Whoa Wednesday! Meet Jason

I know it has been a while since I have done a Whoa Wednesday feature and I couldn't think of anyone else to kick it off but my buddy Jason.  I had the pleasure of meeting him through a mutual friend and my initial thought was  Woooow, his locs are awesome!  I mean his style was on point also but there was something about his energy that was intriguing and I was right.  Everyone meet Jason...

1. Name and where you are from? 

My name is Jason Reynolds and I'm from Oxon Hill, MD, but have lived in Brooklyn, New York for ten years.

2. How would you describe yourself in five words?

Creative, diligent, compassionate, curious and...tall.

3. Tell us something about you that will make us say WHOA!

I learned to crochet when I was younger due to an obsession with hats. I could never find hats that I liked — my kind of hats —  so my mother had a friend of hers teach me to crochet. One of the best things I've ever learned, especially since now I have so much hair. Oh, one other quick thing, the lady who taught me was a "see-er/reader." A psychic. I grew up in a house with psychics and meditations circles and palm reading and all that was the norm. I used to be scared to tell people that because...y'know. But now, naw. I'm proud of my upbringing. It was different. It was special.

4. How long have you been rockin' your locs?  What made you decide to loc your hair?  

So I've had locs for about eight years. I think. And I wish I had some sort of groundbreaking story about how and why I started them but the truth is, my hair has been long most of my adult life, but just sort of "wild." I've lived as an artist for a long time, and just didn't really feel the need to be clean shaven, not to mention my father has never been. He's had long hair, and a full beard my entire life, so it just seemed natural. I think I somehow equate it with what men are supposed to look like (though I know this isn't necessarily the case.) I also like being scruffy and hairy from the neck up but really clean and neat from the neck down. Keeps people on their toes. 

5. What is your hair routine? 

My hair routine. Well, and this is going to be embarrassing because this is a hair blog, but I don't do much. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for my girlfriend yelling at me, I probably wouldn't do anything. I wash it a few times a year. Yes, you read correctly, a few times a year. More in the summer, because of all the sweating. Surprisingly, it's never dirty and it doesn't hold any smell. I don't know why, but I'm grateful! And I keep it moisturized with Oyin Hair Dew, and Cantu Shea Butter. I don't do any re-twisting or any of that (obviously.) I love them as they are.

6. Where can we find you on social media? 

twitter: @jasonreynolds83 

IG: @jasonreynolds83 

website: 

www.jasonwritesbooks.com

* I'm on facebook but you just have to search for me. Lol. 

7. Any last thoughts? Anything you would love for us to know?

Everyone who reads this, after you finish moisturizing your rizos, go out and buy my latest novel,

WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST. Boom! 

Under the Sea

Location:

Highland Park  Washington, DC

This weather could not be crazier!  

One day it's gorgeous and 80 degrees and the next day it's cold and you have to wear a coat.  I have been dyyyying to wear this dress and couldn't think of a better background to capture the beautiful colors.  

Hope you enjoy!

Hugs,

Mel

Photos by:

Maleknaz

Dress:

Leifdottir

Clutch:

Zara

Lipstick:

MAC Flat Out Fabulous

PuffCuff Hair Clamp Review

Hola everyone!

I was very excited to try this product because I have been tired of using my bootleg version of black ponytail holders - I cut the feet of pantyhose to tie up these rizos.

I am extremely tender headed (who would've thought with all this hair, huh) and that was my only remedy of rockin' a ponytail or messy bun without pain until I received the PuffCuff Hair Clamp in the mail.  It claimed to be the only hair clamp for thick, coily, textured hair.

Check out my process

Two day/ slightly stretched hair

I grabbed my hair into ponytail form with my hand and followed the directions given:  

  1.  Insert the teeth of both arms into hair on both sides of the head. 
  2.  Bring the arms around toward each other and hook the ends together by twisting with        your thumb and index finger.

