Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Have Knots

Hide ya wife, hide your hair!
The history of cleaning textured hair is yet another telling story of the downright mean treatment of the Africans who were enslaved. When the story of slavery is told, it has an undertone of people of color who came from a dark continent who were void of content, character, spirit, and purpose. It reads as if the people they stole and enslaved were merely dark colored slaves. This leads into the confusion in caring for textured hair today.

The history of slavery in America tells the story of devaluing human life abusively. This abuse was hash. It was from extreme physical and mental abuse to the subtleties of denying slaves simple human hygiene; such as hair care.

When the Africans were enslaved most don't realize they brought them over with nothing. They were not allowed to practice any rituals of any sort. Many were from different regions and did not speak the same language. So the ability to communicate with one another on how to carry on any sort of ritual was out of the question. Zoe Olivia Rhodes, a student at the University of Warwick in the UK writes this in her dissertation on textured hair that brings to surface the above-mentioned fact, "historically, Afro hair was denigrated by European slave masters. Slaves hair was referred to a wool; contributing towards black slaves being treated as animals and not being human beings." Her research argues, "this behavior came as a response to racist ideology and was meant to devalue the physical attributes of black people in order to sustain white supremacy. Indeed this denigration affected how slaves perceived themselves and resulted in them disguising their hair so it appeared more European or it was covered up." This affliction still haunts many Africans and people with textured hair today. So begins the woes of the haves and the have knots.

Considering Africans were brought here forcibly with no ties to the resources to care for their hair and the belief that they were not humans worthy of soap, water, and a comb; explains the present day mass confusion. In addition, it explains the refusal to ensure that all who are licensed to do hair know how to care for and sometimes style Afro-textured hair.  To reiterate, in the Americas, the start of hair care for Afro-textured hair people started from the mindset of people who controlled them and did not look like them. Remember they believed the enslaved Africans hair was of no pertinent value. Because they believed they were not humans; they taught them all to not clean their hair, not comb their hair or to cover it up.

From there, the madness in caring for textured hair began. Africans and Black people in the Americas pretty much hold on to this belief and practice today. Just as many who practice the ritual of placing a lost tooth under a pillow in exchange for money from the Tooth Fairy. Demanding Africans and Blacks in the Americas to clean their hair more often is like asking them to not believe in the Tooth Fairy. Many still hold on to the belief that cleaning hair frequently is for Whites. Cleaning hair infrequently from 2 weeks to two months is fine for Blacks, bi-racial or people with textured hair. They believe this to be a very effective ritual and practice simply because of the color of their skin, the texture of their hair and the local of where they reside.
This blog aims to debunk both belief and practice. Hair for all humans is an appendage of skin, regardless of race, texture, region or nationality. Hair grows individually from a regenerative organ or tiny hole called a follicle. Every seven years, the body gives each tiny hole or follicle a new strand of hair. The scalp; like the mouth, ears, nose, vagina, and mouth is self-cleaning. Therefore, like those other orifices, the scalp and hair need to be cleaned regularly with appropriate cleansers per the scalp, hair texture, and type.

To clean knotty and textured hair effectively, you must know what kind of textured hair you have. Is it curly, wavy, kinky, Afro or a combination? A trichologist or dermatologist is qualified to identify hair textures and types. You can opt to do one yourself by using a magnifying glass to see the direction the hair grows from the scalp and a simple tug of one strand of hair. If the hair grows straight from the scalp, it is straight. If the hair grows in an angle, it is wavy. If the hair grows in an obvious "c" pattern, it is curly. If the hair grows close and flat to the scalp, it is considered kinky. If there is frizz accompanying any of those growth patterns, it is combined with Afro. Thus making it combination between Afro and the textured growing from the scalp. If you tug the one strand and it snaps quickly, it is fine weak hair. If you tug the one strand of hair and it takes a while to snap, it is medium or normal hair. It is not too weak or strong. If you tug the one strand of hair and it never snaps, it is coarse or very strong hair.

Because slavery was such a money-making venture, the practice of making money made its way into everything; including hair. So, here is where the masses continue to have cleaning hair wrong from White slave masters. How you ask? To clear things up, the semantics used to explain and justify cleaning hair are wrong. For starters, the word shampoo is wrong and used interchangeably. This means more confusion which means more money.

