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The Pedagogy of Kinky Natural Hair

Kinky Natural Hair

I was cleaning my bookshelf over the weekend, something I haven’t done in a while because it’s such a tedious but necessary task. Going down memory lane dusting of all the textbooks that I eventually discarded and the yearbooks of faces that have since changed from twenty years prior. I came across a book that will forever be in my library of literature, Paulo Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’. In the view of the author, “the key to liberation is the awakening of critical awareness and the thinking process in the individual.” I was merely an aduIt when I had to purchase, analyze and create content surrounding the words written in this book. Pedagogy, meaning the method of teaching. Oppressed, to burden with cruel or unjust restraints. When thinking longer about the two words and in the context of topics in which we discuss, I wonder about the pedagogy of kinky natural hair.

The lack of knowledge that men and women express with a strong volition when discussing our natural hair, is unnerving. Why in this year, do black people along with others, continue to place divided lines when it comes to the beauty in hair that has come from our heads? Dialogues around kinky natural hair have sparked controversy, from brands that continue to advertise, in their opinions, their view of beautiful, to the uneducated follower that would rather create a version of beauty that does not resemble any person in their family circle. Where does this come from and how do we influence change to creating a better ideology of valuing the image seen before you?

Kinky Natural Hair

If you mention slavery…I will not entertain that comment, so please do not. Unless your grandmother was a slave and you were a direct influence of that mindset, then you my dear curl friend, should move on and voice a different opinion that keeps you from being oppressed to believing there is good hair and it is directly related to light skin tone. This is far from a truth! There are many women in the natural hair community alone, that do not have a dark skin tone and kinky hair just as coiled as my own.

Moving along…

As a natural hair blogger with thirty plus years of kinky hair, I think there is a lack of learning within our communities, within the change of generations and it’s unacceptable. How many of you were taught how to braid, cornrow hair? How many women know how to care for and protect a baby’s hair before sliding an electronic flat iron over and over again to alter the texture? How many of you care to learn? Or is it easier to just say, “I can’t”, and then move on to having someone do it for you? There is no excuse for this lack of care when it comes to your hair, your child’s hair, my hair, his hair. This think process leads you to a salon, and with the hope that the stylist can restore the years of damage that you created. All takes time.

Kinky hair is not a new trait of a disease that requires highly knowledgeable techniques to have it behave. Kinky hair does not equate to poor, unhealthy, unmanageable, unable to advertise or appeal to sponsor type of hair. Kinky hair deserves more. Black women with kinky natural hair deserve more. Kinky hair does not require special formulas of product lines to have the less informed so confused, that they pick the most expensive or more advertised brand on the shelves. Kinky hair shrinks. Guess what? So, does the looser curl of hair. Kinky hair does get dry, but doesn’t all hair if you don’t keep it moisturized?

“I want to have kids with him, so my babies can have good hair.”

Oh, really? DNA plays no part? Did you discuss with this so called, good haired man about his lineage? When your blessed child grows, and their hair appears kinky, because of, you know DNA, what happens then? I discussed our family tree with his mom, his dad passed at a younger age. From either side of our families, our offspring could have very fair skin with green eyes, loose curls. Have you seen me? An even darker dad and combined we have a caramel beauty. DNA plays a vital part. Communication with the one you want to or by accident create life with is important.

The pedagogy of kinky hair should become a subject you should invest in not only for your mind, but the minds of future children. We shouldn’t be oppressed in this light versus dark, loose curl versus tightly coiled hair mentality within our own communities. If we learn and begin to articulate our learning, we can then teach others to open their minds to see our kinky hair for more than what it once was.

Family Lifestyle

What’s in Kat’s Bag?

Kat's Bag

What's in Kat's Bag? I wasn't that big on cute bags but I have them. They are the cute, usually black little bag that can only fit your id, keys off of the ring, lip gloss and just enough room for your phone. The cute little bag that went with your cute little outfit to parade around NYC with your cute little shoes…All cute items that are in my closet but not a part of my everyday life anymore. LOL

Fast all the way forward…

Everyday bag is now my going out after work bag, which may be the weekend bag depending on where we are going. I may switch to an even bigger bag on the weekends to fit not only my items but the items of child and her cousin – if he tags along. I really thought this part of dragging around everything and the kitchen sink in my bag part of parenting was over – it is not! The items are just updated.

If you too, think that you will not be that mom moving around with a designer bag full of snacks, Huggies wipes for mini people and some sort of toy, then you my friend are highly mistaken. No more bottles of milk and juice, well they are bottles but not with a nipple. Snacks are snacks and are necessary for the constant, "I'm hungry" whining, when you and they know damn well they are not hungry. Don't forget that tablet or doll or whatever fidget thing that will keep them from you wishing you brought your own bottle.

