Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Till the End of Time

This has got to be one of the most beautiful songs I have heard in a while and the video is simple, artistic beauty in itself. Presenting Timothy Bloom and V.Bozeman in 'Til the End of Time. Let's get back to the love in the music.

Remembering W.E.B. Du Bois

Oftentimes touted as the father of the Pan-African movement and originator of the concept of the talented tenth, 1st African American to obtain a PhD from Harvard and co-founder of the NAACP, W.E.B Du Bois' contributions to the diaspora must never be forgotten. If you have never read his works, please get a copy of "The Souls of Black Folk" and get educated. While I don't agree with everything he espoused, I respect and am grateful for his profound intellectual contributions as well as his activism both in the US and around the world. Happy Birthday Dr Du Bois.

Publications by Du Bois

  • 1896   The Suppression of the Slave Trade to the United States of America,
  • 1898   The Study of the Negro Problems
  • 1899   The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study
  • 1903   The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches
  • 1909   John Brown
  • 1934   Editor of NAACP magazine the Crisis
  • 1915   The Negro
  • 1935   Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880
  • 1940   Dusk of Dawn: An Essay toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept
  • 1944   Founds Phylon magazine
  • 1945   Encyclopedia of the Negro: Preparatory Volume with Reference Lists and Reports
  • 1955   The World and Africa: An Inquiry into the Part which Africa Has Played in World History
  • 1968   The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois

Update from Moptopmaven

Our dear Moptop has finally updated her blog, putting to rest the question I'm sure lots of us who follow her blog were asking: "where is Moptopmaven?". I have been concerned because she hadn't posted anything for a minute and then someone mentioned she was ill. She posted yesterday sharing that she has in fact been seriously ill for a while now and is dealing with Wilson Disease. You can check out the full update here. I am hoping and praying she has a speedy recovery with this bout and that she can manage her disease and maintain some quality of life in the years to come. Help me send thoughts, prayers and positive energy her way!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Nina Simone!

One of my favorite artists of all time was the beautiful Nina Simone. She was fearless, she was beautiful, she was conscious, she was intelligent, she was so many things. Today would have been this Pan-African hero's 78th birthday. Today I spare a thought to reflect on her legacy and her lioness contribution to the diaspora and the world as a whole. I aspire to be woman like her.

It's so hard to choose because I love so many of her performances but my top five Nina Simone pieces

One of my sis's favorites
See Line Woman

RIP beautiful Queen! gone but never ever forgotten.


Mini Two Strand Twists - the verdict

So, will I stick to month long mini two strand twists as my new protective style? Look at the picture and tell me what you think I decided

Left bag - this weeks shed hair, right bag - shed hair from the week I put in my twists. Granted the left is 4 weeks of shed hair compared to one week, that is still a lot! Lots of that is broken hair as opposed to truly shed hair.

Determination: HELLLL NAH! 

Man, look at how much hair I lost! lol. It took me a full 2.5 hrs to detangle and style my hair post deep condition and ACV rinse, a process that usually takes an hour. there were so many disturbing tangles, I even had to cut two because I just couldn't. lol so yeah. I will def rock mini twists again because they are stylish, easily styled and the resulting twist out is phenomenal but I am NOT leaving these babies in my hair this long again ever or washing with them in. I think that's the main problem. Once my hair gets in water, it gets freaky and wants to flirt with other strands resulting in tangles, locs and general detangling disaster.

Hair post Deep Condition and ACV Rinse

This week I put my hair in about 22 box braids to recoup. I'm going to try to leave them in for 2 weeks and not wash for two weeks. I won't be surprised if I had a length and health set back because of those mini twists. So much breakage yall. And look at the size of that hair ball! (tear) 

For this week's leave-in mixture I used Hollywood beauty's carrot creme instead of Cantu and I like it a lot. It gives my mixture a thicker consistency and is much easier to use with less wastage. Depending on how my hair responds I might permanently replace the Cantu with this. As of right now my hair is nice and shiny and breathing a sigh of relief.

I think the next purchase I make is going to be a tangle teezer. I have to try that thing out because as my hair is getting longer my comb is just not doing it for me as it used to. Especially last night, I had to take most of those tangles out by hand because my comb was ripping my hair out. 

I'm also contemplating getting my hair straightened and possibly getting a trim. I think I need a break from the curlies for a while, not deal with tangles (do I sound traumatized or what) lol. I also noticed a lot of fairy (single strand) knots last night so I think I should probably deal with that situation. My plan is to let these braids sit for two weeks, do another coconut pre-poo treatment, do some medium braids/two strand twists for another two weeks then do my monthly shampoo, a protein treatment and the rest of the works and go get my hair straightened to see what I'm dealing with.

