Jun 28, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: A Tribe Called Quest - Bonita Applebum

As we settle into the last Friday of the month, let's take another look at a hairstyle we gained a true appreciation for through an artist: braids.

Thanks to Janet Jackson's portrayal of Justice, the "box braids" as I know them, were a must after the release of John Singletary's Poetic Justice.  Were we calling them protective styles then?

Janet Jackson as Justice in braids.

With Regina King as Iesha, both ladies wore their braids in a way that seemed authentic to their characters as well as themselves.  

Iesha (Regina King) and Justice (Janet Jackson) in braids.

Here Janet helped to revive the trend this year with a throw back her classic look from 1993 in an elegant bun.

Janet Jackson.

Regina King chose cornrows for her bun in this recent picture.  Apparently Janet and Regina made a pact not to age in back then.

Regina King

Flashing back to Poetic Justice, memories of the times came rushing back when I remembered Bonita Applebum by A Tribe Called Quest was on the soundtrack.  The best hairstyles and music are always timeless, so I gotta put you on.

Jun 26, 2013

DISCUSSION: Diabetes and Hair

I know you have heard the expression "Health Over Hair" quite a  bit lately. There are several reasons that you should focus on overall health instead of healthy hair. The main reason is because if you focus on the former, it will usually make the latter so much easier to obtain. However, today's discussion focuses specifically on how diabetes management affects natural hair.

A quick biology lesson: When you eat, your body tries to convert as much of the food as possible into sugar so that it can be used for energy. The body uses a hormone called insulin to convert sugar to usable energy. This is how you produce energy to blink, breathe, and shake a tail feather. Unused sugar is usually stored as fat or filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys.

Diabetes (or sugarthe sugar, or sugar diabetes) is the body's inability to regulate the amount of glucose (the scientific name for sugar) in the bloodstream. When someone is diabetic, there's a kink in the process above. Either the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the insulin doesn't work well enough to convert the glucose to energy and get it out of the bloodstream. So the glucose has nowhere to go. It just sits in the bloodstream and the body's kidneys work overtime to bring the glucose levels down to normal. Diabetics have to be cautious of what they eat because insulin levels (and blood glucose levels) aren't regulated. Too much sugar and the kidneys work overtime to filter the blood. Too little sugar and the body doesn't have the energy to carry out the basic functions of life.

But what does this have to do with my hair?

Ok, so now that the basic biology lesson is over, here is how it affects your hair. When your blood sugar runs higher than normal, you stress out your kidneys and your kidneys stress out everything else. One of the ways your kidneys filter excess glucose from the bloodstream is through urine. But the more glucose there is to filter, the more urine your body has to produce. And producing urine takes.... WATER.

Do you see where this is going now? The more urine you need to produce to filter out excess glucose, the more water is required to leave your body. And because regulating blood sugar is more important that most functions, the body will use water resources to get it done. And that's the way it's supposed to be. And if you're not good at prioritizing health over hair, don't worry. Your body does that for you. It doesn't allow water to nourish your hair and scalp and ignore blood glucose. You are built to prioritize important functions like blood sugar regulation over less important things like shiny, moisturized hair.

If you are natural and diabetic:

  • Make regular visits to your physician and monitor your blood glucose levels.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you are overweight, shedding a few pounds can really help manage blood sugar.
  • No matter your weight, exercise can help regulate blood sugar.
  • Drink plenty of water.

So there you have it. Healthy hair is not less important than overall health. It's actually a part of overall health.   Whether you're a diagnosed diabetic or you just have a tendency to binge on cupcakes and candy bars... make sure sugar isn't the causing you hair problems. It's important that you take care of your entire self; because exhausted kidneys and shiny, bouncy curls just don't go well together.

Do you have diabetes and natural hair? Do you have ANY health condition that impacts your natural hair care? Leave a comment below.

Jun 25, 2013

HAIR LUST: Protective Updo

We've finally transitioned  into the summer! When I first moved to Tennessee from Massachusetts, I had never experienced heat like the hear we have. It's that DRY heat with a cloudless sky that almost feels like you living on the desert. When I transitioned to the natural life, I realized I could experience more growth if I kept my hair moisutrized and protected during the summer. Plus, I hate when I have hair on my neck! So updos are my friend.

