5 IANT Women on the Rise

It’s a Natural Thang  has been a hub not only for natural hair excellence but for recognizing and supporting talent humans and burgeoning entrepreneurs.  Here is a listing of 5 IANT women on the rise in 2017!

 

Grace Higginbotham

Founder, Higginbotham Consulting

From the classroom to the world of educational advocacy, Grace has always had a passion for making sure that youth are well represented in every area of education.  Grace founded Higginbotham Consulting to address structural and cultural effectiveness for schools and organizations.  Providing everything from cultural competency training  to think tanks and special education advocacy, Higginbotham  Consulting offers solutions one courageous conversation at a time.

 

Tiffany Huff

Blogger, Life Coach Read, Write, Love

If you are a woman looking for elevation and support, Life coach, blogger and founder of Read, Write, Love, Tiffany Huff is your resource and go to for inspiration!  Her Coffee and Clarity series are thought provoking and full of love(and one is coming up this weekend)! Both approachable and spiritually practical, Tiffany offers support that is effective, endearing and enlightening.  Make sure to follow her on Periscope for your dose of weekly elevation!

 

Anita Levels

Anita Levels, Vocalist

Anita Levels is well known for her soaring soprano and vast range.  Anita values and appreciates all music of the African Diaspora including Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Funk, R&B, Rock N Roll and all of their fusions!  Look for her Renaissance Music series returning this year! Nothing is like hearing Ms. Levels sing live so make it a point to find yourself wherever she’s being featured.  You’ll be taken to church and on the roller coaster of love and life with her amazing range and personality.  Find out more about her live performances at Anita Levels Music .

 

Dari Wright

Founder, Pure Dari

This young woman is on the rise!  Pure Dari began as Dari was preparing for the birth of her daughter. The brand initially featured custom bonnets, beanies and hats for adults, children and toddlers to help to protect the hair at any age!  The brand has since expanded to include customized novelty items such as flasks, sleep masks and t- shirts!  From customized hair protection to birthday and bridal gifts, Pure Dari has you covered!

 

Alexis Russell

Co-Founder, Russell General Contracting

Being a woman in a space held as traditionally male is not without its challenges but Alexis “Lexi” Russell is totally up for it.  She and her husband,  Montae are founders of Russell General Contracting LLC and folks are always pleasantly surprised when they see such a beautiful woman just as  knowledgeable and competent as the fellas!  With a background in architecture, Lexi can knock on your wall and tell you everything that’s behind it!  Lexi can be found at a construction site near you in  a hard hat, Tims and a gel mani! Consider Russell General Contacting for your contracting needs.

 

 

Behind Every Joke is a Hint of Truth: When Hair Memes Hurt

…But who is the butt of the joke?  And is it really funny?  Really?

Let me start by saying that one of the best things to happen to social media in the last 5 years is meme culture ( Pronounced meeem, not mee, mee. ).There is something to be said for folks coming up with images and the perfect phrasing to accompany them that can make for hours upon hours of fun on our favorite social media sites.  Especially when there is a “meme war.”  I LOVE  “stealing” memes, saving them in my phone and then unleashing them on an unsuspecting friend for a roar of laughter!

That feeling is different for me with hair memes, though.  I cant say why.  I don’t think I am someone who considers herself so “deep, spiritual,  or conscious”  that I can’t take a joke.  Quite the contrary.  I love laughing and I find balance in balance.  There’s a time for deep and there’s a time for lit!   Perhaps, for me, a stylist of 15 years who has spent countless hours conversing with women, reassuring and attempting to persuade them to love their hair as it is.   Consulting with thousands of woman.  Convincing them certain products marketed to take it from “kinky” to “curly” is just that,  marketing and that there’s nothing wrong if their hair never makes it to the pinnacle of  curly which is listed higher on the alphanumeric typing list….  Later, online watching some women struggle silently with hair envy over all of the women who get loads of compliments and likes who just happen to have a certain texture, thickness or length. and scared to hit the post button, afraid that no one could possibly like hers in comparison.  Watching x number of posts on how to get hair to be a certain length, thickness by doing _____________ (insert trend here).  Feeling as if she’s  “failed” if her hair didn’t come out like the You Tuber’s tutorial, even though she’s not really following those with hair like hers, she’s following those with the hair she desires to have.  Women obsessed with wearing a perfectly defined twist-out (nothing wrong with a fierce twist-out with exact definition,  however) not allowing herself the joys of the versatility of watching the hair morph into other-flyness if it isn’t twisted every single solitary night.

