Nat·u·ral- /ˈnaCH(ə)rəl/ — existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.
Curly hair seems to be taken as a sign of rebellion when it’s simply the act of existing. Having your existence looked at as an act of resistance can sometimes get you down. CurlyInCollege brings life to the dead ends we face with our hair and society’s perception of naturally curly hair.
Fisk University is so excited to be hosting FroDown 2017 powered by EDEN BodyWorks on Saturday April 1st. FroDown is an event that gives curly men and women a safe space to be themselves and boldly embrace their natural hair.
This is an opportunity to learn some of what it means to be natural and see the love and community that comes from just having a mutual appreciation for natural hair. It’s expected to be a time of fun and information to inspire women who are already curly and future curlies to fall in love with the beauty nature gave us all.
These Fisk students are loving on their hair and you can too when you come to FroDown 2017 powered by EDEN BodyWorks!
“Being natural is learning how to love myself, giving myself a chance to be happy as I am.”
— Sadara Welch, Fisk University freshman
“Being natural is appreciating and loving your crown [despite] the prolonged conditioning that has caused so many of us to hate and mistreat our hair.”
— Mekka Abdullah, Fisk University sophomore
“Being natural is accepting myself as I am and the beauty God gave me. For a long time I hated my natural hair and now I’m able to embrace it.”
— Mickey IntVeld Sutherlin, Fisk University junior
FroDown is an event you don’t want to miss. Be there to get the tools you need to resist the societal norms of what makes “good hair.” Naturally curly hair is not an anomaly. It is beautiful.
FroDown 2017 powered by EDEN BodyWorks Fisk Edition will be held on Saturday, April 1st at 12pm.
In 2016, Perception Institute conducted a study to observe the explicit and implicit biases towards natural hair textures. Perception Institute worked with a creative team at Shea Moisture and developed the first Hair IAT. The study included 4,163 participants: a national sample of 3,475 men and women, and a sample of 688 “naturalista” women from an online natural hair community.
“The study included the Good Hair Survey and the Hair IAT. The survey assessed women’s explicit attitudes toward black women’s hair, hair anxiety, and experiences related to their own hair, and the Hair IAT assessed implicit attitudes toward black women’s hair.”
Some of the results found from the Good Hair Survey were that “On average, white women show explicit bias toward black women’s textured hair” and “millennial naturalistas have more positive attitudes toward textured hair than all other women.” One of the results of the Hair IAT was “the majority of participants, regardless of race, show implicit bias against black women’s textured hair.”
According to the results of the survey and Hair IAT, they suggest that millennials and black women in a natural hair community show more positive feelings towards natural textured hair than those outside of that group.
Do you think you have a bias towards natural textured hair? Find out for yourself. You can take the Hair IAT here.
One of the many benefits of a college education is that it allows students the opportunity to search beyond their basic math and literature classes and explore topics they otherwise would not be exposed to.
Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia is offering a course that analyzes the importance of self-love for African Americans and the influence of societal pressures on just that. The course is called “The Power of Black Self-Love”. It is taught by Dr. Dianna M. Stewart and Dr. Donna Troka.
“The Power of Black Self-Love” includes teachings from two separate courses taught by the professors, “Black Love” (taught by Stewart) and “Resisting Racism: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter” (taught by Troka). Topics discussed in the course include the use of Black Twitter and black social movements.
As reported on blavity.com, the students had to present final projects on a topic of their choice. Some used photography to tell their stories, others used video.
One student, by the name of River Bunkey, examined self-love in terms of black men. He touched on self-expression and how hair care is an important part of how black men exhibit self-love. Another student, Aiyanna Sanders used photography to showcase Black Girl Magic.
African American students make up 9.1% of Emory’s undergraduate population. It is a wonder, with a campus population made up of a majority of White and Asian students, who is going to enroll in this class?
“It’d be hard to get non-black students to enroll in a class like this. There are a lot of people who still get really uncomfortable talking about race,” explained Emory graduate student Brianna McDaniels. “Despite this though, I think it’s important to reach out to the larger student population at Emory. A lot of people don’t understand what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about, and I think this course could help to address that.”
This past semester, the class had a population consisting of an Afro-Latina, a White student, a Central American, and the majority being black students, as reported by campuslately.com.
Classes that step outside of the basic curriculum are necessary to help students look outside of themselves and look into the reality and experiences of others. Hopefully this course will continue to be offered on Emory’s campus and more and more students of diverse backgrounds will enroll.
