Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
Well, I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. But, my family and I just recently moved to a small city in Pennsylvania, near Philly and Wilmington, Delaware. The natural scene in this town is nil for the few sisters I do see.
BUT, of course in Philly (and Wilmington to a certain extent), the sisters are rocking the natural dos. I see a lot of naturals, especially locs. They look really good. The move up here was my release from Bible Belt Bondage.
How long did you transition and how long have you been natural?
I decided in August ’05 that it would be my last relaxer. I transitioned from August ’05 to November 17, 2005 and got the “big chop”, as we call it. So, I would say roughly, 4 months. I’ve been natural, now, for a little over five months.
When did you decide to go natural and why?
Well I’ve desired to be natural for several years. I felt as though I couldn’t because of the career choices that I made with certain conservative-minded companies. They would not have been very receptive to me being natural. It just wasn’t the culture. So, I remembered when I first started dating my husband, I asked him a “test” question about how he felt about natural sisters. He said that he loved it and I knew then I would eventually do it, and that was my indication that he could stick around.
When I got to Pennsylvania, they weren’t doing many roller sets, just wash, blow dry, and curls. A lot of my hair would end up on the bathroom floor and that really frustrated me (and my husband). So here I am.
How was your transition?
I didn’t do the usual braids or weave. I just got my hair cut shorter and shorter every time I went to the salon and because I’m an extremist– I’m either this or that…I couldn’t stand being half nappy and half relaxed, so I went for the big chop and never looked back.
How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural?
My husband was/is my biggest supporter. My mom was actually part of my inspiration. She is a natural sister and a beautiful one, at that. I talked her into it, because I knew she had the beautiful face for it. So, I practiced what I preached to her and went for the gusto. You just don’t know how BIG of a factor motowngirl.com was and is in my life. It kept me from going back to the creamy crack. Your recipes, oh my goodness! I never knew that the most simple and natural things right in my kitchen would help me care for my hair.
One of my sorors told me about nappturality and through that medium also, I was able to look at other beautiful hair albums and was totally introduced to a new way of life. The negativity came from grandparents (they are hilarious!). They were used to me relaxed with long and sometimes short hair. They want to know what is wrong with me. I think its funny and just look at it as a generation thing.
How did you feel about your natural hair in the beginning?
I felt so emancipated and free and started paying attention to my health as well. So, I was excited, because I felt like I was getting started on a new and improved me. I was and still am feeling good about my choice. I can’t wait for some more length. Then I’ll have more versatility.
Has there been any difference in your life from going natural?
Yes. The same time I went natural, I started a popular weight loss program and not only started focusing on my weight, but just my overall health. I started saying,” I’m putting all these natural things ON my hair. Why don’t I put these natural things IN my body??” By the way, I lost a nice amount of weight, but I’m not at my goal. I’m still a work in progress.
What has been the best thing about being natural?
No bad hair days (laughing). But seriously, being able to wash and go, being able to not panic when it rains, and I’m looking forward to getting in the pool with my son this summer and not get all bent out of shape about my hair.
What is your favorite hairstyle and why?
Hmmmmm, that’s a tough one. Having a TWA (teeny weeny afro) limits you. I’m only five months into this. I would have to say, on myself, I like the twists/coils I do with my finger. Some people do them with a comb, but I twist my hair in the direction of my natural coil and loosen them after a day or so. I call it my homemade twist out. But, on other sisters, I love to see locs that have been roller set. I think that is so pretty. Who knows, one day, I may have a head full of wavy locs.
How do you take care of and maintain your hair?
I have adapted the no-poo method and use a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar clarifying technique, when I have product build-up. Other than that, during the winter, I no-poo with a conditioner once a week and always use coconut oil and raw shea butter after every wash. I also have a leave-in concoction that I got from your website. I actually use it on the entire family.. I love it! I do a wash n go or a spritz in the morning and run my fingers through my hair.
I, occasionally, go to a wonderful salon in Philly to treat myself and as it grows, I will probably increase the frequency of my visits. I started out using a LOT of Carol’s Daughters’ products actually before I even went natural and then started using her natural hair products. But, now??? I’m an official PJ (product junkie) because you read everyone’s journals, blogs and forums and everyone swears by this and swears by that, and I’m always willing to try something. I need to go to a natural gathering, so I can do a product swap with some of the other nappturals.
So, basically, I’m still in the trial and error phase, trying just about everything. Its fun!!
If you were stranded on a deserted island and had to choose 3 things for your hair, what are three things you would have to have for your hair and why?
Well, obviously there will be water, hence the island….Okay, I would have my raw shea butter, because I love it after every wash. It really keeps my hair soft. Rosemary oil (to make a spritz), to keep my hair growing and my scalp from itching, and a scarf. I get bored really easily, so this scarf would have to be long enough to be a headwrap, a headband, or anything else I want it to be to keep me stylin’. I want to look good when I’m rescued.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
I would tell them to definitely go to every natural hair care site on the web (namely yours), join email groups (i.e. AOL, Yahoo!) and ask questions, look at photo albums, and get yourself mentally prepared especially if they’ve been relaxed for quite some time. It takes a mental re-training to have the patience to deal with our napps. It’s really easy to relax, wrap, and go..but its not the best thing for your hair.
Thank you for being the MotownGirl.com’s Spotlight of the Month!
No, thank YOU for having me. I would like to say to all those on nappturality. You have been so wonderful and beautiful. I love that site! I want to thank you, Motown Girl, so much for your wonderful website. It’s bookmarked as a favorite on every PC workstation I have. You have put so much into being such a wonderful and helpful resource. I’m always in awe of how thorough and detailed you are in you recipes, instructions, and how-to’s.
Shout-outs to the Yahoo! Groups I belong to: Black Queen and Nappy Hair. Thanks guys for your support and never-ending wealth of information. A big Philly shout-out to Jamal , Abenaa and the gang at Brownstone Natural Hair and Barber Studio for keeping me looking fab!!! Hello to all of my family and friends in Birmingham and PA. To my sorors, (Skee Wee). Hi to my son, Jelani, who knows how to compliment his mommy (at such an early age). And mostly thanks to my husband for being my biggest fan. He always has wonderful things to say about me especially since I’ve gone natural.
I hope that through my journal, I can be an inspiration to others as well and share with those the sheer joy of being my natural self, free, and me!
Check out Sheree’s hair journal!