Washing hair, cleaning hair and is NOT shampooing hair. The all have different meanings. Washing hair is a method of cleaning hair with a mild to vigorous scrub with shampoo, but not the scalp. Cleaning hair is to use the proper techniques to ensure that the scalp tingles and the hair squeaks; which means both scalp and hair are properly cleansed. A shampoo is a Hindu word that translates to massage. A shampoo is also the name of the soap people used to apply to hair and scalp to clean it. Let the madness continue as they get rich off the stupidity of the masses.  Shampooing hair and scalp really does and means nothing as it relates to washing or cleansing, again because to shampoo hair and scalp literally means to massage it. So why you may not be getting either cleaned, it sure feels good to get a good massage!

Shampoos are basically soaps with fancy ingredients and names that are formulated to clean hair or/and scalp. All shampoos are not formulated to clean the scalp. Be sure to read the label and instructions before you buy. Conditioners are formulated to help with manageability and appearance of hair. So both are created by scientists who specialize in cosmetic formulations to create a cleansing and softening agents according to hair textures. Those are called shampoos and conditioners.  Both products affect the performance of hair as it relates to cleanliness, volume, shine, sleekness, manageability, color protection, chemical altered fibers, artificial fibers and so on. Again race and nationality are not included in this formulation. Marketing and advertisement are responsible for the introduction of race and nationality to help sell the shampoo and conditioner.


The technique to clean textured hair is different from the technique of cleaning hair that is straight. To clean textured hair effectively, you must part and section the hair, then apply the shampoo (soap) directly to the scalp, scrub the scalp vigorously and conclude this cleansing process with a mild to aggress massage (shampoo). To shampoo straight hair effectively, you can either section the hair into parts and apply to the scalp, then scrub vigorously and conclude with a massage (shampoo). You can also, squeeze the soap (shampoo) into your hands, apply to hair and scrub vigorously into scalp. This process can be repeated 2-3 times if hair and scalp is cleansed within 6 days. If the hair has not been cleaned in over 7 days, the steps must be repeated 4-5 times to ensure flakes, fibrin and yeast are cleansed away from the scalp and hair properly. Hair must squeak in order to be considered clean. If hair does not squeak, then the hair is not clean. If the scalp does not feel tingly, then the scalp is not clean. The scalp must tingle in order to be considered clean.

To condition all hair textured and types effectively, use conditioner according to you hair type and texture just as you do when selecting a cleanser (shampoo). I suggest the language on the bottle speaks close to the language you use to describe the goal you want to see with your hair. Do not purchase conditioners according to your race or nationality. Apply conditioners to the ends of your hair first, then work your way up. Because the ends of your hair are the oldest part of the hair, they need to be conditioned first. After working the product up towards the scalp, use a comb to comb product through hair thoroughly. This assures the product is on every strand. Rubbing conditioners onto hair at the scalp area first does nothing but mosh the product around; thus making it settle to the scalp causing more flakes and itchiness. That will also inhibit the performance of the product giving it bad reviews and making the hair look and feel coated, dull and difficult to manage.


Be sure to use the proper comb for your hair texture and type. Straight hair typically requires larger tooth combs. Textured and Afro hair requires combs with more teeth that are closer and longer to prevent tearing and ripping of textured strands of hair. Using this kind of comb also reduces cramping in the hands and ensures even distribution of products throughout the hair. Lastly, using the proper comb will not damage the scalp.

When cleaning hair be sure to use warm water. Do not use hot water. Hot water will dry hair out, thus making it more difficult to comb and look nice. When conditioning hair, use cooler water. Cooler water causes the tiny hair scales called cuticles or keratin layers to lie flat. This will certainly make hair very easy to comb and shine more. Do not use cold water. Using cold water makes rinsing away the product ineffective and leaving hair difficult to comb and manage. Therefore, be sure to use cooler temperatures.

