Stop Being a Victim!

Hi Readers. I actually did not mean to post this to this blog. This from my other blog “If Al Sharpton and Rush Limbaugh Had a Baby” which is about my experience living as a mixed woman with a black, progressive mother who watched MSNBC and a white, Republican who watches FOX News and listens to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. It’s not a blog I totally feel comfortable about publicizing and it is not great to be honest, but I see few stories like mine on the internet or elsewhere and I feel that my story needs to be told. So I am not taking it off of my hair blog, which is a lot more popular. This may garner some criticism. But how can my blog improve if it is never criticized or encouraged and how can it be criticized or encouraged if it is never read? So here it is:

Today, I was talking to my mom (she’s the black one) about what I discovered about affirmative action–I won’t go into detail, but I will say that for a while, I believed the lie that underrepresented people of color who benefit from affirmative action are less qualified than their white or Asian counterparts, but after reading some of Beverly Daniel Tatum’s chapter about affirmative action in Why are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, I learned that without affirmative action highly black candidates are looked over. I felt empowered by this because all the while I thought I was not smart and realized that I may even be smarter than my Asian and White classmates from the top 10 university that I graduate from, so I told my mom. Usually when I talk to my mom (again the black, liberal parent) about issues of racism, sexism or other -isms, I do not allow my dad (the white conservative one) to hear it, because he usually says something insensitive, but I didn’t think he could hear because we were in the laundry room, but guess what. He did hear me and he did say something insensitive. When we walked out of the laundry room, the first thing that my dad said was, “Stop being a victim.”

This is not the first time he said this. The last time was when I expressed my dismay with personal encounters with racism I had experienced in the workplace, with the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Voting Right’s Act, and the way that the media was unfairly portrayed Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend on Facebook. He commented on my post and said the same, “Stop being a victim.” I gave him a long explanation as to how he was wrong and he simply said, “Ok. Go ahead and keep being a victim.”

These are the moments when I wished that I wasn’t mixed or that my dad would at least be more sensitive or stop listening to Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh OR that my mom was the white one and my dad was the black one–that way the white parent might show a little more sensitivity and the dad, who’s probably less likely to be sensitive experienced racism himself so he could identify with my situation without doing any mental gymnastics required to be empathetic.

I sent this to my dad (the white conservative one)–It’s a video that explains empathy–because he doesn’t have any empathy:  It’s a video that explains empathy

These are the moments wonder why my mom (yes, my mom the black one) would have thought of her children when she married such an insensitive man.

I hate it, because in these moments, my mom does not even understand. She think she understands because she has experienced racism, as a black woman, or that because her father did not understand sexism and was sexist. But having an aversive or passive racist father is not the same as having a sexist father. Does a sexist father tell you that someone is a thug who deserved to die simply because he smoked weed once, pushed a bus driver once, and looks like you even though he himself is all three?

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Add a comment December 30, 2014

Messed up pics

Dear Readers (all two of you),
Just wanted to let you know that for some reason WordPress mixed up some of my pictures so, as of now, not all of them go with with the blog posts they are under. Honestly, I don’t feel like changing that right now, so…it’s going to be a while maybe forever. Or should I be more tactful and say, “I am looking into the problem.” That would be a lie, because I really don’t know if it’s worth the trouble. It might change back on its own. Who knows? Ain’t no body got time for that. J/k Sorry for being a terrible blogger.
Best Regards,
Oyibo Princess

Add a comment October 20, 2012

It’s been a long….time….the death of natural hair craze, Africana studies, and Girls among other things

Dear Oyibo Princess Blog Readers,

I am sorry I have neglected you for so so so so so long. How long has it been? Almost six months? Wow!

Why has it been so long? Well. Quite frankly, I have to be honest, but I just lost interest in the main topic of this blog: my hair. Yes. I still wash it. Yes. I still take care of it. I probably do less of the two nowadays than when I first started writing this blog, but I just realized that although it’s important to empower black women, mixed women, and other kinkies and curlies to love their hair, life is not all about hair.

