Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tis the Season! For Rollers?

You would think something as innocent as a "white elephant" gift exchange would go seamlessly and have nothing to do with hair at all. For those who don't know, the point of a white elephant exchange is to have fun. You can snag someone else's gift rather than selecting randomly from a table of gifts. In our work gift exchange, there was a $10 maximum.

Back to the story, so after watching toiletries, candles, stuffed animals, and the ever popular Snuggie being exchanged, it was my turn to pick.

Guess what I got?


A chia pet? No


The clapper? No


I got ...some rollers, hard plastic rollers that were tiny.

I was appalled. I know it was a joke, but I might as well have selected a brush and comb set. ;p


Because my gift was voted as among the most horrid, I was allowed to swap. This is what I got:


I am happy with the exchange!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Being Black & Chinese in China

Lou, the Black Chinese girl, in this American Idol-esque competition has been the subject of national scrutiny regarding her complexion. People have written that she is not Chineses and needs to get out of China. China is not the melting pot that some places in America are. Although they have over 50 different ethnic group, the gene pool there is primarily Han.

It has been a shocking ordeal for someone who says she always considered herself just like every other Chinese girl."Sometimes people on the street would ask me, 'Why do you speak Chinese so well?' I'd just say, 'Because I'm Chinese!'" Lou said.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best Hair Tie Sale Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Includes any item on www.adornbysophia.com!

What? Buy One (Yes Any Item), Get the Second One for Half Off (Item must be priced equal or less than the first item); Oh Yes! And with free shipping.

Why? Because I have too many darn hair ties! I have around 60 online and way more stored at home. I'm adding more daily!

How? Go to AdornbySophia.com, select the items you want, and e-mail me your order at naturallysophia@yahoo.com I will send you a neat little invoice showing you your 50% discount for each additional item you purchase. E.g. You purchase 2 hair ties that are regularly for $9.99 each. Then, you get one for$9.99 and the other for $4.99! Oh and don't forget about FREE SHIPPING!When? NOW until January 1st!

Thank You,
NaturallySophia

Friday, December 18, 2009

Interview Hair

I had an interview recently but didn't get the job. I thought, but only for a second well 10 minutes, about my hair. I pulled it in a bun per the recommendation of some close friends with locks. I am glad I did. Here is how it turned out.


I have been trying to convince myself ever since that I did not get that job because it was not for me and that they chose the right people for that position giving me a better opportunity somewhere else. I do wonder though, just a tad, if my hair were straight would the outcome have been different. Afterall, they told me that I would fit in so many places there...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hair Haters


One of the reasons I have this blog is because it is an outlet to discuss reactions to natural hair. Recently, I have been experiencing some very negative comments about locks I'd like to share.


First Comment (from Black Male co-worker): "My mother would say why would you deform yourself like that intentionally?" He was referring to people that choose dreads/locs.


Second Comment: I was on my way to the airport with a guy friend. My mom was dropping us off. My mom who had not seen this friend in over 10 years decides to ask him, not about himself or what he's been doing, but about my hair. She says, "Do you like Sophia's hair?". He says, "no". I cringe and he continues, "She discussed it with me when she was considering them back in the day and I told her not to...". My mom just kinda smiled with satisfaction and was quiet the rest of the ride. I just laughed to myself.


My reaction: I think when people tell me they don't like my hair or natural hair, I see it not as them rejecting or disapproving me and/or my hair but their very own Blackness. Your judgments don't define others, they define yourself. The most important thing about your hair is how you feel about it. See above pic; I feel damn good!


Any Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Must See: Good Hair

So many things to write and post about, so little time.

Let me start this post with "Good Hair". I saw the premiere in Atlanta first with my 2 locked gal pals and then again with the Atlanta Sisterlocks Meet-Up.





At the premiere, Nia Long and Chris Rock, Jason Griggers and Derek J (who you might have seen on Desperate Housewives of Atlanta) were there. Sorry about the quality of the photo. I had one of Chris Rock and Nia but it looks completely dark. I forgot my camera. Ahh! Such is life.


At the meet-up, I met blogger Meikmeka for the first time in person. She is a gem and Amba was there looking fab too.




Look at Meikmeka 's growth. Do you remember when she was concerned about placing her hair in a ponytail? My how time flies!






I want you to go see this movie. Here are a couple of things I learned from watching the film.

I learned that relaxer, sodium hydroxide, can dissolve a soda can and breaks down the protein bonds in your hair damaging follicles permanently.

I also found out that there is a black market for Indian weave hair where girls are asleep or watching a movie get their ponytails chopped off.

I also watched Chris Rock interview with Oprah regarding "Good Hair". Please go to hulu.com and watch the episode or go to this link to see highlights from that episode in the link below. One of my favorites includes Solange 's interview with Oprah.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall Preview: AdornbySophia.com

Hey Blog Fam!
I have been busy in the lab creating items for www.AdornBySophia.com! Here are some below:



I have so much to post; we'll chat soon. Gotta go now. Miss all yuh!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Why Michelle Obama's Hair Matters

So I was looking for this really glam photo of Michelle Obama. Afterall, I thought, it couldn't be hard to find. She is so very stylish and lovely. To my dismay, in my search for images, I saw her photo fused together with a photo of a monkey.

I was not surprised but disappointed and hurt.

