In today’s society, Black hair has become synonymous to the word “damage”. I, as a black woman, can attest to this because I’ve experienced it, as did so many other sisters. Before I went natural, my hair was relaxed since the age of 5. Every month, I would burn my skin and scalp, leaving me with bald spots at the nape of my neck, for head, and the crown of my head. My junior year of high school, my hair could not sustain its self any longer and it began to fall out. It was getting shorter and shorter. When I got to college, my short hair cut inspired by Rihanna began to look like a birds nest due to the over processing and my beautiful new growth was hiding underneath it.
This was a difficult challenge for me because I live in Oklahoma where it is currently 40 degrees so it was hard to imagine beach waves and colorful flowers. Sorry, no beach waves, or colorful flowers for me. So I had to think of a way to demonstrate waves and flowers in my hair. The style I came up with is a slicked back bun, where the bun is shaped into a flower. The beach waves would be the waves that kinky hair makes when slicked back, and the flower would be the multi-layered bun.
My favorite this week is Kala. Girl, you rocked it! You are so beautiful and I loved the poses. The black and white photo was so fierce and very professional.
For elimination, I chose Desyray. I wanted to more variety in poses. You presented all headshots, which I’m sure was to highlight the jewelry, however it would have been good to see how the accessories added to your entire look if you had half-body or full-body shots.
Head wraps of many styles have been a distinctive piece of African American culture. Head wraps have traveled the time from the mother land, through slavery and landing as a style in the 20th century. For many women, head wraps are not just a means of covering up a bad hair day or a cultural gesture but can be worn as a styling option.
I am a huge fan of conditioning. I feel that conditioning your hair is one of the most vital steps in hair care. Even though I have dread locks I still feel that I must condition my hair. Dread Locks are still suseptible to breakage just as loose hair is.
One thing I have enjoyed the most about being a finalist in “The Next Natural Model” is being able to experience different things. This challenge was very interesting because I had the opportunity to learn about a community of people that were brave and courageous and reminded me of our American Harriet Tubman. The Maroons are the descendants of runaway slaves who escaped into the interior rain forests immediately upon their arrival in the English, later Dutch colony. I admire them because of their strength, pride and defiance. That is still evident in their culture today.
This week’s challenge involved the styling and modeling of a headwrap. My choice of wearing the headwrap resulted in the style that is pictured in each of my photos. The style displayed was accomplished by the covering of the head and twisting the excess material into a layered side bun. Although I have worn head wraps before, it is not something that I do often. This challenge actually causes me to want to change that.
I am really looking forward to exploring the avenue of hair and head accessories. In years past, I would wear them frequently. I remember a time, when I had a wrap in just about every color you could think of. I would limit myself to only wearing them when I felt that I was having one of those days, where my hair and I could not seem to get along. I am not really been the one to cover my head much. Part of that reasoning being that I’ve always though my head was small and that it would seem to overtake the size of my head. As we were told that we would be celebrating cultural through this challenge, I must say that there’s a unique feeling of beauty that I perceived from this week’s mission. I felt so strong and regal. I am now ready to further explore the avenue of hair and head accessories on a more consistent basis.
I am a huge fan of conditioning. I feel that conditioning your hair is one of the most vital steps in hair care. Even though I have dread locks I still feel that I must condition my hair. Dread Locks are still suseptible to breakage just as loose hair is. I also like for my dreads to feel soft. I wash my dreads every two weeks to keep them both clean and healthy.
When approaching this challenge I really thought about what it would be like to live in Suriname as a Maroon woman. To be completely honest I hadn’t previously been aware of Suriname and needed to do some research to learn about the Maroons there. After my research I was so moved by their struggle and even more impressed by the Maroon women. The Maroons of Suriname are apart of the African Diaspora, descendants of enslaved Africans, so I felt a historical connection as an African-American. They fought and won their freedom from the Dutch in 1975, however the women still did not have many rights.
Growing up as a young African American woman in today’s society has not being easy. From being made to feel inferior to others because of my darker skin tone and kinkier hair texture, to not being afforded the same opportunities as some of my peers because of where I come from. Thinking back to how far we as people have come since Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech just makes me want to continue striving to make a difference in the world by being proud of who I am and showing other African Americans that they too have something to be proud of. Dr. King was a very strong man and has left an everlasting impact on humanity.
Through daily struggles I know a lot of us take for granted the path activist like Rosa Parks, Dr. King and even Malcolm X has laid for us. Martin Luther King day means so much to me because it is a day to stop and realize how far we’ve come and how we need to continue to strive to make sure the work of those before us continues on. This is another reason I’m very thrilled about being apart of America’s Next Natural Hair Model to show everyone its okay to be proud of who they are.