It is like the way I feel about Africana studies. I love the subject. I believe it is important, but I will not devote my whole life to it and I could definitely see it getting old. Or maybe I should put it this way, I see the work of great scholars such as Henry Louis Gates, Mark Anthony Neal, and Michael Eric Dyson as important.  However, I do not need to become a scholar of Africana studies. They devote their lives to those subjects so that African Americans like me can become doctors, lawyers, engineers, whatever. Or I should say at least so we can have the option. As I am writing this I realize the issues are more complicated than that, but I hope you get my point.

Now that I actually wrote out what is in my head I am not sure that I actually feel that way.  But anyway, my point is how much can you really write about your hair?  Even natural hair? Even coiled hair? You tell people how you take care of it. You try to disseminate fears about natural hair by dispelling myths. As for other topics…I’m drawing a blank…

As a result, I am just going to talk or write about what I see in life and about what I do.  I hope this doesn’t get boring like the last seasons of the Bernie Mac Show (may Mac rest in peace) or that lame copy of the Cosby Show on BET. What’s it called….Oh yeah…Reed Between the Lines.

Ok so anyway, for my first topic, I thought I would talk about jobs since I am still trying to find one. I know it has been an entire year and I still do not have one.  Honestly, however, I wanted to get a job in something that would help further my career and in order to do that, I had volunteer (work for free for a while).  But recently, a few events have happened that have woken me up. I believe it was from God.

So the first event was my discovery of this disgusting show called Girls. We do not have HBO, so I watched the pilot episode on youtube.  The show opened with a the main character, a college graduate with a bachelor of arts in English and her mother and father eating dinner and a conversation about how her parents could no longer support her lavish lifestyle and her dreams of becoming a writer..  The main character (I honestly forgot her name) complained that she was still waiting for her internship to turn into a job. The next morning she asked her boss for a a permanent job. He then fired her.  Her friends just suggested to her that she should get a job at McDonald’s. Her mom told her get a real (paying) job and write a blog if she really wanted to become a writer (great idea. I don’t want to be a writer by the way).  In the comments area below the video, a viewer said that he has a four-year college degree, has had nine unpaid internships since graduation, and has worked (with a paid job) through all of them.

As disgusted as I was with her, I saw me in her. I was disgusted with myself. I needed to get paid at all cost (well legally). Even if I volunteer on the side and get great experience while doing so, I need to get paid, immediately.

The second sign occurred when I was reading the great classic novel Things Fall Apart by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe (not the movie with Fidie Cent. lol 50 Cent).  In one chapter, the main character, Okonkwo had been banished from his fatherland and for seven years, lived in his motherland. The narrator spoke of Okonkwo’s challenges in starting over. Although he had been quite prosperous in his fatherland, starting over and building wealth in old age was exhausting and he did not have the energy of his youth.

I need to get a job immediately at all costs now while it is much easier and my brain is more alive before it is too late.

The third sign came when I attended a poverty simulation (for public health, btw) course organized by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Group. In the simulation, I was a mother of three, whose husband had lost his job as a computer programmer four months ago and could not find work. My teenage daughter was 7-months pregnant. My two sons were under 12 and as a result, by law, had to be under adult supervision or we would go to jail.

During the simulation, I was almost late to work twice because I had to cash my checks in order to get transportation tickets. We were three months late on the mortgage payments. I also missed the birth of my daughter’s baby due to the fact that I had to buy transportation tickets. Oh and my son went to jail for carrying a gun, but I had to ignore that.

Praise God though, because I was not fired, we paid the mortgage without being evicted, my grandchild was healthy, my son made it out of jail. But above all it was stressful and a lot of work, just to stay in the same place and I had to ignore my children just to take care of them.

The lesson there was that I should not have any children until I am financially stable if I want to have children at all….

Besides that this simulation or game taught me that I really need to think of my mother. She still has to take care of me and sustain me despite the fact that I have a college degree. The job market sucks and I may not be able to get the job right away, but I will need to think creatively and fast in order to get some cash flowing in.

If I have to volunteer at Grady to get the work experience I need and work as Subway to get the cash I need I will (I am not working at McDonald’s. I’m in public health and obesity prevention to be exact. Hello? However, working there may give me an inside scope on behavioral patterns that lead to obesity. Sometimes you have to work behind enemy lines. Or am I simply trying to justify evil. IDK…)   Well. That should be all for now. This really took way too long. Anyway. Odabo (I’m too lazy to put in the special characters and you know what I’m saying.) I should also say, “Boa noite.” I’m learning Portuguese these days.