Even personally, my hair, healthy, strong, dense, tight, thread like, coiled, shrinks to the scalp at a moment’s notice and never really stays stretched long if elongated.  I can give the absolute best hair advice,  and I’m spot on but if my hair doesn’t appear a certain way, unfortunately, for some, it tampers with my credibility, so… then I see things like the following:

 

 

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This grouping of photographs may seem funny on the surface but at the core are issues of colorism and anti-black beauty standards.    In every photograph, the desirable subject has lighter skin and/or a hair texture/thickness that is viewed as more attractive. (You are allowed to have browner skin, as long as the hair isn’t too African,right?) I mean, is it really the worst thing in the world to have to wear an afro with a part on the side like Samuel L?  What happens if you twist hour hair at night and the results are still just a bit more textured than his in this photo?  Or it starts out more textured,but it’s fine and cottony, so it doesn’t hold the shape of the twist out very long just by its nature.  Is the style then a “#fail” or can the hybrid be just as fierce?   Even Trace Ellis Ross want’s you to love your hair even if it isn’t just like hers.  Trace, Cree, Karyn,  their hair IS beautiful, but so is India’s so is Lauryn’s, so is yours.

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And then there are the memes that deal with the variances of hair growth.  Everyone has different rates of hair growth, no matter the race.  That is pre-determined by ones genetics and hair growth cycles, some folks’ cycles are longer than others.  Period.  Some people are what I call showers (not a ton of shrinkage) so their hair will always be big see also, desirable, the prototype et cetera.  Others are growers (hair with a ton of shrinkage but hair will appear short unless stretched).   For some women, her 4″ afro all around is the most hair she’s ever had and it’s  healthy, vs the 1 to 1 1/2 inch broken in multiple locations that she may have had before going natural.  That 4″ is success!  That is 2″ more growth than she normally would have experienced.  At the root of it all though, is this belief that black women have hair that doesn’t grow and we are always comparing ourselves to each other as a measure of success instead of what our personal best can be.  Le sigh , le loud sigh!   And let me not get in to the numbers of women that had no problem rocking a short pixi relaxed but are on a mad hunt for every “growth potion” natural.  A TWA or low is unacceptable, natural.  Why?  It’s the same length hair!  Memes like this reinforce that piece.  Beauty is only found in long hair when your black, when you’re black and natural and hair is of a certain texture, especially.

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Then we have the downright ign’ant , straight disrespectful.  Most would agree this is unacceptable, but there may a small minority that feel a slight sense of satisfaction that they were chosen to be in the “acceptable” category.  I mean, let’s not pretend that just barbecue the natural hair movement has absolute momentum that we still don’t possess the same troubled psychosis that kept us bound pre-natural  They’ve followed us right on over and lead the way in natural hair marketing and social media fame.  Respectability politics have been governing black folks since we’ve been on the soil of the Americas but there is a special pain that comes when you know the rules have been so heavily internalized that we self govern .

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     selfhate3

This is a low blow.  Instead of celebrating the beauty that comes from every hair texture represented, there is a clear divide.  As aforementioned, more of us will absolutely be offended by this.  But we will laugh at this…