AND  

(Keep scrolling down)

 DONE!  

Yes, it was that simple!

VERDICT:  

I TOTALLY RECOMMEND IT! 

I wore this clamp during the week to really test it out and I brought some of my backup "pantyhose hair ties" just in case it would pop open or if my head started hurting.  I ran, worked out at the gym, and even went bike riding with the PuffCuff Hair Clamp in my hair and it was so comfortable that I actually forgot it was in my hair!  

Not to mention, they are very reasonably priced - $11.99!!  Folks, you can not go wrong.

Ladies and gents, head over to www.puffcuffhairclamp.com and get yours today!  

XOXO,

Mel

To the Max!

This is the outfit that I wore the second day in Austin.  It was a huge difference from what I was rockin' to the airport - layers of clothing and boots.  This maxi dress was perfect and super comfy to explore the city.  The weather was absolutely beautiful!  85 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  Oh yeah and no humidity!  Holy happy hair day!

Stay tuned. More pics to follow...

Dress, scarf, sunglasses, bag and shoes:  all Forever 21

Jacket:  Levi's

Primavera por favor

Location: Highland Park

Primavera por favor (Spring, PLEASE)

This has been the longest winter EVER and I can't wait for the warm weather!  So, I just had to recreate a bright day indoors and treat myself to my favorite snacks from back in the day, especially an ice cold Goya Malta.  YUMMMM!

Fun facts:  

  • Chifles plantain chips are made from all natural ingredients and are a healthy alternative to potato chips.
  • They are gluten free! A tasty snack for those that suffer from celiac disease.
  • Chifles is ran by a woman (woooo hooo) and is a certified Women's Business Enterprise.

Photos by:  Maleknaz

Sweatshirt: (similar)  Etsy

Jeans:  Prps

Shoes: Zara

Rings: Wink

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Breakage launch

I was invited to celebrate the launch of Dark and Lovely's New Au Naturale Anti-Breakage line at the New York hotspot No. 8.  Try to imagine a room full of gorgeous women (and some men) with beautiful, flowing, lustrous manes.  From long to short hair and loose ringlets to fabulous up-do's.  It was TOTAL sensory overload - I think I'm still suffering from whiplash, LOL!  

Also, there was a special performance by Marsha Ambrosius and the delicious food was provided by Chef Roblé.  

Check it out! 

Photos by:  Pete Monsanto

 

Model Wakeema Hollis

The BEAUTIFUL Dark and Lovely ladies

 Chef Roblé

Natural Hair Vlogger Taren Guy

Marsha Ambrosius

Natural Hair Vlogger Jouelzy 

Host, DJ, & culture critic Amanda Seales

Mr. Pete Monsanto

This was the awesome giveaway! (keep scrolling down) 

Xoxo,

Mel

Stay tuned for the review on the hair products...

Wash Yo Rizos Day! My niece Zoë

I visited my niece a couple of weeks ago and it was WASH DAY!  I was excited to see the regimen my sister created for her and the hair care products she uses.

Below Zoë had 7 day dirty hair. 

BEFORE

Washing her hair requires a team effort

Process Time: 39 mins

Wash: 2X with Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shampoo (Vanilla Mint scent). 

Condition/Detangle:  Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan oil conditioner.  First wide toothed combed hair from ends to root and then flat brushed hair from root to ends.  Rinsed under luke warm water and hair was retwisted.

Style: (not shown) Coated hair with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie and air dried.

** I was unable to get an "AFTER" picture of Zoe's hair (it was still wet when I left) BUT here is the result of how her hair would look after her twists have dried.

*** Sorry about the face she was having a "moment" lol!

** On a side note check out the humanitarian benefits for purchasing from the Everyday Shea line - http://www.everydayshea.com/empowerment.asp

XO,

Mel

Chrisette Michele talks music and natural hair

Dark and Lovely invited me to stop by their booth at the 1st annual Bennett Career Institute  & C. Allan Systems First Annual Celebrity Beauty Weekend with guest artist Chrisette Michele and it went a little something like this...

