Friday, April 29, 2011

On hair: Talking hair with a Natural: Africa's hair journey part 2

About a month ago I posted part 1 of my conversation with my friend Africa Brown who lives in the UK.  I decided to divide the interview in two parts because it would have been too long to read in one chunk and my questions were obviously falling into two categories. The first set of questions was more about her hair care regimen as it relates to her hair journey  and the last set of questions I asked her were more about the social and personal aspect of her hair journey. As I was ending part 1 I promised to share with you part 2, here it is: the rest of my conversation with Africa Brown.  

A picture of Africa's natural hair on a work day! Look nice and porfessional!

I think that for some people who have had relaxed hair there is something and someone that triggered them going natural? Was someone an inspiration to you? Or did something take place that triggered your desire to be/stay natural? There was no real trigger for why I went natural. I only relaxed my hair due to lack of knowledge about my own hair, not because I wanted to emulate a white woman.
How did your friends and family react to your decision to go natural? I have had good reactions from my family. I have an aunt and sister, who are both natural, but wear wigs. I have been able to educate them on taking care of their hair. The next step is to get them to wear it out. The relaxed side of my family loves my hair but is afraid to go natural. My partner adores my hair and has been very encouraging.
Do you think that people treat naturals differently than girls with relaxed hair? How? No, not from my experience.
Where you live right now, are they a lot of natural? There are quite a few naturals where I live but it is evident that they are not maintaining their hair. I am currently looking at designing some afro hair care leaflets, which will basically show how to take care of natural hair the easy way. I see so many naturals, who I just want to educate on maintaining afro hair. So if I just hand them a leaflet this way I am helping them without them realizing.
 Do you think that being natural have influenced/improved you and your life? How? I am much happier as a natural. I do not care so much what other people think about my hair.
When I see some natural women I think that it takes a certain courage to be natural in a society where we are trained to look and act like others and I think that certain naturals have a higher sense of pride and purpose would you agree? I definitely agree with that. It does take courage and you have to be prepared for the stares and the ignorant comments. My boyfriend loves my hair and says it makes him feel closer to me as a black woman.
 Beside your hair being natural are there other ways in which you embrace a natural and green lifestyle? Like the use of natural remedies instead of depending a lot on medicine or the use of natural skin care? Any Green practice that’s important to you like recycling rain water, saving energy, recycling?I have stopped using products with parabens in them. I now use African black soap to cleanse my skin instead of using high street cleansers and I use Fairtrade shea butter from Ghana for my skin and hair.
 I have always led a relatively green lifestyle but I still have a way to go in regards to the use of medicines. I have also decided to make a change and buy black owned products only. I no longer buy from the Asian beauty stores. I am fortunate enough to have black owned stores in my area, although my main products are purchased online.
Do you think that most natural embrace natural ways in other area of their lives or not necessarily?No, not really. I know of a few other naturals who do not care about what they put into their bodies.
What advice would you give to anyone you want to be natural but is intimidated to do it mainly because of society? It is the hair you were born with and nobody can change that. Just accept yourself for what you have. I have heard many women say that natural hair does not suit them. I always respond by saying how can your own hair not suit you? They never have an answer for that!
What’s to you the most rewarding thing about being natural?Being able to show the world that I am rocking what the Lord blessed me with and that I am proud. I do not want to look like everybody else. I am me, I am Africa! I love my hair and I will never relax my hair again. My hair can do anything that I want it to do. I can change my hair and have a different hair style every day. No other race can do that. I am proud of my uniqueness.
Since I engaged this conversation with African Brown I have become more aware that many women are not as fortunate as she has been, to have a partner who is fully supportive of her natural hair. I have read about some women's concerns that their boyfriends or husbands are reluctant to their decision and some would go as far as giving them an ultimatum! I want to hear from you.Do you want me to share your natural journey? If yes simply send me a message at with the sugject: My hair Journey.
Are you a natural? How supportive is your man about your decision to go natural? If he was reluctant at first how did you get him to support your decision? Do you think that men have a say on their women's decision concerning their hair?Do you think that people do treat women with relaxed hair differently than they treat naturals? How so? If you are a man reading this article what is your take on the issue of natural hair?


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