Stay Tuned! lol

Today's leave in Mixture 
  • 3 tbs Hollywood Beauty Carrot Creme
  • 2 tbs Redken Extreme Antisnap
  • 2 tbs Aloe vera juice
  • 2 tsp jojoba oil
  • 2 tsp tea tree oil
  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brazilian Keratin Treatments (BKT) - A Cautionary Tale

Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with one of the followers of this blog after she friended me on facebook. Her name is Lalex and she hails from France. She mentioned that she had tried the BKT and that it was a mistake for her so I asked her to share some of her experience as I have so many friends who have or are considering this treatment and I know there are many other naturalistas wrestling with this decision as well.

BKT is often touted as the perfect solution for naturals who want to wear their hair straight for a while as once you apply it, it cuts blowdrying and straightening time significantly. It also reduces frizz if you decide to rock the BKT without straightening but your curl pattern will be more relaxed than pre-BKT. Makers of BKT  claim that the effect of the treatment will eventually wear off and you won't permanently lose your natural curl pattern. This was not Lalex's experience. I'll let the pictures do the talking. 

On August 15th 2010, Lalex went to a hairdresser to get the BKT done.

Lalex's dry hair pre-BKT

pre - BKT her hair wet
After getting the BKT done. The hairdresser clarified her hair twice, semi- blowdried it, applied the Brazilian Keratin, completed the blow dry process then flat ironed at 360 degree

After getting the BKT done, Lalex was pleased, "my hair was shiny, soft, it looked very healthy... and straight. It took 5 min to flat iron my hair (against 1hour [before] the [BKT])". She had to avoid water, rain and steam for a week after getting the treatment. After that first week she shampooed (SLS free) her hair and straightened it everyday for the rest of that month with no product (approximately 5min/day to refresh the style). After the first month she didn't straighten her hair but it was still relatively straight and shiny even without flat ironing it. The BKT lasted three months and cost 140 euros (~US$190). 

Fast forward to February 14th 2011. While Lalex expected her hair would revert to her texture pre-BKT, 6 months later this hasn't happened. While some of her hair has reverted to curly, about a third of it has remained straightened or a looser curl pattern than she had before, mainly concentrated at the top/front of her head.

6 months post BKT

6 months post BKT - front 1/3 of her hair is still straight
2/3 of her hair has reverted to her pre-BKT texture
camouflaging the multiple textures
Right now she is growing out her hair and trying to maintain a healthy curly style and vows never to do BKT again. 

The important take away message here is if you want to do straight hair and don't care about retaining your natural curl pattern, this treatment will be useful to you. One caution is to be aware that most brands use formaldehyde or one of its derivatives and that these compounds are carcinogenic. Even brands that claim to be "formaldehyde free" have these compounds in them as they can legally claim to be formaldehyde free if they have a formaldehyde derivative in them, other related aldehydes such as gluteraldehyde or chemicals that react to form formaldehyde. They can also claim to be "formaldehyde free" if they have a formaldehyde concentration of 0.05% or less

If, however, you love your natural hair texture, you might want to think twice before you choose to do this as you aren't guaranteed to have your curls come back after you quit the treatment. 

I hope this was helpful to some folks. Thanks so much again Lalex for being so kind to let me share your story. If you have more questions about BKT or Lalex's experience feel free to send her a message via facebook (Lalex Malou) or you can email me further questions at If you would like to share your own BKT experience feel free to send me a message or leave a comment.

Cute courageous kid and TV Anchor rocking natural

This Missouri first grader is so smart! His aunt was having a seizure and he had the good sense to call 911 and possibly save her life. 
Justin Kastanis saves aunt with 911 call

What could make this story even better? The KPLR11 TV reporter reporting the story is rocking a fierce TWA! yay!

Kim Hudson KPLR11 News Reporter

Coconut Prepoo

Last night I did my coconut prepoo to detangle my hair that has been in mini 2-strand twists for four weeks.

2nd day twist out before prepoo

The recipe I use is as follows

  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs coconut cream (I use Goya coconut milk. I place the milk in a glass container and leave it uncovered in the fridge for about two days so the cream can float to the top and some of the water will vaporise. I scoop the cream off the top.)
  • 12 oz plain fat free yogurt
Take the yogurt out of the fridge at least one hour before mixing to get it to room temperature. Microwave the coconut milk for a minute to melt it. Mix the cream into the yogurt and then pour the melted oil into the yogurt as well and mix thoroughly for a creamy consistency.

