Aug 30, 2013

Roots and Rhythym: Alex Isley, "Love/Art Memoirs"

A friend of mine introduced me to the newest generation of Isleys and I am blown away. In a world where music has become whitewashed and generic, let the melodic tones of Miss Alex Isley transport you to another galaxy, a place where music isn't made for the masses but feeds the soul. 

You can download her free Ep Love/Art Memoirs here. 

*Update shes got a new EP out which is also just as amazing, which you can download here.*

Aug 28, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Michelle Obama get highlights and ombre!

First, Mrs. Obama got bangs, and the world was rocked! Well not really, but it was quite the newstory. Today I learned that FLOTUS has went and got some highlights and ombre treatment! It's so very fly! I love that our First Lady always keeps her look new and bright.

Aug 27, 2013

HAIR LUST: The perfect TWA

I love various levels of the natural hair sphere. From the buzz cut, to the TWA, to long and luxurious, every phase is gloriuous. I always make sure to remind myself to enjoy each phase because sometimes I find myself envying my fellow curl sister.

Anyway, is this not the most perfect TWA ever. The hair color on top and the slight coils give this cut a soft elegance. I post this photo in hopes to inspire you to embrace your natural, in whatever phase you're in!

Photography- Raymond Croft; Model -Ayana Wildgoose

Aug 26, 2013

EVENT: ManeLove Affair (Atlanta) feat Ebony Clark & Courtney Adeleye, August 31

If you happen to be in Atlanta this weekend, August 31, 2013 - make sure you head over to Loft at Castelberry Hill to attend the Mane Love Affair featuring Ebony Clark and Courtney Adeleye! You don't know these naturalistas? Well step you Instagram/Blog Game UP!

Ebony (@Eclark6) and Courtney (@CourtneyNaturalHair) boast thousands of fan and give daily inspiration while posting their haircare routines, business endeavors, and inspirational quotes. The ladies have teamed up to give fans a classy hair affair in Atlanta during Labor Day Weekend.
This event will celebrate and honor the beauty of men and women loving their natural hair while promoting self-confidence. A night full of fun, food, music, socializing and more! Mane Love Affair 2013 will take place at the LOFT at Castleberry Hill, one of Atlanta’s premier event venues, located just minutes from downtown Atlanta. A comfortable atmosphere for socialization and little conversation. -
So, if you are in Atlanta, make sure to stop by! The ladies are offering Natural in Nashville readers 30% off admission. 

Click HERE to purchase your tickets, add NIN2013 in the promo box.

Have fun!! Take lots of pictures!!

Aug 23, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Janelle Monae - "PrimeTime"

One of our favorite ladies is coming to Nashville!  Janelle Monae is going into overdrive in preparation for the release of The Electric Lady on September 10.  In addition to tour dates, she also released the official audio for her new single, "PrimeTime" featuring Miguel this week.  The first ballad we've heard from this project, Monae and Miguel deliver sweet, romantic lyrics against a smooth sound with a slight rock edge that reminds me of Prince.

With no video for the single yet, Ms. Monae went with a soft French braid that holds her signature silhouette with funky accessories for the cover art.  The shape of Janelle's hair is mirrored by Miguel's cut just as the beauty of her voice reflects his.

Janelle Monae in "Special Education" by Goodie Mob.
As she continues to give us more balance in her look, Janelle opted for her classic look for her feature on Goodie Mob's latest release "Special Education" from their highly anticipated album, Age Against The Machine.  Janelle was the perfect choice to deliver the chorus,
"I don't wear the clothes you wear.  I'm just different and I don't care.  It's kind of sad and it's a shame.  Everyone wants to be the same. If you are listening here and now, I'm sure I can show you how.  Its okay to be afraid.  Don't you want to be special?"
The video is set in school and each member of Goodie Mob and Janelle Monae reflect with a younger version of themselves and little Janelle does not disappoint.  This song gave Janelle another opportunity to assert her message from The Electric Lady, which she kicked off with "Q.U.E.E.N."

Little Janelle Monae in "Special Education" by Goodie Mob.
She is definitely on a mission to inspire authenticity and this track reminded me she is a member of the Dungeon Family, where creative and unique vibes reign supreme.  The unique style of The Dungeon Family helped open the door to the South and Janelle is walking right on in.

Janelle Monae will be here in Nashville at The Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, November 17, well after the release of the upcoming project.  Her tour will be in full swing and her energy is sure to be out of control.

Are you going to the show?  Let us know!