Best,

Oyibo Princess

P.S. Even though I said I would write about topics, I probably will not write a lot. This took way too long and I realized probably as I was writing about Girls that I do not want to be a writer. I also blogged about all the hair stuff I could blog about so what more is there to write? I don’t know. Or maybe I do want to be a writer or journalist, but I would definitely had to learn how to write in a shorter time span.

Add a comment May 10, 2012

Walk of Heroes

Oh. Man. I am so lame.  I participated in the Walk of Heroes 5k two months ago and I’m just now blogging about it.   Let’s see…I only ran half and walked half. I think when you are training for these kind of things you do not anticipate the control that competitive spirit will have over you.  The problem with me is that I wanted to run really fast because there were all these people around me running fast so I did not pace myself.

I also did not realize how polluted it would be. The closer you get to the downtown area the more smog you have to breath in. Anyway….Do I remember anything else? Thinking…thinking….

Oh yeah.  Although the 5k was supposed to raise money for people with mental illnesses and drug addiction, there were definitely some 5k crashers: people who love to run and just go to any 5k that’s in town.   I actually think this is good because it demonstrates that 5ks are (or can be) good fund raisers. Keep running people! Oh yeah and I discovered a group called Black Girls Run . I would totally run with them, if I had a car to meet up with them. Soon enough, I will get there.  Black Girls Run is free and it is in most major cities.

Look at the video documenting the Walk of Heroes 5k Event. I’m at 2:39 in the video. Also check out Michelle Mobley of Transcend Fitness.  They introduce her at 1:13 She’s cool!

1 comment November 25, 2011

Natural in the Workplace: Sales and Marketing Edition

Hey all.  Just read a friend’s recent email which said:
“Hey Nicole-I hope you’re doing well!””Just wanted to say I browsed through your blog and think it’s great!”
And then I remembered, “Oh yeah! The hair blog.”
Sorry I have been neglecting you but I have been really busy with school. (I’m in school again. hehe. Who would have thought?) But, excuses aside, this new post is part of Natural in the Workplace Series. Okay. Le’ go.
This edition is about Tamara Green, one of my mentors in college and president of an organization I was apart of called Future is Now, a mentoring program for African American girls in fourth and fifth grade. Tamara works in marketing so if you are interested in this field please read this blog post. Please give it up for Tamara Green.
  1. Name: Tamara Green
  2. Education (Degrees and Schools): Duke University BA Philosophy
  3. What is the company/organization/agency for which you work? I work for a professional hockey team.
  4. Where are you located? Houston, TX
  5. What is your position? Sales and Marketing
  6. How long have you been working there? Just about a year.
  7. How long have you been natural? I’ve been natural for almost five years now. I didn’t realize it’d been that long.
  8. How did you wear your hair for the interview for this position? My go-to interview style is a twistout.
  9. Have you ever worn your hair in a natural style for any job interview? If so, for what position of what company and what where the results of the interview? I’ve never NOT worn my hair natural for an interview. I am not a big believer in straightening my hair. I’ve worn twistouts and braidouts for every interview since I’ve been natural and I’ve been offered each position except one!
  10. Do you wear your hair in natural styles in the work place? Every day.
  11. If so, have you faced any conflict because of it? Any praise? Never any conflict. Always praise. People are normally amazed at the diversity of my hair.
  12. What is your favorite hairstyle to wear to work?  Definitely a twistout. And now a twist and curl.
  13. What hair styles, if any, are considered inappropriate in the work place? I work in a really relaxed environment and I’ve worn my hair twisted, in an afro and everything in between.
  14. Have you noticed any other black women working for the same company or organization as you? If so, how do they wear their hair? I work in hockey so…..needless to say I’m the one Black woman around here.
  15. Do you find it difficult to take care of your hair now that you are working for this company or organization? Yes! My schedule is so crazy! I find myself neglecting my hair for sleep.
  16. Do you have any advice for professional women who want to go natural or natural girls who want to go professional (are entering the workforce)? Be yourself. Any place that can’t look past your hair to see your accomplishments probably isn’t a place that you’d want to work.
    Okay. That was a pretty great interview. Like with the last two, we can conclude by reading this one that hair is not the most important characteristic employers look for in an interview (as long as it’s not distracting or messy.) Speaking of interviewing, I have one on Tuesday. I shall let you know how it goes. Oh oh!!  Who am I interviewing with? It’s a surprise.
    Anyway, back to Tamara. I would like to highlight an important point that she brought up. Well, actually…two. She’s the only black person at here workplace, people at her workplace like her hair, and she wears a twist out.  I bring this up because I was talking with a lady last month who said that she was too afraid to wear a twist-out to work because “they” will not like it. According to Tamara’s experience and the experiences of several other women I interviewed, “they” will like it. Haha.
    Hey, I just realized this natural hair in the workplace thing may be getting redundant, so if you are tired of it or want to know something new, please, please, please contact me at oyiboprincess@gmail.com and weigh in. Ẹ se, o! O dabọ

