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Curly Nikki

Neo Soul Sistah- Perceptions

By January 27th, 202125 Comments

Neo Soul Sistah- PerceptionsI was once riding on the bus and a guy started talking to me. Eventually the conversation led to him playing guessing games about my personality type. “Let me guess. You listen to Neo Soul. John Legend. Alicia Keys, Musiq Soulchild…..” he went on.

I rolled my eyes. Did he think that because of my hair and my clothes? One too many people have said I give off that neo soul look.

“I do listen to them. But I also listen to Citizen Cope, the New Pornographers, Aimee Mann, and Rilo Kiley to name a few. And my favorite genre is Country and IndieRock.”

He just smiled. “Okay, I can see that. You have that progressive free-thinker type vibe going on. I bet you write poetry too.”

“I do. But I write other stuff too like short stories, creative nonfiction essays and my specialty is one act plays.” I said.

“I can see that my sista,” he said. I rolled my eyes again. Just because he was black and I was black didn’t imply anything. I might have more in common culturally, spiritually, economically, and socially with the elder white women sitting across from us. He sensed my frustration.

“Ok. There is one thing I can peg about you and there will be no denying it.” he said.

“What ever!” I said.

“I know your favorite Starbucks drink!” he said. I looked at him doubtful. “Caramel Macchiato. And you are probably one of those chicks that ask for it upside down.”

“That’s only because it gives the caramel a chance to really mix with the drink!” I said smiling and laughing.

This happened years ago. Long before Mr. Officer. I think I even went out on a date with him. We went out to coffee and to a poetry reading. Not sure what made me think of this today. Maybe my third trip to Starbucks. But it made me smile.

Neo Soul Sistah- Perceptions

25 Comments

  • ZenithNeoSoul says:

    I want to embrace my natural hair but I wouldn't know were to start. I have naturally curly hair…what do you do with that! As highly educated as I am, I'm rather slow when it comes to hair, my own hair at that. Any suggestions!?

  • Anonymous says:

    I too am a "Bohemian" I like neo soul, Badu, legend, india arie, but I don't exclusively listen to that. My favorite genre is Rock n' Roll, particularly classic Rock n' Roll. Love me some Motown, too. That's from my Dad! : )

  • Sheena LaShay says:

    @Mengage. I could very well have something culturally in common with someone of a different race. I love that I live in a day and age like that. I define race/ethnicity, nationality and culture as three different things. They may inter-mingle but for my life and how I was raised..they are not the same. So just because someone has brown skin like me doesn't mean we come from the same culture.

  • Mengage says:

    "I might have more in common culturally, spiritually, economically, and socially with the elder white women sitting across from us."

    This statement in particular, shocked me. I wouldn't expect a Nigerian to have more in common CULTURALLY with an elder white person on a Nigerian bus…than with one of her Nigerian brothers.

    I agree about the preconceived notions people have regarding naturals, but the statement on culture made me wonder.

    I pray the day never comes that I have more in common CULTURALLY with a White American woman, than with my own people.

  • Renise B says:

    @ Maira: ditto! I loved all that stuff a year ago when I had a relaxer! But when I get asked if I write poetry, I love the extremely surprised look when I say no…I write erotica.

  • Maria says:

    I listened to Neo Soul, loved poetry readings, and drank Caramel Macchiato coffee when my hair was relaxed… not sure where people get this stuff LOL

  • Unknown says:

    @Renegade Behavior glad I'm not the only one that gets slightly insulted by that comment. I had a co-worker say to me the other day "what's up afro-centric." I wondered if I should be offended or if it comes with the territory of being natural. After I thought about it more, I just took it as ignorance

  • HomeGirl Quel says:

    Love this post! LOVE HIS BLOGGER! And yeah, that upside down caramel machiatto sounds awesome. Will definitely try it next time.

  • little HBIC says:

    OMG.. Things like this always happen to me!! I was at a cok out and this lady was just talking stating how i was a natural sister how i probally didn't even wear deodorant!! She was like You do wear deodorant right?! I just looked at her…lol

  • vonnie says:

    I crack up if they try to play the "name that stereotype" game, because I literally fit none of it. Pretty much hate neosoul, hate neutral gold earth tone makeup, DEFINITELY not a vegetarian (lol, i'd rather make a meal out of a juicy steak alone than some veggies). So pretty much anything that they try to approach with is dead wrong. And i hate being called "my sista". please, i have ONE brother and you looking kinda unfamiliar right now.

    I wrote about that a while ago too:
    http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/natural-hair-and-stereotypes/

  • Sheena LaShay says:

    @Liz, at no point did I get "mad" at the man. I'm not sure if you read the entire post, but I actually went on a date with the man and at the end of our conversation I laughed with him.