I love the updo this model is sporting. You get to have your hair protected, off your neck, but with a bit of flair in the front. The perfect look for a hot summer day. Enjoy!

Jun 24, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: Weave Preparation

That's right. The title of this hair diary is "weave preparation". And no, I'm not revealing what type weave I will have installed. That will be in a separate post. I will say this... I am slightly
nervous about getting my first real weave.

I've been doing some research and I've seen some things. Scary things. I've seen some things underneath weaves that I definitely don't want to happen underneath mine. I REALLY don't want to be like the pictures of weaves gone wrong that happened on the internet. But, bad things happen underneath weaves when they aren't maintained correctly. I want to get the full wear out of this hairstyle. Also, I want this style to last, but I also want to keep my edges (and all of my other hairs).  So I've been preparing my hair for battle. 

A crown of tucked and pinned twists.
Google really should not have started creating .gifs for me. HA!

I've been doing deep oil treatments, and I've kept my hair oily and moisturized. I've definitely been co-washing more than ususal, and I have been liberal with the amount of coconut oil I use  after cleansing. I have also sprayed with water more often than normal. This has resulted in me walking around with frizzy afro hair, but it's definitely been softer and more moisturized. Plus, I don't have to worry about my hair getting too dry in the recent, hotter temperature. There is still an inch or so of color on my hair and it craves oil and water in the summertime. Also, I've been wearing my hair tucked away lately.

I cross and pin the twists, or just tuck them. This has been a recent go-to
protective style.
Me and my prehistoric friend. Hair STILL tucked. See?
I LOVE my afro but I'm serious about my hair not
falling out.
As of the date of this post I have about 24 hours left until I tuck my hair away for a while. I'm taking extra steps and hoping whatever happens under there is magic and not tragic. But I feel pretty prepared. I've decided to take my hair on one last curly ride today. I'm wearing it big and out. I'm excited about this new hair adventure and I'm going to be even more excited to post vacation pictures when I get back.

Have you had your first weave yet? How did/do you prepare your hair for an install?

Jun 21, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Erykah Badu - On & On

We made it.  It is officially summer.  Take it all in.  Because in a few weeks, or days, the heat will start to close in on us and we'll look for relief anywhere we can find it.

This summer the turban has returned and I'm thinking about giving the trend a try.  I think it could be a very regal look for me.  Why the hesitation?  Flashback to 1997.

When I first heard "On & On" by Erykah Badu I was an instant fan.  When I saw her hair beautifully wrapped in vibrant colored material, I had to give it a try.  Instead of looking like royalty, I just looked ready for bed.

We've seen Erykah wrap her hair in so many different colors and textures over the years, that it is easy to make a convenient style fashionable as well.

How ironic is it that she created one of the most significant moments in hair trends by covering her hair?  

"Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned." -Erykah Badu
If you've thought about giving the turban a try and can't seem to get it right, check out Summer 101: You wanna rock a turban? on our sister site FabGlance Fashion and Style.  If you rock a turban and you feel fabulous, don't forget to share your pictures with us!

Happy Summer!

Jun 20, 2013

HAIR LUST: Loc Muse - Esosa Edosomwan


I've seen pictures of Esosa Edosomwan for the past few months without knowing her or her story.  Her locs were enough for me. When I envision the perfect locs for me, this is what I see.

Similar in size to my own, pictures of Esosa show the versatility of medium-sized locs. Up, down, straight or curled, Esosa's hair is gorgeous.

After some research, I learned Esosa is a filmmaker, actress, writer, and director.  She also has experience as a model, freelance fashion designer and vegan health blogger.

With so many talents, I'm sure we'll see more of Ms. Edosomwan in the future!  For now, read more about Esosa on her site.

Jun 18, 2013

HAIR LUST: Effortless Updo


One day my quick, effortless updo is going to look this fabulous instead of that "just had a nap" look.   