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Now, maybe because this is an animated character, it’s easier to find humor. She isn’t real.  What’s the big deal?  You know this is true!!!! LOL… we can toss it into the many other things we term the natural hair “#struggle”  (I also hate that).  The issue is, (first of all) who in the hell describes her hair as coming out like trash(yes I know it’s a simile but sheese!)?  Would we be okay with someone else describing our hair that way?  Trash?  Next,  I can’t tell you how many real time texts and pic mails I received on women who have literally struggled to leave the house, not because the twist-out didn’t come out right.  For some folks,  the twist out is BANGING. For others, this “trash”  is the BEST her twist out will look, texture depending.  She has no choice.  She must go outside.  It’s the one who’s hair is natural and styled naturally for the first time.  It looks beautiful, but she doesn’t feel that way because 500 years of reproduced psychosis and trauma about her beauty and appearance is etched into her very being and she doesn’t want to leave the house. She hides behind headbands, flowers,bandannas, barrettes because just presenting her natural self to the wold with no embellishments is enough.  This animated figure’s hair looks a lot like the hair on that dreaded “N” word on those obviously ignorant memes.  We have to be careful when we are the butt of our own jokes.  When our sisters, moms, aunties, besties, neighbors are the butts of our own jokes.  We have enough folks laughing at our pain.  Again, I’m all for a good joke but sometimes the hair memes are a little too close to home for me.  I’m not just talking 1 or 2 women.  I’m talking hundreds/thousands.

United we stand, divided we fall.  We’ve done generations of good and bad hair.  We’ve done alphanumeric hair typing. It’s all good!  Defined or undefined.  All good.  Whether you remember to twist it or not at night.  Trash or treasure.  At the end of the day..

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We are one.

Why I don’t refer to Natural Hair as “Kinky”

 

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22 Year Old Me

“Kinky” has been used as a euphemism for natural hair for at least a decade. Throughout the Millennium, it has stood as a go to description for un-relaxed hair that is more coarse than silky in nature.

For some, it has a nicer appeal than the other “n” word (nappy). It also has a broader appeal than the standard definition of “curly” to which we generally ascribe to a a certain tactile texture to the exclusion of others.

When I went natural in 2001, it was apart of my newly natural vocabulary.  Aside from calling natural hair, natural hair, I referred to it as kinky. That is until I met a Griot named Bro. Turhan Shabazz.

I’d been a fan of Bro Shabazz for a while. I listened to him every evening faithfully while styling natural hair listening to talk shows on WAMO 860AM in the evening. He would call in every evening to recite a poem and I adored his voice. At the time, I was writing quite a bit myself and decided to attend a writers workshop on self publishing at the Homewood Library. I sat beside an older gentleman who complimented me on my hair. As soon as he opened his mouth, I knew who he was and I was in awe.

 

Bro. Shabazz

Bro. Shabazz

We had a bit of small talk and somehow I mentioned that I was embracing my kinky hair and I was encouraging other women to do the same(Enter IANT about 9 years later). He paused and he said to me in his distinct voice, “Young lady your hair is not kinky.” I was 22 years old at the time and fairly “conscious” but I wasn’t yet picking up what he was putting down.  I looked at him perplexed and he continued saying, “you see, kinky represents something naughty, sexually deviant, perverse…and there is NOTHING about your beautiful hair that is kinky.” Immediately I understood. He went on to tell me that he had a piece he called, There’s Nothing Kinky About It,  praising the greatness of Afro-textured hair.

Today, the dictionary has a first and second definition of the word kinky. This is largely due to the natural hair movement and the popularity of the word as a euphemism. However, for me, those words of Mr. Shabazz were burned in my impressionable, local-star-struck, 22 year old, pseudo-woke psyche. From that point on, I never used the word kinky to describe natural hair.

I don’t shade on folks who use the word kinky as a part of their natural hair vocabulary. Their experience was not my experience and if I hadn’t experienced that moment with Bro. Shabazz, perhaps the word Kinky would still be there in mine; but I did.  So, it isn’t.

Instead,  I use afro textured, coily, tightly curled,  curly, tightly coiled,  curly continuum(I coined that one) to describe natural hair, because there’s nothing “Kinky” about it.

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Present Day: Teaching Natural Haircare

IANT 2015 in Review!

2015 Marked the 5th year of It’s a Natural Thang as a face to face meetup group as well as our Facebook group.  The years have gone so fast and we have grown so vastly that when the new year crossed over into 2015, I wanted to be sure that every single event was special.  Of course, I think that we put in a lot of effort to make all meetups special, but I knew we needed to bring it for year 5!