Shall we go through Kat's bag now?

Lotion:

Lotion will forever be in my bag. I'm a consumer of the Walmart Beauty Box, and definitely love the little travel sized items that fit in my daily bag or my travel sized pouches when traveling.Walmart Spring Beauty Box 2016The reason for needing and always having lotion in my bag, is because of uhm, ash. Ash, for those not familiar, ash is the dry white dust appearance that occurs when you don't properly moisturize brown skin before leaving the bathroom. Hence, the rushing children. It doesn't matter how much lotion, oil, a combination of both is used, they can be two steps past the door and their face, knees and ankles will look as it they were rubbing flour on them – on purpose. Why?

Makeup:

Lipstick is like the lint at the bottom of every bag I use frequently, it's there till I clean it out. The reason why I can never find my ruby woo lipstick and will have about four of them if I emptied each of the bags. I just never know when I'll have to glam it up a bit and what's the best thing about lipstick? It can be a brief substitute for blush…not eyeshadow, don't do that. LOL So as I looked thru my many selfie pics for this portion of this post, I realize, I haven't taken a recent picture with said ruby woo – it's not in my everyday bag and I just used my weekend bag, but I have a few of them. Now I have to go on a search looking for one of these lipsticks.

And this is why I also keep some sort of lip moisturizer in my bag as well. Coconut Butter on stick or ChapStick total hydration is a go to and if I run low, that day I will make a trip to the local pharmacy to get a re-up on my supply. Kat's Bag

Huggies Baby Wipes: For those that know, my child is over the age of five. Why on earth would I need wipes in my bag?

  • Dirty fingers that want to eat snacks and there's no bathroom around;

  • There's a bathroom but after using half a roll of tissue to secure that the skin doesn't touch the porcelain;

  • The said bathroom has a working sink but no soap to wash away any type of germ. Bonus item in bag: Sanitizer;

  • The bathroom does not have tissue;

  • Ice-cream that they beg for and ends up everywhere;

  • Spills;

  • Dad also has ice-cream;

  • Wipes away my tears for every time I see them touch any and everything;

Reading: Usually my kindle app on my iPhone or the free Times Out NY magazine that I receive for free are used for my reading pleasure. No excitement here…

Portable Charger: I constantly see people scrambling for an outlet and knew that I couldn't be that person – until I was that person. I needed to not be that person. Especially when using these iPhone devices, the battery begins to die exactly six months after purchasing the necessity. So to avoid appearing like a drug addict looking for the outlet of fixes, I just add to the weight of my bag and have my own. And because I am an adult, and a parent (not necessarily in that order), it's just irresponsible to allow your battery source to go below 50%…at 2:00 pm on a Saturday…in the children's park.

Headphones: I would literally die. Like slide down the wall of depression if I had to travel to work and travel home and hear all the conversations that I could care less to listen to. "Mary, I asked Su to paint my nails bright red, but I don't think it's really red, what do you think?" These are the type of conversations that privileged people have on the Staten Island Ferry. Proceed to discuss all of the places they went, did and didn't do and how the parking around the ferry is getting ridiculous (because they are building a mall). Who cares? I'd rather listen to podcasts that discuss real life issues like how The House is making all women wear strict business attire before entering the lobby of The House. But you guys keep going on about the shade of your nail polish.

Random goodness that maybe thought of as unnecessary for some: regular wallet, another smaller wallet that doesn't fit in my smaller bags but holds my metro card, umbrella, candy, mints, gum, floss, a fidget toy, a doll (yes, I'm currently on my way to work and look in my bag and see the arm of a doll), a printout page of business for my mother but haven't thrown it out, because I know she will ask for it, a pen, probably about $5.00 in coins, and business cards.

If you ever see me in the street, know that all of the above could possibly be in my bag at that time and it's heavy. Don't believe me, I'll let you test it out – – I'm a parent in NYC, I'm not concerned with you running away with it – I have no money.

What's in your bag? Is it different from the bags you wear on the weekends?

Events Natural Hair

CURLFEST: A Celebration of Natural Hair and Melanin

CURLFEST A Celebration of Natural Hair and Melanin

Already its third year, Brooklyn’s CURLFEST is an annual Natural Beauty Festival founded by the ladies of Curly Girl Collective. This was Type 4 Naturals second year attending and with more than 10,000 attendees there was a whole lot of #BlackGirlMagic to take in. If you’re thinking about attending CURLFEST in the years to come, here are some tips to keep in mind.

It’s FREE, but Get there Early

No need to buy tickets, this event is 100% FREE for all. Now, if you’re a product junkie, there are early bird tickets that go on sale that guarantees a gift bag with CURLFEST tote and products from sponsors. If you get there early enough, swag bags available while supplies last. If you miss out on general admission bags, vendors often give away free samples.

