Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
One of my online buddies, Pamella Robinson, has generously offered to host an online discussion of my lastest novel, A NATURAL WOMAN.
The chat is scheduled for Saturday, December 12 at 5 pm eastern time ( 4 pm central). If you'd like to participate in the discussion, ask questions or make comments, all you need is an AOL account with a screen name (or an AIM account). To sign up for an account or to join the discussion, click on the following link:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Have you finished your holiday shopping? If you're anything like me, your answer is probably, "Heck no, I've barely started!" Personally, I can't stand the crowds, the lines or the traffic, which is why more and more, online shopping is starting to look like the way to go. If you're looking to spare yourself some of the aforementioned aggravations, and you like unique, but reasonably priced gift items, you just might want to check out some of the online sites I've been visiting of late.
Lady Kinnks has compiled a "Santa Please" list of Natural Hair Related Products. Her Kinnks tee with the Marcus Garvey quote is something I'm considering, not only as a gift idea, but for myself.
Narmi has a nice assortment of products in her store, Namari Oils & Books. On one of my recent visits, I saw a Lavender soap that has my name of it.
If you have any online holiday shopping ideas and/or suggestions, feel free to leave the info in the section for comments.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Background / I'm 53 years old and I'm originally from Long Island, NY. I lived in Boston, MA for over 20 years and currently reside in Raleigh, NC. I am a mixed media artist, creating wall hangings, shadow boxes, mirrors and clocks with an Afrocentric flair. Along with my husband, I own Kindred Spirit Studios, displaying and selling my work throughout the southeast in juried shows and art festivals. I write a blog about my journey as an artist called Artventuring (http://artventuring.blogspot.com/) and show my work online on the Kindred Spirit Studios website (http://www.kindredspiritstudios.com/).
Hairstyle / I wear my hair in two basic styles, mostly according to the season. In the spring and summer, when it's hot and humid here in NC, I wear my hair "natural," meaning I just wash, condition, air dry, and apply locking gel to smooth the frizz and enhance the natural wave. During the dryer months, I use a blow dryer and flat iron and wear it straight. I don't use a chemical relaxer and haven't for over 30 years.
Reason for wearing a "natural' hairstyle / The most compelling reason is ease of handling; I learned that when I don't fight my hair, it and the weather come to an "understanding", and I'm much happier! I decided not to fight my hair's natural tendencies in the summer about 10 years ago.
Support of your natural look / My husband really likes it, and I receive positive comments from friends as well.
Negative reactions / My mother wasn't particularly fond of the look. She was a big proponent of straight hair, and saw to it that I wore it that way growing up. We did the whole home relaxer thing until I left for college. Once I was on my own, I decided not to continue with that. Questions from White women about my hair are sometimes irksome. They seem surprised that both straight and naturally curly styles are possible with my hair. I've had to educate many on the subject.
Response to negative commentary / I don't get negative comments.
Women with natural hair whose style you admire / I love seeing Jill Scott in The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency with her Afro; she looks comfortable in her own skin and hair, which is just great! And, I think the model Alex Wek is absolutely gorgeous!
Useful natural hair care tips, styling techniques or products / About 8 years ago, a stylist recommended Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel for my natural style, and I love it. It works, smells great, and doesn't make my hair stiff like other alcohol-based gels.
Advice for women considering a natural hairstyle / Do what feels right for you and your hair. Don't worry about what other people think or say; it's your hair, your look, and your life! Do what makes you happy. Words to live by in all things, not just hair!
Your definition of a "natural woman" / I believe a natural woman is one who is comfortable in her own skin; one who doesn't feel the need for artificial things to be beautiful--she knows she's beautiful, and loves herself.
"Michelle D.P. 's Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Michelle D.P.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
In case you're wondering, I've been a bit busy, but I'm still here. I do have a few items to share with you on the A Natural Woman front.
First, on Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 1pm-3pm, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (SouthPark) in Charlotte, NC., I will be siging copies of A Natural Woman. If you are in the area and not too busy, come on out and keep me company. Even if you already have a copy of the book, I'd love to hear your impressions and chat with you about the novel.
