Columbusing Our Culture: How Bantu Knots Became Mini Buns

I was having a good day, until this link scrolled down my timeline. I did not want to believe it. I have seen the white fashion world try to lay claim to baby hair, cornrows and durags I guess I should have known they would Columbus bantu knots as well.

Bantu KnotsMane Addicts blog presents a how to on achieving these twisted mini buns inspired by Marc Jacobs. I guffawed so obnoxiously as tears ran from my eyes. They have got to be kidding. Bantu knots, a style I have worn my hair in since childhood, one of the few things that managed to be passed down in a culture that was torn from us, a style that has been mocked politely as silly or rudely as crazy was now a new fashion trend attributed to Marc Jacobs? If you don’t get the f*ck out of here with that bullsh*t!

It probably didn’t mean much when I wore this style myself and made a how to blog post in 2009, who am I right? Bantu Knot Bantu Knot Out

Or when Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren as played by Uzo Aduba wore them on Orange is the New Black two years ago, I mean who has Netflix? Crazy Eyes Bantu Knots

 

Or when Lauryn Hill rocked them back in the 90’s as a member of the Fugees, that whole Hip-Hop/RnB genre was just a passing phase.

FUGEES MTV EUROPE AWARDS 1996 AT ALEXANDRA PALACE LONDON 024318 PHOTO BY RICHARD CHAMBURY-ALPHA-GLOBE PHOTOS LAURYN HILLOr the fact that African women have been wearing them for thousands of years, I know folks are still caught up on the whole continent/country thing.

</end sarcasm>

The fashion and beauty industries have a long torrid history of stealing aspects of African, Native American, Asian, and Latin culture while simultaneously mocking and shaming that same culture. This is what real everyday racism looks like.  Our culture is not for those in power to pluck and chose when trendy, then pretend as if they discovered something that dates back thousands of years.  They tried it and failed. What will they appropriate next?

I know many of you will read this article and be confused. The fact that culture is not a costume and that appropriation =/= appreciation will be completely foreign to you. I will try to simplify this as best as I can. To “borrow” from another culture and present it as a fresh new idea without citing where the practice originates or take into account the religious or societal meaning is wrong.  For more on this topic check out this article from NPR on Columbusing and this one from XO Vain on cultural appreciation in beauty industry. This following funny video all about Columbusing from the folks at College Humor. 

2015 Memorial Day Sales for Natural Hair

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave their life in service to their country. It is also the unofficial start of Summer and an awesome sale weekend. If you are here in Louisville it is also Reggaefest which is where I will be enjoying some delicious jerk chicken and listening to some local bands.  Soapman of Pure Shea Store will be vending and you can snatch up all the good soaps, butters, and oils to get your melanated skin gleaming.

Kentucky Reggae Festival

Take advantage of these great deals and enjoy the long weekend.

The Mane Choice 30% off Friday 5/22 Only with code MDAY30

Curls $10 Flash Sale on Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly (look at the complete products list and select the $10 one, not the regular $25)

Lace Natural 25% off all weekend long with code MEMDAY15

Soultanicals 30% off all weekend with code MDAY30

TGIN 20% off all weekend with code: SUMMER

Marie Dean 20% off. No coupon code required, discount will be applied at check out.

Koils By Nature Moisturizing Shealoe Leave-In Conditioner $20 + Free Shipping. No coupon code required.

Sereniti Bath & Beauty 35% off on orders $40+ with code: Thankful

Oyin Handmade 10% off all weekend with code: shrinkage

Product Review WonderCurl Restoring Hair Treatment

Wonder Curl RESTORING HAIR TREATMENT

Wonder Curl

Restoring Hair Treatment

$22 / 8oz

Available online at WonderCurl.com

ing: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sorbitan Laurate, Shea Better, Avocado Butter, Olive Oil, Tamanu Seed Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Niacinamide and Sodium Starch Octenyl Succinate and Calcium Pantothenate and Maltodextrin and Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Tocopheryl Acetate and Pyridoxine HCL and Silica, Phenoxyethanol

*Note the ingredients listed above were transcribed straight from the jar. A different ingredient list is on the website. I have no idea when or why the ingrendients changed.

