On Sunday February 19, I had the opportunity to present my book Bad Hair Uprooted at Nicholas Brooklyn, a cozy Black owned store on Fulton street that sells natural health, wellness and artsy products, supporting many small businesses in the community.
Enjoying the great “winter weather” with Yvonne Thomas, singer/performer, comparing 9 years of Sisterlocks to 3 1/2 of Braidlocs
This winter seems to be very mild and with the sun shining brightly at 60 degrees, I felt o so lucky to have my event on such an unusual exceptional beautiful day.
Slowly but surely people walked in and Yvonne who I met at the publication of my first book, helped me set up the table. Soon after the seats were filled, I started the presentation by sharing a little more about my background and how I came to the production of Bad Hair Uprooted.
Although most people know me from the natural hair world, I am not a stylist. My background is in IT. I hold a Master Degree in Computer Science and built my very first website in 1996 named Netview.nl. (feel free to click but don’t laugh. That design was considered hot back then!)
My first hair website, the first hair website in the Netherlands, was built in 2002, just before I debuted with ‘Kroeshaar wat je moet weten en meer’; a Dutch book about natural hair care.
It was the book I missed when my hair was breaking so severely that my only choice was to go natural.
At the time natural hair was still very controversial though. So, even though I was hoping that a few people could relate and would be interested in my natural hair care book, I really didn’t know what to expect. Building a website was the only way I knew how to get a feel of what the audience would think. That is how my very first hair website kroeshaar.com came into existence.
To my delightful surprise the interest was overwhelming. The very first natural hair book in Dutch was sold out within a month and the feedback was solely positive. This inspired me to self publish Going Natural How to Fall in Love with Nappy Hair and built going-natural.com.
1st Natural Hair Care Website
My first website – My first Natural hair Website
Reading the article ‘Relaxers can cause African American hair loss’ sharpened my focus. Learning that it wasn’t just me who experienced hair loss but a whopping 73% of black women were suffering from relaxer induced alopecia, woke up the Social Entrepreneur in me.
Think about it. Basically the majority of Black women were suffering from hair loss related to relaxers yet no one was talking about it, let alone address the issue.
At that moment I decided to use my IT expertise and Internet knowledge to pursue a new goal: Changing the perception of natural hair.
Pursuing the goal
In my believe perception is everything. Everything stands and falls with perception. We can buy all the products that we want, without a healthy perception of hair we can’t ever truly have healthy hair.
So to pursue my new purpose I started more than a few projects:
- America’s Next Natural Model; an online pageant that made headlines on local TV channels, was created with the goal to promote the beauty of natural hair.
- The Going Natural Video Diaries; an experimental ongoing documentary that pictures the natural movement in motion. The goal is to help us learn and heal by watching us. Join the Documentary – Send us your video
- Going Natural Hair Care: Of course good products are also essential for healthy hair so I started my own hair care line Going Natural. High quality hair products made with a love and understanding of African follicles. Click to shop Going Natural Hair Care products.
- Bad Hair Uprooted;To literally paint a different picture of natural hair, I produced Bad Hair uprooted the untold history of Black Follicles which is why you are here today.
Bad hair uprooted
Bad hair uprooted started when I just moved to Brooklyn and saw the most beautiful, fascinating and gorgeous natural hairstyles in my life! For the first time in my entire adult life I was in an environment where natural hair was prevalent. I couldn’t believe the styles. These hairdos were actually styles my hair could do!
I had been natural for a while. My book was already out in Holland and here I was looking at incredible natural hairstyles I had never imagined.
Had I known that natural hairstyles like these were possible, I might have still relaxed my hair but not obsessively compulsively as I did back in the day. Almost beyond damage.
In that instance, I started taking pictures of all the beautiful natural hairstyles of everyone who would let me. My goal was to share it with the rest of the world so little Black girls everywhere could be inspired and realize that straightening Black hair is only an option.
Now I have a collection of hundreds of portraits. Some of these images propelled the online movement, some are used in a traveling exhibit and a few to illustrate Bad Hair Uprooted, the Untold History of Black Follicles.
BAD Hair Uprooted, a Family Affair for Hair Growth
I am not sure how many people came but it was a nice intimate setting that allowed for a deep, interesting conversation which also brought us laughter.
After answering a few questions, Jennifer Lord from Natural Hollywood added: “We can turn our pain into power” and of course I agreed; once we uproot the source of the pain connected our Black follicles, we can heal and with that our hair can also flourish.
Then there was this sweet dad with his lovely daughter who especially came all the way from Manhattan because he wanted his 15 year old daughter to understand that she is beautiful, inside and out, with our without her hair. One can only be thankful to be part of such an experience. Click to order your copy of BAD Hair Uprooted.
Natasha Gaspard from Mane Moves Media
Monique owner of Nicholas Brooklyn
Terence all the way from Manhattan with his 15 year old daughter
Yvonne, singer/performer helping me out, setting up the table with a smile and see her long beautiful Sisterlocks.