Friday, 29 June 2012

My post about Solange Knowles went 'viral'.

Weeks ago I wrote an article; 

Are we going too far when it comes to other people's natural hair?


I wrote the post for this blog but also shared it on Tumblr. The very next day on Tumblr I had 84 notes on my post! ''How could that be?'', I wondered. My posts don't get more than ten notes usually, if any at all.

Then I was told on Twitter that Solange Knowles talked about my blog post! I was surprised and ecstatic. I struggled to contain my excitement. Solange Knowles read what I wrote?

I had to head to her Twitter to see what was going on and there it was; my blog link and she said she agreed 100% with it. I was ready to faint!

Here is what went down;



My link. Yes, my link. Who would have thought? I never ever ever ever thought that this was possible.

When the post went out, I expected a few close friends to read it and for it to get lost somewhere in the interweb. I didn't expect hundreds of people reading it! I always appreciate it when someone reads, so this is a big deal to me!

Since then I've had a lot of support and positive encouragement. People want me to write more. I will. I will invest more time in writing my blog posts and keeping my blog looking nice enough so that it's bearable to scroll through. My layout was atrocious for the longest time... (I'm working on getting my blog more organised and I may need to redo a few posts as well).

A lot of people also agreed with what I wrote. Others shared their own experiences with the Natural Hair Police. My post also opened some debates of whether other naturals are interfering too much with everyone else's hair.  The response has just been overwhelming and mostly positive.

I also gained more followers on Tumblr, about 150 of them! I continue having reblogs and likes on that post as well as other Tumblr posts.

Some people in the UK natural hair community were excited because I put the community on the map. Yes there are naturals outside of the United States and Canada.

I'm grateful. I didn't expect my post to blow up the way it did. I don't know who send Solange the link to my blog post but thank you!

Since that day my article has been referenced to or bits have been featured on the following websites;

Fashionista; Solange Knowles Lashes Out at Her Hair Critics, Fuels ‘Natural’ Hair Debate

Jezebel; Why is Everyone Hating on Solange Knowles' Natural Hair?


Crunktastical; Tweet Is Watching: Solange Is Not Here For The Natural Hair Nazi

United KinKdom; The Solange Sitch

Natural Hair in the Media; She Did That! Solange Knowles fires back at the “natural hair” police

Black Girl With Long Hair; Solange Takes to Twitter to Rant Against the "Natural Hair Police"

Essence.com; Solange Addresses 'Natural Hair Police,' Says Hair is Not Important 

Clutch Mag Online; Solange Knowles: “I Am Not The #TeamNatural Vice-President”

Thirsty Roots; Solange Knowles Twitter Rant To The “Natural Hair police of the world”

Glamazons Blog; GLAM SCOOP: Solange Knowles vs. ‘Natural Hair Police,’

I'm on some of my most favourite websites! Imagine my excitement.

Some news/blogs got their facts wrong by stating that my article criticised Solange when it in fact defended and encouraged her. It seemed obvious that they did not even read the article to understand where Solange's words were coming from. I had to shrug this off.

Some news/blogs also chose to ignore the issue of the Natural Hair Police entirely and decided to criticise Solange for saying that she doesn't want to talk about hair anymore and saying that her hair isn't that important to her. Is what Solange said (clearly while she was frustrated) more important than the problem of how some naturals treat each other?

And just because you endorse a product does not mean you use it. It's a job at the end of the day.

Solange is a celebrity but she has every right to respond to comments made to her, especially those through her Twitter and Instagram.

From my experience, the natural hair community is mostly positive. The natural hair community should remain positive because it is all about accepting your own hair and wearing it with pride. So if you have coils, kinks or curls, big or small, long or short, it does not matter. Your hair is yours and you should love it for what it is.

I don't want to appear like I have some self-esteem issues but the attention was wonderful. I feel motivated to take my blog a bit more seriously because I actually never did. I enjoy writing, it's always been an outlet for me but I've never taken it very seriously. Now I will and there's exciting things to come in the future.

Thank you so much to everyone for their kindness and overall support. I really appreciate it! 


Friday, 22 June 2012

Naturally United: Celebrating All Things Natural

Weeks ago I wrote a post about Naturally United. I attended the event on May 13th and overall, it was an enjoyable and positive experience. I helped out a lot at the event so I didn't really get the chance to listen and participate in the workshops but there are a number of people who were at the event and have posted reviews of the event on the Naturally United Facebook Page.


Everything I got in the goody bag (except the Jane Carter range, I won that!)







What I purchased on the day (not the Shea Bliss).

After the workshops they had a series of giveaways with many wonderful prices. I won the Jane Carter range, but swapped the Twist & Lock  and the Curl Defining Cream (16oz) for Shea Bliss Moisturising Deep Conditioner by BeUnique (that someone won, along with other products of the BeUnique range). I swapped those two because I already have a lot of styling products which I don't use much at all at the moment, so products that would be of greater use to me, such as a deep conditioner, are always welcome.

