Monday, September 17, 2018

What They Don't Tell You at the Hair Salon

What lies beneath is what comes to mind when I think of reading an expose' or a how-to book written by a whistleblower of sorts. I have always been intrigued by mysteries and the unknown.  My best friend, Krissy and I used to read the dictionary when were kids. I absolutely loved our leather bound collection of the Encyclopedia Britannica. When the maroon leather collection came out with the gold embossed letters, you couldn't tell me nothin'! I would read into the night, under my covers with a flashlight. Krissy and I would meet at each other's house or even sit outside on the stoop of the local church and look up the words and their etymology that was posted on the sign or engraved along the design of the church. Whenever my mother went looking for me in the house, I could hear as she peered into different rooms, "Ladosha, where are you, you nosey little critter. I know you're somewhere with your face buried in a book." I would jump out of room and yell, "Here I am!"

568 Likes...#wtf (what the frenchtoast)! 
The discovery of thoughts, facts, myths, lies, and tales was my thang. I simply loved learning about what laid beneath and what was hidden. Considering I loved to write, I would often put my findings in writing via a short story, a class writing assignment or even a poem. Hair is one of those topics I kind of got tangled in while I was in college. The story goes, "I was failing. The end." #LOL

Yeah, it went that fast. To turn that F into an A, I was put to the challenge to write about a less complex topic compared to the one I failed. Hair would be the simple topic. I did turn that F into an A. And the rest they say is history.

From pre-colonialism to slavery, from freedom to civil rights, from desegregation to today's headlines straight from the computer screen of the Yahoo news, racism lives; hair shaming. Yaaas lawd, these folks and their racism continues. Famed Actress and Comedian of SNL, Maya Rudolph shared with a writer of Allure Magazine her hair shaming experience from some of the White comedians at SNL; the Emmy award winning late night comedy show. The so-called professional White hair stylist on the set complained of difficulty doing Ms. Rudolph's hair. Ms. Rudolph felt some kind of way when comments were made about her hair not being able to fit under certain wigs. She also did not feel comfortable when another White comedian on the set would joke about the smell of burning hair as she got her hair styled...#smh at #SNL White people. As if White people hair is not difficult compared to Blacks. Hair shaming? Bull!ish. Racism? Yes. The notion of one group of people's hair being more or less difficult than other speaks to racism and why it hurts. It most definitely speaks to the lack of competence, skill set, proficiency, expertise, creativity and just plain ol', not knowing how to do you freakin' job on behalf of the hair stylish. Seriously, ONLY in the hair industry and POLICING can one use "benign neglect" at work and get away with it . Difficult hair texture? Difficult Black people my ahhz. Hair is hair. Skill is skill. Certain hair stylists and police officers can get away with that. Not in my blog. I'm putting the incompetent racist hair stylist on blast.

So, now I stand before you as a former F student turned hair stylist, turned author to blow the "sicle" off this popsicle stand of racism in hair styling. All those turns guided me into writing a book that debunks the crap out of racism that directly contributes to the incompetence in hair care and hair styling. If you can't do textured hair, then get out the industry. It only reflects lack of skills, lack of education, lack of training and the belief in the misappropriated terms and conditions of hair by anyone whose hair is different from yours or the status quo. Now I must write.  I write to offer solutions for people with real hair in real life. My book titled, What They Don't Tell You at the Hair Salon addresses the following three points:
  1. Race is a social construct derived from pseudo-science and it has nothing to do with determining the texture of anyone's hair.
  2. The health of hair is an inside job. Yes people, you are what you eat, drink, breath, poop and rest upon. 
  3. Hairstyling is effective for all when the right hair products, the right hair styling tools and the right techniques are used per the unique hair fabric. 
Those three points are the premise of my new book. I hope you will enjoy it. You can follow me on all the social media platforms to watch me as I get jiggy with the facts about race, the health of hair and hair styling. This book is for hair stylists, parents, cosmetology instructors, counselors and everyone in between. The book is great for book clubs, meetups, classroom discussions, special interests groups and more. 

If you like my blog and want to get a little bit more into the mind and passion that drives me, I invite you to enter your chance to win hair care products from my line of hair products, The Wright Hair Products, have your hair and scalp analyzed as well as styled by me or a chance to win my eBook or the physical book by emailing me at: Share with me your hair or child's (loved one's) hair experience as it relates to race, health of hair or hair styling. Each week I will pick a winner. The winner will be emailed with instructions on how to get their winnings!  