While I'm on the subject of impressions, the following is another nice review of A Natural Woman. If you visit Namari's site, and check out the review, don't forget to leave her a comment and let her know you were there.
Last, but not least, I will be posting another "hair story" soon. Michelle Davis Petelinz, our artist-in-residence, steps forward with her unique perspective on the topic of "natural hair." Check back, 'cause you don't want to miss it . . .
Oh, I almost forgot. I'm scheduled to do a blog radio interview with Pearl, the Hair Deva who resides in my old hometown of Memphis and who holds a "A Kinky Konversation" every Wednesday at 3pm (central time). I'm not sure if I'll be on tomorrow or next Wednesday. I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories
Background/ Vanessa R. is an author and playwright. She is in her mid-thirties and is a resident of North Carolina. Vanessa enjoys reading, writing, acting and meeting aspiring and inspiring people. She loves hearing from readers.
Hairstyle/ I have been wearing my hair in a tight up do twists. I am sure there is a name for this style, I just don't know what it is; but I love it! I decided to go natural my sophomore year in college. I attended an HBCU and was in awe of the many natural hairstyles my sisters were sporting on campus. I loved it. I found going natural was a constant on my mind. So, I did it. I just stopped getting a relaxer, after a couple of months. I cut my hair low. I wore my hair natural for a period of three to four years. I was always aware of my hair when I was natural. I knew it required high maintenance. With relaxed hair, I could put some gel on it; put it in a ponytail and go.
Reason for wearing a more "natural" hairstyle/ I consider myself to be a child of the earth. I am natural. The less the chemicals, the better it is for me. I try to eat and live healthy--I do not eat red meats. My aim is to one day become a vegetarian and then a vegan.
Negative reactions/ I have had some comments from people saying natural hair is a throw back to the days when African American women had to struggle to be beautiful. I've even had someone state to me that nappy hair is not attractive and it takes away from the beauty of women. I immediately pointed out the beauty of Lauryn Hill and Erkyah Badu, natural beauties personified.
Additional commentary/ I remember going natural from a couple years back. When I started locking my hair, my hair went through the ugly stages. During those stages, I began to develop a relationship with my hair. A relationship with my hair? I've never had this before. I would just put it in a pony tale and be on my way. I know my ladies understand what I am saying. : ) My growing dreds was not a political statement, nor was I trying to be different. It felt right for me. So, my journey to growing dred locks became a spiritual one. I nurtured and tended to it as I would a garden. I watched it transform and grow.
At the time, certain corporate businesses had strict dress code policies. Locking was unacceptable. I had a choice to make. I wanted to work for a certain company. What do you think I did? Yep, you guessed it, I sacrificed. : ( I went to my stylist, and had her cut my dreds, which were shoulder length at the time. It took my stylist three attempts before I finally allowed her to cut my hair. I cried. those around me didn't understand my tears. They thought I should be happy to get my hair relaxed as this was a thing for modern ladies and that I should stop being yesterday's lady. I am not knocking relaxers, going natural was what felt right for me.
Definition of a “natural woman”/ A natural woman is someone who is secure in her own skin. She walks both in and with confidence in who she is called and chosen to be, (and there is a difference) regardless of what others choose to say or think about her. At the end of the day sisters, friends, natural women, it is natural to be who you are. Do you!
If you'd like to learn more about
please visit her at
and/or"Vanessa R.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Vanessa R.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments. Thank You!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Recently, a reviewer with APOOO gave my novel, A NATURAL WOMAN, 5 stars!!!!! It's always nice when someone expresses appreciation for your work. It's even better when someone demonstrates a real understanding of your work. I think on some level this reviewer recognized that A Natural Woman is more than just a story about a woman’s obsession with her hair or pursuit of a man.
In a A Natural Woman the real story exists just beyond the words on the page, if that makes any sense. Really, if you engage in a close read, you'll discover the story peeking at you from behind the little things, like
**Dante's fascination with Kafka's THE METAMORPHOSIS
**Aliesha’s office in the basement of building called Sojourner Hall
**The lover who tells Aliesha he wants to be her Teacake and wants her to be his Janie
**The blind, bald clairvoyant who can see what others can’t** Aliesha’s discussion of the “beloved disciple”
**the presence and power of the dead
** Dante’s 40 day disappearance
** The spider Dante spies on the ceiling
Of course, the fact that I didn't think too many folks would "get" A NATURAL WOMAN didn't stop me from writing it. Sometimes you just have to be willing to go there . . .