Aug 21, 2013

HAIR LUST: Little Lovely One

Just in time for the Back To School season I find this cute phot of this lovely little girl with he rlong flowing locs! Ugh! I wished my mom let me wear my hair 'out' when I was in grade school. But I know I would never act right - LOL!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm so happy our little girls are able to grow-up in a world where natural hair is accepted. Keep up the good work parents and keep looking cute kiddies!

Aug 20, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward

Yes. I took one step backward. I had the rest of my hair cut. Technically, it is a step backward from reaching my hair goals. Amber removed the rest of my colored ends. She said they didn't look too damaged, but they were dry. And that's the part that I just could not get jiggy with. The constant dryness was so annoying. (Not all color is bad or really drying. If you are new to my hair story, you can see what happened, then come back.)

I have tried several different deep conditioning methods. I've used condiments, oils, natural store-bought products, unnatural chemical products, and I've done them with and without heat. I've done the most I could for my hair and I was still hard pressed to get the bottom of my twists to hold together. My colored ends just refused to not be brittle and dry. They had to go. My hair works a lot better now. When I make a twist and try to seal the ends, they actually twist together!! And I could never get my hair to be all the way shiny and moisturized anymore before this final cut. But check out this shot.

I can't remember the last time my hair had so much shine.
This was the 2nd day wearing my bun, with no additional product.
So I'm back to my natural color now. I was a red head and then I rocked the "ombre" black and brown (The red color faded to a nice brown. I liked it so I kept it.) and I haven't had colorless hair for almost 3 years. It felt weird to realize that my hair color wasn't my real color. Completely dark hair has taken some getting used to. Besides, anyone who really knows me will tell you that I'm a much more "colorful" personality than I am dark. I'm already planning on getting color in my hair sometime in the future. And not because I hate my hair or have any self-esteem or self-loathing issues*. I just think color fits my personality a lot more.
My boyfriend and I... being colorful.
Love this twist-out. It happened after keeping my hair in twists for 4 days.

But you know what doesn't fit my personality? This bald spot in my head. Yes, it's still there. I'm going to pray that it's not permanent. I was made aware of it again this week when I put my hair in a bun and literally had to manipulate my hair to cover up the shiny scalp in the front left side of my head. *sigh* I just want my edges back.
In the front is a middle part. But on the side... there used to be hair there.

And finally, I made a wig!!! I'm not going to get too detailed because this post has already been so long. I'm going to put the details in a separate post. But it was SO EASY! I just watched a few YouTube videos and got the gist of the wig-making process. I already had the hair for vacation. The additional products only cost $10. I still have some adjustments to make on it, but I've already worn it in public and I got more compliments.  But here is the wig after it was sewn, but before I cut it. You'll just have to come back to see the final product, along with instructions the steps I followed and photos of the process.

So that's it. I've had quite a month of hair fun. I'm back to the point of loving experimenting with my hair and actually enjoying it. I think we all go through hair phases, and I just needed some space. But absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I'm loving my hair lately. How about you?

*Is is weird that in 2013 it's still necessary to put a disclaimer on your self-awareness because of a hair choice? Let me know when this ends.

Aug 16, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Snoop Lion - "Reincarnation"

I feel like I am one of few people I know listening to "Reincarnation" by Snoop Lion.  There was the initial confusion and subsequent criticism of his commitment to Rastafarian beliefs, but when I separate the politics from the project, I like what I hear.  Perhaps it is because I love reggae, but I haven't stopped listening to "Reincarnation" since I did my initial preview.

Snoop Lion, "No Guns Allowed"
A hair icon in his own right, it as Snoop Lion he decided to lock his hair, which I actually like as well.  Despite the questions regarding his authenticity as a Rasta, Snoop looks completely comfortable submerged in the culture.  It is a bit weird to hear him use an accent at times, but the cadence of his flow now is really no different than it has always been to me.

Aug 15, 2013

Natural Health and Wellness: Koya Webb

Nashville, meet Koya Webb.  Originally from Humboldt, Tennessee, Koya is a health and wellness coach, author, speaker, and professional fitness model. 

Koya brings a joyful energy to her work by keeping her workouts adventurous.  She does everything from running to surfing to acro yoga, making her workouts look like a joy instead of a chore.  

Koya is also a wonderful source of inspiration for creating healthy meals and fresh juices which she shares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Koya's love for her afro - or any afro - is no secret once you meet her.  In a profession where people feel like natural hair may hold you back, Koya's transition is working for her as a model.