Thank you in advance for your support. Remember, what they don't tell you at the hair salon...I will. 

Love, peace and hair grease.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Clean on Dirt

I absolutely love blogging. I love the excuse to read, research and learn. I love to take the information I read about and share it with others. Blogging is pretty cool! Blogging gives writers a chance to share their love of reading and writing for the sheer delight of it. I'm gonna use my love of reading to share with you a little bit about the truth on dirty hair.

Dirty hair is a very very touchy topic. As a matter of fact, talking about dirty or unclean, anything can be difficult. However, when you work in a business that requires you to clean and be clean, guess what? You can do it! So, here goes the clean on dirt.

Now, this blog is not limited to or is focused on women of color and women with textured hair only. But-ter-umm, the practice of not washing hair for weeks to months at a time is a practice that is predominantly used by women of color and women with textured hair. Why? Well, my research leads me to the answer that slavery is the culprit. Damn it! I know.

Kemsit, Nubian Queen of Kemet Pharaoh Mentuhotep II
(2061-2019 B.C). Queen Kemsit having 
her hair beautified by her servants.
Slavery is always going to be more difficult talk about than other topics because it evokes pain on the descendants of slaves and the descendants of the colonizers (thank you Shuri of Black Panther for bringing light to the word). There is nothing good about slavery. The effects of slavery have stained America forever and there is no way of avoiding the topic whenever America is discussed in the past, present or future. Unfortunately, even when it comes to dirty hair, the topic of slavery is responsible for yet another difficult topic in the making of America.

Now, getting to the point of dirty hair. It is to my understanding as a cosmetologist, there is a school of thought that has been passed down in some cultures of African American families and families of people with textured hair (some people with textured hair do not consider themselves Africans or descendants from Africa. But that is another blog) that textured hair should not be cleaned as often as people who do not have texture. The other school of thought is...the less texture (curly, kinky, wavy or Afro) one has in their hair, the more "they" can wash their hair. As an African kid raised in America, I was raised to shampoo and condition my hair weekly or more, especially during the summer when we went swimming. And my hair looked like Chaka Khan on steroids when I was a kid! So that captures a just a few scenarios around cleaning textured hair.

Well, the practice of not washing textured hair frequently is not a good one. It is no secret that when one of the most inhumane conquistador of all times, Christopher Columbus explored the sea to find the shortest route from Europe to Asia, he obviously had no sense of direction or what he was doing because he ended up in America. History tells us that according to his own journal in his own writing that he enslaved 6 natives on the first day upon them welcoming him and his cronies on their island. He wrote, "they make good servants." And within 60 years, that crook and his cronies physically enslaved thousands of Africans and killed some 250,000 indigenous people (Tainos)  with guess what? Rape, torture, lynching, disease and you guessed it, FILTH.  And from there, the White lie that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to discover America began. To think some 526 years later, the American world leader proudly summons masses of people to do what? "Make America great again." Meaning?

Understand that when the slave trade began, they did not do so with slaves. No, Boo Boo Kitty, they did so with Africans who were stolen and captured. When they stole the Africans, they did what any typical thief does when they steal, they take what they need. And typical of any thief, they do not bring other things along that are of no use to them in the selling of their stolen items. Just ask any thief. When a person steals clothes, they don't steal the soap powder and the iron to care for the stolen goods. When a thief steals a car, he does not steal the gas to fuel it or the garage door opener to park it. No, he takes whatever he deems of value to sell on the black market. That was slavery. Slavery was not only about stealing Africans, it was very much about selling Africans as slaves. The slaves were not things; they were African people who were moms, dads, teachers, priests, chiefs, daughters, sons, grandmas, mathematicians, architects, scientists, doctors and more. So, when the Europeans stole these Africans from their homes to enslave them for sale for labor, trust me when I tell you, African hair care was not on the roster and neither was their soap.