Add a comment September 25, 2011

Natural Hair in the Workplace: Uh, Bloggers, Consultants, Marketers, Strategist and Artist…all in one!!

Finally!!! This is the next edition of my blog series Natural Hair in the Workplace. It’s been a while, but please understand, I’m in school. On my way to become a medical doctor and public health professional, baby!

I had the pleasure of interviewing two wonderful ladies: Antoinette Henry and Imade. One is music performer. One is a music enthusiast. Both are multi-talented and art-oriented, both have their own blogs, and work as consultants.   Wow. Talk about renaissance women. I also encourage you to check out their blogs: http://www.acurlsbf.com/ and http://imadeintruth.com/.

And do not be fooled by Imade’s lack of pics. Her hair is beautiful  and I touch it whenever I can and I generally do not even like dreadlocks, but hers are soooooo nice, thick, clean, healthy, and they never look thirsty.  (Moisturize peeps.)  Get excited.

So…On your mark, get ready, get set…Here we go!!!

Antoinette Henry

Name: Antoinette Henry

Education (Degress and Schools): BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Musical Theater from Marymount Manhattan College
What is the company/organization/agency for which you work? I am a performer and  natural hair blogger. My hustles at serving at Wynton Marsalas’s Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and consulting for Philadelphia Freedom Schools.
Where are you located? Brooklyn New York
How long have you been natural? I have been natural for 9 beautiful years.
How did you wear your hair for the interview for this position? I pretty much always wear my hair natural. I, once in a blue moon, straighten it. I am very confident about my hair. I don’t even think twice about it for interviews. I figure if the company doesn’t want to work with me based off of my hair, I’m better off without them. I have gone to auditions where the casting director has asked me if I would straighten my hair and I always answer “Yes. But not permanently.” In cases where the time line, setting and feel of the show require my hair to look different, I don’t mind. As long as it is necessary and true to the story, it’s fine. But if I am doing a singing gig where there is no plot or story I wear my hair natural. I used to sing classical music and just about every performance, I made it my business to pick my hair out as big as I could. Because most people consider that genre classy, I wanted to make sure my natural hair and frizzy fro would be associated with it.
That is cool!!
Have you ever worn your hair in a natural style for any job interview? If so, for what position of what company and what where the results of the interview? I have always worn my hair natural for interviews with jobs ranging from a jazz club server to a Logistical Coordinator and Site Coordinator of non profit organizations. I am pretty much successful and get the job when I interview. (Thank God)
Do you wear your hair in natural styles in the work place? Always
If so, have you faced any conflict because of it? Any praise? I am constantly complimented on my hair. I also receive some stares. Actually, the other day a woman pulled me to the side at work to tell me how beautiful she thought my hair was. She even referenced an article in the New York Times about natural hair being fondled by strangers. We sparked up a 10 minute conversation that was extremely pleasant. I feel like the more we as women of color wear our hair natural the more people will be forced to accept it. But we as women have to get over that hump and accept our hair ourselves.
What is your favorite hairstyle to wear to work? Oh honey, I go in. I wear it out, up, in flat twists, headwraps and I always adorn it with a big African print bow that I make myself. lol. I treat my hair like an accessory. Why not? Natural hair is fun.
What hair styles, if any, are considered inappropriate in the work place? A lot of places considered headwraps inappropriate but I don’t. It always depends on the package. I have gotten away with wearing my headscarf with a big bow on my head. But I had red lips and earrings on. Plus a little confidence will make anything work. If you’re hair hygiene is right and you are  comfortable and feeling beautiful it should be acceptable. Whenever I am in doubt I ask. Before I started to wear wraps and funky scarves I asked my boss what he thought. It allowed us to have some great dialogue and I as a result, was more comfortable experimenting with styles than I have ever been.
Have you noticed any other black women working for the same company or organization as you? If so, how do they wear their hair? Well, because I have my own hair blog a lot of the women I work with end up asking about it and experimenting with their own hair. It makes me so happy to see some of them transitioning and beginning to cultivate their curls. One girl has a cute fade into a mohawk of curls, another has a cute pixie cut with coils and the other two wear their hair out most of the time. It makes my day.
Do you find it difficult to take care of your hair now that you are working for this company or organization? No. It’s all good.
Do you have any advice for professional women who want to go natural or natural girls who want to go professional (are entering the workforce)? I would tell them to present themselves they way they are. Nothing will change as long we continue to change ourselves. If you sense any issue surrounding your hair confront the issue and have a conversation with whomever you need. Be sure that the issue isn’t actually your own. The bottom line that there is nothing wrong or unprofessional about natural hair. Rock your coil. You may be surprised with how you are received.
Name: Imade
 Where are you located?
Durham, NC
What is your position?
I was an Interactive Strategy Coordinator and then a Junior Account Planner at an advertising agency.  I  am now I’m a freelance music journalist http://imadeintruth.com/
How long have you been working there?