Koya lives in the Los Angeles area, but recently started spending more time here in Nashville and will be hosting health and wellness workshops in our area.  For more information on Koya, check out her website at  

Aug 14, 2013

Discussion: Product Instructions Are For Beginners

Yes. The title of this week's natural hair discussion is self explanatory. I know most of us have done it. You buy a bottle of Get It Together, Girl conditioner and you glance at the instructions. After shampooing thoroughly, leave a dime sized amount Get It Together, Girl conditioner in for 8.34 minutes. Rinse out thoroughly. And then what do you do? You co-wash instead of shampoo. You take a grapefruit-sized amount of conditioner and slather it on your hair. 8 hours later, you rinse out 85% of the conditioner and proceed to style your hair. Sound familiar?

I'm beginning to wonder, why do companies even put instructions on products marketed to curly naturals? I've rarely seen or read of naturals actually using the products as recommended. I can't even remember the last time I have followed the directions on a product (that I wasn't specifically reviewing for the website). When I used a store-bought hair dye, I made sure to follow those directions. Never vary from major chemical processing instructions. Lengthening the processing time on relaxers, texturizers, colors, and even protein treatments can come with major consequences.

But for less damaging products like conditioners, why put instructions when hair is so different? The obvious reason for all of the variations in usage is that there is such a large variety of hair characteristics that determine how well and why a product works for your hair. Thickness, porosity, density, curl type... these can all vary. The product instructions, however, do not account for these variations. I've begun to think that it would perhaps be more beneficial to include what NOT to do with the product instead.

Imagine if a product had a label that read: Use Get It Together, Girl conditioner on clean, wet hair. Apply and leave on until hair feels moisturized. Do not exceed 4 hours before rinsing as over-conditioning may weaken hair. That would be great, right?! It basically eliminates the learning curve for those of us with hair that does not like to play by the rules. 15 minutes is not long enough for my hair. 90% of leave-in conditioners fail. But any good conditoner can be a leave-in if you just.... leave it in. It took me almost a year to realize that most of the time, instructions do not apply to me. I kept wondering why no product EVER worked.
A depiction of what I looked like during my learning curve.

This brings us back to the original point. Why are products misinforming us on how to use their products? Putting too much information just confuses the customer. In the age of YouTube information and an increasing number of naturals to ask for advice, it's probably okay to let us figure it out. If the product is not meant to chemically alter the hair, what's the worst that could happen? "Oh my hair is just SO AMAZING!" as opposed to "I followed the instructions to the letter and my hair hasn't improved!" I'll take the former. If you are new to the natural hair care routine, you can skip the learning curve. Instructions are for beginners. It's okay to alter those instructions to make your hair better.

Do you even read the instructions on your favorite products? Do the instructions ever work for you as written? Have you ever had any consequences?  Join our discussion in the comments section  below.

Aug 12, 2013

EVENT: Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo, October 5-6, 2013

Visit for more info

I'm happy to announce that Natural in Nashville is an official media partner for the 2013 Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo! This event is not JUST a hair show, but a health and beauty initiative that will work in part to inform and educate Nashville's citizens about health and beauty products/services in this area. The event will occur on October 6th with several preliminary events leading up to the big EXPO weekend.
The expo will provide you with access to some of the nation's most talented professionals, including educators, stylists, health care service providers. You will also be able to access products, fitness training and entertainment all under one roof. See you there!
CLICK HERE for tickets

Ashiya's Hair Diary: My Conditioning Cure

I found my conditioning cure.  It's one of those situations that makes me laugh at myself when I think about how I got to this point.  I had the solution, but I kept letting go of it.  Let me explain.

Birthday Locs!  Wash and coconut hot oil treatment with no maintenance.  Giving the locs a break.
If you've shared any of my loc story here, you know that I love hot oil treatments.  When I took off the cap, my hair felt so lovely that I would reluctantly wash out the oil treatment as noted in the directions of the treatment I was using.  When I moved to natural oils, I continued to rinse the oil away out of habit.

While researching hot oil treatments for locs online, I found Yannie The Locologist and laughed at myself when I read her section on locs care.  Answered the question I had asked myself so many times:
"I never wash hot oil treatments out of my hair or my client's hair.  I believe once you are give yourself a "natural" hot oil treatment, it should stay in your hair so it can continue to work in the days to come."  -Yannie, Locs By Yannie

I decided to test the theory with coconut oil and I LOVED the results!  I followed Yannie's instructions and allowed my hair to sit for a few hours before removing my plastic cap.  After I removed the cap, I simply let my hair air dry.  While I am not sure this will work for every hair type or style, I would definitely recommend it to those with locs.