Jun 17, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary: A New Attitude

Over the past few weeks, I've become a lot more relaxed about my hair.  I decided to Let It Breathe for a bit and that decision calmed my energy tremendously.  After allowing my locs to free form for a while, things are getting too tangled and its time for some maintenance.  As always, chilling out helped me to see some things clearly.

Because we all play with the camera on our phone from time to time...

Jun 14, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Bob Marley & The Wailers - One Love

As we approach Father's Day weekend, there's only one musician that comes to my mind when I think roots and rhythm:  the incomparable Bob Marley.  Not only is he the father of 13 children, but his passion and drive to bring his music to the world makes him the undisputed father of reggae.

Robert Nesta Marley

Like any person that lives in the fullness of their potential, Bob was able to bring his message to the world through the bond of a group.  In 1963 Robert Nesta Marley, Hubert Winston McIntosh and Neville Livingston came together to form The Wailers.  While their original music had an American influence, the self-taught musicians eventually developed their own sound and the world received a more authentic, powerful version of The Wailers that we know as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Bunny Wailer, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh - The Wailers

The full strength of Bob Marley's legacy has become evident as we watch his children take their place in music and business.  As the oldest of their "Lion Order", Ziggy is guiding the family as they expand their father's memory to include their own vision.  The Marley family continues to bring us music, but now they've expanded to clothing, coffee, and humanitarian efforts with each venture steeped in their father's philosophy on love and life.

Right: Bob Marley with a very young Ziggy Marley.  Left: A more recent image of Ziggy Marley.

Dreadlocks are synonymous with Bob Marley and these pictures show us that Bob has his own hair journey.  Inspired by Rastafarian philosophy, Bob let his dreadlocks form freely for personal reasons related to his belief system.

Regardless what we believe, Bob Marley's message of One Love cannot be denied:

"I don't stand for the black man's side.  I don't stand for the white man's side.  I stand for God's side."  -Bob Marley

Check out The Wailers in their first British television appearance performing Concrete Jungle.  Please note the level of cool Peter Tosh brings to this performance.  One of my favorites from my absolute favorites!

Jun 13, 2013

HAIR LUST: Crayola Curls

I LOOOOOVE colored hair, specially what some would call 'unusual' colors. It is possible to have healthy colored hair. You should always consult with a professional stylist before you attempt any color treatment on your own. However, let these crayola colored fros inspire you to let you creativity fly free!

Jun 7, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Aretha Franklin - Rock Steady

June is the month that many of us share our appreciation and love for black music, past and present.  Music is a powerful vehicle to convey the culture of people.  Between the music, lyrics, and images associated with a project, artists are able to express themselves and the world as they see it.  In appreciation, we'll jam with some artists that made a statement with their music and their hair this month. There is only one place to start: The Afro.

The classic elegance of The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

In 1971, America took its first ride on "The Hippest Trip in America" when Soul Train entered syndication and living rooms across America.  For the first time, many people living in America saw themselves on television exactly as they were.  The artists and dancers that appeared looked like them, dressed like them and wore their hair just as they did.  Soul Train represented an underlying cultural revolution.  Self-pride was brewing and Soul Train offered tickets weekly.

To kick off our tribute this month, here is The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, performing Rock Steady in 1971.  Lady Soul has a beautifully cropped afro, but Don Cornelius' is just a bit more perfect.  The Soul Train dancers are wearing afros, braids, and straightened hair, reminding us of the rich history of our hair and the natural styles we love dearly today.

A few things that will make you love this performance even more:
  1. 0:08 - Don Cornelius' Afro does an epic bounce.
  2. 1:30 - Aretha wipes the sweat from her brow with such elegance, you almost miss it.
  3. 2:00 - When Aretha sings "Oh!", she is giving you the definition of soul.  Feel it.
Aretha Franklin on the cover of Ebony December 1971 looking fabulous in a headwrap over her Afro.
Love, Peace and Soul!