I’ve been in advertising for 2 years since I graduated college. I’m fairly new as a freelance music journalist.  I started this past spring and now I’m doing that full-time.

How long have you been natural?

I’ve been natural since high school.  I got a perm against my mother’s wishes in 6th grade because I got picked on a lot for having natural hair.  At the time, it was expected to have relaxed hair, as well as other European features, but I can write a novel about that! It’s obvious that African-Americans have been brainwashed from slavery to now that we are inferior to white people.  On a subconscious level, I believed it because I wanted to fit in with my “friends”.  By the
time I was in the 8th grade, my hair was so damaged that my sister told me that I need to go natural.  I transitioned as a freshman in high school and was picked on by guys because they thought I needed a perm.  At the time though, their opinion didin’t matter because all I wanted was healthy hair.  At the time, I was the only girl (that I can remember) in my school who had an afro.

 How did you wear your hair for the interview for this position?

Well, I remember my hair being really jacked up for my interview as an intern!  I was locking my hair at the time and going through a troublesome stage called teenage locs.  My locs was very fuzzy so I had a scarf on with my dress shirt and slacks.  The advertising agency has a very casual dress code, so that was comforting.  But on the flip side, the agency had very few individuals of color.  I was the only natural in an office of almost 200 people.

By the time I interviewed for a paying position, my locs were looking  a lot better.  I remember getting my locs re-twisted and styled for the interview.

For both interviews, it was all about my skills and passion for working in the advertising industry.  It wasn’t about my hair.  I work with very professional people and I’ve always appreciated that.

Have you ever worn your hair in a natural style for any job interview? If
so, for what position of what company and what where the results of the
 interview?

Yes, since I’ve had my hair natural since a freshman in high school, I’ve always wore my hair natural (not pressed) for interviews.  I actually CANT STAND pressing my hair.  But I digress!  These interviews were for my positions in advertising as well as internships.

Do you wear your hair in natural styles in the work place?

Yes.  I wear my locs in different styles but I mostly wear it down.  I usually do my own locs.

If so, have you faced any conflict because of it? Any praise?

No, I haven’t.  There are co-workers who ask about my hair, and it gets quite funny sometimes.  People have thought my locs were braids. I’ve had someone recommend that I use beeswax while many loc-wearers consider beeswax like kryptonite for locs.  But most of the time, I get compliments on some of the loc styles I wear.

