Naturally Fierce Feature: Abidemi

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Hello everyone, my name is Abidemi but most people call me Bids. I’m a corporate lawyer by day and minion to my hair, Grace by night…actually all the time! I’m from Nigeria, but I live in London in the United Kingdom.

How long have you been natural?

I’m 4 years natural and going strong.

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What motivated you to go natural? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why? For me, going natural was really about learning about my hair and wanting to fully appreciate my texture. My relaxed hair looked limp and thin when it was straight. After going on about going natural for a long time (I’m talking years!), in August 2004 I did a big chop only to realize my hair didn’t look like Kelis’ hair. A year of struggles and ignorance later, I relaxed my hair for my university graduation in July 2005. Fast forward to the summer of 2009 – I was in France on a language course and I was seeing girls everywhere with natural hair of various textures. From speaking to some of them, I realized that one didn’t have to have a certain type of texture or length to be natural; it just took care and knowledge. That kicked off the journey to discovery – I realized there was a wealth of knowledge on natural afro hair on the internet where there had been a dearth just 4 years earlier. Armed with that knowledge and a renewed resolve, I started transitioning in the fall of 2009 and was determined to give the natural journey another go. In January 2010, my brother took me to his barber where I got my second BC and Grace was born! I decided to get a BC because I was having trouble trying to work out what to do with the two textures on my head and I feared I would weaken in my resolve and get a relaxer. Some people are stronger than me and can transition for years – I lasted 4 months ha! How would you describe your hair? I have a variety of textures on my head – Grace is a mix of degrees of kinkiness and curliness. Generally I would say my hair is predominantly super kinky and coarse with softer coils around my nape and sides.

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What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?! There have been so many memorable moments (good and bad!) but I would probably say the most memorable for me was in December 2011. I had gone to Nigeria for Christmas and my mom took me aside and said she loved my hair and she never wanted me to relax it again and to keep on with the journey. That meant the whole world to me! It’s been a journey with both easy and difficult phases. I struggled with trying to achieve a certain look for my “wash and gos”before giving up the good fight. However, I have steadily improved on my twistout technique and I’m loving that! What do you love most about your hair? I love Grace’s versatility and that she has such a big personality of her own – she tells me what style we are rocking that day, not the other way round. Loving Grace has taught me how to truly love myself and appreciate myself as a beautiful black woman that was created in God’s very own image. What are some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’? I love twistouts, so I generally wear them a lot, with varying degrees of success! I am also a big fan of the Grecian braid style – usually 2 flat twists around my head. It’s a wonderful protective style and super chic as well– Grace is always feeling like some Greek goddess when she’s in that style with the compliments she gets!
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What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others? From family, they have been really supportive although my Dad was heartbroken when I BC-ed. He is quite attached to long hair! On the other hand, travelling to Nigeria on holiday is always a bit of a challenge – people are on one hand fascinated with my hair but turn around and tell me natural hair could never be worn in Nigeria because it’s not professional and does not look“done”. Sad but I can already see signs that things are improving slowly but surely in terms of people’s perception of natural hair there! It’s been mixed reactions in the professional realm. Generally my non-black colleagues have been a lot more receptive to my natural hair than my black colleagues, which is sad, but I also see this as an opportunity to educate them on not needing to conform to a certain standard of beauty to be considered “professional”. Grace is never unkempt or unclean or untidy and hopefully I’m showing people that it is possible for a black woman to wear her hair natural and still work in the professional sector – at least in my little corner of the world.  

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)? My mix of leave in conditioner to Grace – a mix of:

    • Vatika Coconut Oil
    • Pure Argan Oil
    • Ogx Instant Repair Weightless Oil
    • Giovanni Direct Leave in
    • Kinky Curly Knot Today
    • Ogx Biotin and Collagen Lotion

 Other products I use include Body Shop Anti-Dandruff Ginger Shampoo and Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. My favourite stylers are Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream, Design Essentials Natural Curl Stretching Crème and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.  

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs? Websites/blogs – BGLH, Curly Nikki, this website (of course!), Brownstone Bazaar, Simply Cyn and Closet Confections. Youtube – Mynaturalsistas, donedo, missDanti1 and Iknowlee  

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words? To any one who wants to go natural but doesn’t know how or is feeling apprehensive, just go for it. Don’t let society’s ignorance (or your own – as was the case for me!) stop you from experiencing and enjoying the versatility of your natural hair texture. There is so much information on the net now on how to take care of and style your hair so let go of any apprehensions and just go for it. Also surround yourself with positive people who will appreciate and encourage you in your journey. If that means cutting some friends loose or setting some family members straight, so be it!

Where can people find you for more information? Yes, you can follow my adventures with Grace at our blog at www.bidsingraceland.com – and on Instagram as well – @bidsingraceland. We’re on Facebook (BidsinGraceland) and Twitter @bidsingraceland.

 

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