    @Anonymous 9AM. Opinion noted. But I personally love it. 🙂 You are welcome to take "good" pictures of me anytime.

    @anyone who loves caramel machiattos…TRY THEM UPSIDE DOWN. Much better that way!

    @Aliana. We might have to discuss our musical preferences. I think they may be a LOT alike!

  • Liz says:

    Most people dress in a way that reflects their personality. No one is going to see a guy with spiky hair, leather jacket, tight pants, and tattoos, and assume he likes blue grass music. He probably likes rock.
    I think you were off base in getting mad at the man for assuming things that were 1) true and accurate, and 2) not insulting in any way. Lighten up.

  • Mimi (Mae) says:

    Yes, I have had strangers ask me if I am a poet, a singer, a performer of some sort…I do dabble in creative ventures, but I know its the curly fro and the "ethnic" jewelry that I sometimes wear that people are basing their perceptions on…I am trying to cultivate a different image for myself, so I am cognizant of these impressions…

  • Anonymous says:

    I L.O.V.E love Caramel Mocchiatos!

  • Alaina says:

    omggg, someone who knows about rilo kiley! why do i never meet people irl who know about them and their wonderful music? 🙁

    super excited for jenny lewis and her boyfriend's new music project! i hate when people think certain things about me because of my hair or even because of my skin color. so many people think no black people like rock or alternative music. ugh.

    anyway – go, girl! 🙂

  • Star says:

    I get Jill Scott alot or Macy Gray from some of my silly lil counsins (in which none of these ladies I even look like)but yeah when a sista goes natural she's going to be sterotyped in the kind of genere that's associated w/natural hair or aleast where ppl see most naturals exist! Yeah I am natural & yes I may have a bohemian style, like neosoul & poetry, but liking those things didn't inspire me to go natural because I liked those things all while I was relaxed as well. I also love different types of rock,some country,jazz & pop & many more! Unfortunately people tend to judge a book by its cover quite often & its not fair to be judged in that way. I can understand that one may get offended especially if its way off from what you really are. However there's nothing wrong with the naturals whom really fall into some of the typical sterotypes either!

  • La Kietha says:

    I am happy to know that I am not the ONLY natural that gets this. I was hit on at a Gas Station by a guy who thought maybe tapping into my neo-soul was his way in. Needless to say after the comment," I even bet you write poetry" I was so done. People even say they are surprised that my fiance' isn't Neo-Soul to which I reply," Then you really don't know me then".

  • Renegade Behavior says:

    I almost get insulted when people do this to me on the regular and what I despise most is when I'm called "Afro Centric". I often ask people what does that mean and they don't have any idea. They really seem to think that they're giving a compliment. SMH

    And thanks for the Starbucks trick…that's my favorite drink : )

  • Jeannette says:

    Regardless if hair is worn naturally, in a pony tale, weave, braids, straight, wavy, back, an updo people are going to peg one's personality with the way they look. Once people get to know me they realize my hair is an extension of me whether it is wild and crazy, soft and subtle, edgy and righteous or just fly! lol

  • Anonymous says:

    i get this alll the time. i've come up with great ways to thwart the stereotypical questions though. most leave people scratching their heads. that itchy sensation usually means they've learned their lesson.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am not my hair but then again I am….

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice post! Very pretty hair too!

    I went to your website, and you're just amazing. God has given you amazing strength and a big heart to be able to stand up to so much, including people who pretend to represent Him. That is awesome. I hope you never lose sight of that.

    And I've never tried an upside down Caramel Macchiato, but I may have to now lol

  • Sheena LaShay says:

    "First of all its a puff not a poof." Lol. That's my favorite line.

  • Anonymous says:

    I had this said to me the other night at work…"Why do you wear your hair in a poof?"…Are you trying to make a statment?..Is it a black power thing?….First of all its a puff not a poof :/ , second of all im not making a statement for anybody. Its my hair on MY head in which i LOVE and ADORE…is it my job to conform or make you comfortable,NO, am i trying to convert anyone,NO. Lastly, its not a black power thing its a healthy hair thing. My hair is on point. Healthy, strong, growing like crazy and these are things that wasnt present when i was perming so for me its a major benefit. I hate this statements but it comes from an ignorant place so anywhoo…Like I say, why does whats on MY head affect you so much? lol…its silly to me..any similar stories?

  • Anonymous says:

    The clothing I wear is quite . . . bland and old. I definitely do not have the stereotypical bohemian style. Still I am occasionally told I look like an artist of some sort. That has to be just my hair sparking that comment. I don't think everyone else wearing Old Navy T-shirts and jeans get this. I'd love for someone to take it as far as your story though so I could just blow their mind with my lack of stereotypical characteristics.

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