Trimming Natural Hair and Length Retention

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I straightened my hair about two weeks ago (see that post here). Although I “search and destroy” regularly, my ends were desperately in need of a trim as it had been 10 months since my last professional one. So, the Monday morning after straightening my hair, I reached out to my stylist Tameeka (aka Jaded Tresses) to see if she would be in her NJ location that night. I was hoping that she might be able to slip me in between her other appointments.

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Well, it turned out that it was her son’s birthday and she wasn’t working that night. I was totally bummed, but understood. However, later that day, Tameeka texted me that she was going to Sam’s Club in Edison and couldn’t come to NJ in good conscious without trying to hook me up.  So, she asked if I could meet her at the salon later! Y’all … I was on YouTube trying to figure out how to self-trim when I got the text (and, she suspected that is what I would do)!! LOL!! I was ecstatic that I wouldn’t have to take on that task myself!!

So, I met Tameeka at the salon in South Orange, NJ, where she usually works Monday nights. And, in like 5 minutes flat, she cleaned up my ends and made me a very happy lady.

Left: Prior to trim; Right: After trim

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My hair felt sooooo much better after that trim!!  The thing that I love about Tameeka is that she really listens, understands, and respects my length goals and that when I say that all I want is a small trim, that is what she does. I’m sure other stylist would have tried to chop several inches off of my hair due to the thinner perimeter and would claim that my ends are not healthy, but that has NEVER been an issue with Tameeka. She never says, “Oh, you should take more off” or “your ends are unhealthy” or “It would look better like … .” No, she respects that I know MY hair and really evaluates the condition, and not just the aesthetics, of hair to determine what it needs. And, she has never taken off more than an inch when I have requested a trim only. A non-scissor happy stylist? That’s priceless for me y’all.

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TRIMMING NATURAL HAIR

Anywho, since we’re talking about trimming, I figured I’d take this opportunity to discuss my thoughts on a couple of questions that I’ve seen related to trimming natural hair and trimming in general.

1.  Do naturals need a blunt perimeter/even cut/ends?

In my opinion, if you wear your hair in a curly state the majority of the time, no. I don’t trim, cut my hair to keep my ends even. I trim to eliminate damaged ends that are excessively weathered, knotted and/or split. I do this with regular search and destroy (S&D) missions (usually on wash day) and a professional trim every 6-12 months. I trim in this way because, if I don’t, the damaged ends will inevitably cause collateral damage (i.e. more splits, knots, and weathering), because the “bad” hair snags on healthy adjacent strands and causes friction to the cuticle.

Another reason I don’t worry about a totally blunt/even perimeter is because hair tends to grow at different rates. The front and lower back half of my hair grow a lot faster than my crown. So, I accept that my hair does not grow out evenly or into a blunt shape. What I do try to do is keep the longest layer not too much longer than my shorter crown. When I get trims, I ask Tameeka to trim more off of the longest layer and less off of the shorter layers, to gradually thicken my perimeter. Since I wear my hair in updos and twist or braid and curls the vast majority of the time, my irregular curl pattern and length differences are disguised.

2.  Does trimming the hair stunt or encourage growth?

It does neither. Hair grows from the scalp and is dead the minute it “sprouts” from the scalp. Trimming eliminates weathered, thinned, split and knotted ends. It makes the hair appear healthier, neater, and more aesthetically pleasing to some. It helps reduce and prevent the continuous cycle of splits and breakage. However, it doesn’t encourage growth. Some may call it semantics. However, I want to state for the record that what trimming actually does is help prevent continued breakage, which impacts length retention and can make it seem like the hair is not growing. By trimming damaged ends, the hair will be better able to retain the length that grows, which some see as “encouraging growth.”

That being said, if you constantly trim and hair grows at an average of 1/2 an inch a month, you may trim off all or most of the growth, which will make it seem as if your hair isn’t growing. For example, if your hairs grows an average of a 1/2″ a month, and you get a 1″ trim every 3 months, you are only retaining a 1/2″ of growth instead of 1-1/2″. If your ends are healthy and well-maintained, that is totally unnecessary. This is why some may think that trimming stunts growth. But again, it’s not the growth, it’s the retention that is being impacted by trimming.