I was searching for her picture to do a post about all the criticism of her hair and style that seems incessant to me. I was grasping for some clarity about why her hair really mattered. Finding that photo in conjunction with reading this article, has given me some perspective.

Please read the article Why Michelle Obama's Hair Matters and share your thoughts if you'd like.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Braided, Beaded Belles

Beads and braids go together in perfect harmony. My friend once said, "Beads are a Black girl rite of passage". At the time I smiled at the cutely profound quaintness of this statement. Literally, maybe this is true for some but not all because not all black girls have braids or beads. Besides, since Black constitutes so many cultures, to call it an actual rite is a tad comical. But as with all sayings, there is some truth; I definitely rocked them back in the day. I remember a neighbor once shared in secret that her mom didn't know how to braid. I remember being utterly shocked. I couldn't wait to my mom braided and then beaded my hair. I remember suggesting how she could keep the beads on better by adding a rubberband through the last bead or by adding aluminum foil to each end as I'd seen other brown girls wear. I remember, long before I ever knew who Bo Derek was, running along and listening to the clink clank of my long, colorful beads. ;)

As you know now, I have fond memories of the style; and I love this inspiration. I swear when you look in the eyes of these girls you see nothing but possibility. And how well their braids fit them? I love it when that possibility has manifested into something positive. For instance, just look how far these beaded beauties have come.

I decided to do this post after watching 2 girls play a very complicated hand game. It looked like Patty Cake after red bull with complicated dance choreography. LOL! Anyway, they were cute and both had some kind of braids and beads.

NYU Professor Kyra D.Gaunt wrote
Cover photo by Raymond Depardon
Title: "USA,1981, New York City, Harlem District, 110th Street, Festival for the Police"

The Games Black Girls Play. Gaunt concludes that cheers, songs and chants orchestrated in conjunction with hand claps and foot stomps,teach girls "musical blackness," placing them socially in step with black tradition. The book examines the relationship between black girls' and pop culture (inconspicuously at times)and what their invisibility says about hip hop and music in the black community. You might think of "Mary Mack" differently. Many artist in pop culture/hip-hop have used these hand game rhymes as lyrics from Nelly to The Clipse. It's a worthwhile and charmingly lofty read.

If you watch this video below, you will smile. It is an ode to Black girls with natural hair. Umm inhale the nostalgia, marinate on fond memories, or just enjoy girls being pretty & happy, being themselves.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?

There has been a whole lot of chatter about the Obama girls hair lately and around the subject of natural hair in America (e.g. Good Hair, movie to be released October 9th directed by Chris Rock and the NY times article here ).

I am happy that the Obama girls have natural hair and are allowed to show it. I think it is inspirational and daring. Self-love is always revolutionary especially by those who have been taught generationally to hate themselves and their attributes.

Recently, I shared with one of my co-workers that I have a blog about hair. She looked perplexed and kind of chuckled. She also happens to be White and completely didn't get why I would have a blog about natural hair. She just recently came to the conclusion that my hair is natural. The thing about racism is you don't have to be racist in order to participate. It's systematic and institutionalized, meaning that just by your existence in the system and the institution of America Or England or wherever you might be, you participate either with cognition or not.

A friend sent me this video. It is a mixture of views on natural hair, partially from the Tyra show that aired about brown girls and their hair choices. It's definitely worth viewing and made me think.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Black Barbie Issue


I know this is late, but I wanted to share it anyway. You may know from some of my earlier posts that I love ethnic dolls. So I had to snag the July 2009 issue of Vogue Italia at all costs. It features a mini issue that features all Black Barbies.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Barbies of today that are Black have more Afrocentric features. Stacy McBride-Irby, an African American designer, has worked on the latest line of ethnic Barbies called S.I.S. or So In Style.

My issue is always with Barbie's size. I like that she is now rocking natural looking hair more often but I want them to vary her size and allow her to wear flats more often than they do now. I have read:

If scaled into real life proportions, Barbie would be 5 feet, 9 inches, (1.75 m) measuring 36-18-33. This is concerning because so many of us are not this small or shaped this way. For example,
Lil Kim has said on numerous occasions, but most recently on Dancing With the Stars, that she wanted to look like Barbie. To me, altering your body to look like a plastic toy is unsettling. But I have come to a place where I accept other people's choices; all the while knowing that as long as I have sanity, I would and will never choose that.
Maybe I am being too serious, she is a toy. As long as girl's know she's a play thing and not necessarily something to emulate, I think it's fine. It is admirable, however, that she looks so young after 50 years with her many hundreds of careers.

In the actual issue, they even did a few short articles on African Americans also. One article that struck me was one on Toni Morrison, my favorite author.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Alopecia: The PCOS Diaries


UPDATE: I have since LOST 40 POUNDS, eat more protein than carbs, and have a more active lifestyle. I have not lost a lock from the scalp since this month back in 2009. For all of those who are struggling with PCOS, I greatly encourage you to modify your diet!!!!!



Me? Lose my hair? Never! It was always them other there. You know, them that perm, that overstyle, that heat. I was wrong both about what I thought and in judging. Now, albeit true, you can loose hair from dye, relaxers, and tension. But this is not what happened to me.

This week, I had to face the truth: it is me. It could be you. I am certain that someone reading this has, will have, or already has had some form of alopecia.