My ingredients
After mixing consistency is thick and creamy. Notice the spoon is standing in the mixture
I then sectioned my dry hair into four, and section by section I applied the mix from root to tip to small pieces of hair at a time, making sure every strand gets coated. As you apply the mix you instantly feel the detangling and shed strands become easy to remove. You will also observe that your curls clump and are more elongated than they would usually be if you were to wet your hair.
Sectioned my hair in four. I am holding the last bottom section in my hands.

The size of a typical sub-section of hair before applying the mixture.
The same section of hair after adding the mixture. notice the clumping and elongation of my curls

Once I completed my entire head I smoothed it all into a bun, put a plastic cap over it, wrapped a towel around that to soak up any of the mixture leaking out and went to bed.

Next morning, I removed the towel and the cap and steamed with my huetiful for 20 minutes. I then shampooed my hair with HE Hello Hydration, conditioned with Suave Tropical coconut and deep conditioned with ORS Hair Mayo. I followed that up with my usual ACV rinse.
next morning

Post wash and condition. My curl pattern is still very much the same but this definitely made detangling way easier.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Natural Hair meetup.... in Iran

Loved this so much!

As we naturals of the African diaspora deal with the joys, pains, history, politics and economics that come with presenting our natural mane in the western world, let us spare a thought for curlies (types 2, 3 and 4) in Iran, some of  whom have to hide from their government trying to force them to get a haircut. Be grateful that at the very least you aren't forbidden from meeting up with other like-minded curlies at your local starbucks to admire your manes, trade tips and take pics.

Mini two strand twists - after the take down is the big curly fro!

As much as I told myself I wasn't going anywhere this weekend, the procrastinator in me insisted I needed to go hang out with my friends so I did. Plus it was just so spring-like yesterday (never mind the fact that by the time I was heading home it was blizzarding and cold) you were obligated to do something fun. I took down those Ms Ceelie braids I've been rocking since untwisting my hair and wonder of all wonders! It turns out that when you take down 4 week old mini twists and put them in some ceelie braids, that is the perfect recipe for a huge sweet looking curly fro!

Love it! Slept with my hair in a pineapple to preserve the curls so I'll take pics of my second day hair later (more like four weeks + 2nd day hair lol)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mini two strand twists - the take down

So it's been almost four weeks and in preparation for wash day this weekend I started the dreaded take down process. I have alluded often to the fact that my hair's natural proclivity is to be in some locs but I'm not ready yet. Every time I do small twists in my hair, leave them for a while and wash with them in, I will usually find a few twists that have started locing. Well sure enough, I had a few that did just that and here is what it looks like

In the past, when I encountered this I would cut my hair or just go ahead and loc my hair but then I discovered Pantene Pro-V Detangling Light Conditioning Mist. Trust me when I say, if there is one product that I absolutely MUST HAVE this is it. 

This particular bottle and I have been together about 2 years now.  

I don't have use for it often but I always keep it on deck for when I do come across those tangles that refuse to submit. Everything else I use can be substituted but this here, there's nothing else like it. No amount of water and conditioner gives me slip like my boo. This thing detangles like a charm. Just a couple squirts on the loced area, massage it in, I don't even have to manipulate or comb. Just massage it over the area and run your fingers up and down the strands and slowly (less than a minute actually) but surely the tangle literally melts, resulting in this

Most of my wanna be dreds were around my edges and the nape area but all in all it wasn't as painful a process as I thought it would be. It took about 1.5 hours. I did not fully detangle my dry hair, I just braided it up in some big old Ms Celie braids and I'll rock that until wash day unless I have to go somewhere special which I highly doubt.

This weekend I'm gonna do my coconut prepoo detangling session, shampoo, protein treatment with my other true love Nexxus protein reconstructor and deep condition with something different from my regular Hair Mayo. Make sure and check back for that update and the pics!

Mini Happy Rant - to touch or not to touch

So in the natural blogosphere ppl are freaking out cuz the Biebs patted Esperanza's hair.

My take: if Esperanza is cool with it, y U tripping? lol

Don't tell me if u were in the presence of such beauty you wouldn't be tempted to touch the fro too. LMAO

This is a recurring issue in the natural community. Somebody always has a story bout 'these white folk' trying to touch their hair. News flash: maybe I've been around white ppl too much but I'm as black as they come and I touch ppl hair too! Just a few weeks ago I was heading to a semi formal and this white chick had the most beautifully executed flat twists and pin curls on her head I have ever seen and I was like "honey child did u do that urself?!!! that ish is CAYUTE! can i touch it?" lol 

It ain't a black thing yall it's a cute hair thing! If ur hair looks good or different from the norm ppl are curious and they wanna touch. 