What I won:

Jane Carter Solution:




What I purchased:
The goody bag included:

That is all for the goody bag! It was a wonderful goody bag with samples I have never encountered before (Jessicurl and Jordan's Treasures), so I was pleased with it. I'm very likely to give some of the samples away for other people to try. I will be keeping some of the samples and see where in my regimen I can try them.

The organiser of Naturally United event is also planning to come out with a box of samples of hair products and also their own online store this summer. Be sure to sign up to their mailing list for more information and also for the launch dates; Natural Boudoir and Rosebox.





Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Thursday, 14 June 2012

French Macarons

A few months ago I wanted to be a little bit more adventurous and so I decided to try out French macarons. Around the same time, The English Rose Bakery was opening up in the Selfridges department store in my city and they retail French macarons (and other wonderful baked goods).

What exactly are French macarons? According to Wikipedia.com
A macaron is a sweet meringue-based confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. 
I've seen macarons in TV shows such as Gossip Girl and it is popular in many other countries besides France. 

In other cities within the UK, such as London, macarons are available at Ladurée in Harrods, Covent Garden and a number of other locations. 

I purchased mine at The English Rose Bakery (there is no Ladurée in my city).

A perfect little box



Opened box with six macarons lined up looking all beautiful

All six macarons on a little plate


When I purchased these, there was an offer of six macarons for £10. However, I'm not sure if the offer is ongoing, but I assume current prices are reasonable.

The flavours I purchased were;
  • Raspberry
  • Chocolate
  • Hazel Nut
  • Salted Caramel
  • Lemon 
  • Vanilla
More flavours are available and can be seen here.  

Verdict

I did not eat all of my macarons in one sitting, they're too sweet for that (at least for me)! I had some and stored the rest for the next two days in the fridge and to my surprise they were still as good as when I first bought them. My favourite flavours have to be the salted caramel and vanilla. Chocolate was perhaps my least favourite because the flavour was just too chocolatey for me (how can someone say that about chocolate?). I like chocolate, but there is such a thing as too much chocolate for me (in my opinion). The outer layer of the macarons have a soft shell which give a little bit of crunch and the centre layer is really soft, chewy and gooey.

I was captured by the colours of the macarons and that is what initially drew me to them. I felt like I had to put a taste to the picture. They're wonderful with a hot drink such as tea and they also provide a good alternative to cakes and other confectionary. 

They can also serve as really cute gifts for birthdays, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. 

I believe they're worth trying if you haven't already and I would definitely buy them again. I will explore other flavours and attempt other variations including the ones with butter or jam filling. I'd also like to go to Ladurée myself at some point and experience the French tea room setting while happily snacking on French macarons.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Are we going too far when it comes to other people's natural hair?

A couple of nights ago I was scrolling through Curly Nikki to look at some articles that I may have missed from the last time I looked. 

I came across an article about Solange Knowles and her natural hair.

Here are some natural hair styles Solange has been sporting;


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_JKvZfsH6dyY/TOWQY-AJQ7I/AAAAAAAAAuw/yrHxI5xLw-M/s1600/Solance+Natural+Hair.jpg





http://static1.purepeople.com/articles/9/76/99/9/@/588512-solange-knowles-lors-de-la-soiree-de-637x0-2.jpg




http://charcoalink.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/solange-hot-natural-hair-ii.jpg


Solange is also known to switch up her hairstyles and wear curly protective styles; 

http://lushcoils.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/solange-knowles-look-of-the-day-2.jpg


Her reason;

''Well, I'm in all these different places and working with different hairstylists, so it's important for me to wear it in a protective style''.

Thumbs up to her for protecting her own hair. I love her curly protective styles; they are unapologetically big and very curly!

While I like her protective styles, I love her afro's too! They're nicely shaped and really suit her. Ever since Solange went back to her natural roots, she's also become more open when it comes to her fashion style.

Back to the Curly Nikki blogpost... the comments there are sort of yay or nay responses. I have to admit though that some of them were unsettling to me. There were also comments that were quite positive. Anyhow, the comments made me think a lot about how some people may view other people's natural hair and also what it means to be natural.

Some of the negative comments regarding Solange's hair;
  • It's not unique
  • Biggest thing that has happened since her career
  • Looks unkempt and requires combing
  • Looks dry and un-styled (she needs to use twistouts/braidouts to style her hair)
  • Her 4c hair type does not look the same as other 4c naturals hair type.
There were also some positive comments about Solange;
  • She dealt with the criticisms and stuck with being natural
  • I love her hair and style
  • It's her preference
  • She looks stunning no matter what she wears
The beauty (and the ugly) of the internet is that we can express ourselves and our opinion to a wider audience. 

Honesty is a good thing (depending on the context I suppose...). It's not necessarily 'hating'. People can be honest and make constructive criticisms. But if criticism is made with the intent to be malicious it can be classed as 'hating'.

A lot of the comments which had some negativity came with with the commenter stating that they were 'being honest' and 'didn't want to sugar-coat' their views on natural hair.