The year kicked off with invitations for me to speak at college campuses.  I was able to give hair care tips, Q&A and inspiration on the campuses of LaRoche College, Slippery Rock and my Alma mater, Carlow University (College when I attended).   I was initially going to  do a very small meetup for our first gathering.  Intimate.  Almost like the early days.  Then, I read an article about homeless women who have a need for feminine hygiene supplies and it changed the direction of our first event.  We literally make it a day of female empowerment.

 

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Back to Basics II:  Total Care for Mind Body and Hair was the theme.  Each attendee was asked to donate feminine hygiene supplies to be donated to a local homeless shelter.  The response was so overwhelming and we were able to help many women.  We also had presentations by members of IANT who have discovered their niches over the last few years.  We discussed the importance of mental health/therapy, self care, nutrition and we ended the day with Zumba!

 

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Shortly after this event, I was asked to keynote at the Kinks, Locs, Twists hair institute hosted by New Voices.  It was such an honor to be asked to deliver the address and the love in the room was so thick, I almost forgot to be nervous!  Almost.

Next was INHMD.  We definitely wanted to play off of the International component of the day so we composed a show featuring “Drum,Braid, Dance.”  The concept was no matter where the African was displaced throughout the diaspora, the common things  that remains in spite of location and language are the use of the drum, hair braiding and the many dance forms that descended from traditional African Dance forms.  We had live drummers, hair models and dancers showcasing the beauty found in East and West Africa, Cuba, Haiti, Colombia, Brazil and the United States!

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The importance of including everyone of every demographic as a community was something that I wanted to explore.  Two and a half months after INHMD, we held Generations.  A meetup for the entire family.  We had workshops for the young men on hair grooming and neck ties, teen girls with self esteem, hair tips for the ladies with silver/gray hair and we ended the day with “Little Miss Natural,” a showcase celebrating our youngest members up to age 12.  They were absolutely adorable!  It is my sincere hope that participating in LMN will be an experience that will remain with them a lifetime.  Taliah Waajid was the sample sponsor for this event.  Each attendee was given a sample of goodies from the Taliah Waajid product line.

 

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Some IANT members did some volunteering at the Salvation Army over the holidays and received  a photo feature by the Post Gazette.  Perhaps we should Carol next year?

Finally, we hosted our Small Business Saturday/Cocktail Party event, Marketplace Mingle.  We brought some of the best and brightest small business vendors in Pittsburgh to one location and invited the community to do some holiday shopping with them.  We offered hot apple cider, candy canes and hair samples by sample sponsor,  Aunt Jackie’s.  The Back Dollars Matter initiative was present to stamp the cash among the vendors and within 2 hours there was over 1000 cash in the room.  That didn’t include debit/credit transactions.  I’d say that was a success!  We later danced the night away to the tunes provided by DJ Selecta and wished everyone blessings for the holiday season.

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I also got a chance to have some time with our sister group, sYOUper Fly!  We held a high tea at Arnold’s tea room (and took some seriously epic pictures.  We had a wine tour, tasting and lunch at Narccisi and even came together for a holiday brunch at the Mansions on Fifth.

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With  all of those wonderful things happening, I was asked to be a guest blogger for Shtrands.  I was also secretly working on applying to a local start up accelerator called AlphaLab Gear.  Another IANT member was in the previous cycle and encouraged me to do so.  She assisted me with the application process and what to expect on pitch day and…I got in!  So IANT has a sister called Curl’s Best Friend  (If you are reading this, go on and take a peek).  She is launching on the web and  social media tomorrow (Jan 3, 2016)  I am very proud of her and ask for prayers and support on this new journey.  So what does this mean for IANT?

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IANT is a force to be reckoned with in the city of Pittsburgh and beyond!  We won’t have as many face to face meetups but I have some fun things in store.  I’ll be doing some Google Hangout/Periscope Q and A’s/tutorials on different subjects, launching an e book (that was supposed to have launched in 2015…better late than never) and will be bringing us together for IANT and CBF.  I am also pleased that some IANT members have agreed to do some guest blogging right here on the website.  I can’t wait for you to meet them and for you to read their written expression that upholds the mission of IANT.

