Giuliana Rancic

I was about 16 when I decided that I was going to loc my hair up.

To that point, I’d had every hair style that one could have as a little black girl growing up in the 90s.  My hair had been permed.  My mother hand straightened my hair with the hot comb (the one that you would stick on the burner and run through your hair).  I’d rocked box braids.  And finally, when I was old enough to realize that I didn’t want anyone touching my hair or pulling it anymore, I decided that I was going to loc it up.  I don’t think my mom took me seriously at first.  Up to this point I’d been an imaginative teen, and had dreamt of being a singer, practiced my autograph over and over, changed my handwriting, tried to be a lefty, and expressed my dreams of becoming a Rockette, so she may have thought it was just one of my Cheri-isms, and she bought me a few books on it from the library, not thinking it would lead anywhere.

But I was relentless.

I loc’ed it up myself, and my parents were so horrified by the results (rightfully so), that they took me to a place to get a consultation, and then finally, to get my locs started.  They were short, little baby locs, and my mother was horrified.  She begged me to let her cut them off.  She begged me to try a wig, and then a weave.  And when it became clear that I was serious, she left it alone, and most likely resigned herself that I was just going to with short hair forever.  [Side note:  mom has since come around, and admitted that she didn’t understand what they were going to look like.  She loves it, and has since started to wear her hair natural as well.]

Since then I got into a prestigious private college, graduated college, attended graduate school, met my husband, got married, bought a house, and made a life as one of the director team at a non-profit.

All this to say that though I chose to transition my hair back to its natural form 10ish years ago, I am a productive member of society.  But wearing my hair this way made me afraid that white people would look at me and make assumptions about who I was, my education, or my capabilities as an employee.  Fears that came to light when Giuliana Rancic, a correspondent at E!, made the following comments when sizing up Zendaya’s red-carpet look from Oscar Weekend.

“I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… or maybe weed.”

She opened her hands and laughed it off.  My cheeks immediately got hot.

I was taken back to the millions of times people have asked me if I wash my hair.

I was taken back to the time I was in an interview (an interview, people), and one of the gentlemen in the interview asked me what I do with my hair when I’m running.

I was taken back to a 2007 Glamour controversy where an editor stated that natural hairstyles were a big “no-no” for the office.

Giuliana Rancic, your comments were not cool whatsoever.  People with natural hair don’t smell of illegal drugs or douse themselves in patchouli to cover up body odor.  The vast, vast majority of us lead productive lives, and it doesn’t take a classically European hairstyle to achieve any of these.  On the flip side, there are plenty of people with straight silky locks who may smell of patchouli and weed.  I know this because I worked at Whole Foods for a few months while jobs searching after school.  It depends on the individual. 

Now, do I feel like Giulina is an horrible racist?  No, probably not.  But she made an insensitive, stupid, and ignorant comment that peels away that outside layer and reveals what she truly thinks when she sees chicks like me walking down the hall with a huge mane of natural, well-maintained hair.  And that has to change.

 

 

If you were thinking natural girls don’t need maintenance, think again.

When I made the transition to natural hair, I was probably about 17-years-old.  I had been traumatized by repeated trips to the salon, where, in an effort to tame my naps, the stylist would pour chemicals on my head and allow them to sit until my hair would lie in fear of the chemicals.

Safe, right?

Eventually, the chemicals took their toll and my hair was not looking too well off by middle school.

Then, I graduated to having my hair braided all the time.  Which was fine, except the place where we went in Charlotte would pull our hair so violently, I ended up in her bathroom in tears once.  And I was too scared to ever tell her that my head usually hurt for two days after the box braids were put in.  Plus it smelled weird there.

So finally, at the tender age of 16 or 17, I got fed up with it, and I somehow decided that I was going to wear my hair in dreadlocks.  My mom gave me a really hard time about it – locs were not yet super mainstream, and she associated the style with marijuana use and dirt.

But I was really persistent, and wore my hair in a short style, and nearly 10 years later, here I am!

If any of you are thinking of going natural, and you feel moved to do it, DO IT!

Locs fit my lifestyle.  Most people assume I’m from California, largely due to my demeanor and the fact that I sound like Hilary Banks when I talk , and the locs fit the Cali lifestyle.  I’m also semi-crunchy, and I work out a ton.  But just because the locs fit my lifestyle doesn’t mean that they’re not work.

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After weeks of running and working out and washing, my hair was in a state.  I didn’t have a ton of time, so I made an appointment with someone local to maintain my locs, but she abruptly canceled on me.  My mane couldn’t wait.  It was begging for maintenance.  And the fact that she abruptly canceled on me made me a little leery.  I don’t normally let anyone touch my hair, and I’m not letting someone touch my hair who doesn’t show up for her appointments.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it was time for John Frieda’s Smoothing Shampoo + Conditioner.  I’d read reviews, and black women had said some good things about the way it had left their hair feeling.  (Normally I go for Giovanni, but I needed heavy-duty artillery for this mess).

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Post-shower + wash, the hair was already looking better, and felt a lot softer.

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And I set to the task of twisting with a few clips, since my growth was so soft and not really wanting to stay, with this.

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Which leaves the hair feeling light and soft.  And there’s no smell really, which is good, cause I hate smelly hair stuff.

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Work those clips honey!

photo 3 (1)…And ta-dahhhhh!  Here is the finished product.

photo 2 (3)Soft, manageable, looking much better, and cheaper than getting it done!

Are any of you guys thinking about going natural?  Why or why not?  

 

 

Happy Monday!

Total brain dump for you all today.  

The weekend was really good, but once again, I left it feeling like I didn’t get anything that I wanted to done, in part because all day Saturday, after I finished teaching class, I was laid up with a headache, so I ended up sleeping most of the day.  

Ah well, I will just have to put in a little extra work this week to make sure house gets cleaned/dinner gets made/workout gets worked etc etc. 

So anyhoo, a few items of brain dumpage. 

photo 1

This hair.  Obviously, I’ve been rockin the locs for a long time, but these, these are a feat of majesty and wonderment.  I’m not sure if my hair could take the color, because I work out too much and that already stresses my hair, but I can definitely work to grow it out a few more inches and crunch/curl them so they look all wild and cool like this.  I love.  

 

Tphoto 2

I was back in the store yesterday, and trying on all the shoes.  Still waiting to try on the Brooks Trascend (the new mushy model Brooks is releasing), but for yesterday, I went with the New Balance Minimus Road 10, a Minimalist shoe.  One of these days, we can talk all about minimalist running, but today is not that day.   All I can say is that these shoes are really cute, and I wish my right achilles would allow me to even consider running in this shoe, cause the colors are cute.  

photo 3

I had to drop my little boy, Martin off to get his neuter today, and I was a total wreck.  The doctor said he did really well, but they said he still had a few fleas (GAH) and conjunctivitis in his right eye.  Poop.  So they send him home with a few medications. 

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And by the time I got to him, he was so out of it.  But, even in his medicated state, he was really really loving, and kept nuzzling my hand.  

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He was back to his normal self the following morning, and had managed to break his collar within moments of us purchasing it for him.  Gah what the heck.  

And that is it for today’s brain dump. 

How was your weekend?  Did you do anything fun?