Come With Friends

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Bring Your Coins

Not only does CURLFEST provide hair and fashion inspiration, there are opportunities to support the cause and shop new and established Black Owned Businesses. Get sales from your favorite natural hair, beauty, food, fashion, and jewelry businesses.

Rock Your Natural

CURLFEST is the ultimate celebration of Black Women of all shades and textures embracing their natural hair. Come out rocking your kinks, coils, locs, curls, and fros. You’re bound to capture some hair inspiration just walking through the crowd. Check some of our favorite styles including Jo rocking her Fulani Inspired braids and fro.

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Stay Cool and Hydrated

CURLFEST takes place in an open field with large crowds and lots of action. There will be times of waiting in long lines, searching for friends, dancing, and lots of energy so take breaks when necessary. If you do bring drinks to the party, make sure to have enough water to keep yourself hydrated.

CURLFEST - Celebrating Natural Hair and Melanin

Have you attended CURLFEST?

Natural Hair

A Few Ways to Maintain and Style Short Natural Hairstyles

Short Natural Hairstyles

Are you new to being natural? New to recently short natural hairstyles? Rocking that teeny weeny afro (TWA), and asking yourself, now what? Most ladies become frustrated with their new journey and can’t wait till a little hair grows to attach synthetic hair to show off new box braids, faux locs or other protective styles instead of embracing their new growth. I’m writing this post to tell you ladies, you don’t have to do that! Your hair will feel your frustration and retaliate like a two-year old that wants a lollipop but you said no. Having a short natural hairstyle in the beginning of the summer season was the best decision of my natural journey and can be of yours too. Some women are mentally attached to their hair, me – it’s just hair and if you haven’t noticed, it will grow back.

Here are some tips on how I managed my big chop so many moons ago, grew it out and cut it down to a tapered cut…and again to a low fade. With my short natural hairstyles, some weeks go by where I let it be it’s natural self until I can’t anymore and run to my stylist to have her trim it back down.

Maintaining Short Natural Hairstyles…

What’s the difference between a big chop and having a short natural hair style? In the context of this post, nothing really. You still have to wash, condition, sometimes style and proceed with greatness. I’ve done a big chop…started with a relaxed pixie cut, the stylist cut off all the permed hair, leaving me with a twa. Unlike a short natural hairstyle, I could not twist, braid or style my little afro. It is what it is until it grows out to where you can do something different. Until then, headbands, pins, and random hair accessories were my and should be your friend. Just try not to constantly wear the flower halo accessory like you are in the garden of someone’s Eden about to be laid to rest.

Short natural hair, long natural hair – who cares? Your pockets. When it comes to buying products, less is definitely more. I’m not sure about you and your journey, but for me, I find myself wanting to wet my hair just a bit more because it’s there and I don’t have to manipulate it to get a certain look. I let my natural curl shine on through after sealing in the moisture with a leave-in conditioner and an oil. This is not a daily routine, but since my last cut, I have found myself wetting my hair under the shower at least twice a week. I don’t even recall using that much water besides wash day when I would sit and twist and retwist every other night to have a defined style with my kinky hair texture.

Some products that have worked for my tapered sides have been:

Although I’m not a fan of gels, these tools are necessary to slick down the fly away sides of a tapered cut. Apply a light coating to your hair, tie up and by the time you’re done with your morning routine, your sides will be ready to go. Overnight works even better, sometimes. We also have a list of a few more edge control gels that will help your kinky edges of your short natural hair.

10 Edge Controls Under $10

Since returning to short natural hair, tapered styles have been my go to. Maintaining a tapered style is harder than the social images seem. You can visit your stylist every two weeks to trim the hairs, visit a local barbershop and hope they trim your hair to your desire, or you can try to steady a mirror and clippers and do it yourself. I would not suggest the latter unless you have a license to operate clippers. lol

Even during the grow-out phase, in order to keep a clean appearance, you may want to address the hairs in your kitchen and the sides until the top of your hair and the length of your tapered hair meet. The most awkward phase is growing out a short natural hairstyle, this is another reason I just keep it low. Twist-outs, braid-outs, and roller-sets are common styles used to maintain a short natural hairstyle. I’ve also invested in satin-lined caps for not only myself but for mini-natural as well. They are having a summer sale going on right now if you want to try one out to maintain your short natural hairstyles.

Short Natural Hairstyles

Since writing this post, I’ve gone even shorter. Oh My!! Lol It’s just hair, it’ll grow back! Follow our Instagram page for photos of other short natural hairstyles.

Short Natural Hairstyles