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!