a sisterlocks journey

(a sisterlocks journey)

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Read the very first post on this blog ~~~ "Pledging the Sisterlocks Sorority"

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Weary of the Sisterlocks Conversation

I had a small shock this evening when I read on Sophia's blog that she wants to cut off her sisterlocks because she is tired of having to explain her hair to everyone.

I felt a pang of disappointment about her post because I just saw her at the Atlanta Sisterlocks Meetup this past Saturday. (She wisely didn't say a thing about it because she knows we would have been all over her not to cut them!)

But I can understand in a way. Even I have found my self weary of 'the conversation' a time or two during these short 14 weeks:

1. "What are those?" or "How long did that take?" or "Are those braids?

"They're sisterlocks."

2. "Oh. (deer in the headlights expression) "How often do you have to take them down?"

"You don't. They're really thin locs."

3. "So you can't take them out?!"

"No. They'll lock eventually."

4. "You'll have to cut them out?!!!"

"Yeah. Like a perm. You either grow it out or cut it out."
(return to #3 one time or more, then continue)

5. "Oh. (pause --- stare) Well, it looks good on you. Your hair is soft."

"Well, actually, it's rather thick. But thanks." Should I go into 'the more coily the better' monologue?....................Nah. I don't have the energy.

This...over and over and over. It does get tedious. And even though I love sisterlocks and want mine to be recognized as such, I think I will start answering simply, "They're locs." That should cut the dialogue by a line or two.

I suspect, though, that as they truly lock and look more like locs, I'll thankfully have much less explaining to do.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April Atlanta Sisterlocks Meetup

Our second Atlanta Sisterlocks Meetup was mellow and relaxed in contrast to the excitement surrounding Dr. Cornwell's presence at our first meeting. The mellow atmosphere was welcome as the small group of women present began to get to know each other better.

The weather could have been bottled and sold and the balmy breezes that passed through Amba's screened-in porch by the pool was the perfect venue.

I decided simply to post a slide show of the event. I am counting on my new friend, Sophia, to email me a few additional photos soon!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Natural Beauty Queens

Since I have no new sisterlocks updates or photos, I thought I would showcase these 'Natural Beauty Queens.'

Zahra Redwood, Miss Jamaica 2007

Zahra Redwood, 25, is the first Miss Jamaica to be crowned from the country's minority Rastafarian faith. Reuters announced her crowning in 2007 with this news release:

'With dreadlocks down to below her buttocks, the first Rastafarian to compete for the Miss Universe title is out to smash the stereotype that Rastas are only interested in reggae and marijuana...Redwood, a classically beautiful Jamaican [has] a degree in biotechnology and zoology.'

The first bald Miss Universe Pageant contestant was Flavia Matata, Miss Tanzania 2007. She finished in the top ten at the Miss Universe Pageant and was ranked for beauty at number eight out of sixty-one contestant in the pageant by Global Beauties.

Flavia Matata, Miss Tanzania 2007

One commentator said, "Miss Tanzania made the other women seem like 'fembots' because from Latin America, to Asia, to the Caribbean and Africa all of the contestants looked like clones with various shades of skin colour."

Someone commented on another blog that, "Most of the contestants from Black nations were weighed down by weaved extensions in an attempt to conform and fit in."

Whatever your opinion of beauty pageants, you have to admire the courage it took for these women to compete in all their natural glory!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ann Coulter & Kwanzaa: We must be doing something right

I've been noticing a re-emerging hostility towards Kwanzaa, particularly on the conservative blogs...and I'm reassured that we must be doing something right.

I smile when the lovely Ann Coulter feels the need to post...

"I've seen so few mentions of Kwanzaa this year, I was going to declare my campaign a success...I believe more African-Americans spent this season reflecting on the birth of Christ than some phony non-Christian holiday invented a few decades ago by an FBI stooge. Kwanzaa is a holiday for white liberals, not blacks." (Jewish World Review, January 8, 2008)

The boys at our friends' annual Karamu 2007-08

Smart lady. Interesting tactic. Work the 'non-Christian' angle and then claim "war is peace" (Kwanzaa is a white holiday).

I made this door hanging from a placemat, 2 flags, a mini-Kwanzaa kit, candles and a hot glue gun!

If Ann Coulter and others are so threatened by this simple celebration of Afrikan unity and self-determination, that they expend the time and energy to bash it so --- we must be doing something right.

Candle lighting ceremony at our Karamu 2006-07

I am reminded of one of my mother's favorite declarations: "The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference."

Don't expect indifference towards Kwanzaa. Expect vitriolic derision...

...then keep on affirming self...

...and smile. ;o)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Break: Sisterlock Survival Photos

Chlorine, salt and sun. We'll see how my sisterlocks hold up. I'm determined not to get retightened before four weeks are up!

My boys joined me in Florida two days after I got there. My hubby came two days after the boys. We stayed in West Palm Beach for a couple of days before driving up to Orlando.

My 'tweenager' refusing to smile

Airport arrival in Florida

Swimming at Grandpa's

Lion Country Safari with Cousin Mekela

Disney Hollywood 'Drive-n-Movie' Restaurant

Mapping out our path at Disney's African Adventure

After two nights in Orlando we came back to West Palm Beach and went parasailing. I got a little sea sick after two hours on the boat, but we had a great time.

Parasailing anticipation

Parasailing anxiety

The boys being 'dunked' and 'dipped' (and luvin' it!)

Mike & me

Water, water everywhere...
...and lots of sisterlock slippage around my edges. But the fun was worth it.

Judge Mablean Ephraim, her hair and FOX network

I don't know how this escaped my attention, but I never knew that one of the issues over which Judge Mablean parted company with FOX and Divorce Court was her hair.

