep, but it’s true. What image are we REALLY portraying? At this point in time, my case it is simple (NOT complicated): I believe that my reaction to the situation will show my husband how VERSATILE my natural hair is – that it’s not all about my afro/curly styles (which I believe he thought was true, considering I had not straightened my hair and only done styles like twists and coils for a whole year straight). But that I can do it ALL – curly/straight/weave/whatever! And STILL be able to reach my goal of growing my natural hair longer than it was relaxed, and showing my daughter that her natural hair is beautiful and versatile, too.

Let’s be more POSITIVE. “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” Wade Boggs

Your natural hair is only as beautiful as YOU are.

"We will not lose our love, our marriage, OVER HAIR"


Autumn writes:

I don’t even know what to call this. But it happened – FOR REAL.

Background:

I’m married – 5+ years – to a wonderful husband and father. I’m pregnant – 5 months now – with my second child and I’m an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been natural – almost 1 year – and, although it took some time for me to feel this way, I LOVE my curls.

The Drama:

My husband works from home and has watched our 2-yr old daughter from birth (SN: She has curls too and he washes and styles her hair very well during the week). About a month ago, he sent me a text at work saying we needed to talk when I got home. So, I come from work on my lunch break like I normally do. We decided to leave the house to run some errands. In the car, I asked him what he wanted to talk about. Then he said the six words that literally threw me into an immediate emotional breakdown: “WE NEED TO SPLIT UP.” Huh? What? Where is this coming from? Instant flood of tears and hyperventilating.

He never wanted me to go natural. He doesn’t like “nappy” hair. He likes straight hair. He felt that I had totally ignored his feelings by going natural in the first place, but the fact that I’ve stayed natural, despite his disdain, is even worse. It doesn’t matter that everyone else around us likes my hair. He is my husband and his opinion should matter most. When he married me I had long, straight hair. He’s not attracted to me anymore because of my hair, and therefore he felt that the best solution was to split up, instead of being disgusted with the sight of me daily. But if I straighten my hair (it doesn’t have to be a relaxer), then everything will be ok and go back to normal. Blah, blah, blah. SN: Just the week before, his close friend’s wife chemically relaxed her hair after a year of being natural because she couldn’t stand the negative feedback from her husband.

Ok, ok, ok. He probably didn’t use those exact words. But I’m pregnant, so that’s what it sounded like. I emailed my boss from my phone and said I couldn’t come back to work for personal reasons. After running our errands, I dropped him and our daughter back off at the house and drove off to clear my mind. I won’t go into all the thoughts that led me to my next actions, but I will tell you what happened.

I LOVE THIS MAN. I CANNOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT THIS MAN. I WILL NOT LOSE MY HUSBAND OVER HAIR. But I felt this was a deeper issue than hair, and I also felt that some information was missing from his little rant. So I went back home. I grabbed a pen and paper and went straight to our bedroom. I got in the bed under the covers and started writing. Right after I jotted down my last thought, he came in to check on me. He gave me a big hug, and waited for me to speak. Here’s what I wrote/said, and his answers.

-I have more going for me than the hair on my head. YES YOU DO.

-I’m beautiful, intelligent, stylish, in shape, a good mother, I bring home bacon just like you, and I cook it too. YES I AGREE.

-I’m pregnant with your child, how dare you bring this to me right now. I FELT LIKE YOU WERE IGNORING HOW I FELT ABOUT YOUR HAIR.

-My hair is beautiful and *I* LOVE it, no matter what anyone else says. I KNOW.

-Our daughter’s hair is beautiful, are you going to request that she straighten her hair? NO, HER HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL.

-Is your friend’s wife a better woman than I am because she relaxed her hair for her husband to make HIM happy, even though she will be unhappy? YES, I FEEL THAT WAY. BUT SHE IS NOT MY WIFE AND I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WOMAN.

-Are you willing to give up our love, sex, family, home, future plans… all because of my hair?! NO, NEVER.

