Sep 30, 2013

WIN A FREE MAKEOVER at the Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo!

After all the planning and scheduling, the Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo happens on October 5-6 at the Tennessee State University's Gentry Center. You already know Elle Varner, Kenny Lattimore, Eric Benet, and Kindren The Family Soul will perform. But did you know Curly Nikki, Felicia Leatherwood, and Deshonica Kerrie will discuss natural hair and answer you questions?


SO - do you need a natural hair makeover, you are in luck! The NNHWE is hosting the BEAUTY 2.0 Makeover Contest! Enter the Beauty 2.0 Contest by submitting your story and photo to us at Send your photo and story to the email; the person with the most votes will win, plus be presented on stage on October 6, 2013.

Amber's Hair Diary: Why I choose to rock my hair short.

September 2013

Here’s where I stand on hair length and our obsession with longer strands in the natural hair community.  As I see natural hair becoming more prevalent in the public, I also see more natural hair companies, online personalities, others praising long natural hair while at time placing a negative connotation on short hair. As if to say that the TWA stage is the worst of them all! This, rubs me the wrong way.

I won’t get to preachy or pull out my soap box for too long, but let’s just think about the struggle that persons of color have gone through for a lifetimes. Whether those struggles have been external or internal, it hasn’t been easy. Yet and still we go from one extreme to the other.  Light over dark skin, good hair over bad hair, straight hair over curly, and now we have just taken it into long natural hair over short natural hair.

I’ve been on both ends. I’ve had long natural hair and short.  But my preference for my entire life has been for the short. I can remember getting my first monica circa “it’s just one of them days” hair cuts in 6th grade and loving it. Over the last 7 years I would say I’ve had two major freak-outs over heat damage caused by someone else. I literally threw myself into tantrums and walked around for weeks with frowny face and limp hair all because I refused to cut it off. 

Longer hair, 2011
After my last tantrum, about 3 years ago, I was at shoulder length hair. I went in for $40 press and curl (which I should have known was too good to be true). When I went to wash a couple of weeks later, my curl pattern was nonexistent.  After the crying session and the “oh woe is me” dramatics, I attempted every trick in the book to get the curls to return with no luck. Finally, I cut it off.

Earlier this year I made a conscious decision to cut it off - this time I had no damage. It boiled down to the simple fact that I am not longer interested in keeping up with traditions that were never really mine in the first place. Africans started straightening their hair to be like their European counterparts. Long hair in Africa and even today is not feasible it’s too hot; Hair was short because it was logical.  With my current schedule I don't have the time for long hair. 

Even as women that talk to me about my hair, they always say I’m “the kind of person who can pull short hair off.” “ I make it look feminine.”  Feminine is a state of mind and my short hair can be just as feminine as anyone’s waist length locks. Short hair does require you taking face shape into account but I’ve never come across any face that cant rock short hair, the cut just has to be right for you.

I need to know that I can and do love me in my rawest and most pure form. I’m not interested in being like some celebrities who show their natural hair briefly and then puts it back in hiding, because all that says to me, no matter how you may justify it is that there is a lack of love for self.

April 2012
Some women who have been natural forever have made a choice to rock short cropped cuts permanently.  If you found out today that your hair would never grow past chin length would you still be willing to embrace the natural movement or would you high tail it back to your weaves and wigs? Natural hair is about healthy hair, it has nothing to do with length.  Food for thought.  

P.S. In my next hair diary Ill tackle my next reason for loving short hair - haircolor!

Sep 27, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Solange - "Lovers In The Parking Lot"

How do you find your place in life when your sister seems larger than life?  According to Solange, just do your thing.  When Beyonce first started to reach major success with Destiny's Child, Solange was entering her teens and over the years, she has blossomed in her own place in the spotlight.

Solange rocking her hair straight with Beyonce.
Solonge's ability to be authentic in music and fashion was the stepping stone that took her from "Beyonce's little sister" to an singer/songwriter with her own record label.  In addition to creating music, modeling, and acting, Solange reminds us that motherhood can be a very real part of any dream.

Solange's afro starts coming in after the big chop.
Set to release her third studio album next year, Solange released the video for her new single, "Lovers in the Parking Lot" recently.  Again in song, imagery, and fashion Solange is true to herself creating a video that pulls you into simply because you want to figure out what is going on.  I think her music gets better with each album.  I'm looking forward to this release.