So, in conclusion, trimming (or not trimming) impacts length retention, not growth, depending on how it is used. And that’s all I have to say about that.

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How do you trim? How often do you trim?

About these ads

“From the Rough”

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Taraji My girlie GG is an intern on Taraji Henson’s upcoming film, “From the Rough.” The movie is based on the true story of Catana Starks, the first African-American female head coach of an NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Team!! Check out GG’s trending Buzzfeed post to learn more about Taraji and Catana!!

10 Reasons Why Taraji P. Henson And Catana Starks Prove Black Girls Are Magic In “From The Rough”

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IN THEATERS APRIL 25TH!!!!

 

♥♥♥♥

Review: Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist

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HE_tealightfullyclean_blowdryprepmistI have been wanting to really straighten my hair, rather than just doing a light blow out, for a while now. I did a “single pass” flat-iron on stretched hair (no blow-out) in June 2013 for a trim and had done a couple of blow-outs since. But, it had been over a year since I really, really straightened my hair. Part of the reason for this was that I wasn’t really feeling the products that I had been using for straightening (see them here). They worked okay, but my hair would feel kind of stiff and hard after using them. I tried the Nubian Heritage heat protectant leave-in and spray too, but everything was pretty “meh.”

Well, a few weeks ago, Wei and I had lunch with a friend and we started talking hair. Her daughter has tons of curly hair and wanted to have it straightened, but our friend didn’t have any idea where to start. So, I suggested the BaByliss Nano Titanium Pro that I purchased  a little over a year ago. Though pricey, I told her I loved it because it has temperature control settings and straightens very well, without frying the hair. So, we ended up heading over to Harmon and picking up one for her (with a 20% off coupon, of course since the thing is $119.00!). Well, while we were there, I told her that she should also use a heat protectant and we started scanning the aisles. I had seen a couple of people use TRESemmé, so we both picked up the TRESemmé Platinium Strength Heat Protectant. But then, I kept looking and decided to see if Herbal Essences (HE) had one as I love that line. Lo and behold, I found the Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist ($4.49) and decided to pick it up too!

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What They Claim:

Light and easy does it with Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist for silky, free-flowing hair. Invigorate your senses with exhilarating tea tree fragrance as you spritz this sheer mist up, down, and all around to help protect against blow drying damage.

Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist:

  • Blow dry prep for silky, free-flowing hair
  • Sheer and lightweight protection against damage
  • With tea tree essences
  • Spritz on for silky hair
  • Intriguing ingredients
  • Incredible fragrances
  • Irresistibly touchable hair; potent pleasure for all your senses

Ingredients: Water/EAU, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Amodimethicone, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-11, Fragrance/Parfum, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Methylisothiazolinone.

That seem day, I washed my hair and put it into two braids. The next day, I decided to spritz the Blow Dry Prep Mist onto my hair and did a super quick tension blow out to stretch it a little more. Oh. Em. Gee. My hair was soft, silky, smooth, light, and flowy! And, I loved the light, sweet smell of the spray! I was WOWed! The claims were true! Seriously, I couldn’t stop touching my hair! That night, I put it into a braid and curl and, the next day, …

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Can you say, “Pleased as punch?” Well, this past weekend, after following my regular wash day regimen, I decided to bite the bullet and flat-iron my hair for real.