My response was: Then I cannot, WILL NOT get a chemical relaxer. So what is your REAL problem?

His response was: Well, it’s just that all the “different” styles you have been doing have been “nappy” styles. Can you please do some straight styles, and do them more often?

Of course! Why didn’t you say that in the first place boy?!

Ever since then, we’ve been back in love like usual. He touches my “nappy” hair and tells me I’m beautiful. And I still haven’t done a straight style yet, although I do plan to keep my promise – to prevent another childish rant.

Conclusion:

Turns out, he just did a really horrible job of expressing his feelings. And I did a really horrible job of acknowledging his feelings. We will not lose our love, our marriage, our life together… OVER HAIR.

Weigh in!

Why I'm Grateful for Isaiah Mustafa

by Jor-el of Manemanblog.com

I’m grateful for Isaiah Mustafa. During a recent interview with E! entertainment reporter Giuliana Rancic, Isaiah Mustafa caused a bit of controversy when he stated that his ideal woman must have “good hair”. Whoops! According to the Huffington Post article, Rancic went on to ask Mustafa if the hair had to be real to which his response was a bit more self referential:

Mustafa stated, “Yes, it does have to be real hair. I want my kids to have nice hair so she better have good hair. Cause, I don’t know if you’ve checked my hair out lately. Aside from today it’s normally nice. Today it’s slightly nappy.” (Source)

Following the interview, Mustafa went on to apologize for his comments via his Twitter page (@isaiahmustafa), stating, “I want 2 apologize wholeheartedly 2 anyone out there who was offended or hurt by the irresponsible comments I made on E! News. #ignorant

Now, I understand that Mustafa was on the defensive but I hate…hate, hate, hate apologies that celebrities issue where the basic message is “I apologize if anyone was hurt by my comments.” You know people were offended, don’t be silly. That having been said, I actually think this is a really good addition to the whole good hair/nappy hair conversation.

I’m grateful that Mustafa was a bit loose-lipped during his interview with Rancic because in this moment you really get to hear about Mustafa’s own insecurities about his hair (whether in jest or not) which is something that you don’t really hear men talk about in a public forum. He inadvertently let the world know that just as women of all races experience insecurity about their image, so do men.

While many people were offended by his comments (I was too) it doesn’t mean that Mustafa needs to be crucified as some self hating Black man who is still enslaved by White, eurocentric standards Why? Because he’s just like the rest of us. This slip of the tongue has made it obvious to me that Mustafa needs the support that every natural woman or curly-haired guy needs. If you’re a woman who has decided to grow your natural hair, do you remember a time or a moment when you thought and felt the same way Mustafa did? Chances are you did at some point.

Following his comments, Mustafa participated in an interview at Planet Abiola to further discuss his comments and his recent appearance on the new Charlie’s Angel’s reboot. He addresses the hair comments in the first few minutes.


His comments about nappy hair are mainly addressed in the first few minutes of the interview and it’s clear that Mustafa feels bad about his comments and I get the sense that Mustafa is a good guy who’s a bit misguided. He says that he has recently been trying to grow out his hair to give himself a different look. He says right before the interview with Rancic he was fussing with his hair backstage and getting pretty frustrated about his current “in-between” stage. Sound familiar?

When asked for his reaction to the backlash, Mustafa states, “I was being self-deprecating and I was speaking of myself…”

At about the five-minute mark he attempts to explain himself and gets a little incoherent . In an attempt to save face he focuses strongly on his opinions about his own hair, but Abiola challenges him a bit to consider how his perspective may be impacting Black boys and young men who may look up to him. Mustafa apologizes and reiterates that he is only speaking of himself. During the interview he also states, “It’s not what I meant”. And there’s why I feel Mustafa is misguided.

Sometimes its important to take things for what they are. Yes he was only referring to “his hair” but what he does not seem to acknowledge (at least publicly) is that his thoughts on his hair are likely reflective of his feelings about others in his community. I think it’s a bit naive for him to think that he can feel his hair is nappy, and somehow bad or difficult to work with, and not think the same way about others with naturally kinky or tightly curled hair. Am I wrong?