No shrinkage makes us HAPPY!

The End

Special Thanks to: AriJazmin (video and photos) 

Check out Dark and Lovely on Facebook and Instagram

Abrazos,

Mel

Play With It Project by Vaughn Dabney

The Play With It Project (http://youcanplaywithit.com) is the missing conversation that sheds light on the natural hair movement as well as some of the experiences of the journey. Including exclusive interviews from women such as: Celebity Natural Hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, Natural Hair Guru Mae (Natural Chica), Author Alex Elle and ME! Using film and photography, Vaughn Dabney, has been working on this project for the past four years while living in Atlanta, Georgia.

The coffee table book will highlight the different hairstyles seen in the natural hair community today ranging from low-cut and beautifully bald, to thick and kinky afros. The book has a special twist to it though...it will also be a resource. Located in the second half of the book will be an index corresponding to a woman's page. It will contain her hair regimens, care tips, and other useful information for women transitioning or currently natural. This is probably the most valuable portion of the book.

The documentary of course is the conversation. Delving into the lives of women AND men that have been interviewed. Telling their experiences through stories and poems.

Now that the project is almost complete, I'd like to share this with you first. If what you see is noteworthy, please feel free to use any materials on the site in order to spread the word and share this project. 

Contact info

Email: vaughndabney@gmail.com

Project website: http://youcanplaywithit.com

Instagram: @mrdabney

Twitter: @vaughndabney

Dominicians con RIZOS (Part 4) Meet Ixchel

Tell us about Ixchel! (As told by her mommy Ishtar)

Ixchel Inanna Rojas (Ixchel is the mayan Moon Goddess, hence her nickname Luna Inanna is the Summerian goddess of love). She is 3 1/2 years old and in Pre-k. She is of Dominican, Venezuelan, and Colombian descent - Quite the mix, huh?  She has 3 older brothers, one of which is 10 years old and rocks an awesome afro as well.

As a mommy of a little girl with natural hair, can you explain the hair regimen you have created for her?

Taking care of Ixchel's hair has been a learning curve for me.  This was the first time ever dealing with her texture of hair. However, Karen was sweet enough to walk me through some of the highlights. I only wash her hair once a week, unless otherwise indicated by her toddler adventures. It's definitely a timely process.  I try my best to just use my fingers when I apply conditioner, starting from the root and out. However, I have to be honest, she has a LOT of hair and sometimes a comb is necessary. I have only cut her hair once when she was about 2 years old.

I have tried out several products and wasted money in the process because oddly enough what works for one doesn't necessarily seem to work for another. I have asked other moms whose daughters' have natural curly hair and to the naked eye seemed to resemble my Ixchel's, however, the same products they use successfully have dried out her hair. When it comes to shampoo and conditioner I use  All'Olio D'Argan and Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercream - they both work well with her hair. Although, after the third day or so her curls get very matted. Luckily, I found the same stuff that you have recently posted on your site by Jane Carter, I haven't used all the products but the Nourishing Cream has really been working well. It keeps a fresh look for days and doesn't seem to get as tangled.

I still have a lot to learn and I'm trying to figure out how to keep her hair from getting tangled up at night and thinking of creative ways of doing her hair. Now that she's in pre-K, I already had a lice scare! Thank goodness she didn't get it like her fellow peers did!! I think I would have cried.  I love rocking her fro but it's no bueno for school anymore. It gets a little boring to do the regular ponytail daily.  Her natural fro is by far my favorite and hers...