Happy New Year and Let’s get it!

Love,

Miah

 

 

 

What to Expect AFTER Expecting

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The “glow,”  the cravings, the morning sickness, the pre-natal supplements, healthy weight, milk flow (or lack thereof) baby latching and even post postpartum depression are some of the most popular subjects when you are a mother to be.  One subject that impacts many women but isn’t as  openly discussed is  Postpartum Alopecia and Telogen Effluvium , hair loss due to shock.

The hair grows in 3 cycles, growth, transitional rest,  rest shed (anagen, catagen, telogen).  Various cycles can take place on one head of hair.   The  growth stage varies in each individual. Depending on genetics (not products), some have growth stages that last 2 years.  Others, have growth stages that can last 6 years! Once the hair reaches the end of the growth the hair enters in to  the  rest stage.  During rest, the hair goes through a transition at the root layer.  At this time, the hair is detaching itself from the papilla and blood supply .  Again, there are varied amounts of time the hair stays in this stage. Some can last several days, others several months  Once this stage is complete, the hair will rest at the follicle level and since the follicle has detached itself, and no blood is nourishing the strand, it is ready to be shed.  The amount of hair shed varies from person to person.  Some lose 70, some lose up to 150 per day.  No worries, though.   Most of us don’t even notice the hair missing from the head because new hair begins generating.

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During pregnancy, estrogen is flooding the body.  Many pregnant women grow beautiful, plush, full hair.  Most of this growth is attributed to  prenatal supplements.  While supplements are awesome at maintaining the vitamin and mineral levels in the body, hormones prevent the hair from going through the shed phase at the same rate  as pre pregnancy.

Once the baby is born, the body begins the process of re adjustment.  Starting with the menstrual flow, everything from the brain’s neurotransmitters,  mammary glands,  to the hormones begin to slowly readjust.   When the body’s estrogen levels return to the level they were before becoming pregnant, the body resumes its natural functioning.  The cycles of hair growth resume and then. Shed. Massive shed.  Some a little more, some a little less and a very fortunate percentage, have very little.  This is known as postpartum alopecia.  This is usually reversible and the shed hair tends to fill in within the year following childbirth.

Telogen Effluvium is hair shed due to severe shock.  Pregnancy, labor and delivery take the body through shock o’ plenty.  In addition to postpartum shed, some women experience hair loss due to the shock the body experiences during childbirth.  This hair shed may be more noticeable and is also usually reversible (each case is different).  If a woman notices her hair is not growing  back in during the course of the year, or seems excessively patchy/tender,  see a dermatologist as soon as possible to have your hair follicles examined (even biopsied if needed) and to determine the best course of treatment to return to a healthy head of hair.

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Thank you moms, for your many sacrifices.  You are awesome!

When It’s Time To See A Doctor

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The natural hair community is an awesome resource. It’s full of people who want to learn what is best for their hair and scalps and people willing to help. However, there comes a time when a medical professional must enter the picture. When should you call the Dermatologist or a general medical practitioner?

1. When there’s redness , swelling, heat, itching, puss or odor of the scalp, there is no ointment or grease that will help. Think of this in another area of the body. If this were your arm, leg or even in your genital region, you would be in a doctors office quickly. Don’t take these symptoms for granted. It usually is indicative of some sort of infection. Please don’t ignore it. Contact a dermatologist and get in as soon as possible.

 

Seborrheic Dermatitis can look a lot like what non professionals see as simply "dandruff"

Seborrheic Dermatitis can look a lot like what non professionals see as simply “dandruff”

2. If there is sudden balding or areas that refuse to grow after applying product xy or z for x number of days, weeks, months, years, please see a doctor. You may need to receive cortisone shots and or steroid creams to help get the follicles active and moving again. They can also look at your follicles to see if they are normal size, miniaturized or scarred. It makes a difference

3. If your scalp is flaky with what appears to be severe dandruff, or scales and you have used tea tree, grease, no grease, plant based, peppermint oil, acv (apple cider vinegar) and you still have flakes, it’s time to see a doctor. You could have seborrheic dermatitis, in which the scalp is over producing oil (so adding oil may not be wise) you could have a scalp fungus that can be treated with an anti-fungal shampoo, you could have any number of things that the untrained eye would see as dandruff but it could be eczema or even psoriasis. Call a doctor.