On my worst days I have felt similar to Mustafa. Guys get frustrated with their hair too and this frustration probably grows exponentially with every inch of hair. So did we catch Mustafa on one of those bad hair days? It seems that way. Do I think Mustafa is some sort of Uncle Tom who won’t date Black women or secretly hates who he is? Nope. For all the people who are reacting strongly to Mustafa and his comments I would challenge you to think about his comments more critically and how his comments may be connected to your own personal hairstory and people’s reactions to your hair. I must admit that my gut reaction was to think “HOW STUPID OF HIM!” but the truth is that we all have internalized the whole “bad hair” thing to some degree no matter if you’re a newbie or have been wearing your natural hair for 20+ years. Then again, that’s just my opinion.

What do you think?


For more of Jor-el, check him out on his new blog, or view his hairstory HERE.

On the Couch with Our Men...


I Lost My Lady to a Revolution … of Sorts

via Hairscapades


Hi … my name is Weusi … and I lost my lady to a revolution … of sorts.

I’m a 70′s baby. My parents and their friends were not freedom fighters … they were revolutionaries. They fought in various ways for the civil rights, well-being and equality of the people. They were the ones that you won’t hear about in any history books because they believe that the revolution will not [and should not] be televised. RIP GIL SCOTT HERON.

These people have incredible stories but, unless you are within their inner circle, you will never hear about them. You can ask Shelli, if you hear their history, the joys, fears, pains, smiles, tears and moments of love and hate that they experienced, you’re sure to learn a few things.

One of the many things I learned was that there will be times when the needs and wants of a mass of people will outweigh the wants of individuals. They instilled in me that there would be times when building and maintaining the health and well-being of a community might be of more important than my personal wants. I say all this because, you are part of the reason that I lost my lady!

It’s your fault that I lost my lady … it’s your revolution … of sorts. Yes, you are part of a revolution! The organizing, development and education of a community of healthy-haired people who are rooted in the ideas that recognize that beauty is more than skin deep is revolutionary in this day and time. I’m not mad at that! Really … I understand.

She was passionate about hair before I met her. And it’s beautiful to see the community of open-minded, confident, intelligent, trailblazing hair aficionados that has developed and I hope to assist in its prospering.

Another reason I’m not gonna get upset is that I’m wise enough to write these blogs so that I can be included in her passion! (S.O.’s [Significant Others] take note … if it’s there or leaving or “maturing” [never say greying!] … YOU CAN’T BEAT THE HAIR!)

I learn more about this passion of hers too. As you can see … I’m a wash and go kinda dude … I take terrible care of my coif! But … I’m learning to take better care of it … but NO … I won’t be sharing hair care tips … sorry!

But if she lets me … I’ll write more blogs. So, let me know what you wanna hear about, ok? Please give me some ideas … because … the more blogs that I write, the less time that she has to spend writing. And the less time she spends writing …the better chance that I have to set up an evening with dinner and a movie … with our phones turned off. Ok, for real … dinner and a cartoon!

And don’t worry … after the date’s done … I won’t touch her hair.


***************************************************

CN Says;

My intern had the brilliant idea that we should solicit for stories/blogs written by the men in our lives (fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, besty), to get their perspective and an idea of how your transition or big chop effected him.


Shall we proceed?!

So go now, get his side of the story, email it to me -- [email protected] and be entered in the monthly drawing to win a $50 CurlMart Giftcard! Let's get him on the couch!

He's So In to You!- Men and Natural Hair


A friend and I were discussing what men think of women with natural hair. He loves it- but admits that he knows many black men that don't feel the same.

Ladies, what has been your experience with men, specifically black men, since going natural? Have you found that they are more or less attracted to women with natural hair?


Dr. Phoenyx wants to be your curlfriend! Have a question or comment for her? You can find Dr. Phoenyx on her Facebook fan page. And on Twitter @Dr_Phoenyx.

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