From their website: An intensive deep hair treatment that strengthens, moisturizes and smooths your hair. Olive oil can easily penetrate into the hair, passing through the layers of cuticles to provide a deep moisturizer for the hair and mend split ends. Avocado prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A & E. It soothes dryness, repairs breakage and mends split ends. Tamanu oil regenerates, strengthens and protects hair. Plus, Vitamins E, C, B3 & B6 to protect hair, stimulate growth and maintain moisture for healthy hair.

I was sent the entire Wonder Curl product line to review from the company.  I was really only familiar with the curl definer and had no idea they had a complete product line.  I used the Restoring Hair Treatment twice, once on me and the other on my son.  When I used it on my hair it was just okay. I applied it to clean, freshly washed hair, then used my Hair Therapy Wrap for 20 minutes.  It wasn’t the wow I was expecting from the RHT, it just felt like an average DC.  However it was a much different outcome when I used it on JK’s locs.  After swimming I washed his locs with a clarifying shampoo, then applied the RHT, covered his hair with a plastic cap and let him play for about 25 minutes.  After rinsing his hair was super soft and moisturized. The conditioner rinsed clean from his locs and left no residue.  I was completely blown away by how soft and conditioned his hair felt especially after spending the morning in a chlorinated pool and washing with a clarifiying shampoo which is known to be very harsh.  I would highly recommend this product for high porosity, excessively dry, or damaged hair.

10 Tips to Survive the WNHS

It’s the last weekend in April which means every natural must make her (or his) pilgrimage to Atlanta, GA for the 18th annual World Natural Hair Show presented by Taliah Waajid. While the show has made some significant changes over the years, it still ranks as the definitive natural hair expo in the world. Whether you are there for the deals on natural hair products, educational seminars, or like me just want to commune with your curlfriends there is definitely something for everyone.  As a long time visitor to the show I am going to share with you my tried and true tips to make the best of this event.

Derby City Naturals WNHS

Me and Shea Moisture Makeup Artist @k_pari

  1. Set a budget and bring cash.  There are so many deals and it is very easy to spend double or triple what you intended. The advantage to cash is that you connect with each purchase and once it is gone you know you have to make a decision on whether or not to continue.
  2. Buy your tickets online. Yes I know the service charge is BS however the line to purchase tickets is ALWAYS long. Too long.  There is a much shorter and completely separate line for those who have purchased tickets ahead of time.
  3. Make a list.  And stick to it! Write down which products and vendors you desire to purchase from to stay on track. Check the FB pages of your favorite vendors and write down their booth numbers it is easy to forget a vendor once you enter the matrix.
  4. Come prepared. Most people are not ready to spend 3+ hours needed to walk the expo. Eat before you come, there is a snack bar but trust me you want to eat a real meal.  Bring your own bag to carry your purchases, make sure it has enough room and comfortable straps. Wear shoes that are made for walking and standing.
  5. Mind your electronics. Bring your phone charger (or backup battery) you will be surprised how fast your phone will die. Also to spare your battery life while in the expo hall turn your phone to airplane mode. This will allow you to take pictures but will turn off other apps to save your battery.
  6. Do not purchase from the first vendor you see. There are many repeat t-shirt, jewelry and oil vendors so make sure you walk the floor and check them out before making your purchase as you may find a better deal.
  7. If you are attending the show with friends, set a spot to meet up and specific time.  Again phone service can be sketchy and it is easy to lose track of time. I would recommend meeting up at the snack bar in the back of the expo hall after 90 minutes. This will give you time to walk the show, compare purchases and get something to drink while you are there.
  8. Buy more and save.  The vendors are there to make money and you are there to save so meet each other in the middle, propose a discount on a volume purchase even if you don’t see one displayed.  For example if earrings are $5 each offer the vendor a deal of $20 for 5 pairs,  that will save you a $1 per pair.
  9. Pay attention to smaller vendors. There are many smaller vendors who use this show to introduce themselves to the market. I was introduced to OBIA Naturals a few years ago at the WNHS.  You can get your hands on the product, ask questions and most will do a demo so you can try before you buy.
  10. Take time to rest.  There is always a stage near the center of the expo hall, grab a chair and check out the talent that is performing and give your feet a rest before walking the rest of the show.

