I started my natural hair journey in April 2009. At the time, I was in my junior year of college studying fiber and material studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I had already been playing kitchen beautician by giving myself home perms in the dorm to avoid regrettable and expensive salon visits. My hair wasn’t looking as healthy as it had been and I was open to trying a new look.
My mom had always suggested leaving the creamy crack behind, but after getting a perm twice a month for 15 plus years it was easy to dismiss her rants. However I decided to take her advice and began my 8-month transitioning period. My sister referred to me as the “guinea pig” as I experimented with different products in the hopes of finding the right hair regimen. I was adamant about cutting my relaxed ends every couple of washes. By January 2010, I was itching to see all of my new growth, so I set up an appointment to have the rest of my relaxed ends chopped off.
After the chop, I was happy to be officially natural, but self conscious about the length of my hair and how I looked. In order to up my self-esteem, I decided to create a series of artwork revolving around my transition. This might have been the best idea ever because doing this not only created a collection of art that I am extremely proud of, it also helped maintain my sanity at times when I seriously considered relapsing! On top of all of this I was able to educate
others in my art classes about natural black hair.
I adopted the phrase, “Keep Looking Beautiful” as my slogan to give courage to those who were going through my similar hair struggles. I was approached with enormous amounts of positive feedback, and it made my transition an amazing experience. Now, almost at my second nappaversary, I’m so happy to be naturally nappy!The work that I do is based on my navigations through transitioning my processed hair back to its natural form. I explore gender, race and identity politics that revolve around African American hair. By using a mix of African textiles, original pattern designs and vibrant colors, I
build layers of images that reflect the different stages it has taken to get back to my natural roots.
I use the work to address the altered opinions of beauty in our culture. Overall my work is a celebration of accepting myself and embracing true beauty.