It was easy to pick my ‘muse’ for this challenge as ‘natural’ fits me to a T. I strive for naturality not only in my hair, but also in my diet, and my beauty products. I grew up in Haiti where natural food was the norm. Daily, we would purchase fresh food from the market ‘ti mache’. Everything was fresh and picked or killed that day from the bananas to the goat meat.
African Queen: With a West African father and American mother, I am very much connected with my African roots. I wanted to reflect the strength, beauty, and pride of the African people in this image at a time when most people falsely equate all of Africa with poverty, suffering, and war.
Slavery: My second photo shoot was inspired by the famous 1860s photograph of the scourged back of a runaway slave taken by William D. McPherson. I was fortunate to collaborate with the L.A.-based photographer, Allan Barnes, who uses the same wet plate technology that McPherson would have used to develop his haunting image.
My approach to this challenge was to just have fun using a new product and excited about trying a new style on my hair. When it comes to trying new styles I’m game for anything. I remember getting bantu knots for the first time and looking in the mirror just amazed at how it came out and thinking that this is a style that my ancestors wore proudly that I could now rock in my own way. As with all challenges just being able to try to come up with “THE LOOK” can seem like a lot but once you start everything just falls into place.
Whirlwind. This challenge was by far the most difficult, but also very gratifying. All I kept thinking was it’s freezing and snowing in Ohio. What am I going to do?
Jamaican Mango and Lime products are incredible. I was so excited to get so many different products. Trying out new products is probably one of my most favorite things to do! 🙂 I think my favorite is the oil (I love the smell) and the shampoo (it tingled and really made my hair feel so fresh and clean). The leave-in-conditioner was so light and didn’t weigh down my hair. It was fun, and I still have more products to try!
The Kynx line of hair products created especially for our natural tresses is a true representation of what we are collectively and individually, naturally beautiful. I was immediately taken aback by the wonderful aroma that the product line encompasses. So the challenge at hand was a pleasurable experience of spa like treatment for my crowning glory that lead me to a powerful realm of confidence, security and allowed my true inner lioness to scream out …….
Picture 1: Gift of Life Before we were uprooted from our beloved motherland, we valued the strength and fullness of our hair in its natural state. It signified who we were and where we came from. We may have worn scarves and decorated our beautiful tresses with crowries, but it was never because we needed to conceal our hair. It was only to compliment our attire.
When the 3rd challenge was announced I had never heard of the Kumba knot before and with a great amount of practice, I was finally able to perfect the Kumba knot out. I began to realize that the Kumba knot out really defines the curl pattern and minimizes frizz that I normally have with a twist out or a braid out.
At first, I was hesitant about this week’s challenge. I only knew Jamaican Mango & Lime as a product line for dreadlocked hair and I knew little about ‘dreads. I had always assumed dreadlocks were a counter-cultural fashion preference. So before my package of Jamaican Mango & Lime products arrived in the mail I began to do a little research. I realized in the process that dreadlocks can also be symbolic of spiritual conviction (as with the Rastafarians) or ethnic pride (as with the beautiful thin, red dreadlocks of the Maasai of Kenya). I cut off my chemically straightened hair in high school because I wanted to learn to accept and take pride in my natural beauty. It was as much a personal statement as a style choice, and I found new kinship between that choice and the choice other make to develop dreadlocks. I thought it would be fun to arrange a photo shoot with someone whose dreadlocks were representative of this, which is why this week’s entry features my friend reggae DJ, Q Bwoy, who knows the products well!
Wow! I can’t believe that this was the last challenge of the competition. I am sad to see it all come to an end but I had so much fun along the way. Even though this challenge was the most difficult because there was so many different components to it, it was definitely my favorite one.