Monthly Archives: April 2015

Mission #BringMyCurlsBack

A few weeks back I wrote about the Natural Hair Movement and my personal journey to revive my once bouncy curls. More than just putting away my flat iron, I was focused on using natural ingredients like coconut, jojoba and olive oil to keep my hair hydrated especially through the harsh winter weather.

As part of this journey, I booked an appointment with a curly hair specialist following a recommendation from a friend. This friend has a head full of luscious curls and after seeing how great her hair turned out, I was curious. My friend sent me the details about hairstylist Keina Morgan and after seeing her Instagram pictures, I was quick to book my own appointment so I could give my hair over to this woman.

Now what I was looking forward to most was having my hair trimmed by a hair stylist who understands the complexities of curly hair. I also wanted to learn best techniques to style my hair and get some highlights (why not, its spring). I got all this and more!

Keina took the time to do a consultation and find out what I was looking to gain not just for my hair, but from the overall experience. After filling out a brief questionnaire we got started determining the colour for my highlights. I chose a medium brown, enough to hide my greys (which came due to wisdom and that’s the story I’m sticking to) while giving my hair some light definition.

For me the education came in when, after washing my hair, Keina showed me how to apply the curl defining pomade she chose for my hair. They have a great assortment of professional products. Based on my hair, which I learned that day has various textures ranging from 4A at my roots all the way to 3B at the tips, she chose the Kinky Curly Custard to best apply to my drenched hair.

With a hand held mirror, I watched as she went through my hair section by section applying the mixture while also detangling my hair at the same time. Using her fingers, she was able to get my hair fully treated and defined.

I don’t want to give away all of her secrets, but if you have been looking for a place to treat your curly hair, go to Keina’s Place! From the service, the quality of products and level of expertise I was thoroughly impressed. I’m looking forward to follow up appointment in August!

OG Recipe by Big Jacks

The way folks seek out good albums or good movies to indulge in, I’m into a good DJ mix. And this guy Big Jacks, never fails.

If you’ve taken in his past mix called Originals, then you’ll love this. Big Jacks has done the gritty work of digging through the crates to find those rare samples that have been the sound behind some of your favourite hip hop hits.

Check out OG Recipe below.

First Gen

There is a common thread among first generation immigrants in North America. We all share the constant juggling of the old world in our homes and the new world outside our doors as well as forging our own path, while still respecting the traditions our parents carried with them across the Atlantic. This often leads to misunderstandings and that is always the perfect foundation for comedic scenarios.

Besides the frustrations, there is way more comedy when trying to negotiate with immigrant parents. I can do an awesome impression of my parents accent and often get a chuckle at our moments that are ‘lost in translation’.

So when I came across the trailer for a pilot sitcom called ‘First Gen’ I was excited to see if this was relate-able. And sure enough its not only hilarious, the commonalities are spot on.

The show is based on a first generation Nigerian family and is loosely autobiographical of creator Yvonne Orji. The trailer shows the juxtaposition of immigrant parents’ high expectations of their children and the kids’ desire to pursue their passion. In the pilot we see the main character Joanna (played by Yvonne Orji) tell her parents she’s dropping out of med school to pursue a career as a comedian. Every immigrant parent’s dream is to see their child become a doctor, so you can only imagine the comedy that ensues when Joanna decides to change course.

For so long, the first generation African narrative remained amongst us. But as we see famous faces like Lupita Nyong’o and Uzo Aduba (Orange Is The New Black) tell stories of their parents and upbringing with pride in interviews, the image of Africans is being redesigned by us, for us and through us.

Currently Yvonne is shopping this pilot to be picked up by a network, but in the meantime we can keep up with it online via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Amandla Stenberg of Hunger Games Speaks To Culture Vultures

Not only did little Rue from the Hunger Games grow up to be a beautiful young lady, she is a well spoken one at that.

Amandla Stenberg, who starred in the first of the Hunger Games films as well as Colombiana, recently spoke on cultural appropriation in a  video she did for a class project. Titled ‘Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows’ the video, which she posted on her Tumblr page, quickly went viral and caught the attention of media outlets.

amandlaimage

Amandla hits many great points in her video, going through the history of hip hop culture crossing over to the main stream and the instances of when black culture started to get co-opted for the sake of style and being ‘edgy’.

“Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes of where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves, defined by Amandla.

She points out artists like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Iggy Azalea who have used black culture as their ticket to fame, proving just how ‘rampant’ appropriation has become. Amandla notes, “Hip hop stems from a black struggle, it stems from jazz and blues, styles of music African-Americans created to retain humanity in the face of adversity.”

I wrote about the same thing last October, Culture Vultures, looking at how main stream magazines were celebrating trends that were clearly appropriated from black culture. But not until a Kardashian does it or a fashion magazine labels it as ‘in’ can it be called a trend. When black people do it, it’s not note worthy.

My favourite line from Amandla’s video comes in at the end – “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”

Please take in the video and let me know your thoughts.

Game Changers

For so long, the up hill battle was to get more sisters on screen. For us to see more reflections of ourselves. To validate our experiences – as diverse and complex as each one of us are.

So now having black women be the force behind our stories is a powerful sign that we’ve come a long way. We are now, more than ever, in control of our own narrative. Beyond just casting us to appear on screen, we now have ladies who look like us in the writers room, behind the cameras and leading the charge at television networks.

Fitting for their 45th anniversary, Essence Magazine has chosen five incredible women to feature on their May 2015 cover. The new issue pays tribute to the contributions of these great women – Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Issa Rae, Debbie Allen and Ava DuVernay. From online, to TV and the big screen these ladies have made huge strides and continue to break barriers.

The issue hits stands on April 27th and be sure to look it up.