Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Meetup with “Purpose”: Hanging at Nia Naturals Kwanzaa Fest with Beauty Expert Rachel O

Afro to Afro…lol

I had the pleasure Saturday of attending Nia Naturals Kwanzaa Fest and Chicago Naturals Beauty meetup. The event was hosted by the beautiful Miss Rachel O, lincensed beauty expert and blogger/vlogger.  It was held at The Connection, a cozy spot located in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The place was packed with Chicago naturals and even some not. There was a friendly and warm vibe…which might be attributed to the hot chocolate that was served…However, this was not your typical meetup, this one had purpose.

Once again, the thing that intrigued me the most about this meetup, and the ones that I have been attending lately is the support and promotion of Black-owned business. A very fitting name for the event, Nia actually means purpose and is the 5th principle of Kwanzaa:

“To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”

For me, these meetups are more than just a group of girls gathering together to talk about hair. It is a movement toward restoring our people and rebuilding the community.

The natural hair segments were presented by Darya’s Naturals Salon. Stylist, Darya was there giving tips and style demos (I have to add that her little girls are gorgeous with their long, flowing locs.) In between segments where raffles, makeup demos by Rachel O and Kwanzaa and vendor presentations. And, I must not forget the, ahem… plus-size fashion show by Hidden Treasures Boutique which left us all drooling over their signature, designer fashions.

Another highlight was a presentation by a nonprofit organization, Pure and Sure which helps young women to achieve a lifestyle of purity, integrity and self-assurance. Also promoting a positive self-image in young people was Celeste Parker, author of a children’s book, entitled Pigs Don’t Wear Pearls (adorable with a message).  Certainly, the “Nia” principle was in full effect at this wonderful event.  If you were a vendor, or attendee feel free to post a comment about your experience or a link to your website! View the slideshow below for more pics.

Great Styling Options for Your TWA (teeny weeny afro)

Hey Natural Newbie Cutie! In another post on transitioning out of the TWA to longer hair (click here), we talked about the different methods women choose to transition. Much of the talk was around weaves and braids. However, in the last paragraph we talked about “acceptance” When you learn  to love and accept your natural hair texture, you will be amazed at all the styling options you have. I ran across this video on Youtube uploaded by InTheTikiLounge. She has some great style options for your TWA. I can say that when my hair was getting longer after I big chopped, I also tried most of these styles. My favorites were flat-twisting in the front or tying my hair back with a head band. Tell us what you think of the styles in this vid. Enjoy!

Succeeding in Life with a Unique Black Name

A while back, I read an article on Madame Noire’s website entitled, “Poor Child: 5 Hood-ish Baby Names That Take Creativity Too Far.” When I first saw this article in my news feed, I was like, “Oh, Lord, here we go…Get ready for some outrageously ghetto names.” The article certainly does not disappoint on outrageous… Of course, names like Le-a (La-dash-a) and DaFinest are ridiculous. That fact that many black parents like the way a name sounds, but do not know how to spell it is quite sad. I don’t find aggregious name misspellings funny at all.

Social Class and Black Names
What this article really points to is the lack of education and poverty in our community. All the more reason to support and promote entrepreneurship and business within the black community. If this were done, blacks nor whites for that matter, would not have the desire to name their children after major brand names and such. As an article on by David Zax points out,

‘” [It’s] a class thing, not a race thing,” says Cleveland Evans, noting that he has encountered twins named Camry and Lexus who were white. If you are poor and wish a better life for your kid, a name like Lexus declares that hope.”

People in general, tend to name their children after that which they idealize (fast money, the high life, cars, religion, hobbies, etc.). We are no different in that respect.

Being Successful
One of the primary arguments people pose for not giving your child an American-American sounding name is the high likelihood of being discriminated against when applying for jobs soley based on your name. From my personal experience, my husband and I named our two boys traditional biblical first names, and my oldest has an Arabic middle name. We chose that approach because we figured that Black men have a hard enough time making it in this world, why give them one more hurdle with an Afrocentic first name? I figured if my son chooses to go by his middle name, Jabari (which means fearless) later in life, he can do that. Now, I must say that if I had had a girl, she would have gotten a “pretty” name with meaning. (Another argument for another post on whether or not Black women have it easier than Black men…)

So the question then becomes, does your name even matter when it comes to being successful? One commenter on the article made a good point when she stated,

“To many White people hiring there is no difference between Shaqueetra Johnson or a Tiffany Johnson or a Shaunna Williams. I think we should be training our children to able to provide for themselves from a entrepreneurial standpoint in whatever endeavor they’ll choose, so they won’t have to be too concerned about filing out a job application”

Case in point, I know a Black man who has a fairly “normal” name and well-qualified, who applied for a corporate security job. They never called him back. One thing he noticed upon entering the lobby was that the faces in the front lobby were light and faces in the control room were dark faces. He did not let that detour him. He kept calling. He introduced himself to management. He went to the office of the head manager and pleaded his case. And, you know what? He got the job. It doesn’t always work that way, but as a Black person, you have to go that extra mile, be the best and never give up.

The Final Word
Starting out with a good name could be the icing on the cake, but I want you to be encouraged that no matter what your name is, God has your back. I think many names can still be seen as “unique” and “creative.” Even some names that take liberty with stretching the spelling are OK in my book. I’m going to take the unpopular view and say that this creativity is a general part of African-American culture which should be celebrated not berated. As we embark on this journey of loving ourselves and our hair we should embrace those facets of our culture that make us a community. We take race out of the equation by building and restoring our community and elevating our mindsets. Not everyone can be an entertainer or is born into a celebrity family. So, let’s continue to strive to help one another to succeed and support each other’s business endeavors and educational goals.

So, what’s your take on unique black names?

Hanging at BGLH Chicago Naturals Christmas Fest Sponsored by Taliah Waajid Products

Leila Noelliste, Creator/Editor BGLH (This pic does not do
justice to the cute updo she was rocking!!)

The natural hair scene is certainly buzzing here in Chicago. I’ve been going to events back to back. It’s always a pleasure to mingle with other naturals. I want to congratulate Leila Noelliste, creator/editor of the Black Girl with Long Hair (BGLH) website and online community, and her team, on another successful event. 

BGLH partnered with Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Products–which in case you didn’t know has been making our tresses healthy and pretty since 1996. The Taliah Waajid team did a great job on their presentation on transitioning and natural styling. They gave style demos using their products and hair tips. The team also set record straight on topics like should you shampoo or just co-wash your hair…and the answer is…WASH YO’ DIRTY HEAD…lol. (No, they didn’t say it like that. lol)

Another thing that really impressed me, was the number of black women vendors doing their thing. I’m definitely a promoter of black owned business and entrepreneurship. I was impressed by the passion of the vendors and overall quality and presentation of the products. From jewelry to natural hair and body products to children’s books, these women are extremely talented. If you were a vendor at the BGLH event, comment below with a link to your website. We want to see more of you! Also, comment below on your favorite Taliah Waajid team tip or experience. Below are a few pics I captured.

Style demo