Daily Archives: July 21, 2011

Beauty

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I started writing this with the idea that I’d post pictures about women that influenced me to appreciate natural beauty.

You know what I mean …

I’d post pictures of women like Pam Grier …

… and talk about how her persona as a black woman who wasn’t taking mess from anyone (male or female, black, white or otherwise!), all while showing a love for her community, made me respect natural hair and subconsciously aligned social and moral norms in my head to go with being natural.

Or Bernadette Stanis …

… a sister and “a sister” who we watched grow from a teen to a married woman as she loved her family, friends and community.

Then I thought about it … Not only has that probably been done a million times over and with a million different actresses, but … they’re actress. There are real examples out there.

I can use people like the Angela Davis …

and Assata Shakur …

Both of these intellectual leaders in the Civil Rights Movement worked and fought to show their love for community and for justice.

Or Nina Simone …

… with her full lips and dark chocolate skin, this is the artist-activist that helped redefine ideas of black beauty and black music for many worldwide.

There were sets of principles and morals that I associated with each of these women … things about them that I respect. AND … just as important to me, in all of their eyes, there was the kind of fire that could induce both joy and fear. And their smiles were truthful and honest. These were the things that made them beautiful to me.

In writing this, I also recognized that my ideas of beauty (with both natural and processed hair) came from the people around me. My mother, my aunts (those by blood and emotion), my younger sister, peers and the daughters of the people who were in my community!

I’m not gonna embarrass my aunts, cousins and friends by digging up pics of them, because the truth of the matter is that how they look is only a portion of what makes them attractive (but, thank you Kathy Chapman, Kia Quander, Kathy Jo Murphy, Trudy Dockery, Mia Johnson, Charlotte Williams, Denise Williams, Barb and Ebony Thomas, Sandy Blackstone and all my other beautiful aunts and cousins and friends).

Again … I love that all of you are redefining the way the world looks at beauty and support you on the strength that, what you are doing is revolutionary! And for me, revolution/change is a beautiful thing!

I think that’s all I wanna say here …

SHiNE …

weusi

Henna and Me – Valencia’s HairStory

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How long have you been natural?
I did my big chop in February of 2003.

How long have you been using henna? When did you start?
I started using henna 2 years ago when I discovered Curly Nikki. I did not use it as regularly as I had originally planned and when I was required to go on bed rest during my pregnancy, I completely fell off. I got back into it in March of this year and have been keeping up with it ever since.

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Pre-Henna

What made you begin using henna?
You can’t possibly look at Curly Nikki and not at least consider henna. When I saw her ‘walk down memory lane’ before and after pics, it was a wrap!  I ordered henna from Mehendi.com within the week.

How would you describe your first experience with henna?
After my first time using henna, I was a little disappointed. I noticed a slight color change but that was about it. I expected some dramatic change. But I kept faith in what Nikki said about it having a cumulative effect. I didn’t do it as often as she did because at the time I was working 3 jobs, going to school full-time, and went to the gym every day. After my next 2 uses (each a month apart), I started to see the benefits.

What type of henna do you use? What is your mix? What is your process?
I gauge what to use in my mix by what I feel that my hair needs. I use Dulhan or Jamila (whichever my Indian grocer has). I mix it with cooled green tea. I add a little honey and, if needed, I add a little conditioner and/or oil. I apply it in detangled sections and create 4 large twists. I cover my head with a conditioning cap, scarf, and winter hat. I leave it on overnight and wash it out in the morning. I hold my head under the faucet to loosen things up and then I use a diluted shampoo to get most of it out. Then, I co-wash several times until the water runs clear. I apply a DC for as long as I can under a cap, scarf, and winter hat. Then, style as usual!

How often do you henna?
I am proud to say that I have been consistently applying henna once a month. That is really good for me!

How has your hair changed with henna?
Henna has increased my hair’s natural shine (meaning without added products), smoothness and strength. My curls have stretched a bit, but not enough to make me stop using it or change my recipe!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about trying henna?
I am sure that henna is not for everyone, but if you look at the before and after pics of some of the natural hair community’s leading ladies, you can’t deny that henna is at least worth a try!

Feeling Lazy and More Randomness

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So, I’ve had a Vatika Oil pre-poo in my hair since Monday. I just don’t feel like washing my hair and, as I’ve been blowing off exercising too, I don’t have sweaty, dirty hair. So, really not feeling that pressed to wash, DC and style. A 90 degree +, 4 days and counting, heat wave doesn’t help matters and screams for an updo.

Banana Clip Bun to the RESCUE!!!!

Yeah, yeah. I know. You’ve seen it before. And, a far better version! It’s after midnight as I write this, and I didn’t apply any product to smooth my edges this morning or tie a scarf to “set” them. I just spritzed with water, lightly brushed and re-set the banana clip and bun (I used Eco Styler mixed with Raw Shea Butter the prior morning and was relying on the water to “reactivate” the product=). Anyway, this is what you get. A frizzy, fuzzy, “been there, done that,” big banana clip bun, a greasy forehead and bad lighting (the SO was in the bathroom with the “good” lighting). Hey, they can’t all be great hair days. And, if they were, wouldn’t you kind of hate me?

On another note (though the “banana clip bun to the rescue” comment provided a great segue;-), New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2011 is fast approaching!!! If you’ve read any of my “More About Me” posts, you know that I’m a comic book, cartoon, superhero, sci-fi loving geek. So, I’m working on making accommodation arrangements with my NYCC road dog for the three day event. We want to be in the city or near a PATH train in NJ. Anywho, a while back on my GOC blog, I posted a pic of a headband that I think I want to get for the event. I won’t be dressing up as Wonder Woman, Storm or participating in any type of cosplay (i.e. “costume” play). But I do wear the occasional comic/cartoon inspired tee-shirt and this headband around a big, messy, banana clip bun would be just what Dr. Thomas Wayne ordered!!

The Esty shop, JanineBasil, is down right now. Hope she'll still have this type of headband when it returns!

What do you think?!?! I think it’s ComiCon chic, or geek chic if you will!! The fanboys (and gals) would be SWEATING me!!! (I know, what you’re thinking “And that’s a good thing?!?!” LOL!!)

I also think I might have to get a matching pedi and mani:

Ooooh!! And if I could find these in a decent quality for “big girls,” I’d get them too!!! No one would know I was wearing them but me … and that’s all that matters;-)

You know you either had a pair or wanted a pair so badly it hurt!

You may be laughing hysterically or shaking your head now, but guess who’s going to be at NYCC in October?:

*drops mic and walks away*