First, I'd like you to know this is not a pity party! I am too proud for your sympathy. Also, this is somewhat of a"fake" problem in my point of view. I still have a place to live, employment, food, and civil rights so let's put this in perspective (said for our mutual benefit =D).

But my hair did fall out. I attribute it to PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and over the past few weeks I have lost about 10 locs from the scalp. I can't see a visible blad spot, but they appear to have fell from the scalp in the crown of my head.

First, I dismissed the notion that my hair was falling out. I had lost 2 locks to dye prior to now. So when I saw, the locks in the shower floor, I assumed it was the color. Then, when I found a few more the next week on my pillow, I said to myself that this can't be right. I have always had hair, everyone in my family does, and I have been good to my hair. Yup! De-nial! But when I was separating my locks with a gentle run through with my hands, and a Sisterlock came along between my pinkie and ring finger, it was clear. I have alopecia... at least temporarily.

What does it mean for me? I have to get healthy. PCOS is affecting everything in my life. It makes me tired, made me gain weight, makes me take meds, makes me depressed and worried, controls my hormones and thus mood from time to time. The symptoms of PCOS are wide and only the symptoms can be treated. For example, it causes crazy sporadic hair growth (not on your head) but on your face and other unwanted places. I had to treat it with laser hair removal. It also creates dark patches of skin from Insulin Resistance Syndrome. My symptoms are supposed to be treated with meds, each symptom it seems has a different medication. But the main medicine I was prescribed makes my stomach ill (Metformin). I am currently looking for an alternative.
This is how I plan to get healthy: increase probiotics, use natural progesterone, stop antibacterials, remove toxins I know about, and severely reduce the sugar in my diet. I know there is a correlation to insulin levels and PCOS. There is also info that suggests toxins and the lack of good bacteria in your body correlates to the occurrence of PCOS.

If you have PCOS, think you might, or suffer from another hormonal disorders, I am suggesting the resources below:
Official Web Site of John R. Lee, M.D. - progesterone and hormone expertise
Quick Links: PCOS & ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES - PCOS Message Board
Natural treatment for PCOS
The Struggle for Mastery in Insulin Action:: Alternative Pathways ...
Master Your Metabolism
A Patient's Guide to Pcos : Understanding--And Reversing-- ...

You may be wondering why I am sharing this info. I want women that have PCOS and/or alopecia to know that they are not alone. There are women who choose to wear their hair natural and have alopecia. I am now one of those women. I always thought I would have the option to go with no hair by choice. If I can wrangle my PCOS, this will still be an option. If not, I embrace the change.

Yes I have cried about this and lost sleep over it. I have not decided whether I will throw my locks away or attach them to my hair somehow. I don't feel bad for mourning the loss. To say "It's just hair." is like saying "My skin is just brown." Both statements are simplified to a fault and don't take into account societal views or the individuals experiences. Still in the end, what matters most is what you think of yourself. I know the Divine never allows obstacles that are random and that can not be overcome. I really think it's a wake up call to rid myself of PCOS. I know others like Colette Harris have done it. How encouraging this is!

So can I. I am. I will. This is my alopecia affirmation. It is for me, but I am sharing it because sharing it is for you.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Consultant Kudos - Julia Stewart Stackhaus

I decided to share some more positive news about my Sisterlock Consultant. You may contact her at 404-718-9371

Sometimes, Sisterlock Consultants get a bad rep. Now, in fact, some get a bad reputation because they do poor work or were deemed unprofessional or otherwise unfit by someone. Some get a bad rep by association or because of miscommunication. Others get the full blame because their clients did not follow their experienced advice which, in this case, I think is undeserving. For example, my consultant told me not to dye or cut my hair because my locks were not mature at the time. Did I do it anyway? Yes! Did I blame her when my locks further unraveled and bunched? No. Did I regret not heeding her advice? Not a first, not until a couple of my locks weakened and broke off in the middle ( I think from the dye).

I digress, the whole point of this post is to share some positive news about Julia Stewart Stackhaus. Her advise about hair texture, lock maturation, and shampooing is always spot on! In addition, she is always encouraging me to get fit and stay fit. Also, she recently retightened my hair in 3 and 1/2 hours after I had been away for 8 weeks. That, my blogger friends is worth celebrating. I only wish the Sisterlocks site had consultant review. I would give her 5 out of 5!Finding her has been a blessing to my journey and I wanted you all to know it! She maintains her lovely locks all by herself too. What more could I ask?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Evelyn's Inspirational Interview

I am pleased to offer you an interview from a sister blogger and friend. She is a raw food enthusiast, avid blogger, and naturul hair connoisure. Naturally Sophia welcomes Evelyn of Evelyn's Raw Food Journey .

I asked her to allow me to have a natural hair interview with her and she was gracious enough to reply thoughtfully and provide an amazing interview. Kudos to her!

Recently she did the big chop. Having seen her gorgeous locks in person I was admittedly surprised and couldn't help inquire.

Right to Left: Evelyn, Yours Truly, & Former Blogger Onyx Cherry


She responded:

I was making changes and those changes included cutting off my locks. I loved the look of my locks, but deep down inside, I was not happy with my locks.
Cutting off my locks gave me a sense of release. I released old hurts, pains, and disappointments in my life and my hair was a part of that release. I am on a journey to becoming a healthier person and I had to start fresh with a clean mind, body and spirit and my hair was part of that. I believe that my hair is part of my spirit and when my spirit needed to a new beginning, I had to listen and make the necessary changes.