While you are in Atlanta take in some of the awesome sites and things to do, this city always has something going on and is never boring.  If you are looking for a product that wasn’t at the hair show, use the Target, Walgreens, or CVS store locator app because Atlanta is such a natural hair Mecca many products are available in stores that may not be available where you live.  I will be at the show Saturday afternoon so be sure to say hi if you see me.

#ybnQueenMe: An Instagram Campaign Celebrating Black Queendom

Derby City Naturals:

Our Black is beautiful and its time we shout it to the world! I love what Young Black and Nappy is doing with their #ybnQueenMe campaign. Read on to discover how to participate.

Originally posted on young.black.nappy.:

Because all Black women deserve to be treated like queens. All Black women should be treated like queens.

QUEEN | /kwēn/ | noun

1. the female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.
synonyms: monarch, sovereign, ruler, head of state

2. a woman regarded as excellent or outstanding
synonyms: superstar, leading light, goddess

Most of us are familiar with the layperson’s definition of a queen, right? A queen is a member of the royal family. She rules. She wears a crown that signifies her status and her glory. If you saw a queen, you’d know it. And you’d show reverence.

Or would you?

View original 222 more words

Product Review Shea Moisture Strengthen Grow & Restore Treatment Masque

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow Restore Treatment Masque

Shea Moisture

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque

$12.99 / 12 oz

Available at SheaMoisture.com Target, ULTA, Walgreens

ing: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Stearyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Behentrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Yeast Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Vinegar, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Niacin, Dextran, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Caramel, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract *Certified Organic Ingredient

From their website: This deep conditioning masque helps restore strength and resilience to damaged, brittle or chemically processed hair.  Perfect for those who regularly color, straighten, perm or heat style their hair, as well as kinky, curly or wavy natural styles.  Formulated with nutrient-rich Jamaican Black Castor Oil and certified organic Shea Butter to replenish moisture and soften while strengthening hair.  Helps promote growth by supporting hair’s elasticity, reducing the appearance of breakage and shedding.

Shea Moisture has been on a roll lately releasing new products and I will admit the PJ in me wants to check them out.  Previously, I tried some of their older products and the results were lackluster. Recently I reviewed the Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque and was very impressed.  Shea Moisture sent me a sample of Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque and it arrived in good time because I am now out of the SRNHM.  In following with my March hair goal I applied the product to clean wet hair and deep conditioned with heat using my Hair Therapy Wrap for about 25 minutes.

So here are my overall feelings about the SGRTM: the slip was minimal, the consistency was thinner than others in this line making it easier to apply, the smell is strange kind of reminds me of play doh but it’s very light and does not linger, and finally the results were okay.  When I rinsed out my hair was soft but there was something missing, no wow factor.  I would compare SGRTM to the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque in terms of results, both were just okay for me but if you like ABSPM you will probably like the SGRTM. As for me I would not purchase this product because SRNHM was soooo much better in smell and performance.

(Side note: why do Shea Moisture products have such long names?)

All About Oil Pulling

What is oil pulling? Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic oral health treatment that includes swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.  The goal of this activity is to remove toxins and bacteria from your mouth (and body) to increase oral hygiene.