Monday, October 12, 2009
My husband passed away suddenly a year or so later. On the anniversary of his death, which also happened to be my 31st birthday, I loced my hair. I don't know if that was an act of celebration (of my birthday) or of deviance (against my husband's previous wishes). Either way, it is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Today, I'd like to think my husband would approve of this nappy-headed ass woman!
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Have you ever “Googled” your name and been surprised by what you found? Chances are there’s at least one other person in the world who shares your name. I’ve stumbled upon a number of different Lori Johnsons in my online searches, many of them bright and talented individuals, like myself, and others I’d truly hate to be mistaken for (LOL). The following are some of the Lori Johnsons I’ve discovered online.
1) There’s at least one Lori Johnson who plays football. (Trust me, that’s not me. My running and tackling days are long behind me. Now, if you give me a good head start, I might be able to grab you and sit on you.)
2) From the looks of things, there’s an “outlaw” Lori Johnson who ran into some kind of legal trouble in the Dakotas. (Again, that’s not me. Even though, bizarrely enough, I did live in North Dakota as a teen and graduated from HS there. But my law-breaking days didn’t start until I got older and moved South.)
3) Evidently, there’s a Lori J. who starred in a $ex tape. (Or perhaps, that’s just wishful thinking on the part of someone aiming to blackmail me, LOL. If there is such a tape out there, I promise you Mom, I don’t know anything about it.)
4) There’s an Asian Lori Johnson who lives in my old hometown of Memphis and either sings in some choir or teaches Kindergarten. I can’t remember which. Possibly both.
5) Several of the Lori Johnsons out there are also authors. One of them writes paranormal fantasy about bears. (No, I’m not making this stuff up.)
6) Another Lori Johnson lives right here in Charlotte and works in banking. (I wonder if she’s ever Googled her name and wondered about some of the other Lori J.s, including me.)
7) There’s a Lori Johnson who not only shares my middle initial, but her middle name is very close to my own. (Equally as odd, I once met a woman named Lori whose brother has the same first name as my brother.)
8) One of the Lori Johnson’s out there is a musician. (One of these days I’m going to check out some of her tunes.)
9) A couple of the Lori Johnsons are real estate agents.
10) At least one lucky Lori Johnson knows a thing or two about cars and teaches other women how to handle themselves under the hood.
11) The Lori Johnson who works as an attorney holds the honor of being the first Lori Johnson I discovered online.
12) Another Lori Johnson works as an image consultant
13) Last, but not least, there’s an animal-loving (or perhaps slightly disturbed) Lori Johnson out there who is raising a monkey as a child.
In case you’re in doubt, I’m the Lori Johnson who writes oddball love stories for Kensington/Dafina. My second novel, A Natural Woman, is scheduled for publication in November.
Okay, now it's your turn. What are some of the stranger or funnier things you've discovered upon "Googling" your own name?
Monday, October 05, 2009
1) A Natural Woman is NOT the sequel to my first novel, After The Dance. To be honest, I'm not exactly sold on the whole sequel concept. It seems too much like the perfect set-up for writing the same story, over and over and over again, a notion that doesn't set my creative juices on fire. However, I haven't ruled it out altogether. Perhaps, in time, I will revisit both sets of characters. Do think there is a lot more I could do with the characters from A Natural Woman.
2) Unlike After The Dance, my first novel, A Natural Woman is not a romantic comedy. The tone in ANW is much more serious and the style, I'd dare say, a bit more literary.3) While A Natural Woman features a woman who sports a natural hairstyle, by no means is the author (that would be me) any sort of a "hair Nazi." I whole-heartedly support a woman's right to wear her hair any damn way she pleases.
4) While A Natural Woman features a woman who is very involved in her church, A Natural Woman is anything but Christian Fiction. So don't read it looking for any conversion scenes, "thou shalt not" sermons or folks getting the Holy Ghost.