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FLAT-IRONING PROCESS

  • Wrapped clean hair in a cut-up tee-shirt to dry to damp (approx. 30 min).
  • Applied a little Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in to damp hair, concentrating on ends.
  • Spritzed hair with HE Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow0Out Prep Mist and finger combed it through hair.
  • Applied a very small amount of Chi Straight Guard (picked up from TJ Maxx on a whim).
  • Applied a small amount of grapeseed oil to each section.
  • Separated hair into 4 sections and did a tension blow-out with the Conair InifitiPro Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer I picked up last fall. I used it to finish drying my hair and stretch it, grasping whole quarter sections of hair, halving the quarters at some points, but never doing sections smaller than that (approx. 30 min.).
  • Flat-ironed hair in small 1″ wide sections at 300°, taking two passes over each section. I didn’t let the flat-iron stop on the hair. I  moved down the length at a slow pace, but the flat-iron was always in motion.
  • Did a third pass over the top layers of hair at 340º, moving the flat-iron more quickly.

It took me about 2 hours in total to blow-out and flat-iron. Here are the results.

 

As you can see, my hair was not bone-straight. There was still a little kink in it and that is okay with me as it lets me know that I didn’t kill my hair with the heat. I also know that bunning my hair will smooth it further. And, as was the case the first time I used the HE Blow-Out Mist, again my hair felt great!! It was airy, silky, soft, and felt product-less! And, at $4.49 a bottle? We have a winner folks!!!

So that’s it, my new heat protectant find! I had to do a review on this product as I wasn’t able to find any when I bought it, because the “Tea-Lightfully Clean” line is new for 2014! Of course, now I’m intrigued to try the shampoo and conditioner … but I’ll try to curb my PJ ways … for now. LOL!!

bantuknotwaves(Heatless waves added with 2 big Bantu knots)

Next time on Hairscapades: A Trim, Straight Hair Maintenance, and Straight Hairstyles ;)

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What heat protectant(s) have you found work the best for your hair?

Henna Gloss: A Quicker, Easier Way to Henna

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twistout314_8 As most of you know, I am a henna head. I have been doing henna treatments since 2010, though I’ve modified how and how often I do them over the years. I started with full strength, full length treatments every 2-4 weeks. But for the last several years, I have been doing full strength on my roots only and a “faux” gloss (i.e. dye released henna mixed into lots of conditioner) on my length. But, the time between my sessions has gotten longer and longer … every 4 weeks, every 6, every 8, now I’m lucky if I do it once every three months!! Well, about a month and a half ago, I was really in need of a henna treatment as my grey roots were out of control. I also love how smooth my hair is after a henna treatment; my hair styles post henna are always so shiny and sleek. But, I had absolutely nooooooooo desire to do a full strength treatment as it usually takes the good part of a day to complete (see My Two Step Henna-Indigo Process for details). Between prepping, washing, detangling, application, marinating, rinsing with water, applying indigo, marinating again, rinsing with loads of conditioner, deep conditioning, marinating one more time rinsing, and styling … yeah, that’s an 8 hour plus process. It just was not happening. But then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do a true henna gloss!!” I figured I could get some of the conditioning benefits of henna and maybe a little color, without all the muss and fuss … and time! hennagloss314

My Henna Gloss Recipe

  • My goat milk conditioning mask *
  • 2 tablespoons of Dulhan BAQ henna powder
  • Mix thoroughly with a fork.
  • Apply mixture to hair and massage into scalp.
  • Twist hair into 4 sections, clip hair up with a jaw clip and don a plastic cap.
  • Apply heat for 30 min-1 hour (I use a hair therapy wrap).
  • Rinse thoroughly.

(*My goat milk conditioner has protein, but it is also very moisturizing because of the honey and oils. I would generally suggest using a thick, moisturizing, protein-free conditioner.)

Applied (no plastic gloves required)

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Minimal mess (no towels or newspaper needed to protect surfaces; just wiped down with a disinfecting wipe).

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As I suspected, the gloss also gave my grey roots got a little color so that they weren’t as stark white.

hennaglossroots After rinsing, I set my hair in 4 twists, which I wore in a twist-out the next day. And, the set held up very well the rest of the week!!