To be honest, Luna's fro is her signature statement in the world. People of all shades always compliment her on it, some even surprise me. She gets A LOT of positive attention from it. As for myself, I am about to embark on Kundalini Yoga journey. I am very psyched to be starting the curriculum to be certified in teaching. Total spiritual head, all about higher consciousness, meditation and such. Ixchel even knows how to get in pose and recites mantras! It is the beginning of an exciting venture as I intend to use the certification along with my personal experience to create weekend retreats in the near future. My soul purpose is to plant seeds for people to awaken to their inner divinity and infinite love.

Here are some behind the scenes with Ixchel in action....

Dominicans con RIZOS (Part 3) Meet Bruja

So you go by Bruja. Is that your real name?  And that hair!  Tell me about your journey.

bruja is my real name.  yes it means witch and no, it is not what is on my birth certificate. i believe everyone has the right to call themselves what they wish. for example, Malcolm Little became Malcolm X - the letter X for the unknown African family he came from. later El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, signifying a new phase, a new journey he entered. Gloria Jean Watkins decided to call herself 'bell hooks' after her grandmother.  she purposely lower cased the first letters to distinguish herself from her grandmother. i lower case because i am only one element in this rather large organism - the world. bruja is my name. it is what you can call me.

at about 16 years of age, something clicked in me. my hair became me. it was no longer "a part of me." my family is from the dominican republic and dominican women are infamously known for the most poppingest of poppin' blow outs. of course i wanted long straight hair. yet, i couldn't afford going to el salón every week. buns and wash and go's were styles i always did before i even knew they were called a "bun" or a "wash and go." i just wanted my hair to be dealt with not knowing it didn't need to be dealt with in the first place. i have always been natural. along with accepting my hair how it comes out of my head, the name bruja came right along with it. i was called bruja because of my pajón (afro). but i was also called bruja as a term of endearment, de cariño. i have always been extremely vocal and social but an still very much an introvert. i chose books, protests, spoken word before hookies and boyfriends. deciding to call myself bruja was as organic as it was destined. i call myself bruja in honor of all the witches murdered and hounded spiritually; in honor of all the women i have known to tell the truth and carry on our legacies. bruja means power and truth.

What do you do for a living?

what pays me isn't as important as what i am meant to do. i have been having conversations with movers and shakers that do not have a traditional career path. we are in a digital age where our ability to navigate different circles using our many acquired skills has afforded us the ability to create new means of income. i only have 10 months in my first traditional job that i am seeing as a stepping stone for my next move. what i can say is that i am a connector, a speaker, a mover and shaker. i am particularly interested in latin@ communities of African descent both domestically here in the US and abroad (the diaspora, our motherlands), women, media and arts. i talk race a lot. i talk sexism a lot. i talk capitalism a lot. these are interlocking systems of domination that connect us with each other, most often in the worst way. by deconstructing these systems, i find that i am able to truly build commUnity and learn a bit more about you and myself in the process.

Wash Yo Rizos Day! My niece Sanai

I visited my niece a couple of weeks ago and it was WASH DAY! I was excited to see the regimen my sister created for them and what hair care products she uses. Below Sanai had 6 day dirty pelo.  Check out the process below...

BEFORE (braid out)

CONDITIONER MIXTURE

AFTER

Process Time: 46 mins

Wash: 1X with Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo.  My sister Ceci normally uses this product on Sanai once a month to remove all of the buildup from her hair.

Condition/Detangle:  Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan oil conditioner and Herbal Essence Honey I'm Strong conditioner.  Wide toothed combed hair from ends to root and twisted.  Rinsed under luke warm water and hair was untwisted.

Style: Coated hair with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie and air dried.  No fluffing needed (she's lucky).

Hugs,

Mel

Quick Getaway- St. Pete Beach, FL

I was in Florida this past weekend for a much needed getaway.  I arrived at night so a lot of places I did see were not captured but we stayed at this adorable hotel called the Postcard Inn.  It is a hidden gem.  From the outside it looked sort of abandoned but check out how cool the interior is....

It felt GREAT to dig my heels in the sand and hang out in a bikini all day in the middle of December.  If you are ever in this area I would def check it out, you will not be disappointed.  