What is your favorite hairstyle to wear to work? (Please send picture examples)

I’m a free spirit when it comes to my locs.  I like them to be free and a little messy.  I like the feeling of going against the status quo and embracing the totality of my hair.  I like braiding my locs the night before and wearing them crinkly to work.  I also like using rods to make my locs curly.

 What hair styles, if any, are considered inappropriate in the work place?

Hmm, I’m not sure.  I never felt like my hair was ever inappropriate because I work in a very laid-back, casual atmosphere.  I think it’s fine as long as your hair is clean and not distracting to the point where it inhibits professionalism.

Have you noticed any other black women working for the same company or organization as you? If so, how do they wear their hair?

Yes, there was 1 other black woman who had natural hair.  GASP!! Even though we made a small group, we encouraged another co-worker who was considering going natural.  We were like a tag-team emotional support group.  It was great to affirm the natural beauty in her and each other.

Do you find it difficult to take care of your hair now that you are working  for this company or organization?

No, not really.  I actually stopped regularly going to a stylist because I wanted to save money.  I wanted to experiment and explore my hair on my own.  Being in a non-corporate environment allowed me to do that.

Do you have any advice for professional women who want to go natural or natural girls who want to go professional (are entering the workforce)?

Accept who you are.  You should never have to apologize for being yourself.  We as African-Americans should demand respect, but you have to respect yourself first.  I was told by a past stylist that wearing natural, non-pressed hair in the workforce was not professional. Today, I laugh at that.  I’ve been in a job where deadlines and 12 hour days were the norm.  When you have a presentation the next day, no one is going to care about your hair.  It’s about the value you bring to your job.

Conclusion: Natural hair is the business. What more can I say? God does a beautiful job all the time. =) Lol. There is more to say that just that.  One thing that Imade and Antoinette have in common other than similarities their career paths, affinity for the performing arts, and having beautiful hair is that they both say that getting a great job is really not about your hair, although appearance is important.  These two ladies are good at what they do and that is what is most important.  So please, if you are applying for jobs ladies, focus on your qualifications and improving your résumé and less on the coils or lack of coils in your hair.  

Add a comment August 28, 2011

Walk of Heroes 5k Training: Day 21 and 22 and important announcement

Hello everyone. I have to make an important announcement.  Although I was not premed in college, the next 10 or 11 years are going to be committed to becoming a dermatologist, which is a specialty of medicine if you did not know. I did not know until last year myself.  That means that the next three years will be committed to getting an MPH and getting into medical school. I decided that dermatology (or medicine in general) is the only profession that will satisfy all my interests and that will allow me to utilize all of my talents.  That being said, I did not exercise like I should have yesterday and today.  I have been trying to settle issues and questions for my post-baccalaureate classes at Georgia, such as how I am going to take the classes and how I am going to pay for them.

I made this decision after much prayer, deliberation, and some unexpected experiences this summer.

Because of this change in life plans, I will not be committing as much time to this blog.  For the 5k training I will still do it, but I will upload and chart for the week instead of updating you daily, which is probably better for you, because this blog is supposed to be about hair.  I will probably also have more guest bloggers since that would be much easier time wise.  I cannot make any promised but I will work something out so that you all will get all of your hair questions answered. I am not giving up on this blog but I just wanted to notify everyone so that people would not be frustrated with the lack of blogs.  Please keep me in your prayers.

Add a comment August 17, 2011

Warning: Beware of natural hair products. Danger! Danger!!

Okay. I really, really need to discuss this important topic with you.  I have been waiting way too long for this. Natural hair products and natural hair product ingredients. Those words can be dangerous and I do not put quotations around them because there are some natural compounds that are dangerous some are even hair products.  Before I go on to tell you what those ingredients are I have to tell you the story of how I got here in the first place.

Ok.  So I was on Youtube one day browsing around and somehow I came across this video called Brazilian Keratin Treatment on Natural Hair and I was thinking, “If you have BKT, does that not mean that you are not natural?”  That is like calling yourself natural if you have a relaxer.  I mean seriously they do the same thing  which is relax the texture of your hair permanently.  So I asked her the above question “If you have BKT, does that not mean that you are not natural?”

Then she said, “I am a natural with a BKT.”  Which is basically…anyway…that’s not the foolishness I want to discuss.