Solange performing in braids expressing her love for prints.
Solange has a special place in my heart.  Even if I don't like a particular fashion or music choice, I still love it for her.  I admire her ability to "go off script" at any moment.  In a world where many artists play to their image, she has created an image that is a statement of her personal truth.  Whether she's speaking music, family or politics, she seems to express exactly what she feels.  I can dig it.

For the last week in this Super September, we hope Solange's freedom in creativity inspires your own. Read more about Solange and her upcoming project at  For now, here's her new single "Lover's in the Parking Lot."


So, are you a fan of Solange's music, her fashion sense or both?

Sep 25, 2013

LINK LOVE: The Good Hair Blog says "Patience with Protective Styling"

Picture courtesy of The Good Hair Blog
One of my favorite bloggers, Alex of The Good Hair Blog, has been on a quest to grow her hair. Almost a year ago she cut her hair to even out her strands. Since then, she's been using protective styling as a way to protect her hair, maintain length, and allow her hair to rest. Alex says,
"I love my thickness but it's so nice to have a break. I miss my puff sometimes BUT for the most part practicing patience and seeing my growth is more important than wearing my hair loose."
NIN readers know, I (Melissa) am a fan of a protective style! My super coily hair is prone to dryness and single-strand knots, so protective styles like crochet installations, weaves, and braids help me to maintain length.

CLICK HERE to read Alex's tips for having patience with your protective style

Sep 24, 2013

HAIR LUST: Totally Twisted

Fall is officially here! When fall comes, I like to install a pretty protective style to get me through the holidays. When I saw this lovely lady rocking her amazing Havana Twists, I got me thinking about what style I'll rock this fall.

Want info on installing your own Havana Twists, click helow:

DISCUSSION: Did your dad do you hair?


I didn't grow up with the luxury of having my dad at my house, so I don't what it's like to have him do my hair. So, I thought I'd pose this question to my readers. Did your dad do you hair when you were younger? Does your hubby/boyfriend do your daughter's hair now?

Yep, I love my daughter so much. I’ll do anything for my little princess. She means the absolute world to me. Hopefully there are more fathers out here like this!!!!! #ProudDaddy #Father&Daughter #LoveMyPrincess #MyWorld #MySunshine #MyEverything
I saw the picture above floating around my facebook feed; the man in the picture, Mike Heath, posted this on his personal FB page. The photo is SO endearing. Not even the fact that he's a white man doing his black step-daugher's hair, but the fact that he, a MANLY looking man, is taking time to do her hair.

We all agree that doing natural black hair can be a bit more difficult than other hair - just for the tight curls and the de-tangling. Men, in general, don't quite understand why women (black or white or any other ethnicity) take so long to do our hair. So for a dad to sit down and do his daughter's hair seems awesome and amazing to me.

Taurus James doing his daughter's hair, read his story HERE
Searching Google, I've found other pictures of men doing their daughter's hair. I like that men are taking the time to learn about the needs of their girl children, and not just leaving the responsibility to the mothers. Through my Google research, the easiest style for guys is two strand twists! Ladies, don't let the guys beat us to perfecting those two-strand twists! LOL!

So, this week's discussion question is simple - did your dad do your hair? Does you mate do your daughter's hair? Chime in below!

Sep 23, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: Style Fails and Lessons Learned

I've been trying new things with my hair lately. I've been bored and thought that I would switch things up and revisit some older styles that I either couldn't get quite right or that were amazing. Over the past few weeks I've tried several styles on my hair. Some of them have failed (by "some", I mean most). But there's always a workaround to a failed style.

First success... I was able to get a banana clip on my hair. If you have really dense hair, then you know the struggle of using non-elastic hair accessories. To be fair, this was after I flat-ironed my hair. But even then, I count this as a win. My hair is particularly unresponsive to my flat iron. Even on high heat, I don't get straight results unless I pull it straight. And I learned to keep my hands out of my hair for a day. Every time I tried to fuss with it, the banana clip would give up and snap apart.

So the banana clip isn't as visible as I initially thought.
But it certainly held this fuzzy bun in place.