It wasn't easy parting with my locks, but once they were gone, I felt free in my spirit.

So, prior to this, what is your hair story?

Pressed hair around age 10/11

First relaxer at age 12.

Wore braid extensions 3 times. Finally stopped relaxing my hair at age 31.

Please tell me about your to and away journey from SL?
In August 2005 I got sisterlocks installed. I researched locks and the different locking techniques and settled with sisterlocks because of the texture of my hair and the versatility that sisterlocks had to offer. While sisterlocked I wore my hair mostly freestyle, but I did do spike roller sets, braid outs, twist outs, and up dos I really loved my locks at the time. It took my hair about 1 1/2- 2 years to completely lock, but I had some curly ques even when I cut them of earlier this year. I wore my sisterlocks from August 2005 to February 2009. At the time when I cut off my locks, I was making healthy lifestyle changes and releasing the past and my hair was a part of my release. I would like to share that I am a licensed cosmetologist and have had training in natural hair care and techniques. I do believe that hair texture plays a role in how one's hair reacts to any type of locking technique. I love sisterlocks, but not for my hair at this time. I was noticing a problem with my hair line receding on the right side of my head. In the same area of my head, the area in general was thin. That was the only area of my head where I was having issues. Overall, I was very pleased with my sisterlocks and enjoyed rocking them
.

What are your hair stats? Type, texture, pattern, size of locks previously.
I am a 4a, I think. I have very soft, cottony, airy hair type of hair texture. My curl pattern varies throughout my head, but I have spiral-coily medium lose curl pattern. My hair is also medium fine and not very thick. My lock size varied with the smaller locks being in the front and on the sides. The rest, I'd guess were medium-large.


Tell me about your first hair experiences? How did your family react and or style your hair as a child?
My first hair experiences were very pleasant experiences. I actually enjoyed my mother styling my hair. My mother never put heat to my hair, she would always style my hair using water and grease and she would always tell me that my hair was pretty. She kept my hair natural and would braid and put beads on my hair. I loved that so much. I don't remember my mother ever telling me that my hair needed to be fixed or was nappy and ugly. She gave my hair a lot of TLC. As I got older and had to live with my grandmother I had a totally different experience. I recall wearing my hair parted down the middle with cornrows or flat twists along with a bang, pony tails, etc. But my grandmother/aunt got tired of having to do my hair and started warm combing/pressing my hair, but they soon discovered that the pressing was not lasting so they had a relaxer put in my hair when I was 12 years old. I never understood why I had to get something put in my hair that burned the crap out of my head.

When did you first go natural? Why? If you returned to relaxers, why did you return to that?

I first went natural in the Fall of 2001(right after my husband popped the question...LOL). I went natural because, my hair got so mangled and tangled after taking out braid extensions, which resulted in a lot of breakage. I cut off the relaxed ends myself and rushed to Regis to have it shaped up. I quickly went back to putting chemicals in my hair. I got married in 2002 and for the wedding I was sporting a texturizer. Shortly after that, I returned to relaxing my hair. I returned to the chemicals, because I did not know how to care for my natural hair. The second time I went natural, I was more informed and had purchased natural hair books and was addicted to nappturality.com. My last relaxer was February 2003, got braid extensions in April 2003 and did the big chop in June 2003. I had the big chop planned and had a cosmetologist do the cut. I felt so free and so fine with my twa. The second time going natural, I knew how to care for my natural hair and was very confident rocking my twa.



How did you wear your hair at different stages in your life?

As a child I wore braids, pony-tails with a bang. The two braids/flat twists. My teenage years I wore the big hair. College years, wore my hair big, bobs, curled under most of the time. At my wedding, my hair was texturized. Out of college I wore curled under, french rolls, etc. Whenever I didn't want to do anything to my hair, I would wear my hair pulled back in a scrunchie; In my early 30s I became a natural sister and haven't looked back. Natural styles I've worn; twa, 2-strand twists, twist outs, braid outs, afro-puffs, curly puff, sisterlocks.


Did you have problems with your locks? What were they?I didn't have any problems with my locks.
It just took a long time for my hair to completely lock. I don't recall having any problems with my locks, other than what I mentioned earlier about the thinning on right front-side my head.


How do friends and family react to your hair?
My family is okay with my hair and have gotten use to my hair. When I first went natural my family had some issues with my hair. My mom and dad would ask me when I was going to fix my hair. I would tell them that its already fixed. But it died down when they saw that I wasn't changing my hair anytime soon. I do recall a lady from my church commenting on my sisterlocks and I didn't appreciate it at all. She said that she did not like my hair. My locks were probably shoulder length at the, and I quickly told her that this is all my hair (she thought my I had extensions). The comment came from a person with relaxed damaged hair with no edges. My friends don't comment, they also know I'm not changing and that I'm happy with my hair.

Attitudes like natural hair are contagious. How many people have you inspired? Any stories.

A young lady that I use to work with did the big chop not long after I did the big chop. I let her read some of my natural hair books and she did the big chop shortly after, but she did not stay natural for long. :( It was great knowing that I inspired her to wear her natural hair texture.

What did you like best and least about your sisterlocks?
I liked the versatility in the styling options that I had. The only thing I liked least was re-tightening time.
Do you have plans for your hair? A new style? Color?
At this time, I am working on maintaining a head of natural hair. Growing my natural hair long is my priority at this time. I've been thinking about color, but that's it.