Another girl commented and said, “I’m an Earthy girl and I got it done twice. The product they used on my was pretty much made of all natural materials..”

I asked her, what is an earthy girl and she said it meant that she did not wear make-up unless it’s all vegan and used all natural vegan products and blah, blah, blah.

And I said something along the lines of, Listen Dr. Oz said on his show to stay away from BKTs because they contain formaldehyde and what it is good about natural hair products?  Ephedrine is natural and it killed some people.  Poison Ivy is natural but I would not rub it on my skin or face.  (Sorry, but I have already revealed to you that I am a rude person so don’t be surprised).

There's a white person on the bottle but black people use this too

Later that night I had dinner with my biology teacher from high school and told her about that foolish girl (Sorry, o. I just finished watching a Nollywood film).  My former biology teacher told me, “Formaldehyde is natural and organic.”

Oh my goodness!!  And that is why I am telling you this.  These skin product companies will tell you that their products are natural and they are not lying, o.  However, that does not mean that these products are safe.  Formaldehyde (CH2O) comes naturally from forest fires and is an organic compound in the scientific sense of the word because it contains carbon.  It is more importantly a natural carcinogen, meaning it causes cancer.  Seriously.  Look in your chemistry book.  Formaldehyde is not only toxic.  It is highly toxic and it is natural, like Britney. =)   Also be warned that some companies do not call it formaldehyde but rather methylene glycol.

You're toxic, she's slipping under

I would also like to mention that a Brazilian woman died after using a Brazilian Keratin Treatment, which contains formaldehyde once due to asphyxiation (suffocating) because her room had poor circulation.  I was watching Dr. G Medical Examiner yesterday and apparently death from chemical toxicity is quite common in the US, so please be careful with all chemicals that you use.

There are several other natural and organic compounds that are also dangerous.  Cyanide (CN) naturally occurs in apple, mango, and peach, although in too small of a quantity to hurt you unless it is rotten.  That is why you should not eat rotten fruit.  The makers of the BKTs may also say that the formaldehyde is in a small amount.  That is one thing that is a lie.  It’s usally 10% and that is a very dangerous amount. But back to cyanide. Many forms of cyanide are highly toxic.  Cyanide is also organic because it contains a carbon. Methane (CH4) is also natural, organic, and violently reactive.  It is flammable.

Methanol, CH3OH, or methyl acohol is also organic because of its carbon,  it is corrosive to rubber and other synthetic materials.  Its main hazards not only include being highly flammable and but also toxic (like Britney =) ).  If ingested it can cause permanent blindness and can be fatal (meaning deadly) whether through ingestion (eating), inhalation (breathing), or absorption through the skin.  Methanol is natural because it is produced naturally through anaerobic metabolism of bacteria so watch out.

I do not know that these organic compounds, other than formaldehyde, are used in hair products, but I am urging you to be careful about hair products that are claimed to be natural.  They may very well be natural but they may also be dangerous for your hair and your body.

Parabens can be natural.  Methylparabens naturally occur in blueberries and I feel bad for authoritatively  saying in a previous post that parabens cause cancer.  There have been studies that show that parabens have been found in the breast of women who have breast cancer and they may cause skin cancer when applied on skin and exposed to the sun, so parabens may cause skin cancer but not necessarily.

That natural products can be dangerous does not change my previous statement that manufactured ingredients are sometimes dangerous as well.  The common main ingredients in relaxers (NaOH, CaOH, LiOH, KOH)   have high pH levels (11-14) meaning they will damage your hair.  Most of them fall into the category of corrosive. A corrosive substance is one that will destroy or irreversibly damage another surface or substance with which it comes into contact.  Because of this, I would avoid not only relaxers but also Nair and other hair removal creams such as those by Sally Hensen which contain the same products.

Non-natural hair product ingredients:

  • Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH, Lye)  —Corrosive
  • Calcium Hydroxide (CaOH)—Corrosive
  • Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH)— Corrosive
  • Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)— Corrosive, harmful
  • Guanidine Hydroxide (CH6N3OH)— Hazards not listed. How convenient.