Alata Samina or Ose Dudu a.k.a black soap
Soap was not on the roster because Europeans did not use it. We know that Greeks love to claim the fame of every damn thing. Let the Greeks tell it they are responsible for geometry, history, numbers and writing. That is not true. Claiming and owning or starting are three different things. When you read the history of cleaning (even on the internet), Google and the peeps who do that thing called "algorithms" would have the average scroller to believe that the Greeks invented and set the standard on civilization, including cleaning some time during the era of 300 BCE. And you know what? They're right. But guess what else those algorithms capture? If you search for it the right way? They reveal that meanwhile back in ancient Kemet (Egypt) on the Nile between the period of 9000 BCE to 300 BCE, way before the Roman Empire, Africans were hunting, gathering and growing their own food. They had dynasties, spirituality, writing and pyramids. They were sustaining on their own. It was the Greeks, Romans and Persians who entered into Egypt for help. They were in the "Dark Ages" the Medieval times. They had very little going on and needed help desperately.  Oh and soap may I unapologetically add! African and African American scholars such as John G. Jackson, Cheikh Anta Diop, Dr. Ben Yosef Johchannan, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Anthony T. Browder, are writers on the history of ancient Kemet who all attest in their books that the birthplace of mankind and the start of civilization  began in the interior of Africa along the Nile Valley.

It is imperative for all people, regardless of age, sex, race, nationality, and texture of hair to know that cleanliness began in Africa. No such practice of not cleaning self and hair is in the history or practice of Africans and people with textured hair. Not cleaning hair as needed is a practice forced on enslaved Africans by Europeans slave masters and colonizers alike. Unfortunately, enslaved Africans were forced to drop and disown their lineage and lifestyle as Africans. They were demoted to labels and titles such as Negroes, Blacks, people of color and minorities.  As a result of that kind of mind control, rape and physical abuse that the enslaved Africans endured caused a "loss" of mind and their ability to identify with their homeland and lifestyle as Africans for hundreds of years afterwards to the present moment of me typing this blog.

Thus began the tragic practice and belief that descendants from enslaved Africans now called Blacks, people of color and minorities can not wash and comb our hair like Whites or people with less texture in their hair. In addition to creating soap, varying excavations of ancient ruins reveal that Africans even carved and made combs out of animal bones and wood. Today many believe that "Goody,"  "Diane," and "Dupont" invented combs. They did not.
The iconic ‘fist’ comb from the
1970s and a 5500 year old
comb from Abydos Egypt.
Taken at the origins of
the afro comb exhibition.
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 2013

Now we know that Europeans did not civilize the world as we know it.  Nor are they the creators and soap. We can now reveal just how the ancient Africans along the Nile created soap. Simple, they did so with the use of essential oils, plants, flowers, and vegetables! Soap in different parts of Africa is also known as Ose (black) Dudu (soap), Du Du Osun, Alata Samina, and Anago Samina. These different names for soap were the original cleansing products of choice for ages to follow. These soaps were not only for cleansing the body, they were also used for cleaning hair. Just as they were good for both during ancient times, they are also good for both now. Nothing against Dove, Caress, Lever and the likes; but Africans invented soap.

Again, the practice of washing hair and scalp every two weeks or months on out, is one that got its origins from slavery. Our ancestors from Africa knew the power of little and tiny; hence microbes. They knew bacteria was harmful and could kill, so cleaning was vital and essential. Cleaning the body along with the hair and scalp is something that is done daily, to three, or to once a week. The choice, of course, is yours. It is your body and your hair. You are free to do as you please.

Understand, that if you are touting yourself as a person who enjoys the freedom of "natural hair" and textured hair, as well as a person who enjoys the freedom of letting it (hair) be; do so in the knowing that "natural hair" is not limited to people of color or people with textured hair; it is everyone and everybody who has a scalp or and hair. This blog points to the interior of Africa along the Nile is where mankind started and where the African diaspora began. Understand that the scalp and every texture of hair need to be cleaned within 7 days. Failure to do so results in advanced hair loss, hair damage, hair breakage, balding and thinning. It also increases the financial gain of every hair care company you can imagine.

Co-washing, washing hair every two weeks, washing hair every month, dirt makes hair grow, and growing dandruff are simply more myths and lies planted in the heads of the descendants of European slave owners and colonizers. Unknowingly, the enslaved Africans passed the lies and practice to their children out of igorance and necessity. Washing hair with soap and water is the most popular way to clean hair. However, it is not the only way. You can also clean your hair and scalp with essential oils or an antiseptic using a cotton ball or white face cloth daily to control the growth of bacteria on the scalp and hair.

That is "the clean" on "the dirt" about hair.  The lies of Blacks and people with textured not having to wash their hair weekly or waiting every two weeks to clean their hair and scalp is not the way of us as a people according to history before slavery. It is nothing to brag and tout about as a practice of status, class, decorum, and hygiene for anybody regardless the race. What it is, is a preference. If that is your preference, it is your preference. The clean on dirt is not to make America great again by not washing your hair.

Love, peace and hair grease!