And now a fail: I blow dried and flat ironed my hair. It wasn't even straight enough for me to take a picture. For some reason beyond my comprehension, my hair doesn't respond to my flat iron. My flat iron gives my hair the look of a blow out. I think that For visual reference, think Rudy Huxtable. It looked like the picture below, only not nearly as long, and not as smooth.

Also, since I failed at the flat iron style, I decided to try heatless curl formers. They were REALLY CUTE... for about an hour. I ended up putting my hair in a high bun shortly after I made it to work. My hair went from smooth and shiny curls, to a fuzzy high bun. That's the natural hair struggle. My hair doesn't care about the amount of effort or time I put into a style.I spent 1.5 hours preparing my hair in order to get 1 hour worth of curls! Sometimes I just think about not trying any extra styles at all. 

Finally, I'll end with a success: I wore my hair in an afro for a couple of days. I was really excited to rock my humongous hair. It was a humid day so I didn't have to worry too much about dryness. Check it out. This was definitely the highlight of my hair trials. My afro received plenty of compliments... and I even got nods of approval from a hair stylist. Color me pleased. Also, I learned this month that my hair still loves natural products more than anything. The best twistout ever came from a homemade shea butter mixture. I try to buy products, but more than anything, my hair behaves best with natural products. It's a shame that I've been so lazy in making them.

Again, I don't know what it is with this hair of mine nowadays. Unless I'm preparing to wear my hair in medium - small twists for a couple of days, it's almost useless to spend any major time prepping for a style. Even when heat styled, my unruly hair acts best when it's in an afro. I have legions of rebellious kinks growing from my scalp. My hair has changed so much from when I first started my hair journey. I'm just waiting to see if it's just a phase... or if it will eventually change again. In the meantime, I'm learning to enjoy the now phase of my hair. 

Does your hair still look and behave the same from when you first started your natural journey?

Sep 22, 2013

Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo - $5 DISCOUNT CODE!

We are just a couple of weeks away from Nashville's biggest Natural Hair and Wellness Expo!

On October 5-6 Tennessee State University will be the site for the event that will feature performances by Elle Varner and Kenny Lattimore and presentations by Curly Nikki and Felicia Leatherwood. Of course, Natural in Nashville, will be in the building representing for all the naturals in the city. You'll be able to meet the writers (Ashiya, Candice, Amber, and myself) ask questions about the site and get advice about natural hair.

And because we love you SO MUCH - we are offering a $5 discount on tix to the event. General Admission Tickets are Discounted when you use the code NINFAN or purchase tickets via THIS LINK.

Here is your chance to enjoy classes, food, education, shopping, celebrities, connections, performances and a great experience! Grab your tickets to Tennessee’s Largest Natural Hair & Wellness Expo. Come learn some of the latest and effective ways to care for your natural hair and body's wellness. We welcome you to meet Tennessee’s finest hair care professional educators and stylists as well as healthy and wellness experts.  All ticket sales are final. Children under the age of 12 are free with ticket holder.

CLICK HERE to purchase DISCOUNTED Tickets!

Sep 20, 2013

ROOTS & RHYTHM: Jill Scott - "Golden"

As we close out another week in Super September, we honor another natural beauty that continues to amaze as a singer, songwriter and actress: Miss Jill Scott.  When Jill Scott first offered us Words and Sounds Vol. 1 in 2000 we got a good glimpse at the talent she possessed.  Thirteen years later, Jill Scott still feels like a breath of fresh air with new project.

A regular on Twitter, Jill recently challenged women to embrace the opposite state of their hair for a short time.  By embracing straight hair if your hair is curly - or vice versa - Jill feels we will gain understanding in an area that has become a bit divided.  In a world of wigs, weaves and extensions, anything is possible for a short time!

Miss Scott is proof of that.  Looking at her over the years, Jill has made everything from braids and twists to TWAs and full blown afros look lovely.  More than any other celebrity, Jill Scott's ability to reinvent herself seems to work for her because each change seems authentic.  It really seems like her only guideline for experimenting in hair and fashion is going with what she loves in the moment.

One of the most impressive things is her ability to gain and loose weight for acting roles.  While it is no easy feat, she gets it done every time, creating a character we can love on screen and returning to her best off screen.