5) A Natural Woman does contain a couple of love scenes that aren't intended for consumption by minors, the prudish or the faint of heart.
6) The main character in A Natural Woman, Professor Aliesha Eaton, is a figment of my all-too vivid imagination. I am not her, nor did I base her on anyone I currently know or I've ever met.
7) A Natural Woman touches on a number of social issues, colorism and violence against women, among them, but in what I hope is a non-heavy-handed kind of way.
8) A Natural Woman is full of symbols, among them: a 40-day absence; a spider on a ceiling; a campus building named Sojourner Hall and the reoccurring role of the dead. It's up to you to catch them and determine their meaning. Sorry, I'm not a "lead you to the water and make you drink" kind of author.9) If you'd like to read an excerpt of A Natural Woman, visit my website
10) A Natural Woman is scheduled for release on October 27th, but you can preorder today via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders or through your local, neighborhood bookseller.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Background / I was born in Memphis 53 years ago and I currently reside in the city. Having had the opportunity to live briefly in Washington D.C., New York City and Boston, MA, I still prefer home. However, traveling is one of my passions and I have visited many cities in the United States and have also gone abroad. In January of 2010, I may be making my first pilgrimage to Israel.
Hairstyle / Currently, I am wearing my hair in a puff set. This is the look where you use a large ponytail holder and once on the head you twist it into the shape of the number 8. Your hair is pulled back and you gather the hair into the twisted band. I also wear the spiral rod look, which can be done using natural hair flexi-rods or the plastic spiral rod. Occasionally, I wear my hair pressed.
Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / In late 2003, I decided to stop the chemical relaxer regimen and wear my hair natural. The natural look was more "me." Relaxers with all the chemicals in them are harsh on the hair and have a drying effect on one's crowning glory.
Support of your natural look / Many people and even strangers will compliment me on my natural hair styles when my hair do is fresh. By this, I mean having recently left the hairdresser.
Negative reactions / My goddaughter's father feels I should get my hair done when I'm wearing it naturally. He thinks I should wear it straight, relaxed or even pressed.
Response to negative commentary / Other than the above negative response, I can't think of any other negative comments; people may not want to convey their negativity to me. As far as my goddaughter's father, I really don't say anything because I know what is best for me."
A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / The character named, "Mona" in the canceled "Half and Half" TV sitcom is one I admire. Her hairstyle maybe a wig, but I still like the look on her.
Useful natural hair care tips, styling techniques or products / A local sister in Memphis sells her concoction at the Farmer's Market. This product is organic and consists of apple cider, vinegar, rosemary and nettles. It is called herban hair cider. It soothes my scalp and the cleansing feel it gives me is refreshing. This mixture is applied after shampooing and then rinsed off. Olive oil products, deep conditioners and hot oil treatments, I feel are a must.
Advice for a woman who is considering going natural / For a woman who is thinking about going natural, I would say, "Go for it!" It will not hurt anything and I feel it will only make the hair healthier.
Any blogs, websites, books or print magazines, which deal with the subject of natural hair you'd care to share or recommend / A co-worker shared with me the YouTube "Natural Black Hair Tutorial." On this site you can find a variety of hair styles and how to create them. In addition to the models showing you step-by-step the techniques of the hairstyles--you can learn about grooming your natural 'do. Of course, ESSENCE magazine features interesting articles on the natural look.
Additional comments/ My experience over the past six years is: my hair is thicker, softer, and has more length to it and I am pleased.
Definition of "a natural woman"/ My definition of a natural woman is one, like myself who is low maintenance when it comes to wearing a lot of make-up or any at all. And like myself, a natural woman does not like the artificial effect of wigs, weaves, hair color and finger nails. Although, I do like nail polish. I feel a natural woman is someone who likes herself both inside and out and does not compete with other women for her looks. She dresses to satisfy her own taste.
"Michelle F.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information).
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Michelle F.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
1) You will be overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.
2) You will be less than impressed by the pettiness of folks you thought you knew.