What would you like readers to know about your hair journey?
I like for the readers to know that the longer I stay natural the more confident and free I am. Loving all of me, just the way I am. I'm embracing the natural and experiencing the peace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bold & Beautiful Inspiration

Many people ask me about when/if I'm going to take my Sisterlocks out or what I am going to do once I take them out? I don't know when I'll part with Sisterlocks. But when I do, I will be bald or have hair less than inch long.

Here is my inspiration:


Top Left to Right: Noni Gasa, India Aire, Amber Rose and Grace Jones


Bottom Left to Right: Tennille Stoute, Erykah Badu, & Noemie Lenoir

And let's not forget Josephine Baker!



As you all know, Solange recently cut her hair too. Why you might ask?

This is reportedly from her twitter page:


"listen. if. i. wanted. to. make. a. statement. i. would. have. twitpic’d. photo shoot. ect. i. was. simply. taking. my. son. to. school. stupid. paps. took. pic. ive. had. my. hair. cut. like. this. for. two. weeks. i. was. NOT. inspired. by anyone. but. my. self. i. have. done. this. twice. in. my. life. i. was 16. i was 18. did. not care about your opinion. then. dont. care. now. dont. need. your. attention. or. your. co-sign. dont. want. a. edge. up. or a perm. because. im not trying. to make this “a style” or a statement. i. just. wanted. to. be. free. from. the. bondage. that. black. women sometimes. put. on. themselves. with. hair. this. phase. of. my. life. i. want to spend . the time. the energy. and the money. on something else. not in the hair salon. im. not. mad. at . all of you. that have made your opinions known. and have sent negative. energy. my way. i expected this of you. you. have. the right to have. an opinion. so. do. i."

What are your after locks plans?
Have you ever done the big chop?
Any comments, tips, or advice?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Retightening Rituals

What I've noticed in the past year or so is that retightenings vary among consultants and DIYers greatly.

I want to get your feedback on a few things.


First, does your SL Consultant (or you for DIYers) mist your hair or retighten your hair damp? Or does she insist on it being dry?


Second, does your consultant (or you for DIYers) groom as she goes? By groom, I mean cut loose hair and pick lint out. Or is that a second appointment?


Speaking of cutting, do you or your consultant cut in between your locks at the scalp where the part is? Or do you pull or pop the locks apart? Any advantages or disadvantages either way?


If you DIY, do you take the day by day approach or do you finish at one time?


When you have a lot of new growth in between parts do you combine it into a nearby lock or do you make a new lock?


How often do you get a retightening?


I look forward to everyone weighing in on this one!!! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Love My Locs Magazine

The magazines I love are always going under. For example, Vibe, Suede, Vixen, Honey and now Domino are all defunct. So, I was happy when I found that I had another magazine to set my sights on! I am encouraging everyone who has the resources to purchase this magazine and the ones who don’t to download it.

If you have been lacking in locked or Queen inspiration, your eyes and mind are in for a treat. The magazine is available for purchase and download HERE.

Magazine/Photo Credits: by Kitty Soulflower

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Promising Partnership

I have partnered with http://www.zurique.net/ to further brand http://www.adornbysophia.com/ as a leader in handmade natural hair accessories. Here is what I have produced lately. I am currently working on a very special line. More details to come so stay tuned. ;p

Friday, August 7, 2009

Update to "Dreads Damaging?"

Hello Bloggers,

In an effort to have transparent communication I am posting the e-mails I received and my response to of http://www.longlocks.com/ . In the post Dreads Damaging? , I addressed Susan (author/owner) about step number 8 in her highly acclaimed Ultimate Guide to Growing Long Hair, which is seriously comprehensive and has great tips. I invite you to read and follow her advice for growing healthy hair.

My only problem with the guide was in step 8.


She has since changed this statement regarding dreads

From:


"Dreads almost always have to be cut off to be removed and are tremendously damaging to hair."


To :

"Also, if you choose to style your hair in dreads, please consider it to be a permanent change. While the dreads themselves will remain healthy (in fact, many find this a great way to grow otherwise "ungrowable" hair), they unfortunately almost always have to be cut off to be removed and the hair involved usually cannot be "undreaded."


This is tons better! Kudos to Susan for making the improvements.

I erroneously stated that she did not reply to me immediately. She did! My spam filter blocked her e-mail. I apologize to her and to you for my inaccuracy.

Here is my response to her below:

Susan,


Thanks for your responses. I apologize for not replying sooner. I greatly appreciate your responses.


First, I'd like to clear some misunderstandings. My intention was not to ridicule you. As I wrote previously, my intention was to have a mutually beneficial dialogue about something you posted that was referenced in a national magazine. Lucky magazine initiated the public forum as I would not have read or even heard about your guide otherwise. I feel, along with my readers, that there was some ambiguity and negativity regarding this statement:

"Dreads almost always have to be cut off to be removed and are tremendously damaging to hair."

You have since, both changed this statement and educated me about my misunderstanding your sentence. I am happy you saw fit to change the statement; and I apologize you feel I misinterpreted your words and acted unfairly. The reason I didn't see your immediate response is because of my spam filter on my gmail account. I take full responsibility for this and apologize sincerely for not realizing that you responded.