 

Tinea Capitis/ Ringworm of the head is contagious. It can resemble flaky scalp to the untrained eye.

Tinea Capitis/ Ringworm of the head is contagious. It can resemble flaky scalp to the untrained eye.

FYI, licensed professionals should not service any head that looks as if  there is an infection or communicable disease/disorder present.    Stylists are also not to be the one to prescribe and treat the disease/disorder of the hair and scalp.  They can, however, refer clients with hair and scalp conditions to a medical professional.

It is always nice to see a professional who has first hand knowledge of black hair.  However, come cities do not have dermatologists of color or of African descent.  Don’t let that keep you from going to see a dermatologist or tricologist.  There are certain universal properties of the hair and scalp.  Although the doctors are trained professionals they are not hair stylists and they are not always (some are some aren’t) culturally competent.  I always advocate for my clients to go to the doctor with clean unbraided hair with very little oil.

Curly/Coily hair does not receive the sebum from the scalp from roots to ends, so to keep it supple, many with this hair type add plant or commercial based oils to the hair and sometimes the scalp.  If a doctor who is not of color feels the oil, he or she may think that is the reason you may have the issue. They may even advise you to use anti fungal shampoos daily, vs when you shampoo (at least 1x every 2 weeks).  Those shampoos can be harsh and strip the hair of moisture so follow it up with your standard shampoo after rinsing the medicated shampoo out and continue with a moisturizing conditioner.   The hair should not be in braids, as a popular journal of dermatology did a study of tight braids and traction alopecia.  If they don’t know the difference between a loose and tight braid, there could be an error in mis diagnosing.  It’s better to go where they can see/feel/ and biopsy the scalp if needed.

 

If you don’t have insurance, contact a local clinic that may have a sliding scale for services.  You can also try contacting a local university/medical training center where they train graduate level students to become dermatologists.  They will usually offer clinic hours and will be supervised by a medical professional.

Be Well.

Stylists Client Relationships: Respect should be Reciprocal

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Most of us have experienced it in one form or another:  Entire Saturdays taken up by overbooked salons. Arriving as the first client of the day only to be told the stylist isn’t there.  Sitting under the dryer with a “deep conditioner” for hours.  Breakfast breaks, lunch breaks, phone breaks, text breaks.  Exchanging of non edifying information from stylists to clients about other stylists.  Salons not offering continuing education and stylists not taking initiative to learn new techniques.

Still more, not being greeted in English.  French being spoken over your head as sure as Vietnamese is spoken over pedicures.  Prices being hiked at the sight of natural hair.  Edges being yanked to the point of no return.  Tisks of disapproval of natural hair.

Or

Spanish being tossed to and fro regarding your pelo malo and perhaps the gentle suggestion of a conditioning softening treatment to make your hair more manageable.  Unbeknownst to you, that softener is half conditioner, half relaxer.

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Yes, these are real scenarios that happen at many salons, inner city, USA.  Stylists overbook themselves as they are only making 50% of the total bill.  Many salons have refused to raise their prices in spite of inflation for fear customers will leave them.  Stylists then hustle to make ends meet but their lack of money could mean your time.   After all, time is money.

Professionalism is lacking in many salons.  Customer service, sanitary practices, and time management can fall by the wayside. Many times, accountability only goes as far as the manager of the salon and or the owner, but what happens when the owner refuses to address the issues of concern?  Who suffers most?

It’s the story of which came first.  Was it the unprofessional stylist that patrons support regardless without accountability or corrective measures or was it the overworked, underpaid, undermined salon professional that made the aforementioned scenarios reality for many?