I think that's a wonderful thing but erm... do some of us go too far when we start dictating;

  • How naturals should wear and style their hair?
  • How naturals should protect their hair?
  • What products naturals should use on their hair (i.e. no silicone, petroleum based products)?*
  • What makes you natural and what makes you not natural (i.e. using dye makes you not natural, relaxing your edges makes you not natural etc.)?*
*By the way, those are not my views, I'm just stating some examples that I've encountered. 

About Solange's hair type;
If you're not so sure about hair typing, click on this link. Some of the comments claimed that Solange's hair is type 4c and that it doesn't look like other naturals' 4c hair.

Based on photos, it can be difficult to see what hair type someone may have. Manipulating hair and product on the hair can also distort hair types. In order for anyone to be able to judge someone's hair type, their hair has to be product free, not manipulated and dry.

I personally believe that our hair cannot be typed into four different categories because it's just that diverse. Most people also have multiple hair types on their head.



The image accompanied with the Curly Nikki post


Not sure if the commenter looked at this picture and decided that her 4c hair is not the same as other naturals with 4c hair, but her hair looks manipulated in this picture so it can be hard to judge.

But seriously, do we need to know other people's hair type? I suppose it can be useful for someone who may want to attempt the same products as her or the same styles. But other factors such as hair porosity and hair density can be just as important as hair type.


About her styles 
If you actually read the interview, Solange states very clearly what she likes her hair to be like;

''I actually love my natural hair when it's in a twist out and it's been slept on for five days and revived by the steam of the shower''. 

There it is, she's stated what she likes. She likes, what is in effect, a stretched out fro. She's not concerned with pin and curls, defined twist outs etc. She just wants natural hair in a twist out that's been slept on for days and has been revived by the steam of the shower.

She is allowed to wear her hair the way she wants to (surely she is?!).

About her hair looking dry... Afro-textured hair can appear dry. Even when you've conditioned and sealed it, it can still appear dry. Our hair doesn't give that shine. Specific products and techniques can help with that.

It could be that Solange used products on her hair or just water or nothing at all. Again, is that really our concern?

About Solange in general? 

Solange has a successful career. She sings, films, models, takes part in entrepreneurship. These criticisms regarding her hair are likely not to be some of the worst she has encountered during her career.

Solange is not a natural hair spokesperson and she's kind of hinted that here;

ESSENCE: Are you surprised so many people are inspired by you?SOLANGE KNOWLES: I am! I wasn't expecting that. 

I don't even think she was aiming to inspire people by going natural or sporting the cool hair styles that she does. I think she just wanted to do what she felt was best for her.

Solange may be involved with Carol's Daughter etc, but I assume that's to solely endorse their products.

I personally like Solange for going against the norm, especially because she's in the entertainment industry. She's in the spotlight. Everyone can see her. She has to deal with the criticisms, but she'll also hear praises. What she's doing is a tough thing (but it comes with fame, doesn't it?)!

Solange does not have the same hair as other 'natural hair idols' such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Esperanza Spalding or Tracee Ellis Ross. She is really holding her own. Those ladies are doing well too actually, sporting their own hair and being confident with it.

As for Solange trying to draw attention because she's in her sister's shadow... really? She's always expressed that she and her sister are artistically different and she seems to enjoy her own endeavours.

What else?

I'm just going to say it straight. I believe there is a bias in the natural hair community when it comes to certain hair types and hair lengths. I believe there is a hierarchy. Those with bigger and/or longer hair seem to get a lot of praise for it. I guess because it's not seen as often? I guess it's because people aspire to obtain that for themselves?

If Solange's hair would have been longer, would she have had more oohing and awing? Tracee Elis Ross, Esperanza Spalding and Corinne Bailey Rae tend to be regarded as natural hair icons, is it because they have long hair and/or curly hair? Why are not more tightly coiled naturals regarded as hair idols? Are there any tightly coiled naturals regarded as natural hair idols in the spotlight (I know a few which aren't but I do consider them as my own personal natural hair idol)?

One comment (I didn't exactly copy or quote this) goes a bit like this;

People have left the bone straight mindset but now they are in the defined curls mind set.

That's what it really feels like if I'm honest. A lot of naturals are looking for 'the thing' to define their hair. Whether it be hair butters, hair gels or other defining products (even techniques), a lot of naturals want to 'pop' their curls or have defined styles.

I like Solange. It's no secret, I like some of her songs, some of her styles etc. I don't feel obligated to comment negatively if I don't like some of the things she does. It's really up to her.

People should be able to express their opinions, it is their right. Being truthful is good. We don't have to lie, just to appear polite. But do we need to state everything that is wrong in our eyes regarding someone else's hair? If you haven't been asked for an opinion, sometimes you don't need to give it!

This post has made me think so much about the natural hair community. I'd dread to get the same sort of reaction from other naturals. I think some can be too harsh (even though they're just being honest). Some things are better left unsaid. If someone is visibly struggling with their hair it is nice to just be honest and advice them of the steps they need to take to improve it.

Being a natural in a straight haired world can be difficult for some people. We need to learn to embrace people's differences and abilities to make their own choices.

So do you think some naturals go too far when it comes to other people's natural hair? Yes or no? And why?