3) If you take a bowl of candy to one of your signings, some little fat kid is bound to come along and help him/herself to a big handful or two. Seriously, some little fat bast--um, I mean--adorable tyke will have the nerve to mean mug you while he/she's scarfing down and/or carting off the bulk of your treats.
4) If you show up at one of your signings with a tray of cookies & brownies, some old guy who claims he's a pastor will help himself to two or three pastries before informing you that he doesn't read the kind of books you write.
5) The thrill of checking your Amazon numbers will be a short-lived one.
6) You'll receive unsolicited phone calls, gifts and other such attention from people whose sole intent is to get close to your agent.
7) You'll discover an online "review" that reads more like a personal attack against you, than an objective critique of the book.
8) Folks who can barely navigate the ins and outs of basic grammar will offer to "edit" your next "fictional novel"-- for a reasonable price, of course.
9) You'll uncover inner strengths and talents you never realized you owned.
10) You'll gain a newfound respect for book lovers, librarians, and independent bookstores.
11) Folk who have no real interest in you or your book will stop by the table where you are signing and insist that you smile and pose for pictures.
12) You'll eventually conclude that writing the book was the easy part.
13) You'll learn not to take candy or pastries to your book signings . . . or perhaps you'll just learn how not to sweat the small stuff (LOL).
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Essence bestselling author, Lonnice Brittenum Bonner was kind enough to make the following remarks about my soon-to-be released novel, A Natural Woman:
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Yeah, I know, it's been a while. Don't worry, all is well and I should be back to posting on a regular basis soon.
Among other things, in the coming days, look for me to post another "story" or two in the "Our Hair, Our Stories" series I've been featuring on the blog. Also, I'll be sharing some of the best selling author, Lonnice Brittenum Bonner's thoughts about my new novel, A Natural Woman. Ms. Bonner has authored several books on the topic of "natural hair," among them, Good Hair: For Colored Girls Who've Considered Weaves When The Chemicals Became Too Ruff and Nice Dreads.
Last, but not least, I hope you're ready for that excerpt of A Natural Woman I've been promising for the longest. If all goes well, I should have a couple of chapters for you to read by the weekend. Stay tuned . . .
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Hairstyle / Presently, I wear my hair in locs. I wore my natural hair for many years during junior high, high school and adulthood. During the '80s I wore my hair permed and in the dreaded Jheri curl. Through the first half of the '90s I went back and forth between a natural hairstyle and having a perm, until chemicals finally destroyed my hair. My hair had to be cut into a small natural, which grew relatively quickly. On the day I graduated from community college in May 1995, I twisted my hair and never looked back.
Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / I wear my hair natural because it makes me feel good and look good. While I still have to go to the salon to get re-twisted every six weeks, I no longer have to smell chemicals and burning hair, like in the traditional beauty shops, oops, I mean salons.
Support of your natural look / Everyone has been supportive of my hair choice, for the most part. Nobody seems to care whether or not I wear locs; however, I find that some Black women ask me why I do not dye my hair black, rather than leaving it salt and pepper. I usually tell them that it is a personal choice not to dye my hair, as I do not see myself as being defined by hair color or other superficial constraints that society tries to place on me.
Negative reactions / I cannot recall offhand any truly negative comments that I have received regarding my hair choice. If I have, the compliments exceeded any negative response. I do wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me "how long have you been growing your hair?"
Response to negative commentary / If I had to respond to a negative comment, I would say, quite sweetly, "You wear your hair the way you want and I will do the same."
Women with natural hair whose style you admire / Alice Walker and Toni Morrison are my mentors because they sported their locs when the styule was less popular and made it more mainstream.
Any useful natural hair care tips, styling techniques or products you'd like to share? / Keep your hair clean and don't put a lot of different products in your hair. Make sure you condition your hair after you wash it and remember, "greasing" your scalp clogs the pores and does not promote growth.
Advice for women considering a natural hairstyle / The style is a commitment to a new paradigm and it is not for everyone. You've got to be ready for a life altering change. I guarantee you will feel freeer when and if you go natural.
Any blogs, websites, books or print magazines, which deal with the subject of natural hair that you'd care to recommend? / Yes, the following books:
--Nice Dread: Hair Care Basics and Inspiration for Colored Girls Who've Considered Locking Their Hair by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner.