Hugs, 

Mel

International News Network Encourages ' The Natural Look'

Arise News is an online and satellite network that broadcasts to Europe, Africa and the United States since April. The brain child of successful Nigerian Publisher Nduka Obaigbena.  Arise is not just covering international stories from a more colorful perspective, it is also encouraging the natural aesthetic of the African Diaspora to shine through.  One new hire, Safiya Songhai, was surprised to have her news director actually encourage her to wear her hair natural, in an all out Afro.

Television news is often considered a place where women of color who are on-air talent must conform to a Eurocentric standard of hair beauty.  Nearly all major broadcasters wear their hair in weaves, wigs, perms, presses or extensions.

Although Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC is two strand-twisting her hair while the natural hair grows in, most kinky-haired women on TV, don't let their full-fro or curls grace the air-waves.

Songhai, an Emmy-Award Winning broadcaster and filmmaker was near tears when her news director, veteran journalist, Gary Anthony Ramsay actually encouraged her to wear her hair in a natural Afro style.

On the first day of the hair unveiling Ramsay said "See, doesn't that feel better."

Natural hair on the news was common in the 1970's when it was a popular style nationwide.  Since this era, few other black women have been given the green light to exhibit their hair confidence behind the news desk.

Black women spend approximately 9 billion dollars annually on hair care products. Much of that money is spent on an effort to change the natural kinky hair texture of an afro or curly hair. In contrast, Songhai says her natural probably costs about $50 a year to maintain.

Songhai quotes:

" Black people can't live in the shadow of another group of people and ever gain their respect.  We have to stand at our full height, and with natural hair you stand taller in more ways than one." 

" The issue isn't natural vs. straight hair, the issue is thinking that natural hair is not an acceptable option to corporate America. I change my hair all of the time, every two days to be exact. When I go into a professional setting, I shouldn't have to un-africanize myself in order to be acceptable or non-threatening."

- I will still wear my hair straight from time to time, but the Afro, kinks and curls will always be in my hair arsenal. I want women, young and old to look to me and remember their crown is already on their head. They don't need East Indian hair, or Remy hair packs to present themselves to the world. I'm talking to the international world everyday and I'm going to do it, in an Afro.

LINKS: 

www.SafiyaSonghai.com (Bio, clips, etc)

(Natural) http://www.arise.tv/news-now-show/arise-news-now-27-11-3937

(Natural) http://www.arise.tv/news-now-show/arise-news-now-22-11-3910

(Straight) http://www.arise.tv/news-now-show/arise-news-now-15-11-3865

 

un-ruly.com Presents You Can Touch My Hair, A Short Film

I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the private screening of “You Can Touch My Hair, a Short Film” presented by un-ruly.com in partnership with Pantene Pro-V in New York City.  Un-ruly.com held a two day public art exhibit on June 6, 2013 in Union Square - the crowd and emotions that it created were astounding....Check it out!

DAY 1

DAY 2

The screening of the film was followed by a panel discussion featuring expert cultural critic and writer Michaela Angela Davis, Un’ruly founder Antonia Opiah, model/vlogger Autumn McHugh and facilitated by broadcast journalist, filmmaker and voice-over artist Safiya Songhai.

 

Un’ruly founder Antonia Opiah

Michaela Angela Davis

 Curly connections with Autumn McHugh and Michaela Angela Davis

I really enjoyed the film! 

Despite the fact that race became a factor in opinions, I was able to relate to almost every experience mentioned even though I'm Latina.  I personally feel that women and men from a global standpoint have experienced some sort of "conversation"in wearing their hair in their natural state (whether it's positive or negative).  Being natural comes with a sense of confidence that is achieved in embracing yourself and what you were born with.

A special thanks to Abigail and Antonia Opiah of unruly.com for inviting me to view this magnificent project.  I can not wait to see what's next!

Hugs,

Mel