Today, we revisit classic Jill Scott with "Golden".  Jill dedicated herself to developing her talents and gifts to their highest level while living a life many of us live as a mother, daughter, and friend inspiring us to stand with our village to live our dreams.
"I'm strumming my own freedom,  playing the God in me,  representing his glory, hope he's proud of me."  


Sep 17, 2013



Everytime I try to leave . . . they pull me back in! What am I talking about? Those pesky hair-cutting thoughts. I'm always somewhere in-between growing my hair out and saying "forget it - I'm cutting it!" Then, pictures like this DO NOT HELP! 

This haircut is ALL THE THINGS! Then the color, the shape, all that, too fly! Aww . . . I think I wanna cut my hair . . . let me walk away!

CLICK HERE to view our HAIR LUST gallery

Sep 16, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary: Long Hair Must Care

One thing I've realized is I am constantly adjusting to the length of my hair.  As a matter of fact, a large part of my frustration was treating my hair like I did when it was much shorter.  I really do love leaving my new routine of using coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner and when I opted for my last hot oil treatment, I had to do something about the plastic cap struggle.  It was real.  So this happened:

Braided out.

I decided to braid my hair for the hot oil treatment and allow it to air dry as usual in hopes of taming my hair. It's probably just because I had a curl at one point that I can't handle the water constantly running down my face. (Yes, you read that right.  At one point in life, I had a curl. It really happened.)  I was also hoping to add some volume and texture to my locs.  Because they are so small and long, just a small wave can make a huge difference when I wear it down or in simple styles like buns or ponytails.

Unbraided and happy. 

Because I finished up late at night, I sat under the dryer to kick off the drying process and let the braids stay in for a few days.  I would have gotten more mileage out of them if I had braided the front differently.  I did not make it easy to create cute updos at all, but it was a great process for washing my hair and protecting it during the hot oil treatment.

Unbraided and happy.

I'm happy with the results.  I plan to vary the size of the braids next time I do a hot oil treatment to see if I can create a different look.  I've braided my hair many times before, but now I'd like to see how many different textures and patterns I can discover.  I'm enjoying a few more "good hair days" and can appreciate it after so many bad ones.


If you're on Instagram, check out #naturalinnashville to see how creative I can get with this braid out and send me your styling suggestions if you have them!  

Sep 13, 2013

ROOTS & RHYTHM: TLC - "No Scrubs"

When XSCAPE broke up after internal conflicts, it was hard to tell what to expect from the individual members.  Over time, Kandi Burruss has continued to build on her opportunity with music and develop a business sense that has sustained her initial success.

Kandi with her hair pressed straight.

"I may be small but my empire keeps on growing."
                                                                                                   -Kandi Burruss

When you consider everything that Kandi has achieved since her time with XSCAPE, she serves as perfect inspiration for Super September.  Kandi worked to launch a solo career afterwards, but never found the same success.  Instead of stepping away from what she loved, she channeled her creativity and gifts into other artists through writing and production.

Kandi let her hair fly a free on this day.
Working with artists like NSync, Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, Pink, Whitney Houston, and Alicia Keys afforded Kandi the opportunity to establish herself as permanent fixture in the music industry.  Her efforts earned her a Grammy and ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 2000.

Kandi rode the wave of her writing success right to the set of The Real Housewives of Atlanta where she revealed her business mind to the world.  Today Kandi has a production company and record label, an affiliate program, boutiques, an app, and now her own show on Bravo, The Kandi Factory.

Here is Kandi's secret for smoothing out her curls.
Through it all, Kandi has balanced all of the things that every woman deals with and did it well.  Her daughter obviously adores her and after devastating heartbreak, she's found love again.  Couple that with getting back in shape in the last few years and it seems that Kandi is poised to step to the next level...again.

Kandi with her daughter, Riley, and their hair stylist Gocha Hawkins of Gocha Salon.

Here's a flashback to the song that earned her a Grammy, TLC's No Scrubs.


Sep 11, 2013

Discussion: Can Social Networking help your natural hair journey?

We ALWAYS seek out people who share our interests; everyone does it. It happens in person and it happens online. It's normal to "clique" with people to whom you can relate. Whether it's for the love of hair, Toni Braxton, or the Tennessee Titans (Titan Up!), we gravitate to people with whom we have something in common.

Today's discussion is about the refreshing reality of interacting with other women who wear their hair natural -especially via social networks. Surrounding yourself with people who see natural hair as normal (and not a fad) is just... refreshing.