Now I get that some ppl think it's rude that ppl don't ask before they touch. It is rude, guilty as charged. But hey, when I'm in a club surrounded by yaki, remi and kanekelon and then out of the darkness I see a huge afro, or a cute twistout or well executed curly updo I can't help my sunbeam smile and my body beelining to go tell her how cute and fierce she look. And sometimes my hand is way ahead of my mouth asking permission to touch. And most times the feeling is mutual and before u know it we're both all up in each other's hair and ppl around us are looking at us like "what in the world?!"  LMAO

All this to say maybe we need to chill and realize that we are humans, curious by nature. It's your right to be mad if ppl touch u if u don't wanna be touched, personal space should be respected. But please don't over-analyze the motives of the touchers and don't try to make those of us who don't see the big deal feel bad. lmao. 

PS Acting like only white ppl do this makes us sound ignorant, umkay.

Happy rant over!

Have a Blessed day yall!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Four Women

I have been pondering on whether to write on this or not for a while and then today my sister A presented me with the perfect segue. I lurk on many natural hair blogs and could make a living watching youtube vids (if only somebody would pay me LMAO) and even though by and large it is generally a very supportive community one thing that disturbs me a little are the "beefs". I know, it is kind of irrational to expect that there would be no beefs. After all, there is animosity in EVERY community and there seems to be a general pervasiveness of bad manners, internet thuggism, hating and related behaviors now. But I think for the natural hair community it is particularly sad because many ppl seem to forget that despite the fact that our hair is wrought with history and politics at the end of the day we are all individuals and hair is just that, hair.

Synopsis of some of the "beefs" in the natural hair online community

Really? Is it really this serious? Maybe I just don't get it. Coming from the Caribbean for me hair is hair and the more ppl embracing their God given beauty without pretension the better. No need to be exclusive, no need to be militant, no need to make ppl feel like less of a person because of their hair choices. What somebody else chooses to do with their hair is THEIR BUSINESS, leave them be! Underlying a lot of the judgement that goes on there seems to be some kind of dissatisfaction with self that manifests itself in being a hater or argumentative or downright mean, oftentimes towards ppl who are complete strangers. 

My sister sent me this vid today, a modern day take on that great visionary Pan-African talent Nina Simone's Four Women.

As I listened to this performance I got GOOSEBUMPS. I wish I could share this with all my diasporic Sisters. At the end of the day, we are all different but at the same time a reflection of each other. Regardless of what we look like, our place in the diaspora, our specific circumstance or station in life or the hair on our head for that matter, we all share in this blessing and this curse called BLACKNESS. And it is a BEAUTIFUL THING!

So as we go about our business lets try to be supportive and love each other and lend a helping hand. Lets leave the judgement and disparaging remarks to somebody else. Old people often say if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything. lol Not to say that we shouldn't have debates or even arguments or we shouldn't check ppl when their attitude is off or they are not communicating effectively but this can be engaged in healthily and come from a place of LOVE. Personal attacks, snippiness and rudeness  are not the answer. 

To end things on a positive note I must say that I personally have only had positive experiences with other naturalistas on the www as well as in real life. I really appreciate all the bloggers and vloggers who spend so much time and labor in love to give us the multitude of resources we have now. I also appreciate the sisterhood and helpfulness of the facebook community as well as the people who come through my humble little spot on the webs. It also feels so good to trade tips, stories and compliments with my fellow real life naturals be they family and friends or random naturals I encounter walking down the street, in the airport, at clubs, in walmart etc etc. 

Here's the original performed by Nina

And here is Talib Kweli's re-interpretation which I LOVE. He is such an amazing storyteller


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where to Find Natural Hair and Skin products in Trinidad

UPDATE!!!! Newer post on where else to find natural hair products in Trinidad

I have so many naturalistas in Trini asking me about products and natural ingredients I figured I should create a post for this topic. It will be a work in progress and I'll add to it as info becomes available. I must thank my sister A for being a good foot soldier and hunting (she really had to hunt) for these things. Thanks boo and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love u! lol. Ok, on to where to find products. All prices quoted are in TT dollars.

Mustapha's - just off the corner of Prince and Frederick Streets, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

raw shea butter - 6oz - $40 

jojoba oil - 1 oz - $20

aloe vera - 1 oz - $20

also carries:
sweet almond oil
avocado oil

African black soap

The Little Store - Lower Rapsey Street, Curepe, Trinidad

castor oil - 15ml - $6

A also informs me that castor oil is readily available at drugstores around the country for $4 for the equivalent amount.

Now for this to work it must be participatory so for all my trini naturals please comment or message me at with your favorite hair products, where you get them in trini and how much it costs (with the amount of product). One question I am always getting is where in Trinidad can people get infusium 23 leave in?!!!! Pennywise used to carry it, I don't know why they stopped. Also if anybody has ever seen giovanni hair products in Trini let me know.