MG Spotlight – Yasu

.....Category: MG Spotlights
MG Spotlight – Yasu Spotlight - Brittany
Q: Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?

A: I am from Toledo, Ohio and the natural hair scene has grown tremendously in the last year! We just had our first Natural Hair & Beauty Expo which drew more than 400 attendees and 30 vendors! I have been hosting meetups and workshops in the area for a few years now, and the Expo was a wonderful highlight, bridging the gap between smaller groups and the growing natural hair community.

Q. How has your experience been with natural hair?

A: I have been natural since 1997 (living in New Orleans). I locked my hair in 2006. I transitioned for almost a year and was ready for the Big Chop after my second child was born. Transitioning was a good experience for me because I had a “curl friend” who went natural with me, and we read several books while transitioning and after The Big Chop. I was excited to have my natural hair and thought, “now I am free” but I didn’t really grasp what the freedom signified for me until about 2001. That is also when I discovered MotownGirl, the first natural hair care website that I ever knew existed. I followed your tips for inspiration and was well on my way with styles and maintenance. I loved to experiment.

Q.How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural?

A. My friends and I were excited. We went natural together. I want to say there was a group of about 5 of us that went natural at times very close in proximity. Everyone wasn’t ready fort the big chop right away. As far as family, there were people I knew around me who already were natural and it was normal for them, so seeing them was inspiring, but also living in the South then, there were so many shades of brown people with varying textures of Afro hair, from Haitian to Cuban to Creole to Indian.

Q: In your opinion, what has been some of the best things about having natural hair?

A: My decision to go natural was the most natural thing I had done in all my life next to writing and singing. Having my identity erased through various forms of abuse from a young child into adulthood, left me stripped completely naked, so cutting off past-the-shoulder-length relaxed hair was a liberating moment, even if not fully comprehended at the very time it took place. But I am confident because this is me, I am not contrived or made up. Everything I do now is what comes to me, naturally. I don’t worry about conforming and fitting in anymore. Spotlight - Brittany

Q: Have you had any negative experiences while wearing natural hair? How did you cope?

A: The closest thing to negativity I have experienced while being natural is, unfortunately, uninvited feedback from other African American Men & Women who may not find Afro textured hair aesthetically pleasing to main stream society, but beyond that, most people respond positively and ask many questions :-) I always respond to those ignorant of the beauty and versatility of natural hair by educating them if I can, or I just smile because I really just love my hair.

Q: What is your weekly hair routine?

A: I shampoo my hair once a week in the summer and every 2 weeks in the winter. I co wash from time to time, more in the summer months. I spritz a leave in conditioner diluted with water every other day unless I have lots of curls, and I always let my hair air dry.

I have only used one brand of leave in conditioner since I went natural and it still works great, and I am now experimenting with different essential oils, but my staple has always been coconut oil. I love to curl my hair, roll it up, pin it up and I also love it just hanging. I tend to love “big hair” and dramatic styles even if I don’t wear them often.

Q: What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?

A: I always encourage people to do their research and to be patient. reading books, searching blogs, and asking others are great ways to learn. This is a case where knowledge truly is power. For those who have not learned a lot yet, they may get discouraged soon after starting the journey and may not have the audacity to continue, but if they can find inspiration from magazines, tv ads, YouTube, and online resources, they can get through each day until they stop counting.

Q: Do you have any final thoughts?

A: I don’t subscribe to thoughts that natural hair isn’t for everybody, but I do respect the choices in hair that people make. I have learned that no matter the texture, type and thickness, natural hair is yet versatile and lovely. I believe that when you know yourself, along with understanding your value and can likewise be confident without arrogance in who you are destined to be in life.

Photo Credits to Yasu (me) and Imani Lateef (my husband):

Photo 1: A basket weaved updo with cascading locs to battle the summer heat (shown on the homepage).
Photo 2: An offset French Roll worn to an evening dinner/show (shown above).
Photo 3: A braided updo worn for a week, then became a braid out (shown above).
Photo 4: A collage form my early locked days (a ponytail accented with a flower, a rod set accented with a floral pin and curls fashioned away from the face) – (shown below).

Where I can be found: My websiteFacebookTumblrYoutube Spotlight - Brittany

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