--Locs for Life: The Root to Well Being for African-American Women by Kalimah Johnson
--Hairlocking: Everything You Need to Know: African, Dread and Nubian Locks- by Nekhena Evans
Additional Commentary / I would like to add to all those reading this-- your hair is a part of you. Nobody has the right to touch you without permission. I have strangers coming up to me, touching my hair, and I find it disturbing, quite frankly. I sometimes try to be diplomatic and explain to them that they would not like it if I came up to them out of the blue and started touching their hair. Just because my hair is long does not mean you can touch it. Sometimes I become downright grumpy about it, because not only are you touching me without permission, I don't know where your hands have been!
Definition of a natural woman / My definition of a natural woman is one who knows herself and stays true to that knowledge.
If you'd like to learn more about
visit her blog
"Pamella R.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Pamella R.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments. Thank You!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Response to negative commentary / Having not really had any, there has been no real need to comment. To the co-worker, I just told him that he wished he could have the opportunity--NOT!
Advice for women considering a natural hairstyle / Go for it--it is very liberating not to have to be chained to heating appliances and other chemicals to change the look of who you are. I have seen a number of women going natural and most have beautiful locks.
Any blogs, websites, books or print magazines, which deal with the subject of natural hair that you'd like to share or recommend? / Missjessies.com, I use these products, along with carolsdaughter.com, but I prefer Miss Jessie's.
Definition of a natural woman / I believe a natural woman is one who is true to herself and not constrained by the visions that others have of what her beauty is or should be. She is happy within.
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Shelley S.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Not unlike, Professor Aliesha Eaton, the main character in my latest novel A Natural Woman, I've had a number of less than pleasant experiences with hairstylists and at hair salons. It is one of the primary reasons, I currently wear my own hair natural and typically do it at home. Hey, I'd rather take a chance on looking crazy, than put up with any of the following . . .
1) Music, conversation or the volume turned up so loud on a TV, I can't hear my own sighs of exasperation. (Even worse are those places where you're treated to a seemingly never-ending blend of the three).
2) The hairstylist who ignores your instructions and styles your hair the way he or she pleases ("What the heck! Now, I know I didn't come in here looking like a chicken, I'll be dang if I leave here looking like one!")
3) Those salons where I'm made to wait 30 minutes to an hour, past my scheduled appointment
4) Hairstylists who tell me WAY more than I care to know about their personal lives (Note, if you have an STD, a crack-habit, a number of crazy folks stalking you or a mole in an unusual place, do me a favor and keep that mess to yourself)
5) Those salons where I highly suspect more than half of the employees are armed, known felons or are listed on some law enforcement agency's most wanted list
6) Stylists who gossip viciously about everybody in the shop, customers and employees alike (Don't worry, I won't be telling you a d@mn thing)
7) Stylists who work on your head like they're weeding a briar patch
8) Stylists who are constantly on the phone, or who routinely hold long, drawn-out, highly animated conversations with other customers and/or hairstylists
9) Salons where arguing, cussing and fighting appear to be the norm
10) Salons where inappropriate movies are shown in color and on the big screen (Look, I am not trying to see anybody's sex tape. Not Paris Hilton's. Not R. Kelley's. Not Screech from Saved By the Bell. And most certainly not your friend or cousin Bay-Bay who lives around the way . . .)
11) Hairstylists who move to a new salon every 4-6 months. (Dang, haven't you ever heard of staying put somewhere and building up your clientele?)
12) Salons where known gang-banger types, petty thieves and girls who work the stroll (don’t act like you don’t know what stroll I’m talking ‘bout) feel free to roam the parking lot and loiter in front of the building
13) Salons where the bootleggers, street vendors and sidewalk evangelists are permitted inside to peddle their wares
Yeah I know, perhaps I need to stay outta the hood and frequent more upscale hair establishments (LOL). But I know I’m not the only one who has ever encountered these kinds of issues.
In any case, if you are a hairstylist, beautician, barber, etc. who has never seen, done or experienced any of the aforementioned, great! I’m obviously, not talking about you or where you work, so please don’t cop an attitude or be offended. In fact, feel free to leave your contact information here in the section for comments . . .