You can see all of the student’s final projects here.
Our very own president of UC’s chapter of Curly in College has her own youtube channel. Keianna, who goes under the name “Queens & Curls,” is an expert in all things natural hair related. In her latest video, which is seen above, she shows us how she uses Curls products to achieve a three strand twist out. Her other videos include tutorials, her favorite products to use, and a wash routine.
Curly in College will be sharing her videos here on the blog, but in the meantime, check out Queens & Curls for yourself, and be sure to like, subscribe, and leave a comment if you like what you see.
Curly Q of the week presents Kalea Lucas, a business major at the University of Cincinnati. Lucas has been a naturally curly girl all of her life. Growing up with a mother who rocked her natural hair on a daily basis, she never saw fit to chemically relax or alter her daughter’s curl pattern. That is not to say it was easy growing up curly. Lucas remembers countless times of struggle when she would have to deal with the thicker and curlier pattern her mom was not used to handling. When asked what her favorite products to use were, Lucas says, “I really like Shea Moisture to maintain my curls. Their Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie is my favorite. I also like to use Jamaican castor oil on my scalp. When I do a wash-n-go, I use Shea Moisture’s Strengthen, Grow, and Restore Leave-In Conditioner.” Lucas mostly likes to style her hair in a twist out. In the colder, winter months though she says,”I try not to do a lot of wash-n-gos. I mostly leave my hair up in a bun.” Lucas’ piece of advice for all curly haired girls is, “I love my hair now but when I was younger I was so obsessed with perfecting it. I also wanted my curls to look a specific way, and when they didn’t I would get really upset. So, I would just say that no matter what your curl pattern is, or how you rock your hair, just love what you’ve got!”
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! If you have last minute plans and are not sure what to wear I have some cute looks to help inspire your Valentine’s Day outfit.
1. If you want a cute but comfortable look, try a sweater dress paired with some colorful tights! This look can be completed with a heel boot.
2. If you desire a more elegant look, try a long panted jumpsuit with a pair of chunky heels. To take this look a step further, play around with bold patterns for a pop.
3. Speaking of patterns, try a flirty mini skirt with patterns like floral or plaid. If you add a turtle neck and some thigh high boots this look will be sealed!
4. If you really want to make a statement, try a tulle skirt! They come in a wide range of colors. If you want to “pump” it up, add a fur coat and a pair of pumps!
Remember that you do not have to wear red or pink. Personally, I’m not a fan of wearing those colors. Instead, I settle for blush or burgundy. Either way, confidence is what will seal your outfit. Make sure that you feel good, if you aren’t confident in your outfit it probably will show. However, don’t be scared to be bold!
There comes a time in your life when you have to decide to be honest with yourself. Not sugarcoating anything but being truthful with how you feel on the inside; that way you can learn to embrace the things you wish you could change. I recently had to have this deep and intense conversation with myself. For as long as I can remember I have always hated my hair. I wished I had longer, thinner, looser curls… I wanted to have “good hair”. Instead I was given extremely thick, medium length hair that I constantly wished would somehow magically change if I tried hard enough. My childhood was spent sitting in the beauty salon getting relaxers and spending an hour or two under the dryer to my stylist’s dismay. I constantly used heat to give me the silky smooth hair that I desired.
Having hair stylists make remarks about how my hair was too thick to even wash and how it would never get dry, had a damaging effect on my self-esteem. Instead of them giving me tips on my hair type, the negative criticism made me hate my hair even more. At this point I felt as if I could never go to a stylist again because I didn’t want to burden them with my “difficult” hair. My mom tried her hardest to get me to see that the hair I was given was good enough, but I could never see it. Until one day I stumbled upon a Youtube video by Naptural85. Seeing her opened my eyes to a world that I had never even thought I could be apart of. She had the same hair type as me and her hair looked healthy and long just like I had always wanted for myself. On that day I stopped getting relaxers and started my transition.
I knew that I couldn’t keep straightening my hair because it would start to become heat damaged and doing the big chop was something that I was too scared to do so the next best thing for me was to get sew-ins. Sew-in extensions became my best friend, having my hair in braids underneath assured me that my hair would grow and stay healthy while allowing me to have versatile hair styles. This was my comfort zone for many years and instead of it helping, it hindered me. I was no longer waiting for all of my relaxed hair to grow out but rather deepening my hatred for my own hair. As I got into college I would strategically schedule hair appointments so that none of my classmates would ever see me with my actual hair. I would even go so far as to skip class and call off work so I wouldn’t have to be seen without my “hair security blanket”. It got so bad that my hair stylist was pleading with me to stop with the extensions and to let my hair breath. I knew that in order for me to stop running away from my hair I had to run toward it.
