No idea is original. What was once old, will one day become new and this is just as true with music. If you’re going to sample, sample the oldies but goodies.
This is the case with Ethiopian-American singer Meklit’s remake of a traditional Ethiopian song ‘Kemekem’. This song was made popular by singer Muluken Melesse when my parents were growing up and I’ve heard them sing it as they play their music around the house.
Meklit’s modern twist to the song is stripped down and robust, with her booming voice captivating the listener despite whether they understand the Amharic words or not. Her ode to the afro is amazing and further exemplifies the global movement towards re-embracing natural hair. In the ’70s the afro was the symbol of rejecting the mainstream belief of beauty and proudly showcasing the richness of natural black hair.
From the group of beautiful afros to the tug of war dance routine, this video and song is amazing.
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!
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.
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.
The word ‘movement’ might be a bit much, however being a kid that grew up in the 80s and 90s seeing relaxers, hot rods and everything in between, now watching the abundance of #bighairdontcare gives me the sense that we are watching a movement. A complete rejection of archaic and Eurocentric ideals of beauty has led to many women freeing their hair to be as large, curly and gorgeous as it naturally is.
Probably over a year ago I noticed on social media a number of blogs and YouTube accounts dedicated to maintaining natural black hair. At the time I had cut my hair real short, pixie style, and just did an ombre colour to the front so I was truly just an observer at this point. Going big and curly wasn’t on my mind but as the damage from the colour set in and I reminisced more and more over my big hair from university days, I found myself hooked on these YouTube videos.
Here are some of the natural hair sisters on YouTube that I was watching consistently and plotting my return to big hair.
MahoganyCurls chopped off all her hair in 2009 and watching her hair journey has been eye-opening in terms of all the styling options for transitional hair. Especially without using heat, which was to me a huge lesson. Having nurtured hair doesn’t mean style has to be sacrificed.
HeyFranHey was someone I came across on Twitter. Someone RT her Tweet offering advice about a healthy smoothie, which led me to checking out her page and then spending a considerable amount of time watching her videos. She specifically focuses on natural living ‘from the inside out’, so you’ll find videos on cleaning eating, meditation as well as hair care.
Mo is probably the most resourceful natural hair outlet I’ve come across. I’ve learned so much about hair care and maintenance from her videos and her blog. From hair porosity, proper hydration routines, skin care and much more. Before getting a hair cut, colour or looking for a new style check out her blog for tons of tips.
My Natural Sistas are a group of biological sisters that post videos covering hair, beauty and fashion. My favourite ones are by India, one of the three sisters. She posts a lot of good videos with DIY methods for hair care.
Whether online or even among my own group of friends, the return to natural hair is a big topic and one that is empowering. So many of our conversations now revolve around what products we’re using, our natural hair journeys to DIY remedies to revive our curls.
Here is how large my hair was in 2010
And this is where I’m at now
In a few weeks I’m about to go see a hair stylist to get a cut specifically for curly hair. I’ll update you guys with the look and how my personal hair journey goes.
Let me know if you guys follow any hair stories online. Are you going through your own hair transitions? What products are working and which were duds? Would love to hear from you
For the past little while I’ve been hooked watching hair tutorial videos online. Learning how to get the perfect wash and go curls, strengthen my edges and finding out how to best protect my hair when adding heat.
By far my favourite videos to watch have been from Mo Knows Hair. Informative is an understatement. Just like her blog title, she really does know hair. I’ve learned about my hair type (3C), porosity level (medium) and what type of products are best suited for me.
She has great videos on what to ask a stylist when thinking about colouring your hair, how to transition from chemically treating your hair to going natural, how to restore your hair after having braids or a weave in as well as llearning what co-washing can do for your curls. There is a video tutorial for any and everyone on there.
Check it out and let me know which videos were informative for you.