Again, I think your guide, hair recipes, and hair accessories are all great. I appreciate you doing the research and corresponding with me. I wish you happiness, peace, and great fortune with your business.

Respectfully,

Sophia

This is her previous response to me:


Sophia, I am resending this as you state erroneously on your blog that I did not send you a response, which as you can see below, is incorrect.

If I have been misinformed by the many who have confirmed for me that removing dreads cannot usually be done at all, much less without leaving seriously damaged hair, I will be more than happy to change my article once I have substantiated information from a trusted professional source. I happen to love dreads and have absolutely nothing against them, and many of my long-time customers have absolutely beautiful dreads. Again, my statement referred only to removing them, not actually wearing them, and was well-researched before being included in my article.

There is nothing appropriate about ridiculing me in a public forum for something that is apparently a misunderstanding on your part, especially without including the response you were previously sent, and I hope you accept the responsibility of correcting your error. I have no hard feelings, as I do feel this was an honest mistake on your part, but I really don’t feel you are being fair in your representation of me nor or LongLocks, and would like to see this end on a happy note. Long hair, *any* kind or style of long hair, is *always* a good thing!

And this is her first e-mail reply to my post:

I think you misunderstood the statement. In order to be *removed* from hair, dreads almost always need to be cut off. Also, the hair that is actually in the dreads is destroyed and cannot be “undreaded.” Don’t worry, I always do my research first!

I have removed your comments from my blog, which really has nothing to do with LongLocks. You’ll find a “contact us” link in the menu on the left-hand side of every page of the LongLocks HairSticks Boutique if you need to grab our attention about anything LongLocks related.

As always, I am interested in your thoughts. Please share.

Monday, August 3, 2009

See It: Medicine for Melancholy

I went to the Atlanta premiere of this movie. There isn't a reason why any 20 something, African American who has ever defied any racial stereotype would not both like and get this movie. I even think all others would appreciate it. My mom did.

The protagonist in the film is both interesting and charming. As you follow him and her through their day, you see many aspects that affect people of color as they live. This movie particularly addresses both race and class in a kind of non-preachy, matter of fact way through the main character's (Micah) perspective.

The female lead has an effortless way of being in the film. As the character continues to unfold, you see her depth and way of being in a clear unconviluded kind of point of view.

This movie is significant for me because it is a movie written and directed by a Black man who's female representation doesn't conjure men in women's gear fufilling some stereotype or another. It is also significant because it ties together the role of race in this "post modern" era with 2 young black people that don't necessarily identify with things perhaps society associates with Black culture.

Kudos to Barry Jenkins and company for making such a cool film with Wyatt Cenac (Micah, male lead) and Tracey Heggins (Jo, female lead).

Director Barry Jenkins and Rob Fields, who is a fellow blogger, hosted a dialogue after the movie about the film and the definition of being Black at this time in America. Farai Chideya gave a much needed feminine point of view to the discussion.

I would like Black female representation in films and on T.V. I mean sure a Black woman wrote Grey's Anatomy and Cheryl Dunye and Neema Barnette are both good African American filmakers among others. But I just feel our point of view, especially that of a Generation Y or Millenial Black woman is being overlooked. Maybe I will just be the change in the world I want to see and write my own film? Hmmm...

This movie will leave you thinking.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fully Magnificent! The Nina Simone Tribute Atlanta



I went to this awesome concert as The National Black Arts Festival (http://www.nbaf.org/) paid tribute to Nina Simone. It was phenomenal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I have the words to express how wonderful it felt to be a part of the experience. Nina Simone was properly honoured last night. She is a legacy, a classically trained musician who composed over 500 songs whose body of work won 15 Grammies, an honorary doctorate of music, and supported the Civil Rights Movement in her songs.


The night was filled with stories of her strength and her tenderness. I really appreciated the insight from many of the people about Nina's character. For example, not only her daughter was there, but also her sister and former neighbor, the Sr. Vice President of the Coca Cola Company, Ingrid Saunders Jones.



It was definitely a night to remember. Four members of her band played. What a treat! Guitarist Al Shackman, bassist Chris White, percussionist Leopolo Fleming and British drummer Paul Robinson played as Lizz Wright, Joi, Lisa Simone Kelly (Nina Simone's daughter), and Dianne Reeves brought the house down! People had goosebumps, chills, and bursts of applause. Everyone has a night to remember. It was sold out, completely!

Lizz Wright appeared first onstage in a stunning rose and black evening gown with no shoes at all. She was stunning and definitely didn't need them. I had the perfect view sitting in the first balcony directly in the center. Lizz Wright, a sister GA native, (just listen to her astounding voice) sang a number of moving songs including "Lilac Wine" and "I Love You Porgy". If you don't have her album, you are missing a treat from a young, amazing vocalist.









Simone, appeared next, she gave a delightful rendition of "Work Song" and later a fantastic performance of "Feelin Good"



with audience participation included. Her locks were piled nicely atop her head and she looked very cat like and regal with an Afrocentric dress and wedges. She was tall and had a presence and command of the audience that went with her dynamic voice.




Atlanta's own Joi delivered my favorite "Ne Me Quitte Pas". She admirably didn't miss a single lyric. She also gave a notable performance of "To Be Young Gifted and Black". She held her own and is talented within her own right.





Dianne Reeves gave a spirited and playful performance of "Be My Husband".