If you'd like to visit other
Thursday 13 Participants
Monday, July 27, 2009
Background / I live in Virginia and I'm 48.
Hairstyle / I wear locs. I've been wearing locs for three or four years.
Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / There were multiple reasons, including being sick and tired of sitting in shops, waiting for the relaxer to relax; paying for touch-ups every 4-6 weeks; scalp damage, etc.
Support for your natural look / My mother doesn't understand why I (and my older daughter) have chosen this style. Actually, I'm not sure she knows exactly what it is, bless her heart! But she once told my daughter that it reminded her "of slavery." My sister thinks it's pretty. Mostly, though, friends and strangers--even White people--compliment me on this style.
Negative reactions / I haven't had any negative reactions to my hair (except my mother). At least, not to my face.
Response to negative commentary / I ignore my mother's stance, keep my hair clean and pretty. LOL
A woman/women with natural hair whose style you admire / I love India.Arie's hair. It's beautiful and HER.
Useful natural hair care tips, styling techniques or products / My favorite shampoo is Dr. Bonner's Peppermint. I wash me and my hair with that stuff. It's great!
Advice for women considering a natural hairstyle / Do NOT assume that natural styles are "low-maintenance." If I want my locs, for example, to look neat and pretty, I get a "touch up" every nice weeks. (Better than 4-6!)
Useful blogs, websites, books or print magazines which focus on natural hair / This sister's blog helped me understand what my hair was doing, during the process, and she explained the two (major) kids of "locking":See Here For Details . . . (www.daezhavoo.com/)
Definition of a natural woman / A "natural" woman is one who loves herself as she is, but isn't averse to improving herself the way she wants to be improved!
If you'd like to learn more about Gine,
please visit her blog
"Gine's story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information).
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Gine's Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Response to negative commentary / I say positive things about my hair texture and curl.
A woman/women with natural hair whose style you admire / When I was younger, Miriam Mekeba and Odetta because they dared to wear the natural. Now, I look past the physical admiration, but I do appreciate Epatha Merkerson and especially Toni Morrison's grey locks.
"Femi A.'s story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information).
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Femi A.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Background / I'm an Ohioan, but I'm moving to Cario, Egypt to teach radio journalism at The American Univeristy in Cario. I'll be there for at least one year. I am a lover of hip hop music.
Hairstyle / I currently have locs. I started my locs in January 2000. They are not long as I trim them once or twice a year. I went natural about 2-3 months before I began to loc my hair.
Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / At the time, I worked out a lot; spent a lot of time at the gym, usually in the morning, but I had to work at 8 a.m., so I needed a quick and easy hairstyle where I would not have to compromise a large portion of my workout time to do my hair.
Support of your natural look / My friends have been most supportive. Interesting how my mom often says, "you ruined your hair." I have that 'good hair.' My mom and my grandmother take jabs at my hair whenever they can sneak it in. But recently my grandmother commented that my hair always looks neat. So that's a move in the right direction.
Negative reactions / I am always tempted to correct people when they say 'dreadlocks.' There is nothing dreadful about them. I just prefer the term locs. Most people comment on how neat my hair is. I usually wash it at least once a week and I usually sleep w/a scarf to keep up a nice, clean look.
Response to negative commentary / I'm in the habit of ignoring anyone who makes negative comments. Otherwise, my reponse is to give them an earful and sometimes that will include profanity.
A woman or women with natural hair whose style you admire / Commentator Nancy Giles has a nice natural do. Oh, and I like the Macy Gray look, which is similar to Nancy's. More of a messy afro.
Useful hair care tips, styling techniques or products / I have a dry scalp and I recently discoverd some KeraCare products that I absolutely love. They have shampoo, conditioner and a product called 'glossifer.'
--I try to wash my hair weekly. It ususally takes me about 30-40 minutes to palm roll it and oil my scalp.
--Occasionally, I will get my hair done at a salon. It's too pricey for me though.