Natural (Toxic) Compounds

  •  Formaldehyde (CH2O) — Toxic
  • Cyanide (CN)–since cyanide is actually an anion its hazard classification actually depends on the cation its attached to. Sodium Cyanide is not flammable, toxic, etc.  Hydrogen cyanide is extremely flammable, very toxic, and dangerous for the environment
  • Methane (CH4) –Highly flammable
  • Methanol, CH3OH –flammable and toxic

I could go on for days.

Ok. After all this information I shared, I do not want you to leave here feeling helpless and hopeless.  The question now is: What do we do about it? If natural products are unsafe and manufactured hair products are unsafe, what am I supposed to buy?  Great questions. I will answer.   There is an online cosmetic database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.  Please visit and type in the name of a product you currently use or one you are thinking of buying into the search engine and you can find out about what is in the product.  It will show you the level of toxicity in the product you are using and the level of toxicity of each ingredient.

I will also tell you that there are natural products that are better for you cocoa nut oil, olive oil,  aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, glycerin, honey (only in conditioner that you will wash out).  But the question is, how do I know this?  There is a woman, I should actually call her a chemist, on a website called http://www.naturallycurly.com/.  Her name is Tonya McKay and has a BS in Chemistry an MS in Polymer Science (I have neither of those degrees but I read her articles. hehe).  She writes articles discussing the safest and best products to use daily, so please check her out.  Here is one of her articles on hair oils . In another article, she scientifically (but clearly in laymen’s terms) breaks down the pros and cons of using cocoa nut oil versus mineral oil.  You can even email your questions to her: curlchemist@naturallycurly.com.  Please do that.  Please.

The main points here:  Do not trust a product label that says all natural or all organic unless USDA approved. Look at the ingredients and do your own research using the resources provided (Tonya McKay from naturallycurly.com and the cosmetic database). There is also another article on BKT: http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/04/brazilian-blowouts-lying-to-kick-it.html#comments. Ok.  Sorry for sounding so heat but it really disturbs me when people are harming themselves unknowingly or when people harm themselves knowing but find a way to justify such actions. Thank you for your time and patience.  That is all for today.  I have to get to working on job applications and GREs. Yay! Bye.

Add a comment August 16, 2011
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Walk of Heroes 5k Training: Day 20 and 21

Sunday and Monday I did 5k training even though I try never to work out on Sunday, but I am really mad at my church and frustrated with the churches I have gone to. Is that really why? I don’t think so. I’m just making stuff up.  But I have not found a good church in Atlanta yet, so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know.

Sunday, my mom and I finally settled my gym membership situation, so I have gym membership at the YMCA.  This is great because I can lift slightly heavier weights and get better results. You should see my new guns (bicep muscles), but I am a bit shy about them though so maybe some other day.  I may even teach a group fitness class or course at the YMCA. YAY!!!

As for the running part, yesterday, I really had to run much more than ever.  My chest hurt a little.  It always hurts when I run but I never die and the pain does not last so it must not be too bad. Uhh…I am glad I typed that because that sounded foolish.  I need to do some research on that.

Yesterday, I got so much work done  and I think it may have to do with the fact that I did not blog.  Blogging really sucks up my time.  I am applying for jobs and I may be starting classes next Monday so I really don’t have the time to blog, just wanted to let you know that I am on track with the workouts and Sunday, I made up for Thursday Hallelujah.

God is faithful. I will explain what I mean later.

Add a comment August 16, 2011
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Walk of Heroes 5k Training: Day 18 and Day 19

First of all yesterday was a fail.  Secondly today I woke up so late. At 8:30 and started running at 9am. Don’t think that’s a big deal.  Well. It kind of was because it was already getting hot.  So hot you could hear the heat. Does anyone know what I am talking about?  And the hair quality was really bad.  Smog alert. I am an asthmatic. I have got to wake up early.

Btw, I am watching How to Be a Player and realizing that Bill Bellamy is not cute at all.  He looks like a bratty little kid. Boris Kodjoe is way better looking.  My mom changed the channel to something else.  I really don’t watch TV these days.

People keep making references to Mandingo warriors in these films. What is that all about?

Anyway, please check out the Dekalb Community Service Board: http://dekcsb.org/

Add a comment August 13, 2011

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