The woman's voice is incredible. Se can make her voice sound soft and demure loud and powerful then both at the same time. It sounds like gospel, jazz, and blues. Then her voice sounds like it will only come from the left or then the right and turn itself into a percussion instrument and a flute the next. Wow! Just watch. This performance was not half as good as she performed at the show I went to was.





In the last performance, the four women sang "Four Women". I was not expecting to get 17 songs and 2 hours of continuous entertainment. It exceeded any expectations I had. By the way, I saw many young Sisterlocked sistahs who complemented me, awwh shucks! Must post recent pics. Also, it was the first time I've gone to a concert alone. How liberating?!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Hair-Spiration




So I decided to do some Hawt inspiration for Friday. Goapele has this song Milk & Honey which I'm lovin'. The photos are stills from the upcoming video.










<a href="http://goapele.bandcamp.com/track/milk-honey">MILK &amp HONEY by Goapele</a>

I am feeling the entire look!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dreads Damaging?

Awhile ago, I was perusing through my May 2009 Lucky Magazine, I came across an article which pointed to the website http://www.longlocks.com/ as a top 5 hair website. You know, I had to go there! The magazine said to skip “cringe-inducing” homepage and go directly to their guide on how to grow long hair. I clicked on the site half-heartedly wanting to see a hidden site about natural curly hair or dreads/locks. I was hoping to see a nice page with beautiful people with locks like the one below. I saw a fairy-tale inspired looking homepage and clicked on the Ultimate Guide to Growing Long Hair. I’d plan to paraphrase or ask the author for permission to republish her tips on this blog when I came to this quote listed in step number 8, “Dreads almost always have to be cut off to be removed and are tremendously damaging to hair.”

Am I wrong for being hurt by this?
I try to do a whole lot to increase self-awareness and self-love especially to those with dreads. When people are still publishing this type of thing, I am taken aback. I think the author is simply not educated properly about locks/dreads. As a result, I thought I should inform her and depending on her response possibly Lucky Magazine. I think it is irresponsible to reference this site unless they at the magazine agree with those guide to which they referred.

Many of her other tips were great like avoiding chemicals, shampooing your hair after swimming, avoiding heat styling, and lessening friction. She even has awesome natural hair recipes on the site here: Hair Care Recipe Cookbook.

This is the post I sent her. It has since been removed on her blog and I haven't received a response.

Hello Susan,

I searched for your e-mail address and could not find it. I hope you will not mind me contacting you via your blog.

First, I'd like to thank you for your tips on how to grow long hair and your natural hair recipes. One day I am going to try the Natural Brunette Hair Dye.

I am writing you, however, to address a comment in step 8 of your rules. You stated that dreads have to be cut off and are damaging to hair. This is untrue. I have Sisterlocks now after years of having long hair. It has been a catalyst for growth. Please check out Sisterlocks.com, the founder has bum length hair. Mainly, I want you to know that properly taken care of locks grow without problems because of the lack of manipulation and chemicals.

I am sending this message in the spirit of sharing information. Also, I would like it if you removed the sentence about dreads since you now know that it is untrue and/or perhaps replace it with one suggesting properly maintained dreads/locks/locs as an alternative to chemical styling or extensions to achieve length.

I sincerely thank you for your time and look forward to your response.

Thanks Again,
Sophia, Naturally



By the way, I also included my e-mail address.

I eagerly await her response. What are your thoughts?
I regret that I failed to mention the emotional and healing benefit of accepting your hair and letting it be/grow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Few Fantastic Finds

Hey Blogger Fam! I hope everyone is well. This is a long overdue post!

I want to give kudos to Carmen of http://www.tomokastwists.com/ a much needed, overdue "THANK YOU". I love my Tomoka's Twist and wear it more than most of the hair ties I make myself to keep my hair out of my face. I encourage any hair tie lover ( or non-hair tie lovers) to try one. A natural girl should have an arsenal of accessories. I purchased this one called Mudcloth. It's excellent! Be sure you get one too.



Also, in the spirit of supporting Black Business, I must give some more positive product recommendations. The owners of Nubian Heritage which I gave a rave review for their soaps. Well, From selling on a sidewalk in Harlem, Richelieu Dennis and Nyema Tubman transformed drops of scented oil into Sundial Creations, a business conglomerate that today includes 4 retail stores and a state of the art 50,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility.

The particular product I would like to highlight is from http://www.sheamoisture.com/ ; it's a combo pack of nice, creamy lotion and a large bar soap. I choose Coconut Hibiscus available at any Target store, online, or at the SheaMoisture.com site. I have heard wonderful things about the acne-fighting black soap and tea tree shaving products.

Well you don't have to take my word for it; here is an online review:



Fantastic soap and lotion!



Reviewer: Southern Lady (who gave it a 5 out of 5 )



This product is of excellent quality and a little goes a long way. The bar of soap is huge and really leaves skin smooth and soft. The lotion is extra thick, and it only take a small dab to smooth over the skin. It leaves a soft, clean, and moisturized feeling and really smells great.


