I had super long hair when I was younger. I liked the styles my salonist put on it in as much as they were only three styles because I was in school; Mosodo/kilimanjaro, pussy cat and lines/cornrows. My happiest moment was when there were extensions with white and green beads in them. The beads had to blend with the school uniform that’s why. I would shake my head and listen to them hit one another and that plastic sound was the truth to a four year old. A few years later, I decided to have my hair cut as I was preparing myself to go to boarding school.
It was all fun and games until the hot sun of Makueni county decided to show off its teeth. That sun was super-hot. The rays would hit your head and make you hangry; hunger, because of the barbeque like smell you are now emitting and the anger you feel because you can feel your brain boiling. I used to go to church and pray for that the Holy Spirit enter the headmaster and make him allow us to keep long hair. Yes, my pettiness started a long time ago.
Flash forward a few years later and I am through with high school. I had really long, beautiful healthy hair. It was almost 35 centimeters give or take. My salonist was now very tired of my thick hair that took almost two hours to blow-dry. So she booked an appointment for me to come and have my hair relaxed. After my hair was relaxed it was all bouncy, wavy and shiny. I felt like I am acting in a movie every time I walked out of the house. Then things started happening, bad things. My hair thinned and turned red-orange. I looked like a Maasai whose ochre had not stuck properly. I cut it again and started a new, I looked like a young Somali boy for a while but I am happy now. I am now 2 years natural and loving it.
Things I learnt from an interview with Felicia Leatherwood
She is known by many as the ‘hair whisperer’. She was here in Kenya and held Curltalk panels and classes at Amadiva Salon in DusitD2 and various other locations over the weekend. She has worked on the hair of many African-American celebrities who grace our screens every now and then. She has worked on Ava Duvernay’s locs, Tiana Paris’ hair, Lisa Raye’s Afro, Viola Davis’ afro and Jill Scott’s hair, just to name a few. Some of the things she shared are:-
- She is most happy making someone feel beautiful and not only beautiful, but beautiful in their own natural hair.
- You should wear your hair like a crown and walk tall. It is yours, it shows who you are and that you are comfortable being you.
- If your spouse hates your natural hair after a long stint with relaxers and weaves then wave him goodbye. He was in a relationship with your hair and not you.
- We tend to be influenced by people who do not look like us. The long flawless hair we see on television is theirs. They are wearing their natural hair. Wear yours in all its fullness, kink and glory.
- No lye is a lie. Most of the relaxers say that they have no lye but they are lying.
- You should not tear yourself down. Be proud in your natural beauty
- Wake up every morning, look into the mirror and say ‘I love you’ whilst looking at your image. It will bring tears to your eyes as you rarely tell yourself that.
- We have heard a lot of negative things being said about our hair and we started believing that we have the wrong kind of hair. We should now start telling ourselves positive things and we will start believing in our beauty, beauty we were born with.
- Do not care about the different types of African hair, find what works for your hair and stick with it. Everyone’s kink is different.