You may have seen Ghanaian, Pakistani-born, Harlem-based actress MaameYaa Boafo in the hilarious and highly addictive ‘An African City’ webseries, in numerous TV commercials, or currently receiving rave reviews in the off-Broadway hit ‘SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY.’ Find out how MaameYaa keeps her hair close-up ready, and the song that best describes her natural hair journey!
I don’t do anything different to my hair based on my profession. Other than the fact that I wash and trim my own hair, I would say that I probably have the same hair regimen as other natural girls – i.e. twisting it before going to bed, wearing a silk or satin scarf as a wrap to protect breakage, doing a hot oil treatment, etc…
What products do you use on your hair?
Mostly shea butter and Jamaican castor oil
Do you change your look depending on the role/audition?
Regarding auditions, it depends on the role and the character description. Regarding productions, sometimes I’ve been asked to keep my hair as is or they will have a hair dresser to style us.
MaameYaa in ‘School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play’
What went into the hair choice for the play ‘School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play?’
It’s a story about boarding school girls in Ghana during the 80’s. In Ghana, girls wear their hair natural and in a very short cut when they attend public schools, and the playwright Jocelyn Bioh wanted to stay very true to that- our wig maker Cookie Jordan made awesome short hair wigs for us.
As a young girl, did you wear your hair short and natural?
No I did not, I had long hair that my mother permed because it was easier for her to manage when we were living in Europe. I went natural in my second year in graduate school; one day I just decided to cut it all off while washing my hair.
What’s the best part about wearing your hair natural?
That it’s all mine- that I don’t have to dread doing a perm touch up or worry about a track showing from a weave. Since becoming natural, I’ve discovered that I’m tender-headed so with the exception of big box braids once in a blue moon, I prefer to wear my hair as it is, or sometimes I’ll cornrow it and wear a natural looking wig.
Has having natural hair contributed to your self-esteem in any way?
I think India Arie said it best “I am not my hair” so when I first did the big chop, and saw how people negatively responded, I had to make the choice to stay confident with my decision.
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1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural? 2) What products do you use on your hair? 3) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, a job in a field you’d like to talk about, have initiatives and organizations you’d like to highlight, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do. 4) How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem? 5) What’s been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?