As you can see having knotty hair requires more than the mere act of purchasing something with images and words that are similar to you and your physical traits. Knotty hair care requires scalp care as well. The methods to cleaning and caring for knotty hair and not so knotty hair has three simple steps in no given order; the right products, the right tools, and the right technique. End the racist practice in hair care, starting with yourself and your family today. Embrace your hair and the time it takes to care for it. Having textured hair makes you unique not a money bag. Understand, people are getting very wealthy off of your ignorance, refusal to change and belief in the hocus pocus magic of the Tooth Fairy. We all know how the money gets their now. It comes a point and time to tell your child there is no such thing as a tooth fairy. There also comes a point and time to tell Africans who have resided in the Americas and have a lineage to slavery that not combing your hair, using a wide tooth comb, co-washing, infrequent shampooing are wrong as well. Instead, follow these three steps. They are as easy as 1, 2, 3. To not follow those rules only results in you being amongst the haves and the have KNOTS!

Peace out!



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Revolt

#REVOLT
The salon industry is full of beauty. Creative people are plentiful. Vibrant personalities and artistic designs keeps the smiles coming. It is a place for the unique, loud, prim and proper. It welcomes home boys and home girls alike. Regardless the age, if you can fit in the chair, you are welcomed. The salon industry is happening. 

In all its splendor of artistic flair and technological advances, it needs an enema. Wait, what just happened? The outer appearance, by way of social media and marketing of the salon industry appears to be lose and flowing. However, from the inside it is rigid and stiff. It is not all encompassment. It is segregated. So there in lies the crap and a lot of it. Segregation is the crap that causes our service model to be blocked and backed up. On the outside a person can look perfectly normal, have clear skin, a flat belly and all. But on the inside, their colon is blocked; they are full of crap. We look like we are truly flowing with our colorful artsy tartsy hair designs and fancy salon names. Sometimes we are. But, we need an enema of sorts to loosen up our service model approach to the vast and diverse world of hair; with emphasis on hair care for the textured hair masses. 

What is wrong with the service model, you ponder? Because the salon industry is primarily segregated we do not see it. It is the training of the masses by the powers that be that pretty much teaches and promotes that people of the same race pretty much have the same hair texture. That is false. It is how they indirectly promote segregation. Call it target audience, demographics; you can put any word you want on it. It is what it is. Segregation. And where there is segregation. There is discrimination. No matter how nice we separate those shopping aisle using covert racial undertones such as, "ethnic, women of color, natural hair,
bi-racial and the likes." It looks as if we are finally opening up to the other half of the world who went unnoticed. What other half? What is there not to see? Over 90 percent of humans have some degree of texture in their hair! However, when one observes how hair styles and hair care is promoted, they have to admit, straight hair rules. There is a separate practice and cost for those with textured hair. According  to the 2015 Department of Labor report, America has approximately 688,700 plus licensed cosmetologists. And they all began their education of hair care and hair styling on straight haired mannequins. There is segregation in the education of hair when the mannequins are black and white with straight hair. Textured hair mannequins are not open for discussion; nor are they an option to purchase during the education of cosmetology. The extensiveness of the hyperbole in the beauty industry is shameful. Especially in America. To separate people, then use word play, photos and the emotion quotient in advertisement and education is misleading and deplorable to say the least. At what point were retailers (and of all places; a pharmacy, i.e. CVS) gullible enough to hang a sign called "ethnic" above a hair care aisle? I guess "coloreds only" would bring out the Tiki torch carrying customers, huh? They feel comfortable seeing white people with no texture walk down one aisle and seeing people of color and whites with textured hair walk down another? Dude.

This nonsense has to end. I work in the industry. I have been doing my part to address this nonsense. Attempts are definitely being made to end it; but for the most part, segregation is real. It is ignored, accepted, overlooked. To describe my observation, I will describe what I call, The "segregated" service cycle. This cycle of segregation pretty much consists of approximately 6 simple steps (give or take):
  1. Let people know you are a licensed cosmetologist
  2. Let people know what you do
  3. Let people know where you are located 
  4. Let people know what your work hours are  
  5. Let people know how much you charge 
  6. Let people know what hair care goods you sell. 
In return, the customer:
  1. Arrives at location
  2. Request what is on salon service menu
  3. Pay services rendered
  4. Purchase recommended hair care goods (optional)
  5. Refer clients
  6. Rebook appointments
We are pretty much trained to do business with people who look like us. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. Sounds fundamentally sound right? 

Wrong. Why?

