My name is Kamilah and I am the most introverted extrovert. Even with big hair that says “Come talk to me!” I am also quite reserved. I have Brooklyn veins but Trini blood. As a first generation American I grew up in a Caribbean household and I am proud of my heritage. The funny thing is I have been natural most of my life. I just had moments where I permed as opposed to most of my friends who permed most of their life and are now natural or considering. I am in the natural revolution or movement if you will, by default. If anything, I am a feel-good activist and I was rocking my big hair before it was “cool” back when my mom would suck her teeth and tell me to put away my “birds nest”. Now? Times have changed and she is asking what I put in my nest so she can have hair like mine. Imagine that.
What motivated you to embrace your hair?
Funny enough I wanted my hair to look like everyone else’s from JHS to HS. No one had a big, (blonde), frizzy mop on their head. Everything back in my day was shiny and slick and wet looking (Remember when Jam and Slick stuff first came out!?!!) but my hair was just the opposite so I definitely thought I wanted a perm just because everyone else had one. It’s funny when I hear people saying black girls want to look like their white counterparts because I was trying to look like my peers! Then one day it hit me. I embraced my hair and actually wanted my hair to be “crazy” after a certain age because I began to understand I could never look like anyone else. I barely looked like my mother! Lol More importantly, I did not want to look like a stereotype. I started to understood the importance of being comfortable as myself and because I knew all too well the negative connotations and assumptions of being a light skin black female within my community, my big crazy hair was my way to reject that image and stay true to who I was as an individual. Having wild hair complimented my sense of humor way more than long straight hair ever did and it has remained my signature look since then.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is definitely an extension of the more extroverted part of my personality; Wild, free and welcoming. At the same time its also kinda dry…but that’s me too when I am in a Scorpio mood swing. :o)
What do you love most about your hair?
One of the obvious things I love most is that my hair is versatile. Hair is an accessory. It is the finishing touch to an outfit, it sets my mood and allows me to express myself without saying a word. However, one of the not so obvious things I love about my hair is when it touches people. For whatever reason, my hair makes people smile. How can you not feel good when someone is walking up to you with a big cheesy grin on their face!? That’s the purest simplest human interaction. The cutest thing happened to me recently when I went to a party with my boyfriend. 2 young girls were sitting down talking and when I came into the room their eyes lit up and one of them approached me asking “Is that ALL your hair!?!” When I told her it was, she stood there smiling and gave a slow “woooow” and walked away to tell her friend. Both little girls had natural hair and later on the mother asked me to talk to them about embracing their hair which I did. Moments like that make me love my hair the most. It starts with the youth. Especially our young girls who struggle with accepting their physical features.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey?
The most memorable experience I have had in relation to my hair will always be when I won a trip to Africa. Softsheen Carson sponsored a poetry contest back in 2005 where contestants had to write about the relationship with their hair as a black woman called My Nappy Roots. I thought hey, why not. After being selected as a semi finalist I performed my poem for a panel of judges and ultimately won the contest. The grand prize was a trip for 4 for 7 days in South Africa at a 5 star hotel. That is hands down the coolest experience thus far thanks to my hair. My parents were proud and I felt so blessed. You can read more about the details of that experience on my blog under the entry entitled “From Root to Trip”. Like, I went to AFRICA!!!!
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’?
I find myself having a lot of conversations with women about going natural. I have inspired a few friends to go natural and even took scissors to the head of a friend to cut off her permed hair! Now that was an experience! But honestly, my experiences have been mostly positive. I keep things in perspective. I don’t walk around trying to make a statement with my hair but I do understand how my hair makes a statement if that makes sense. I keep my hair in a bun for work. I believe that there is a time and place for everything and when I am in corporate America I play by their rules. I have nothing to prove. Futhermore, I don’t want the “ooh’s and aaah’s” and “Can I touch!?” that comes along with having big hair. I choose to fit in at work, but I don’t give in to my beliefs. When I do have it out “she” makes friends of both genders and all races. It’s always nice to get a thumbs up from a stranger driving by or a “I love your hair!” in passing from a sister just walking by because being the type of person I am. Whatever joy or inspiration my hair brings to someone else, whether its feeling a little more bold about their own hair, or allowing their daughter to rock their hair natural because they see mine, ultimately it warms my soul.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
To be very honest I have the worst hair habits. Remember, I started rocking this back when there were very limited lines that catered to natural hair care and I am stuck in my ways. Back when I was in college I was still using Dax and Queen Helene gel as my staple hair products. Now there is a plethora of information floating around and I love the natural community and all of the positive things it represents and products it provides for black women. I need to do more research. I am not a product junkie but I do try and test especially when I get it free from hair events. However, I will say right now I am loving Dark and Lovely’s Au Natural line and Miss Jessie’s curly pudding is a repeat purchase.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Hmmmm….as I wrote in one of my blog entries entitled “Words of Encouragement” I do want to say this : Going natural is like getting to know yourself all over again so why not enjoy it. Use the time to get to know what works for YOU! Not your hair crush. It’s great to follow instagrammers and vloggers that have the hair you love or review new products, but make NO mistake…what works (or doesn’t work) for them will not be the same for you. Use those women as inspiration and nothing more. If your hair is natural, permed, fake, shaved, twisted, loc’d up, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s not falling out on the floor.
Where can people find you for more information?
I have an old soul and I don’t have a youtube channel or do tutorials. I have a bad memory and make things up as I go along so I can’t teach anyone anything. BUT am a great story teller! I do have an instagram page @hairandhumor and I gave in to peer pressure a few months ago and start a blog called, you guessed it: Hair and Humor! www.hairandhumor.wordpress.com I am still developing the site content and what direction I want to go in but for now I talk about my hair experiences and frustrations and opinions on hair related topics including a piece called “Am I a Natural Hair fraud?” There are so many great hair blogs and I didn’t want to just be another one sharing recipes and how to’s. I love to talk with my girlfriends and share silly stories so I combined that with my love of writing and sense of humor. I don’t take myself too seriously so hair and humor is my place laugh at myself but also encourage women to feel good no matter what they do to their hair because I love being a woman, a sister, girlfriend, “curlfriend” and cheerleader for self love. Live. Love. LAUGH!!
I love your hair and personality. Thank you for sharing!