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The one issue I have had with the gloss is related to my base goat milk conditioner. It can be a little chunky and thick, so I have had some residue in my hair after rinsing. Therefore, I have to make sure that my conditioner is as smooth as possible prior to adding the henna and that I rinse very well. In the future, I may try mixing the henna with water first before adding it to the conditioner. This should help thin the consistency and aid blending. However, despite the small rinsing issue, the easy, peasy henna gloss is now in my repertoire when I want some of the conditioning benefits of henna with minimal time and effort!! It may be right up your alley if you have been wanting to try henna, but have been afraid to take the leap or have been looking for some of the benefits without the time commitment!!

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Have you tried henna glosses? How did/do you like them? What conditioner(s) do you use for the best results?

The Real Thing: Dieci Uomo Salon for Men

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17MihalikDieciUomoExt_1363by Weusi

NY’s “fake it til’ you make it” mentality has spread like a virus all the way through my beloved NJ. Now, in NJ’s everyday culture, there are a lot of things that I would call flashy, overkill, extreme, or extravagant. Cars, hairstyles, accessories, celebrations, parties, relationships, explanations, restaurants, etc. So, when Shelli forwarded me an email about this new “upscale salon catering to men” in Livingston, NJ, that also claimed to be environmentally conscious, I was skeptical. After a few e-mails, I set up a tour and an interview with a manager. They are kind enough to fit me in for a manicure too. The day arrives. I try to stay in journalist mode. I’ve done a little research on the owners and their other spot, but I’m still a little worried because part of the magic of the internet is that it can make any place and everyone look good. I pull up and it looks just like the picture. The building stands out among its surroundings but with its clean lines it looks  … square. I take a lap around the back of the building before I park. I don’t see any AC units. Why is this important? Because they promote a space for a rooftop lounge. If they put some patio furniture next to the massive, noisy AC units … that’s not a lounge … it’s just patio furniture on the roof! So now, I’m super suspect. But then I walk in … I’m impressed. The place is clean. Not just regular clean. This spot is like fresh out the box clean. And instead of the loud frantic energy that accompanies many men’s salons, there is a masculine serenity about the space. The clean design of the outside matches the modernist design of the space. The subtle mix of line and curve in the furnishing combined with cool, interactive colors make the glow of the sunshine the first “Welcome” as you enter. Then, I was greeted with what felt like a sincere, “Hello, how can we help you,” accompanied with an honest smile. I lowered my wall.

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One of the hostesses took my jacket and offered a beverage (coffee, expresso, tea, water … or wine). Another introduced me to Maria. Maria was my manicurist. Now, I like manicures. I can be kinda critical about them. I’ve had a few. Maybe more than a few. Some good. Some average. An occasional great one. As I’m soaking my cuticles, I strike up some conversation and find out that Maria has been doing manicures for 8 years and us obviously a professional. She pulls out the freshly sterilized gear and then … then she proceeds to give me the best manicure that I’ve ever had. Now, I’ve had manicures in 9 different states and overseas … so what made this one so good? There was no mental or physical discomfort. She not only took the time to look at my hands, view the shape of my fingers and nails, but she also invested a few seconds to touch them before she started and it made a difference. Then, after the manicure, the exfoliating hand massage was exceptional. It wasn’t just rubbing my hands and forearm with some goop. It was a real massage. I watched her eyes as she focused on my hands and responded accordingly to my points of tension. Not only did she really know what she was doing, she was invested in making my experience a pleasurable one. AND … she didn’t ask me if I wanted some damn clear polish! Over the next week, I found myself looking at my hands. They looked and felt great!

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After the manicure, the owner Paul Gaglioti was kind enough to give me a tour of the space. He explains to me that he started sweeping up salons at 19. Now, 4 decades later, with Dieci Uomo, he and his partner (his wife Marie), have jumped ahead of the trend to create an incredible space for gentleman to reward themselves.