Man, if you could see my Instagram! The kinks and coils would make any fan of natural hair squeal with delight. I have a Pinterest board. Natural in Nashville has a Pinterest Board. I've got Facebook friends specifically for hair questions. And don't even get me started on Twitter. I've made so many "curl friends" through social networking. It's really quite amazing. The picture below shows curly haired gurus, bloggers, and developers who connect via social media ALL THE TIME!

Do any of these ladies look familiar? Name your fave naturalista
in the comment section below.
Never be afraid to use social media for information; especially hair information. The natural hair clique isn't like a high school clique. We aren't mean girls who make it a point of being exclusive. It's like a treasure trove of information. If you don't live in a city that has all the meet-ups and gathering, join a natural hair ONLINE community - you'll make more friends than you can imagine.

I've learned natural skin care rules, the rules of moisturizing hair, natural products... the list goes on and on. Knowing that regular oatmeal works wonders for my skin changed my life. The cleansing properties of honey amazed me. Once you get through all of the acronyms, you can find some amazing information via social networking. It doesn't take long to learn how to spot and avoid the natural extremists. Then you'll find people who are just like you, except completely different: different experiences, different styles, different natural hair. This makes a great opportunity for learning and sharing new things.

The best thing I learned from social networking is: Hair does not define me... nor does it define most normal people. We are just naturals who decided that we would rather not chemically process our hair to look like something that it isn't. And we see the beauty of our hair for what it is. Why sit in frustration with your hair when you can connect to a world of naturals who are filled with information? It doesn't take much to click that link and engage with another curly girl. The action can make a world of difference.

Which social networking platforms do you use to connect to the natural hair community? Have you met any of your online hair friends? What's the most essential thing you've learned from social networking?

P.S. Connect with us. We're everywhere! Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Sep 10, 2013

Hair Lust: Gentle Giant Curls

Yes, all, yes! I try to write fancy-nancy captions for these Hair Lust photos, but I'm at a loss for this one; it's just so beautiful! The curls, the afro, the soft capture of the photo - all love!

Enjoy and be inspired!

Sep 9, 2013

Melissa's Hair: I'm a model for the Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo!

If you didn't know, Nashville is getting ready to host one of the largest natural hair events in the the southeast! Promoting OPTIMAL Health and OPTIMAL beauty for all, the Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo (October 5,6) is one part natural hair convention, one part health initiative, and one part music series. Natural in Nashville is an official media partner for this event. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for official info and ticket giveaways! It's going to be an awesome event!

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for the Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo

Surprisingly, I, your humble editor, was asked to be a model for the event. Sort of like a brand ambassador, models for the event wil appear at all the events leading up to the expo as well as appear in the branding an commercials. Our first assignment was being professionally photographed for the ad campaigns. Every model was asked to bring a black outfit and a white outfit and be prepared to get our hair and make-up done.

The natural girl anxiety crept in - someone other than ME was going to do my hair! Oh lord! On the site, we've talked about visiting stylists - some experiences are good, some are bad. I prepared myself to hear the usual - your ends are split, what products do you use, when's the last time you visited a professional stylist, etc, etc, etc. With all my worry, my experience with my hairstylist, Teddy Chislom was phenomenal!

My make-up artist Sylvia, and my hairstylist, Teddy
My hair was washed and conditioned using Design Essentials natural hair line. Design Essentials/Hair We Are are official sponsors of the event. When I sat in the chair, Teddy was attentive, reading  my hair for it's needs. He said my hair was in good shape, of course I needed a trim, "Nothing but a dusting" he said. He even gave me advice on helping my weak edges (a continuous battle) and using heat properly.

I vowed to visit Teddy at least quarterly. Ladies, I suggest you visit Teddy at Beverly's of Nashville for your natural hair needs.  He's been doing hair for more 20 years (natural hair for the last 10 years).

