How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for about a decade now. I didn’t choose to be permed. I’m not necessarily anti-perm, but I want to make it clear that I didn’t choose to be permed. Perms, it seemed, were customary for young black girls with long, thick, and kinky hair when I was growing up. That said, at age four, my mother relaxed my hair for the first time… I don’t recall my hair being stressed, but she relaxed it… I digress.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
a. I am, perhaps, a teenage boy trapped in a woman’s body. I do not enjoy washing, combing, moisturizing, and/or maintaining my hair under any circumstances. Besides that, I played basketball and/or boxed in middle school, high school and college… Always in a gym, and always sweating. That said, funding a biweekly or monthly relaxer was not at all the dream Dr. King dreamt for my life. I knew I’d I be better off building my savings account or investing in assets.
b. I began as a “Transitioner” just to spite my mother. I remember taking my high school senior pictures wearing a TWA that creepily fanned into relaxed but frayed hair that I had yet to chop. Once in college, I cut off my permed ends without forethought or afterthought. I’ve never bunched my panties over what my hair was/is doing. Short, long, messy, etc. I am who I am when I am. I will never be overworked where my aesthetic is concerned… Overwork wouldn’t suit me.
How would you describe your hair?
Obnoxious. My hair has reached lengths that forbid me to perform practical tasks… like eating soup. It sneaks itself in the bowl undetected… even when in a ponytail. I love soup. So, not cool.
What do you love most about your hair?
I appreciate the size of my locs. When looking at them from afar, they resemble free flowing, wet-n-wavy tresses. From medium distances, they resemble braids or two strand twists. From close range, my locs are my locs, and no two are the same. Some smooth, and some lumpy. I appreciate their diversity. I work in a corporate environment, and for the majority, my hair is complimented and well received. Even if it weren’t, I’m happy with what it’s doing. And, as the CEO of Madison L. Mobley, Inc., that is all that matters.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey?
The evolution of my parents’ perception of natural hair (and then locs specifically) has been astounding to watch. I will never forget the looks on their faces when I walked in the house after basketball practice one night, and said, “Yea, I’m not perming my hair anymore. You can cancel my appointment with Ms. Debbie. Please and thank you. Kisses.” I will also remember my mother’s words the morning of my last birthday, namely, “I can’t imagine your hair any other way.” Drake’s ‘Started From The Bottom’ was playing gently in the background… It wasn’t really. But, I just chuckled at the thought.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
I didn’t style my hair in transition, and I don’t style my locs now. I’ll toothbrush a baby hair or three if I am feeling jazzy, but I have found that my hair is longer, thicker, and more vibrant when I manipulate it either as little as possible or none at all. My hair is shampooed maybe once a year, and that isn’t even my doing. It’s my friend Keiana’s doing. She twists my roots every 2-3 months, and when I want a more defined wave pattern, she will braid my locs while wet. Braids are, of course, a style in and of themselves, and I’ll typically leave them in for 5-6 weeks before taking them down. They’ve also proven to be a very effective style for reducing my volume.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Has the journey been easy or difficult or both?!
My experience has been rewarding thus far, and it’s been a pleasure to watch so many in my peer group embrace their natural textures- whatever they might be. On the whole, my “Natural Hair Journey” has been easier than it’s been hard. The difficult times were not only few and far between, but also, self imposed (i.e. late night anxieties about whether or not locs positively or negatively impact career mobility at a certain fortune 200 company- emphasis on the late night). Those anxieties always subside, and I recommit myself to my belief in meritocracy and the power of my mind. Call me naïve, but History has proven that my mind is more profitable than my look is acceptable, and money is a universal language. Most importantly, God is great even when I’m undeserving. My past, present, and future success are persistently prayed for, and I had, have, and will have it.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
Water, ‘Africa’s Best’ Herbal Oil, and a silk scarf. The oil is what I use post-retwist for sheen. I put on my scarf at bed time, but it’s always off when I wake up. I fight in my sleep.
Who is your ultimate hair crush?
Amber Rose. Her look will be my last look- color and all. My head is bigger than average, but it’s smooth. I’d even go so far as to say it’s immaculately shaped. Point being, I am confident I could pull it off… in the name of Jesus.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I encourage your readers to stand perpetually naked in (and celebrate) their God-given truth in all its perfection- head to toe. At least once a day- whether the start or the end. To date, I only wear lipstick when I want to feel “sexy,” despite the growing number of women I see with hair, breasts, lips, and backsides of inhumane proportions. If you are incapable of feeling beautiful without a hair weave (for example) or an Instagram filter- please take an inventory of your self-worth. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I developed my mind to be enamored with my body, hair, face, hands, and feet for what they’ve been blessed to DO versus their aesthetic appeal. THAT was the single most liberating exercise I’ve ever performed. I realized that what I do is a matter of fact, while my appeal is a matter of opinion. The irony is that since adjusting my self-perception and arriving at the aforementioned realization, I’ve received compliments twentyfold. What a beautifully unanticipated outcome, I’ll say.
Where can people find you for more information?
Ha, Ha, you have the same cheeky attitude that I have. I have locs that I do not style and I work in a corporate environment as well. I hated styling my relaxed hair. And I didn't take care of it. I had to cut it to a pixie and eventually I chopped it off. I wish I had done it earlier. But, I wasn't in the space to make that decision. The work cultures I've been in, the fear of families opinions, would a guy like me with natural hair. I started my locs almost 4 years ago (I'm 51). So GenX. I tell you I feel more beautiful and confident now than I ever did. I don't style it other than some twists or occasional curls that I do my self. I have never been considered unattractive in my life, I extend that to my body as well. I embrace what I have been given. If I loose my hair to illness, I will get a wig because my head is not small. lol Love the locs and the lipsticks. Take care.