Jun 6, 2013

NATURAL NEWS: 'You Can Touch My Hair' interactive exhibit sparks online debate

Everyone has their thoughts on the whole 'Don't touch My Hair' debate in the Natural Hair world. While I'm not on the defense about people ASKING to touch my hair, I will get upset if you decide to peruse my curls without my consent. Really, who would touch any BODY without consent? It's not so simple for others and asking to touch a black person's hair has become a 'touchy' subject.

Participants let strangers touch their hair
In an effort to help people get passed the mystique of black hair, Antonia Opiah (www.un-ruly.com), decided to stage an interactive art exhibit allowing passerby's to touch, caress, and fondle various styles of African American hair. Her, 'You Can Touch My Hair' event is being held in New York City's Union Square. She wants to break the curiosity barriers that Americans have for African American hair.

Antonia Opiah wrote in her Huffington Post article:
"To be honest I have a lot of questions about my hair, especially now that it's natural . . . . Black hair is unique. It requires different care techniques and routines . . . . in a country where we primarily see commercials for white hair products and magazines that mainly cover white beauty topics and TV shows that mainly feature white characters, we, and those curious about us, have to find information about our hair from other sources." (source)
Three hair types were on exhibit for today's event
Readers on my Twitter timeline were debating if an exhibit like this is even 'worth it'? Some thought it wasn't right that women, black women, had to put themselves on exhibit just for 'white people' to understand that our hair is just different. @WrittenByBene equated the movement a 'petting zoo' to help white people feel comfortable. Even on Opiah's website, commenters were not pleased that the event was planned and felt like it was an embarrassment for black women to subject themselves to this. However,  number of twitter followers were excited by the movement. Take a look at #YouCanTouchMyHair hashtag on twitter and you see opposing sides of this debate.

I'm still at a crossroads. Knowing what black people have gone through to attain our sense of cultural pride despite every attempt to take our pride away makes movements like this seem like a slap in the face and a step back. But, bridging cultural gaps and explaining cultural differences may be the only way to make America a better place. So, what do you think?

Hit the comment section below.

Photos courtesy of HairUnruled on Instagram

Jun 5, 2013

DISCUSSION: NOW, how do you feel when you straighten your hair?

I was perusing my favorite blogs and I came across this post by blogger, Eden Hansom entitled, "I Didn't Feel Attractive Straightening my Hair".  While reading this post I had that 'lightbulb' moment! She was 'singing my song with her words'! Eden talked about several factors that went in to her getting her hair straightened: to get a good trim and to impress a boy. After only four days of that 'straight' life Eden washed her hair and regained her curls. She learned alot about herself and people's perceptions during that time. Her experience was VERY similar to my experience.
The last time I straightened my hair, I waited the obligatory seven days (to get my money's worth) then QUICKLY washed it out! Why? When my hair is straight, I just felt like everyone else. Call it selfish but when I'm rocking my super fro, extra-long box braids, or crinkly curly kinks, I always stand-out in the crowd. My friends do too. It doesn't matter if a friend and I both do a twist-out, her hair's outcome will always look different. That's the beauty of rocking natural hair - we always have the power to change the game and be original. 

Jun 4, 2013

Hair Lust: Afya Ibomu

When you look at Afya Ibomu, you can't deny what you put inside your body radiates outside.  The Holistic Nutritionist and author of "The Vegan Soul Food Guide to the Galaxy" has been a vegetarian since 1990 and while it may not work for everyone, it is clearly working for her. Afya is not afraid to switch it up, which is one of the things I love most.

I've seen Afya go effortlessly from braids to soft curls to straight hair and rock each one beautifully.


I especially love her for the one lone loc admist such lovely curls as seen below while Afya shares her knowledge on camera.

In addition to her work as a holistic nutritionist, Afya is the wife of stic.man of Dead Prez and mother to their 11 year old son, Itwela.

For more on Afya, check out her website, www.nattral.com.

Jun 3, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Solange rocks havana twists at recent concert

Solange hit the stage at The Roots Picnic this weekend looking totally CUYUTE!!!! The lady responsible for bringing 'Poetic Justice' box braids back in style rocked Havana Twists as a protective style for the concert. The natural hair world was buzzing when images of Solange's new look hit the net.  Do you love her new summer look? Click the link below to see more photos:

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