MG Spotlight – Harana

.....Category: MG Spotlights
MG Spotlight – Harana


Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
I’m from Boston, MA. In recent years, the natural scene here has increased quite significantly. I think this is due to the fact that there are several colleges in the Boston area and many young women attending schools here are wearing their hair natural. I’m also seeing an increase in older women wearing their hair natural as well. It used to be that I’d sit in the pews at church and everybody and their mama had a perm. But now, it’s a lot different. More and more natural heads are out about about and it’s beautiful!

How long did you transition and how long have you been natural?
My last perm was April 2002. I wore braids the entire time, so I don’t think I ever really had a Big Chop. I never even knew what a BC was until last year believe it or not! I started cutting relaxed ends off after about 5 months of transitioning and I was completely relaxer-free in May 2003. So I have been completely natural almost 4 years!

Although, I would say that my mind finally completed its transition in October 2006 – when I made the decision to love my hair in all its natural glory and to stop hiding it from the world. I feel like a napptural baby! I’ve learned so much in these few short months and am so excited to be natural! It’s official…I’m in love with my hair!

How you feel about your natural hair in the beginning?
In the beginning, and up until October 2006, I really wasn’t feeling my hair. I felt extremely unattractive with my natural hair and was always straightening it with hot combs and flat irons. If I saw even a hint of new growth, I’d bust out my hot comb and straighten it out real quick. I was such a mess! To prevent me from heating my hair all the time, I put braids in about 4 times a year. When it started to grow, I would gel it back and keep it in a tight ponytail. When I wasn’t wearing braids or slicked back bun, I NEVER went outside without my hair being covered by a scarf or hat.

How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural?
NONE AT ALL! At first, my mom, sister and I all decided to go natural together. But none of us had any idea as to how to care for our natural hair. My mom soon chickened out and relaxed her hair and suggested my sister and I do the same if we ever planned on finding a man to marry (I know crazy, right?!?!).

My brother and father constantly told us to get a relaxer. My sister and I kept on going, but we really had no idea on how to care for our hair. I think that contributed to our not feeling so attractive with our natural hair. To avoid combing and styling, my sister kept her hair in puffs and I kept my hair in braids.

Keeping my hair in braids made me feel cute and helped me avoid having conversations about my natural hair. I NEVER got a compliment unless my hair was braided. To this day, people are still asking me when I’m going to perm my hair. Now it doesn’t affect me at all. Me and my hair are doing fine all by ourselves.

I think people can see that I love my hair, so they don’t even think about coming out there mouths with unflattering and disparaging comments; except for people in my parent’s generation. Many of them are still all about the relaxer – even if it leaves you with like 2 strands of hair on your head! Now that people see that my natural hair is here to stay, I get more compliments than I used to. But again, I am not wearing my hair for anybody else but me!

Has there been any differences in your life from going natural?
The way I perceive myself has definitely changed since going natural. Prior to going natural (mind and hair), my idea of beauty was definitely heavily based on an unrealistic ideal of long, straight hair and a slim body. I was overly critical of myself and couldn’t look in the mirror for more than a minute. Now, I take time to appreciate what I see in the mirror each and every day! I’m definitely not conceited, but I feel beautiful inside and out! I used to let other people’s acceptance or rejection of me define my beauty and goodness for me. When I fully understood that I relaxed my hair because I thought that my natural hair was ugly, I was able to truly come to a place where my beauty was defined by so much more than my hair, by so much more than what I see in the mirror.

What has been the best thing about being natural?
I feel free! I feel powerful! I feel like I know myself! I feel GOOD! Honestly, going natural really forced me to deal with myself and the myriad of issues that I tried to bury deep within myself. This is not the same experience everyone has, but it was mine and I’m glad I went through it!

How do you maintain your hair?
I pre-shampoo using oils before all washes. I do conditioner washes every week. For extra clarifying I add some baking soda or shampoo once a month. I deep condition with cholesterol or another no “cone” deep conditioner after every wash. After each wash, I twist or braid my hair using Qhemet’s Amla and Olive Heavy Cream mixed with some Softee Curl Activator gel for a little hold and an off the chain twist/braidout! I wear my twists for a week or two. I normally wear my twist/braidouts for a day or two before I wash and start the cycle all over again.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
Be positive! And understand that anything worth having will probably take some work! Connect yourself with people who have similar goals or who inspire you. Be bold enough to ask questions and be persistent enough to get answers to your questions! Fully understand why you have chemicals in your hair and why you want to go natural. Enjoy the process of learning the funky and unique characteristics of your hair!

Any final words?
Be positive! And understand that anything worth having will probably take some work! Connect yourself with people who have similar goals or who inspire you. Be bold enough to ask questions and be persistent enough to get answers to your questions! Fully understand why you have chemicals in your hair and why you want to go natural. Enjoy the process of learning the funky and unique characteristics of your hair!

Visit Harana’s Journal here


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