Length check!  A picture of my locs during a hike on my birthday.

Now I'm ready to experiment with different oils.  I love coconut oil, but I do feel like I need to experiment with heavier oils as we approach the fall months.  That is a process I am happy to begin.

Aug 9, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Happy Birthday, Whitney!

In honor of Whitney Houston's 50th Birthday, we pause to celebrate the beauty and talent she graced us with during her time here.

Some of the most beautiful images of Whitney take us back to the time when the power of her voice was second to her beauty.  During her career as a teen model, we saw Whitney in her natural elegance.

Her work as a  model always seemed to fit her well.  She never comes across as a model in images of her; it always looked as if she genuinely enjoyed each moment.

Please enjoy Whitney Houston's 1986 Grammy performance of  "Saving All My Love For You".  Here Whitney is introduced by Kenny Rogers and presented with her Grammy by her aunt, Dionne Warwick. Their embrace is priceless.


Every birthday wish of love, peace and happiness that we would offer to Whitney, we offer to her family today and always.

Happy Birthday, Whitney!

Aug 7, 2013

DISCUSSION: The Stylist Struggle

Random Google image -  this lady probably does GREAT hair. LOL!
It has been a month since I got my first sew-in weave. I lost time, money, and a patch of my edges. So rather than do a negative stylist review, I will use my experience to start a discussion. What can we, the clients, do when we come across a stylist who doesn't give good service? If you haven't learned already, not all stylists are created equal. Here are a few signs that you've booked an appointment with a stylist who isn't here for you and a few suggested actions.

Your stylist is tardy for your party. I am not so far removed from frequenting salons that I think that a 3:00 appointment means that you will be in the chair at 3:00. Stylists can encounter unpredictable hair situations; it's easy for them to fall behind schedule. But if you've booked a morning appointment at 10:00 a.m. as first customer of the day, then that "unpredictable" rule doesn't apply. If said stylist is also on Instagram posting outfit of the day pictures at 10:02 a.m. while you're at the salon waiting on their arrival, it's hard to make excuses for why they are more than 20 minutes late to an appointment. The least that can be offered is a text message. Furthermore, it showcases a lack of professionalism. If you don't even take your job seriously enough to respect a patron's time, how can you be trusted to respect their hair?

Suggested solution: If you're in a situation where someone disregards your time, you have the option to LEAVE. Don't give in to the idea that a stylist's license makes their time more valuable than yours. Many salons have a late fee or a late-cancellation fee. This is to ensure that you respect their time and only book appointments that you are willing to keep. After all, they want YOUR money. If the money that you have isn't enough to warrant common courtesy then take that money somewhere else; buy salon services elsewhere. Buy a puppy! Buy whatever you want - because you still have your money and that stylist doesn't.

Your stylist doesn't respect your knowledge of YOUR hair. I know this can be a touchy subject for stylists to deal with. After all, someone who watched four YouTube videos about hair shouldn't possibly think they know someone who put in 100's of hours of training to become a certified cosmetologist/hair stylist/esthetician. But there's a safe ground between letting a client tell you how to do your job and learning from what what your client says about their hair to help you do your job better.

But it's not beyond reason to listen to a client talk about HER OWN hair. When a stylist makes several comments about improper hair care within the natural hair community, it's definitely a sign that she may have issues with natural hair maintenance. For instance, the stylist I went to opted to dry detangle - - - on towel-dried hair! To me, this was a clear sign this stylist didn't understand MY hair. In addition, when a stylist is overly anxious to straighten your naturally kinky/coily hair, BE LEERY, they may not respect your curls!

Suggested solution: Sorry. There really is not much you can do about this. If you clearly explain your hair situation and your stylist just doesn't get it, it's okay to stop trying. If that situation is not essential to your current hair appointment, let it go. You have to pick your battles. And while it may annoy you, it also gives you a clearer picture on what the stylist thinks of your natural hair care. It never hurts to agree to disagree.

Your stylist doesn't offer to do an initial consultation or a follow-up. Sometimes this is very important. A consultation should be done before getting a weave or undergoing any chemical process (protein treatment, color, relaxer, etc.). Everyone's hair is different. A pre-appointment phone call is not unreasonable for first-time clients. A follow-up lets a client know that the stylist cares after they have been paid for the initial service. In addition to completing the hairstyle, a follow-up call is just a good business idea. Personally, any time someone follows up, it increases my chance of returning and becoming a repeat customer.