Oh yes.  Stylists go through it, as well.  There are many misconceptions and bad reps assigned to stylists in popular culture but again, which came first?   Yes, stylists are in the serving profession but are far from “the help.”  Any given day, there are things that stylists experience:

Late clients who throw the entire schedule off, clients who always want a hook up or a service done for a “reasonable price.”  Clients assuming they know more about the art and science of hair than the stylists.  Clients assuming that hairdressers are not intelligent business professionals,  Instead, they’re just “beauty school drop out.”  Clients not communicating clearly during consultations and blaming the mis communication on the stylist. Clients refusing to do what the stylist suggests to maintain the hair at home. Clients not tipping.

When a client is late, it starts the chain of events that could be the reason other clients in the salon are loosing their entire day to the salon.   If the stylist if fortunate enough to have an assistant, then perhaps they can work together to make up time, but if not, that’s more time unpaid.

What the heck is a reasonable price anyway?  Who determines what reasonable is?  Have you even considered the price of a service in terms of an hourly rate?  If someone charges you $100 for  Senegalese twists all the way to the waist/buttocks and it takes 8 hours to do to 10 hours to do (depending on size of head and density of hair)  that breaks down to $10 an hour.  That’s just a bit over minimum wage for a skilled profession.  ( Mechanics, plumbers, electricians, hvac, all make more than that per hour, no questions asked).  If that person works for someone else, the salon takes half.  That’s $5 an hour, less than minimum wage.     The next time you question “reasonable”  ask yourself, would you do it?

If you bring in a picture of a hairstyle whose length and texture do not match yours, please don’t argue with the stylist when it doesn’t come out “just like the picture.”  A stylist also has a responsibility to let you know if the style will work for your hair as is without the addition of extra etc.  Think of your picture as a concept, not an exact blueprint.

Also, if your stylist has a good reputation and is known for cultivating/maintaining healthy hair, please follow the home care instructions of your stylist.  It doesn’t matter what the internet says about x, y or z, listen to your stylist.  If not, don’t complain when you aren’t seeing the results you like.

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Seeking hair services is a luxury.  It really is.  I mean, most of us can come up with a basic style we can do on our own, but the glorious feeling of having another set of hands shampoo and massage your scalp and turn out a finished style that will make 10 others want your hairstyle, please make sure before you book that appointment that you have enough money saved for the service and at least a 15%tip.  It’s a luxury, a service has been provided, half of the money goes to the salon/salon expenses.  Tip your stylist.  Please.

Thy stylist/client relationship should be one of dignity and mutual respect.  Share ideas and keep the doors of communication open, trusting that you both have the best interest of one another in mind.  If you are currently with a stylist where this is not happening or you don’t feel comfortable, start the process of transitioning (pun intended) to a new one by way of recommendations and online reviews.

 

sYOUper Fly Tea Party

The most classic, modern vintage looking group photo, ever!

The most classic, modern vintage looking group photo, ever!

sYOUper Fly is the sister group to IANT.   Since we focus on hair in IANT, sYOUper Fly is the group where we discuss everything else…fly!

Makeup, fitness, fashion, fragrance,  jewelry, nails, avoiding social/fashion faux pas, self esteem  pretty much everything related to being fly outside of hair.

Ladies at the tea serving face!

Ladies at the tea serving face!

We had our first meetup at Arnold’s Tea on the N. Side (East Ohio St) last Saturday and had a wonderful time.  Honestly,  planning it reminded me of the old IANT days when we were a much smaller group with more intimate meetups.  I cherish those times (even though I am super grateful for our growth), so I was really happy to finally be at a meetup where I could be included in the festivities!

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We had “Afternoon Tea”  formerly known as “High Tea”  We had a wonderful menu of loose tea (of our choice), petite sandwiches, scones, brownie bites, canolli and Nancy B cookies! We really enjoyed preparing for our gathering and getting all dolled up with hats and fascinators!  We had all different age groups represented and everyone had a great time.  I look forward to continuing to build in this way and getting  a chance to be fly in the process right along side my fly friends!

The most fierce photo bomb ever!  Say, "Tea!"

The most fierce photo bomb ever! Say, “Tea!”