Advice for women considering a natural hairstyle / Do it. Natural is less fussy (or it should be) and you can focus on the more important things in life. When I sleep with a scarf on, I can literally get up and go! Love that. I save, at least, 20 minutes since I do not have to do my hair.
Additional commentary / I've been considering getting rid of my loc. Just time for a change. I will probably cut them off when I return from Cario, Egypt. I will more than likely remain natural though.
If you'd like to learn more about Kim F., visit her blog
"Kim F.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. I plan to post two-three "stories" per week. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information).
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Kim F.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments. Thanks!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Hairstyle / Presently, my hair is in dreadlocks. I started wearing an Afro in high school in the mid-70s. I switched to dreadlocks after my marriage in 1992.
Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / My high school years coincided with the latter part of the Black Arts/Black Power Movement. Though I didn't know much about The Movement back then, I was interested in it and emulated the style. Bob Marley and Rastafarians gained popularity during my post-undergraduate days and people began wearing dreadlocks. The man I eventually married was wearing locks when I met him and an old college friend helped me switch styles shortly after the wedding. I admire Bob Marley and enjoy some Reggae music. But I have never been a Rastafarian.
Support of your natural look / The folks that I refer to as my non-biological family have been most supportive.
Negative reactions / Mostly people just tend to stare. Store security sometimes act as if they expect me to steal.
Response to negative commentary / I usually just say that my mother doesn't like my hairstyle either. The implication here is that if I am not changing to appease my own mother, then I am certainly not interested in the opinion of the current speaker.
A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / Toni Morrison. She impresses me as a strong independent woman with a clear spirit and a lot of talent.
Advice for women considering a more natural hairstyle / It's more work than it seems and be prepared for peoples' attitudes towards you to change.
Additional Commentary / When I first moved to Memphis in 1985, a woman with a short afro was considered unfeminine. When dreadlocks first gained currency, many people thought that it was not possible to keep that much natural Black hair clean and that it could harbor bugs, such as ticks, especially in warm weather, which was in keeping with the belief that the kind of people who wore dreadlocks weren't that interested in personal hygiene.
There was a time when natural hairstyles were an expression of identification with African heritage and Black unity. When I first began wearing dreadlocks I knew about everybody in Memphis who wore locks, at least by sight. Now locks are everywhere, including television news, government offices, and on non-Blacks. Dreadlocks are not synonymous with Black culture anymore, but it's good to see that something so culturally specific is no longer considered a social stigma.
Definition of "A Natural Woman" / To me, a natural woman is a woman who is a useful, nurturing part of her community without letting her personal development be confined by the expectations of that community or by the larger society.
"A. Jalani's story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information).
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "A. Jalani's Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The following are 13 of my favorite quotes by Authors & Writers.
1) If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." --Toni Morrison
2) Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae." — Kurt Vonnegut
3) Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." --Albert Einstein
4) Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."
5) "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." — Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
6) Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open." — Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within)
7) "When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing. " — Octavia E. Butler(Fledgling
8) Loneliness is black coffee and late-night television; solitude is herb tea and soft music. Solitude, quality solitude, is an assertion of self-worth, because only in the stillness can we hear the truth of our own unique voices." —Pearl Cleage (Deals With the Devil: And Other Reasons to Riot
9) "In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
10) "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." "--Maya Angelou
11) "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Ralph Waldo Emerson
12) "A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same."
13) "Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." — Robert A. Heinlein
Do you relate to any of the quotes on my list? Are there any quotes by authors you'd care to share?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Age 13 (or thereabouts) marked my first experience with a chemical relaxer. Hate to point a finger, but it was my mother's idea (smile). She had the best of intentions and put me in the hands of a capable beautician. Even so, I remember both the burn of the relaxer and my hair breaking off in the weeks thereafter.
Yes, since becoming an adult, I have worn my hair straightened and relaxed. Versatility and change make life all the more interesting is my personal philosophy. In the picture above, I'm rocking a curl . . Uh-huh, as in Jheri, thank you every much. Mine, I'd like to think, was kinda cute. In any case, it was a phase and those were the days.
After a series of less then positive experiences with hairstylists, hard water and rough winter weather in the Cleveland area, I decided the time had come for me to revert to what I know and manage best--my natural roots.