Suggested solution: Initiate your own consultation or follow-up. You know you want the advice before you show up to an appointment. Why not call the stylist and ask for 15 minutes a day or so before the appointment? If you are having problems with the style or questions about maintenance, call the stylist and ask. Let's be reasonable. You can't expect a stylist to do everything. Is it asking too much to want a stylist to include this? No. But if you don't ask and the stylist doesn't offer... it's ultimately YOU who loses.

And that losing feeling is what we're trying to prevent. When you spend your hard-earned money for a professional touch, you should receive a professional touch. It's frustrating to feel that you have been robbed of that experience. Getting duped just doesn't feel good. You absolutely deserve to walk away feeling worth the $175 you just spent on your hair. Remember: "You is smart, You is beautiful. You is important."

Let us know if we missed some signs. Or share your stylist struggle story in the comment below.

(In case you are wondering why I didn't mention the name of the stylist who did my hair, the writers at Natural in Nashville take care not to bash anyone on the site. When we don't recommend a stylist, we choose to leave them nameless.)

Aug 6, 2013

HOW-TO: Trim your ends . . . EASY via Naptural85

Whitney, the YouTuber also known as Naptural85, is one of my favorite blogger/YouTubers. Her hair is amazing. Her tutorials, family vlogs (featuring her adorable daughter and husband) and her lifestyle blogs just make you want to be a better person. I'm truly a fan.

I was lookin through some of Whitney's older hair videos and found this super EASY tutorial for clipping your ends. When it comes to natural hair, there is so much info available, especially on clipping and maintaining your ends for - especially for length retention. Whitney says she clips the ends of her 4a hair about every nine months. Some would recommend more often. I say, it's up to you - but never let damaged ends stick around too long.

Check out Whitney's video below. You can find Whitney, aka Naptural85 on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Aug 5, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Oprah gets FRO-TASTIC on her September Cover

This morning, the team at O, The Oprah Magazine, revealed their September 2013 cover - it's Lady O rocking the most amazing fro EVER! Oprah is rocking a super-sized wig to emphasis the magazine's "Let's Talk about HAIR" issue.  Although Oprah's hair is EVERYTHING on this cover, let's talk about her va-va-va-voom dresss - YES MA'AM!!

Pick up the September issue on newstands in a couple of weeks.

source: O, The Orpah Magazine on Facebook

Aug 2, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Marvin Gaye - "Got to Give It Up (Part I & II)

I keep hearing Robin Thick everywhere with "Blurred Lines".  I mean everywhere.  It seems to be one of those songs that people love, but they really don't know why.  It took me a few weeks, but I finally figured out why I can't help but move when I hear it.  I didn't realize I had heard it before.  While "Blurred Lines" was playing on the radio, one of my favorite songs was playing in my head.

"I used to go out to parties and stand around.  'Cause I was to nervous to really get down."

It was Marvin!  Marvin Gaye is arguably on of the greatest talents of this time, but he also seemed to be beautiful in Spirit.  He was definitely beautiful in person and I enjoy looking at his transformation in pictures over the years.  It reminds me that we all start with what we know and if we're true to ourselves, we make it our own.

Marvin started out with a close cut, but over the years, he wore his share of TWAs and hats.  The energy of the images we are blessed to have offer a cool confidence that radiates naturally from him.

As his look became more authentic, I noticed that he didn't complete stray from his classic look; he just relaxed into the style more.

In one of Marvin's Soul Train appearances he performs "Got to Give It Up (Part I)" and loses himself in the beat - and the crowd - during "Got to Give It Up (Part II).

How long does it take for you to give it up and dance to this one?  I'm all in as soon as I hear it!

Aug 1, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Tracee Ellis Ross on 'Coveteur'

OMG! Tracee Ellis-Ross is just amazing beautiful amazing epic-ness topped with a head full of drool-worthy curls. Oh yeah, she is talented too. Anyway, Tracee just finished a photo spread for The Coveteur. The Coveteur was co-founded by designer Erin Kleinberg, stylist Stephanie Mark, and photographer Jake Rosenberg as a new way of showcasing personal style and telling the story behind the story (source).

With more than 20 photos in the the spread, Tracee's epic style is showcased in an eyecatching and lust-worthy way. Just like her gorgeous hair, her closet is just as epic! Take a look at more photos on The Covetuer online.

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