Let's try flexi-rods again!
So what did I get done - FLEXI-RODS! Back in 2011 I attempted flexi-rods on my own - FAIL! See my attempts here. Teddy gave me some tricks to have the best flexi-rod set:
  1. Since my 4b hair is so coily, it's better for me to do a light blow-dry to stretch my hair before adding the product.
  2. USE a setting lotion/serum and rolling papers. Rolling papers keep ends from curly and becoming frizzy after day 1. Teddy then used Design Essentials Natural Twist and Set Setting Lotion to set the curls in my hair.
  3. Use a hooded dryer to set the curls. The hooded dryer gives an even heat without damaging the hair. My hair was dry in under 45 mins.
I loved my look!
My curls were POPPING! Of course I love a bigger look, but I had to admit, this style was a nice change of pace. My curls lasted for almost 7 days. Probably would have lasted longer if not for my workout schedule and my general boredom. LOL!

So, I KNOW you'll be at the Nashville Natural Hair & Wellness Expo - when you see me there, say HOLA! I know I'll have cool style for you to see.

Sep 6, 2013

Roots and Rhythm: Chaka Khan - "I'm Every Woman"

We're going to add a little more purpose to Roots and Rhythm here on Natural in Nashville this month as we gather inspiration for #SuperSeptember with our editor, Melissa.  When life is good we want more of it, so I've decided to join Melissa in giving a little extra in my personal and professional life to make September a month to remember.

Melissa's announcement of Super September instantly brought Chaka Khan to mind.  Every time I see a determined woman, "I'm Every Woman" starts ringing in my ears.  

"I ain't braggin', 'cause I'm the one.  You just ask me and it shall be done.  Don't bother to compare. Cause I've got it."

It is even more inspiring to hear Chaka sing after watching her take control of her health and wellness by dropping over sixty pounds.  To heal herself, Chaka made a drastic change in her diet and lifestyle which is now physically evident.  She looks amazing and is the first natural beauty we will honor this month for taking her life to the next level.


There are no restrictions for Super September!  Just make a plan and go for it.  This is your month to grow and to shine!  Read more from Melissa on Super September at FabGlance while you enjoy the original version of "I'm Every Woman" from Chaka Khan released in 1978. Let her inspire you to remember that your best is always within your reach.

Congratulations and thank you for inspiring us, Chaka!!


Sep 5, 2013

Discussion: Natural Hair Is Not A 'Fad'

Before we start the discussion, watch the video below.

So Deborah Brown Community School forbids faddish styles. My first question is: When will people learn that natural hair is not a 'fad'? I understand that wearing natural hair is growing in popularity, but that in itself does not make something a fad. It's only growing because at one time, it shrank. People went from coarse to chemically processed and straight hair. The term fad is especially used refer something that is popular, but "is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities".

Sorry Deborah Brown Community School, but I see quality in my hair the way it grows out of my scalp. It's grown out of several brown scalps this way for a long, LONG time. If anything, the chemically straightened hair should be considered a fad. These naps and kinks and coils ARE the original. Even if the young, intelligent, and adorable student in the video didn't have locs, she couldn't wear her hair in an afro either. She would be required to have her hair straightened with chemicals or heat because it is textured kinky or in locs. And what is the difference between locs and braids? I wonder if they didn't single out braids as a distraction because that's too broad of a target.


And to be clear, I came to these conclusions just from watching the video. About 32 seconds in at the 1:19 mark, you see students walk down the hall. On the right is a young girl who walks with a happy gait, and her hair flies free. So... it's okay for her to wear her hair untamed. Although it is textured, it's not afro-textured. Her hair is only slightly wavy. And while some may say it has nothing to do with race, you can certainly say that genetics play a factor. Kinky hair is more prevalent in Black girls than white girls. That's just a fact. Dreadlocks are a black cultural thing. It's a way of styling coarsely textured hair. It is even a part of some religions. So how can you distinguish the motives for singling out kinky haired little girls as "not presentable" versus making sure little black girls aren't... too black?

And my second question is: When will society learn to let children be children? Why is a 6 year old under such strong standards to conform to an idea of being "presentable"? Miss Parker is an A student. She's already developing her intelligence. But, being told that a perfectly normal hairstyle for black girls is "not presentable" is preventing her from developing a positive self-image to match her book smarts. It's a disturbing message to send to such a young girl: No matter how smart and talented you are, your success will never carry more clout than your appearance. Did you see her crying because "they don't like her dreads"? There will be many things in life that will make a child question her appearance. But the administration at this school didn't even let Tiana Parker hit puberty before they started chipping away at her self-esteem. If anything is a distraction to the learning of the children at Deborah Brown Community School, it's the focus on appearance rather than achievement. Shame on them for that.