The next product recommendation is for http://www.soulpurpose.com/ ! I love, LOVE their solid perfumes. It's a great option for those who want a lingering smell throughout the day without the over-powering nature of some alcohol based perfumes. It is a creamy, oil based perfume that lasts all day. I have the Brazilian Jack Fruit; H.D. likes Hollywood Fresh. I also have the Sugar-Shea Scrub which is an exfoliator and a moisturizer all in one. The perfect cure for clearing dead skin without dryness. Nadine Thompson is the founder of Soul Purpose. Kudos to another Black woman entrepreneur and sister blogger.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2 Cents on 2 Years

My 2 year Sisterlocks anniversary came and went (May 25th/Memorial Day 2007). Will it be the terrible 2s or terrific 2s? So far, so good! I am considering getting a grooming to eliminate some lint and fuzz, but no major problems only fake ones. I am, maybe for the first time ever, really content with my hair and hair regimen. I am at peace with my hair.

I had been thinking about my hairstory for some time and finally arriving at a place where bunching doesn't matter to me, my one gripe with my Sisterlocks. After talking to Martine (famous SL consultant) about it, she said bunching is locking. Your hair is fine. I love that! Bunching=Locking. I had never thought about that before because I was too busy worried that my hair would look like this. LOL!

I'm kidding. I was actually thinking about something I read. It said that your birthing story and developments around your time of birth and as a kid, affects you now. No surprise there! But I started to think about how my hair was received into the world around me, with my family, and how I thought of my hair as a kid.

Well, here it goes! The complete Hairstory of Naturally Sophia:

This is me before my first year; as you can see, my first style was a bob. No wonder I keep going back to that. LOL!

ABOVE: My 1st Bob
BELOW: My last bob


Then around 14 months. Mom moved to the bun. Her favorite hair-do for me to this day. I like it too. One of the first styles I did after getting Sisterlocks was a bun.


My 1st Bun/Chignon
My Last Bun/ Chignon

And then there are those 3 ugly four letter words that have always followed me:


"LONG GOOD HAIR"
Yes, they make me cringe to this day. For along time that was the only compliment I ever received. It was an adjective that other people placed on me to describe my entire being. It either went this way "You got good hair and long too" or "You know her the one with the long pretty hair." It was a way to isolate me from the other little girls. I did feel isolated. I recall one woman told me as a child, " you have the prettiest hair I have ever seen." I was standing right next to her daughter, a little girl the same age with pigtails all over. She looked at me as if I had betrayed her. I had nothing to do with it. Naturally, I loved and resented my hair. I loved the affection and attention but hated the isolation. From an early age, I resented the fact that the praise I was shown was tied to my hair that I realized was impermanent while enjoying the praise all the while. Complicated for a 6 year old!

People constantly wanted to play in my hair. I still don't like that even now. And my mom, who loved daily combings and weekly washings is/was heavy handed. I hated getting it combed.
I still get the "good hair" comments. Fortunately, those comments don't define me anymore. They define the speaker. And long? Who cares? Not me. I don't care about length.

DISCLAIMER :) But I recognize I have always had long hair (relatively) for those of you who will remind me what it's like not to have it.


Sincerely I feel the longer your hair is, the more maintenance there is to clean it, groom it, and style it. One thing that was very freeing to me was to cut my hair. But not only to cut it, but to stop straightening it. Yes, I was a former heat addict. I longed for my hair to be straight without a perm/relaxer (I've never had one). So, I heavily invested in straightening balms and pomades, flat irons, cast iron hot combs, and the "Dominican" salon. Here is a photo of me after a severe heat straightening back in the day.




Less than a year after I cut my hair in college, I started my first set of (traditional) locks. Ah yes! And let me not forget the wild and free stage.




Here I am with my peeps! Both have Sisterlocks! Read this and that. :)

I finally decided on Sisterlocks after a period of regression and exploration after combing out my traditional, 1st set of locks. Those were gone because of peer pressure and family inclination to berate me because of my wild head with messy locks. In this period, I tried everything from hand tied weave, sewn-ins, wigs, color, and braids. None of them seem to work for me.

I am happy with my hair now as it is despite what the critics say. Yes, this includes the Sisterlock critics who say use this shampoo or that, locks should be smaller/larger, and that my hair and it's bunching is a problem.

For me, being natural on its highest level is an intangible thing. You feel it but can't always grab it. I feel after a certain point, the things that used to matter don't matter anymore.

My list of progressively unimportant things include:

Press N Curls

Hot Combs

$20 wash and wraps (never lasted longer than 4 days)

Lottabody Setting Lotion (mostly alcohol)

Braids with Kanekalon

Micro Braids ( too much work to remove)

Cornrows ( too tight)

Weave ( I still have packs in my house, ugh)

Bronner Brothers Pump It Up ( seriously it's marketed as spritz but I know it's glue)

Dominican Salons

Flat Irons (heat damage)

Sitting under the Dryer for 2 hours (more heat damage)

Pro Style Gel (flakes, dries hair)

Making My Own Shampoo

Leaving Organic Materials in My Hair ( I used to shampoo my hair with blended aloe vera and leave the green plant material in my traditional locks, I know, ewww)

Umbrellas (used to not leave home without it)

Shower Caps

Afro Picks

Cholesterol ( used instead of shampoo)

Blow Dryers (well pencil this one in, my consultant says I need to have my hair dry more, faster)

One day I hope to add Sisterlocks and Retightenings to the list. But I am enjoying the journey all the way. Thanks for letting me share my 2 year old thoughts with you. By the way, if you are reading this you have good hair too. There is no good or bad. Hair doesn't misbehave; people do.

Here I am today 2 years and 2 weeks after the initial install. (Today's pic coming soon).