You are not getting what you paid for. You are getting what you "wish" you could get when you pay for it. First of all, everyone knows the world is diverse. Segregation does not work effectively. It overtly screens out certain people. When people are screened out, people are at risk. Second, race has very little to do with hair. Yet there is a discriminating distinction between those with texture and those without texture. There is a discriminating distinction between those who are of color without texture and those who are of color and no color with texture. You gasp?  

Both hair stylist and customer need not lie, deny and turn heads in another direction as if this segregated cycle is functioning. The segregated cycle is not functioning. People are woke and alert. The race card is not being played too much these days. A paradigm shift has taken place within the hair salon industry where customers of every race with textured hair are fed up with the covert segregated cycle. 

While the internet, blogs, YouTube, certain celebrity stylists, multicultural salons and other social media outlets have offered some relief; textured hair consumers remain under served. They are forced into a section called "ethnic" for no reason. They embrace the "natural hair movement" as if straight hair is not  natural. The separateness leads to cyber bullying, discrimination, and racism. And what is this new buzz word I'm seeing, "cultural appropriation?" They are using this term to slander straight haired women who wear cornrow or box braids. Geesh. This nonsense leaves customers and consumers feeling fed up, scorned and left out.

I remain stunned. How can I help the fed up, scorned and left out customers?They have some how fallen through the cracks of the very industry that is supposed to help them. The world of hair styles and hair care is utterly, totally and completely filled with diversity and textured hair. So what am I to do?

REVOLT.

I looked up the meaning of revolution to make sure the word could capture my sentiments. Is a revolution the solution for who I call the "textured hair masses?" Of the many definitions of revolution, I chose one that read, "Revolution is the forcible overthrow of a social order in favor of a new system."

Real life hair care.
"Yeah," I thought to myself, "A revolution is the solution. Hashtag revolt!" So, with my pumped fist, fervor and excitement, I typed "the revolution will be live."  Gil Scott Heron, the famous spoken word poet who wrote about revolution in the 70's was right when he spoke, "the revolution will not be televised." The segregation towards textured hair consumers and customers within the hair salon industry has brought about much dysfunction and mis-education. Along with it are unprecedented practices that yield ill-prepared hair stylists and a heart broken customers.

For the most part, the segregation within the beauty industry reminds me of a dysfunctional relationship. It has secrets and wives tales that are as valid as alternative facts. It is full of remorse, regrets and resentments. And like a bad relationship, both parties ultimately conclude, that karma is real. What goes around comes around. Segregation and dysfunction reflects lack of self love. We must learn to teach and help people care for their textured hair.

I will help. I will teach. This is the revolution in hair care. It is live! I am starting this revolution by replacing that segregated cycle with a new textured hair care world order! The new cycle is The Wright Method for all hair textures (regardless the race). The Wright Method has three simple steps. This system is user friendly to both the hair stylist and customer.  Great hair requires three simple steps in no given order regardless the color of your skin, the texture of your hair, the service requested, location of the salon, hours of salon operation, cost of goods, cost of service; rather you re-book, refer or purchase retail. The Wright Method is as follows:
  1. The right hair care products for your unique hair fabric
  2. The right hair styling tools for your unique hair fabric
  3. The right technique(s) for your unique hair fabric
This is my revolution. This is my revolution in hair care. It reminds me of the revolution during the outbreak of the AIDS virus in the early 80's. There was a belief that AIDS was contagious and airborne.  Along came a group of doctors who partnered with CDC (Center for Disease Control) to revolt. They wanted the segregation that resulted in discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS virus to end. Together they created and implemented "Universal Precautions." This drastically reduced paranoia, ignorance while simultaneously protecting the spread of all viruses. It all but stamped out the discriminatory practices against those with HIV/AIDS. I am suggesting everyone and all companies adopt "The Wright Method" where everyone with any type of hair texture can be serviced effectively.

I am inspired. Part of being a revolutionist is to not merely point out what is wrong. Remember a true revolution not only forces out and overthrows what is not productive to the masses, it vehemently is in favor of a new system! Are you ready for a revolution?

My simple method replaces segregated cycle of dysfunctional hair care for those with textured hair to a desegregated cycle that functions for all hair textures.

Join the revolution. It is live. I am coming to a city near you. "The Wright Method" will be promoted via public speakings and teachings. My appearances consist of a presentation, Q&A and a pop up shop.

Serious inquiries, email or contact me at 216-321-1101.