Luckily, young Miss Parker has her father there to take pride in her appearance, and to stand up for her. But that doesn't change the idea of the staff at Deborah Brown School. They are clearly unapologetic. I just hope the people of the community remember this next year when they line their children up and have them inspected. I'm sure the admission committee will be sure that every newly enrolled child fits quite nicely into their aesthetic check list. After all, they probably don't want to disrupt any more education with any more dreads, afros, or bothersome newscasts showing how they made a 6 year old girl cry about her natural hair.

I'm glad that Tiana Parker is continuing her education somewhere else. I agree with Tiana. She should be allowed to keep her dreads. And I think they are just fine. What do you think of this situation? Share your opinion in the comment section below!

Sep 4, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Beyonce's Natural Style

Happy Birthday Beyonce! I thought we'd take a look at her natural hair styles from the past. Some don't associate Beyonce with natural hair. Beyonce wears lace-front wigs to protect her natural hair from the rigors of the entertainment industry. Sometimes, like the photos above and below, Beyonce gives us a glimpse of her auburn curlies. I more prefer Beyonce with her big curly hair - but I know entertainment - celebs gotta keep switching it up!

Take a look at the curly natural inspired looks Beyonce's rocked in the past. Has Beyonce ever influenced your hair styles?

Sep 3, 2013

Amber's Hair Diary: Response: Do Naturals Need Hairstylists?

 photo by Chad Coombs of SuisseMade

Over the last few weeks there have been a few posts about whether or not hairstylists are needed for natural hair or why some women with natural hair won’t go to a hairstylist

Being in cosmetology school, I felt myself suddenly feeling torn. I have always done my own hair because there seemed to be a lack of hairstylists who were actually willing to engage with my hair. Complaints like "its too thick", being quoted one price then being told I would be charged extra because too long, too thick, or too SOMETHING got tiring. In addition, I became bitter toward those stylists who couldn't deliver. I'd go to the salon with picture in hand and when they turned me around to the mirror it was nothing close. Why couldn’t they just be honest if they didn’t know how to achieve a style? 

As I've journeyed through cosmetology school I've taken all of those hair experiences (good and bad) with me making a conscious effort to not be the type of hairstylist who cannot and will not listen to their clients. Honestly,  there is a misconception in the industry - many stylists forget that we are here to serve the guest.  

Hair is my fabric, my canvas the ultimate for of expression for me.  It is the ultimate payoff when I think about heads of hair walking around the city getting complimented that I helped to create. There is a term that we use called 'Daymaker'. The Daymaker movement is about making the world a better place by making kindness the pinnacle of your daily goals. Ultimately, I am in the cosmetology field because I hold the ability to change my clients life just by having them sit in my chair. Serving them and ultimately making them my whole word - if only for a day. I must give top notch service by doing the service they requested and not the one I think they should have.
Cosmetology is not my hustle it is my passion. Due our economy and what I believe to be a growing age of selfishness - people think salon services are over-priced. My response: you pay for what you get. Some folks think that doing hair is easy, especcially in the world of DIY natural hair - you get that a lot. It is easy to say that when your strands are all you know. However, there's some things you should take in to consideration.
  1. Your hairstylist is human and not a god.
  2.  A good hairstylist is going to see hundreds maybe thousands of heads in a year and successfully be able to cater to and provide a service that specifically meets your hair needs. 
  3.  The majority of what hairstylists see and what I see even while in school is color correction.  Truly knowing color and how it is going to react to your hair is an art. Some of ya'll think you know what you're doing and you have no clue. Ever heard of metallic salts
  4. We are not all heavy handed and I take particular care when I go in to do textured hair for this exact reason. 
  5.  I am always willing and open to being educated by my clients but I expect the same in return.    
  6.  In finding a hairstylist that is truly for you, you are nothing only helping to support your local economy you are investing in someone’s art.   
  7. Finally, it is just hair as much as it’s not just hair, and if you are that overly protective of your strands they I ask you to re-evaluate why? Getting too attached to your hair means eventually you are bound to be setting yourself up for a dramatic disappointment that honestly is probably not that big of a deal.
Ladies and Gentlemen I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Please chime in!
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