Photo of Marie and Paul Scratch Surface 2009

The world class salon has a spa on site, with semi-private manicure rooms and private pedicure and waxing rooms. Their state of the art massage rooms house independently controlled sound systems to customize your experience on the upper level. Also on this level is the “Outdoor Lounge.” Paul and I walk outside and stroll past a few guys kicked back on lounge chairs, sipping on some scotch while they enjoy the day’s mild weather. He opens a discrete door and shows me the AC units that I was looking for earlier. Now I get it. Not only are they hidden behind 4 walls, but he explains that the space which houses them is designed to isolate and disperse the noise created by the whirling units, so as not to disrupt patrons’ lounge experience. With plans to add a full bar, (possibly a humidor?), as well as additional seating and shading, I’ll definitely be back to partake in the rooftop festivities! *(They are starting weekly events on the rooftop as the weather gets nice!)

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Oh, and the environmental aspect of the building isn’t a vanity item. This is the real thing! The intent to create a clean look and parallel it with a clean building was successful. A LEED energy certification makes this more than official. This may be the only LEED certified men’s salon in the state. A variety of high tech components infused within its infrastructure that assist with water circulation and energy efficiency truly enhance the experience. In addition to the recycled materials used in the buildings structure, low tech components such as super fresh sinks created from cement and broken bottles are one of the many highlights of the space. My green side got really geeky in our interview and I have a bunch of info about it, but you can check out their Environmental Commitment Brochure here. The other component that makes a man spa experience special is the hospitality of the staff. As we spoke, Paul made it clear that the Dieci Uomo experience was far superior to having a haircut in a swanky salon with a few big screens and staff dressed like waitress from Hooters. There were some big screens, and there were both make and female staff members. Paul stated that he considers his employees his professional family. He hires staff that are committed to the work of serving people, not just stylist, technicians or masseuse that are looking for a gig. He has been determined to create a team who is interested in learning how to best serve others. They are educated locally and internationally on the latest techniques and technology in hair and spa services. What I find interesting is that even with the international diversity in the staffing that mirrors the United Nations, there is still a very old school Jersey feel to the place. No … not Tony Soprano gangster like Jersey. More mom and pops store, show respect to everyone, speak to your neighbors not only because you know them but also because you know that their being safe means you and yours are safe too! Tactfulness, professional knowledge, a sense of community, progressive visioning, environmental consciousness and great customer service …  this leads to a spa treatment that I am sure is amazing. Yes … This is really the real thing. SO … if you live near Livingston, NJ and have a Significant Other that would appreciate the comforts of a spa experience … Or a man in your life that deserves a little something special … or are a dude that gets tired of the regular barbershop experience and wants a nice spot to get a fresh cut or shave  … OR are a groom that wants a spot to get all your dudes together and get fresh & clean for your wedding … check it out! I’m going back in about a week to get a cut and a shave! (*They also have these 6 and 12 month membership program that allow for UNLIMITED haircuts, express manicures, shoe shines and discounts on retail products! They have an entire line of men’s grooming products that I will expound upon in another post!) I’m reminded that sometimes there is a thin line between something that is cool and something that catches your eye because of a flashy presentation. Oftentimes the difference is intent. The Gaglioti’s have matched intent with both form and function. Dieci Uomo is the real thing, a full service salon and spa designed for men. It really is a cool spot! Swing by to check it out … or set up an appointment …

www.DieciUomo.com

48 West Northfield Rd
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 535-1400
info@dieciuomo.com

or their sister spa (Shelli said that it’s really nice!)

www.DieciSpa.com

90 West Mt. Pleasant Ave
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 716-0101
info@diecispa.com

So, yeah … in the end, Dieci Uomo (and New Jersey) restored my hope in the goodness, honesty, and beauty of people wanting to help other people. I walked out feeling so good that I forgot my coat! So, I went back in and grabbed my jacket, then headed to the car. As I walked, I thought … “Yeah, I’ll be back.” But wait, there’s more …  AND … because this is my new favorite song … and it matches the sharing and giving sentiment of this post … straight from the Muppets Most Wanted

I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo In Malibu) by Brett McKenzie

 *yes … Even Kermit knows what natural  hair lovers want … at 1:20 he says “You want a satin pillow? I’ll give it to you!”