I had read that compensation was at issue. I had also read that Judge Mablean had requested time off to attend the convocation of her church organization, but was denied the time off. But it seems that the hair issue was of equal import. I found 63 webpages about Judge Mablean's hair on google.

Judge Mablean Ephraim with braid extensions added to her natural hair

She left the show two seasons ago, but I think her statement regarding FOX and her hair was poignant:

"The most unacceptable demand to me was when FOX said, 'There will be no changes in the current hairstyle to avoid time consuming issues regarding her hair,' I found this to be offensive. The requirement also comes very close to a violation, if it does not in fact violate, the Fair Employment Practices Act. An employer cannot demand one to wear a particular hairstyle unless it directly affects or impacts the employee’s ability to perform his or her employment duties. My hairstyle does not meet this criteria, it is, however, a racial and ethnic issue.

"Suddenly, after seven years of a show that has run neck- in- neck with the other top rated court shows, why is my hair an issue? Why, I ask? Because of my ethnicity - African American, Black, Negro, whatever term you prefer to use. Because of my genetics (short, curly, hair) which requires the use of chemicals and/or a hot pressing comb to straighten and curlers to style. It cannot be styled by a wash, blow dry and set. Therefore, in FOX’s opinion, it is a time consuming issue.

"I wore a short hairstyle which was my own hair. Due to a misapplication of a chemical process, I lost a substantial amount of hair in season six. Out of my desire to maintain continuity, and the image I had created (for the last five years), I elected to wear a wig last year for continuity. Had FOX asked me to maintain a short hairstyle for continuity and for image, it would have been a different issue. But they are saying I must continue to wear the wig because that would expedite the hair styling process. However, my hair has now grown. I had not yet decided what hairstyle I would wear for season eight. If I were to accept their demands, I would have been unable to make that decision.

Judge Mablean permed

Judge Mablean 'wigged' after losing most of her hair due to relaxers

"I therefore ask the question, when will FOX and the rest of America accept our cultural differences as African Americans and embrace us with all of our different hairstyles, hair textures, hair color, skin color, skin differences, whatever it may be? We take the time to learn about them, to learn about the different cultures in our society. They however have still chosen to neglect us, to disrespect us, and refuse to see us. We are still the invisible person."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Film Festival Sisterlocks Adventure

I arrived in Florida yesterday for spring break and to attend my dad's film festival. When my dad picked me up, he took several surreptitious glances at my hair on the drive from the airport to his house. But it took him a few hours to comment. All he said was, "You like all those little braids in your hair, huh?"

Me at Dad's

The clipped, "Yes," that I gave him told him, 'Zip it unless you want to compliment me on them.'

I guess he didn't have anything nice to say about my hair, 'cause that was the end of that.

Blogging at my dad's computer, 1 day after my third retightening

The final night of the festival went well and was well attended. My dad originated the event and produces it in collaboration with the Kravis Center in downtown West Palm Beach. It's really a mini film festival in it's third year. I say "mini" because each year, three films are featured on three consecutive Thursdays. This year, the theme was Young Black Artists in the Film Industry. Eve's Bayou, directed by Kasi Lemmons and Get on the Bus (Spike Lee, director) were shown this year.

Kravis Center for the Performimg Arts

This final night featured the film Liberty Kid starring Al Thompson (Love Don't Cost a Thing; A Season on the Brink: The Bobby Knight Story; A Walk to Remember; The Royal Tenenbaums). The movie is debuting on HBO this weekend [CLICK HERE TO VIEW TRAILER].

Dad introducing the Hostess, Lea Jefferson

Hostess Lea Jefferson

Actor Al Thompson and Dad during the question and answer period

After the reception, we went to Cheesecake Factory at City Place.

Me, Dad, Al at the Cheesecake Factory

The next day my dad took Al to the Dreyfoos School of the Arts to spend the morning interacting with the students. I heard Al was a hit, but I slept in. They came back to the house to pick me up and we went to the Norton Museum of Art for lunch before dropping Al off at the hotel.

Norton Museum

Sometimes things are so serendipitous. Divine order, some call it...

...After lunch, when my dad took me to the Airport to pick up my car rental, I had the great privilege of meeting Letetia! Letetia was the service rep working at AVIS that day. She has been sisterlocked for six years! Her highly textured, cylindrical locs are perfection.

My dad apparently had met Letitia before. Probably as a result of some local projects in the community. They exchanged pleasantries, but he was clueless about the hair connection that Letitia and I had! He's a little hard of hearing now and cryptic comments often pass right over his head ;o)

A congratulatory shout out to Letetia! She will be retiring in a month and plans to open a store selling Africentric apparel and art...

...My boys will be here tomorrow night and Mikey will be here in two days. I miss my babies and my hubby...

...More spring break posts to follow!

Third Shampoo Sisterlocks Photos

I shampooed my hair for the third time. My third retightening was scheduled for later the same day.

Before braiding and binding

I would be on my way to Florida for my dad's film festival and for spring break the next morning. My dad, who lives in Florida, hadn't seen my sisterlocks. Braids and locs are not his favorite hair styles, so I wanted them to be "laid" so to speak!

I divided my hair into only eight sections this time.

Braided and bound

I've been diluting my sisterlocks starter shampoo quite a bit - about 1 part shampoo to at least 4 to 5 parts water. But I think I'll dilute it one part to three parts next time. I end up spraying more of the mixture on my hair when it is very dilute, using just as much as if I had diluted it 1 part to 3 parts water.

My shampoo spray bottle

Because I've been waiting so long between shampoos, there is very little lather with my first washing. But the second and third shampoos are nice and frothy.

Just after my final rinse - sqeaky clean!

Air dried, locs popped and on my way to my third retightening!

I think my next post will be about the film festival.

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