On December 20th I took down my last sew-in and for the first time in three and a half years I wore my hair out. The first full day was the hardest, I constantly looked in the mirror at myself as I tried to adjust to this new person in front of me. I felt self conscious as if wearing my hair in a twistout would make me the target of piercing eyes. I was worried that wearing my natural hair would make me stand out more thanks to the ridiculous standards of beauty that we are taught. Instead of all of my greatest fears coming true the complete opposite happened, I was comfortable.
The stigma that I associated with my hair was gone and I felt like this afro style suited me better than any of the styles I had previously. As each day goes on I’m learning more and more about my hair and how to take care of it. I know that not everyday will be a good hair day but the more I accept what I can’t change the better my attitude about myself will be. The India Arie song I Am Not My Hair contained lyrics that made me ponder even more about my decision to accept my kinks and coils. “Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person? Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity? I am expressing my creativity” These lines resonated with me and helped me in the decision to reclaim my hair and to no longer be ashamed of it.
American history is rooted in a culture that dehumanizes people of color. Throughout history, African-Americans have had to fight for their rights. From slavery to MLK, and now black lives matter; movements have been essential in the progress of equality for African-American lives. Today, in 2016, we are still fighting for human rights and so the question arises: why are we still fighting?
If you look at ladies such as Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Nina Simone, Rosa Parks or Ella Baker and compare them to others such as Laverne Cox, Amandla Stenberg, Bree Newsome, Michelle Alexander, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors you will notice that although times have changed, our desire for freedom has not. As Ella Baker once said, “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killings of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”
Black woman have played a prominent role in the advancement of black lives and culture. For instance Nina Simone, a civil rights singer, created music that addressed the Birmingham bombing, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr. Dorothy Height, the former president of the National Council of Negro Women, was an activist for black women, demanding that there be an increase in opportunities. We can not forget Rosa Parks, who refused to offer her seat to a white passenger on the bus thus leading a reform in segregation through the organization of boycotts. There was also Mary McLeod Bethune who was the president of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Colored Women. She served as the advisor of minority affairs for President Roosevelt, started the National Council of Negro Women and was the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration to help the youth find job opportunities, especially black young adults. Lastly, Ella Baker who organized the Young Negroes Cooperative League in NYC, was the national director of the NAACP, and was a part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Currently, black woman are still pushing for black lives. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors have started a movement in the black community called Black Lives Matter. Laverne Cox has become an advocate for black transgender lives; her document Free Cece, has addressed issues within the black and Trans community. Amandla Stenberg has become a very important voice for the black youth. She is a black feminist, who also happens to be an actor from Hunger Games, calls out culture appropriation and discontinues Eurocentric beauty standards. Stenberg has even asked, “As culture shifts and racial tensions are tested through the vehicle of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is important to question: Do female black lives matter too?” Bree Newsome is another courageous lady; she climbed up a pole to remove the confederate flag before being arrested. Newsome has shed light on the racist culture associated with the confederate flag and why we should not stop until it is removed permanently. Michelle Alexander shed light on the cruelties and harsh realities of the justice system and how it has impacted the African-American community. Her book, the New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, explores how the government disproportionately and wrongfully treats black men.
A huge difference between the civil rights movement and black lives matter movement is social media. We live in an era where our phones are constantly in our hands; thus we hold the power of media at our fingertips. Black lives matter was started by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. This movement is meant to fight against violence towards the African-American community. Likewise, the civil rights movement was meant to end segregation and discrimination towards black individuals.
Thankfully the help of social media, has allowed us to expand the ways in which we fight for our rights. Recordings of violent acts spread like wild fire; just like black encouragement and self-love takes over social media. Hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackGirlMagic, #blackout, #MelaninGirls, and #MelaninMonday flood the internet. If you were to type any of these hashtags and search them on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or any other social media platform then you will find images, words of encouragement or injustice within the black community. “Black Twitter” has become a way for the black community to band together online and form unity to speak out against any injustices that we face. This current movement is fighting for freedom and to end mental segregation. As Nina Simone once said, “’Free’ is just a feeling. It’s just a feeling. It’s like how do you tell somebody how it feels to be in love.” Therefore, we will not stop fighting until we feel free.