  SHiNE,

Weusi

Breaking One of the Detangling Commandments

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Okay, so I may be (figuratively) hung, drawn, and quartered for this one. Alright … alright … I’m being dramatic. But … I’m about to suggest something that will probably go counter to a “natural hair” great commandment that most have probably read over and over again.

DETANGLE FROM TIPS TO ROOTS ROOTS TO TIPS.

See, what had happened was … I’ve been detangling from TIPS to ROOTS for forever. Aaaaaaand, it has served me well for the most part. But, the last few wash days, I started breaking this rule. Let me premise this by saying that I primarily use my fingers and only pull out the Ouidad Double Detangler once my hair is pretty thoroughly detangled. However, my detangling sessions were becoming more tedious and lengthy due to the length of my hair. I would slather on tons of conditioner, but starting from the tips resulted in me having to work the shed strands in each section down the length of my hair over and over … AND OVER again.

allmylifedetangle(Please excuse the possessive “natural’s” that should be a plural.
I didn’t make this. LOL!)

I began to realize that the worst matting was occurring at the roots of my hair and that if I loosened the tangles and shed hair there first, it was taking me less time to detangle, and less time = less manipulation. The trick of it is that I don’t finger detangle DOWN the length of my hair first. I detangle by pulling the strands APART. I’ve seen this referred to as “wish-boning” since you are pulling the strands apart like you would a wishbone (but more gently, of course). This provides space in the hair to allow shed/broken strands to glide out and it also helps loosens knots rather than tightening them. So, I work the strands apart at the roots, THEN I pull loose hair out of and/or down my hair.

Now, I definitely wouldn’t suggest trying the roots to tips approach with a comb as you may end up with more hair in it than on your head.  But, if you finger detangle exclusively or prior to using a tool, than you may find that the roots to tip approach hastens the end of your detangling sessions. And, if you so desire, you can use a comb or brush from tips to roots to polish off the job.

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Do you detangle from tips to roots or roots to tips? What techniques have eased your detangling sessions? 

Shine Shantrelle!

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181922_1847487628641_4791108_nby Weusi

I woke up Sunday morning to work on a post, but checked my personal Facebook page first. I’ll get to the other post at a later date. But first, I wanted to share this post from my sister Shantrelle Patrice Lewis (@APshantology) who, as a curator of national and international art exhibits, is viewed as a defining voice for Black culture.  It kinda moved me, so I wanted to share it with you.

Focused on the Positive

I will do most anything to avoid catching the bus in Philadelphia for multiple reasons. Pretty much hate it actually but had no choice today. An elder gentleman sits next to me and says “that purse is genuine leather isn’t it?” I tell him yes and say that I got it in Egypt. His eyes opened wide and he said “wow! What was that like?! They say traveling broadens your mind.” I replied that it absolutely does and that I’ve been all over – Nigeria, Ghana, Brasil…” He said, ” you’ve been to the motherland?! That’s incredible! That’s my one wish before I die, to go the motherland.” He then tells me that he’s originally from South Carolina and that he traced his family back to Mali. We got off the bus and I asked if I could take his picture.

shantrelle's philly elderMr. Columbus, Germantown, Philadelphia ca. 2014.

I then told him that I was on my way to [the] UN office in Geneva. He says “You’re going over to do what Malcolm did?! And tell them about what our people have been through?” I paused and said, “yes, I will do my best.” I almost forgot about Brother Malcolm’s appeal. In the presence of my elders I’m always reminded of the path that I travel. He goes on to tell me to keep up the good work and that he liked my hair. It looks strong and healthy and I didn’t have all of those chemicals in my head. Blessed. And Focused.
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There is no doubt in my mind that Shantrelle will represent Malcolm, Black people, our angels and ancestors, Mr. Columbus, and the natural hair community and its supporters proudly!
shantrelle to geneva
Do what you do …
Shine Shantrelle!