How is it done? Place a heaping spoonful of oil in your mouth (I prefer coconut oil) and swish around in your mouth and pull through your teeth. Continue this for at least five and at most 20 minutes.  DO NOT SWALLOW. After you have reached the allotted time spit the oil down the sink, floss and brush as normal.

What are the benefits?  Some of the benefits include fighting against bad breath, gingivitis, plaque build up, cavities, yellowing of teeth, sensitive or inflamed gums, oral pain and tooth decay.

My Experience

“The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup…” I do a little oil pulling. Seriously the first thing I do when I walk in the bathroom in the morning is place a heaping spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth. I swish and pull while using the bathroom and showering this is how I busy myself to pull for 20 minutes.  I have tried oil pulling with other oils and I just didn’t like it, I prefer to use coconut oil. Coconut oil is a solid so after placing it in my mouth I bite down on the chunks and rotate it around until it becomes a liquid then I swish and pull.  Afterward I spit it out and rinse with warm water before flossing and brushing. DCN Oil Pulling

FAQs

Is it hard to do? No, my ten year old oil pulls as well. He does it for 10 minutes every morning. The key to getting through it is to keep yourself busy while pulling. It will become an absent minded activity.

Does is clog the sink? No. We have been pulling consistently for 4 months and my drain has yet to clog. I run hot water down the drain after I discard the oil.

Does it really work? Well as of our last dental checkups we are both cavity free.  I drink multiple cups of tea each day and my teeth are not yellowing.  My mouth feels fresher after using oil pulling as a part of my oral health care.  Even when I was sick a while back I continued to oil pull and did not get the dreaded “sick breath”.  I also recommended oil pulling to a friend who was having some tooth pain and after a few days she reported that her pain had decreased and had stopped taking pain relievers.

As for me and my family oil pulling has become a permanent part of our oral health regimen. I mean the coconut oil is already in the bathroom so why not? I believe that it really has worked to help maintain a healthy mouth and my biannual checkups agree.

 

Product Review: Melodic Elements

Melodic Elements Natural Deodorant

Melodic Elements

Natural Deodorant

$5 for 2 oz stick

Available on Melodic Elements website

Jasmine, Lavender, Peppermint Lemongrass, Patchouli, Orange scents

ing: shea butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, essential oil fragrance.

I know simple ingredients list right? That is one of the reasons I switched to using natural deodorants. I wanted to simplify my life by using more natural products with ingredients I could recognize. I also wanted to move away from antiperspirants that contain harmful ingredients that may be cancer causing. I made that switch for good over 3 years ago.  And while I have not regretted my decision, there have been times that I have been less than fresh and that is not okay.  Along this path of hits and misses I was happy about Melodic Elements which is not only Kentucky proud and a Louisville original, it is a Black female owned small business *triple word score* [full disclosure the owner is a friend of mine].

5 Things I Love About This Product

  1. Simple all natural ingredients. There are several natural deodorants on the market but many of them contain a long list of ingredients that I have to research. I love that the ingredients listed are readily understood.
  2. Smells divine.  I purchased the Jasmine scent for myself and the Peppermint for my son. They both smell very pleasant but are not overwhelming.
  3. It works. More than wanting to use a natural product I need the product to actually work and this one does. All day long. It has been proven by lasting all day on my pre-teen son. He no longer smells like “outdoor” when he comes home from school.
  4. It lasts.  I can apply this deodorant in the morning and get at least 12 hour wear. Actually I just smelled myself and I still smell good so make that 14 hour wear.
  5. The applicator. I just don’t care for scooping out deodorant with my fingers, I need an applicator.  Not only does it come in an applicator but it works and does not get stuck.

In addition to these things the shea butter base formula glides on easy no crumbing or caking and it absorbs well into the skin.  I have not had any issue with build up or yellowing on the inside of my shirts. I still exfoliate under my arms weekly before shaving but I have not had a concern of build up. I will repurchase this product again and plan to soon actually because I am almost out however one stick lasted for 2+ months.