Next up for sYOUper Fly, a day at the vineyard for a wine tour!  Fly indeed.

Little Miss Natural!!!!

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It’s a Natural Thang is proud to present Little Miss Natural at our summer meetup, Generations! Generations is the meetup for the entire family which will feature information on male grooming and properly tying neck ties, understanding how to care for sassy silver hair and pain free detangling.  We will also have face painting, story telling, and of course our wonderful vendors, which will be a mix of some of our most popular vendors and some youth vendors.

The purpose of  Little Miss Natural  is to celebrate young girls who wear their hair naturally.  If we can build the esteem of younger girls with natural hair, the likelihood of them continuing to feel confident with their natural hair as they grow into teenagers and young adults increases.

We are going to start this inaugural experience with 20 girls ages 4-12.  If all goes well, who knows, we may be able to expand into multiple age categories as we continue hosting events!

This is NOT a traditional pageant.  The girls will work together on a presentation which will assist in the development of interpersonal skills and there is no competition.  Every participant is beautiful, every participant is a winner.

If you know a girl 4-12 years of age who you think would enjoy participating please contact Anita Levels at iantlittlemissnatural@gmail.com

Hair Challenge starting May 15th! You in?

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Naturals have hair challenges upon hair challenges often.  You know, Hair Growth Challenge, Protective Style Challenge, No ‘Cone Challenge, No Grease Challenge,  Monistat Scalp Challenge, Greenhouse Effect Challenge, Seek and Destroy Fairy Knots Challenge, CoWash Challenge, No Tools Challenge, Heat Free Challenge, Something about Mary Semen Protein Treatment Challenge.

Gotcha.  I threw that last one in there for fun.

Now that I have your attention, what do you think are at the core of these challenges?  Is it solidarity? Do you think naturals really want to do challenges to have the healthiest hair of their lives? Is it hope and expectation that new things will be revealed about natural hair throughout challenges?  If a natural is unhappy with her hair is it the fear that no challenge in the world will really change anything, but nothing ventured nothing gained?

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I see hair challenges kind of like “diets.”  Not diets in the sense of the foods one eats in a day is a diet (whether it’s a balanced or unbalanced diet is another subject) but diet in the sense of deprivation where you cant wait to return to a life of normalcy on your taste buds or fads.   Many times, folks diet and diet again on a wheel of hope that this time it’ll “work” but there’s no balance, only the extremes of deprivation that the mind seems to accept, but the body rebels (and you eat a dozen donuts and a bag of chips all by yourself and tell no one!).  Many times fad dieting leads to short term results or temporary fixes because the core belief about oneself, the food or portions remain an issue.

Similarly, hair challenges do what?  Prove what?  What is the objective?  How is success measured? Is it  groupthink, what?  There are  so many naturals with beautiful heads of hair that are constantly are into this challenge or that challenge.  Refusing this or avoiding that.  Where’s the fun?  Can a natural with her hair in a protective style all year really have fun with her hair?  Is the natural who refuses to use grease or heat guaranteed a healthier head of hair over the one that does?  Is the natural who’s hair doesn’t reach the bottom of her ear even after every effort less valuable than the one who seems to effortlessly reach bra strap length?  Have the core beliefs of the natural that enters the challenge changed?  Why are there so many?  Are we bored?  LOL

For Lent, I did a video on things to give up regarding hair during that season.  Lent has come and gone and I wonder how many people were accepting of the terms.  Well, it’s spring now so how about a I love MY  hair Challenge?  Starting May 15th through May 31st the LMHC  terms are as follows:

Compliment your hair daily no matter if you are comfortable with your hair or not

Don’t speak of your hair in a way that would upset you if you heard someone else say the same about your hair.

Try something different, fun or off the beaten path at least once during the challenge.  This can be with styling or product use.

Schedule me time with your hair for pampering where there is no complaining about the time spent on it.

Turn off  videos/ online sources.  that make you envy or covet someone elses’ hair.

If you’d like to share pictures during your journey, please tag us on IG @iant1010  and use hashtag #IANTlmhc