The black community since slavery has dealt with the myth of good hair vs. bad hair. Though the hair texture of people of African descent is prone to be curly, the majority of black women often seek a remedy for "bad hair". The "good hair" by definition is straight, long and flowing and easy to get a comb through. "Bad hair" is just the opposite, unmanageable, extremely curly, and "nappy". By definition the hair that our Creator blessed us with at birth should be appreciated and looked upon as beautiful, however in the black community for a large majority of women & men, it is not. Unlike other ethnicities that take pride in their natural hair, many in the black community look at their natural, "nappy hair" as a burden of disgrace, as socially unacceptable. Happily Natural Day as a vehicle was created to uplift the cultural and ethnic pride of Africans worldwide and do away with the idea that the natural characteristics of African culture and ethnicity are socially unacceptable.
There is a legacy that the black community confronts daily due to its unique history in America, the fact that for decades anything having to do with black people was considered the object of ridicule and looked upon in disdain by mainstream European culture. This phenomenon gave birth to an intense inferiority complex in the Black community and can be identified around the world as a characteristic response to white supremacy, a response in which many begin to negate themselves in an attempt to assimilate into European culture. Though it would be an overgeneralization to say that all black women straighten their hair to look like white women; many do so because they simply are not knowledgeable of the easy, cost effective ways in which to take care of their natural hair, it must be noted that for the majority of print & cinematic media especially lifestyle magazines, network television, and the fashion industry the model for beauty is consistently a white woman. These areas of media are referenced everyday by the general public for what is considered socially acceptable in terms of beauty.
How much does the ideal of white supremacy affect us today? How does the acceptance of European standards of beauty as universal reverberate through the African Diaspora? In South Africa, there are a large number of our black brothers & sisters who are so discomforted by their dark skin that they go to extremes to bleach their skins causing illness and in extreme cases death in the quest to get light, "fair" skin. In adherence to the social mores, status quo, and in conformity to an ideal of beauty characterized by European culture & Western society, African's in America and throughout the world attempt to lighten their skin tone, straighten their hair texture, and through plastic surgery, thin both nose & lips at serious risk to physical health, not to mention the psychological ramifications of not being able to accept the inherent beauty of one's ethnicity.
50 years ago, psychologist Kenneth Clark's work with black children became pertinent evidence in the landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education. The now infamous doll test found that black children were identifying with white dolls more so than black dolls showing that segregation of public schools were detrimental to black children, that it bred an inferiority complex. The findings of that study helped to desegregate the schools, an event we are celebrating this year throughout the United States. In the 1980's the same test was done with the same results, showing that the inferiority complex of black children runs deeper than school. It stands to reason that it was not the segregation of the schools that caused the inferiority complex; it was ideals of white supremacy & the disparity between whites & blacks throughout society caused by white supremacy that bred this cyclical syndrome of self-discontent.
The inferiority complex of black children is a societal issue that follows black children into adulthood. By nature what we hate we seek to destroy, disrespect, & mistreat. Today, throughout the Western hemisphere, black youths are destroying, disrespecting, and mistreating each other at alarming rates unparalleled. The irony is that during segregation and during the Civil Rights movement, the phenomenon of black on black crime was not nearly as prevalent as it is today. Characteristic of the Civil Rights movement and resulting Black Power Movement was the unity of the black community around various societal issues and the resurgence in Black Pride exemplified by the slogan "Black is beautiful", natural hair styles i.e. Afros, dashikis, and etc. which was reinforced & permeated through the music, poetry, and culture of the mid 1960's and early 70's. It therefore can be reasoned that when we as black people are unified in our community, aware of and giving recognition to our natural beauty, and reverence to our culture as African people, the community becomes a better place.
The purpose of Happily Natural Day is to reaffirm our pride in our culture & ethnicity as African people worldwide, to give our brothers & sisters empowering, uplifting, and eye-opening information in regard to the importance of black culture, natural health and hair care, positive edutainment, and most importantly to unify the black community as we to celebrate our natural selves. As natural hair styles are resurgent in popularity it is important that we dig beneath the surface, and tap into the minds of the masses and wake up the collective mental potential of our African brothers & sisters, for this purpose a significant portion of Happily Natural Day is dedicated to presentations by renowned scholars in the fields of black consciousness, natural health and haircare. Also, spoken word poets, musicians, and visual artists from VA, MD, & DC provide socially conscious presentations for our patrons to vibe to and meditate on.
Join us! We welcome all potential sponsors, vendors, poets, musicians, artists, locticians, and natural hair care specialists to come be a part of Happily Natural Day!! Over the last two years, we have provided a forum for all aspects of the black community to network, educate, dialogue, and most of all celebrate our natural essence as African people throughout the Diaspora. In 2003 we were blessed to launch our first festival at The Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia and in 2004 were ever more fortunate to be hosted by Nubian Village Academy, Richmond Virginia's primary African Centered school will return there in 2005. We want to raise the vibration of the global black community young and old through Happily Natural Day and events like it, with faith that embracing and black consciousness will be our salvation as global African people. The collective strength of the black community in unison is what has made and will make Happily Natural Day a successful grassroots event this year and for years to come!
Happily Natural Day
Member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association & African Communities League founded by the Honorable Marcus Garvey
Peace & Blessings,
We have a few updates for HND 2005 to tell you about. We are blessed to have Malaika Cooper & Yvette Smalls as presenters for this year's celebration!! Also, our website has undergone some updates and we now have a forum wherein you can post consciousness raising articles and information PLUS the locations of Natural Haircare Salons, Black Bookstores, and Black Owned Restaurants all around the globe!!! This way those of us that travel, can have knowledge of the essential resources in whatever local they find themselves! Not to mention my natural brothers & sisters, you can give testimony as to what made you go natural and what keeps you natural!! Post up! Be an inspiration to those who have yet to make that step!
Thanks to all those who have supported HND and events like it by spreading the word, being sponsors, vending and attending; your treasure is stored in a higher place.
Update-Featured Guest Lecturers, Musical Appearances & Presenters-
Malaika Cooper-Master Locsmith
Dreadz N Headz-Baltimore MD
Malaika - Tamu Cooper is the owner operator of Dreadz N` Headz natural hair care center located in Baltimore Maryland. She was born and raised in Maryland where she is affectionately known as the "Loc Mama". For she has taught and empowered several women to open there own salons. She is the National Golden scissors award winner for natural hair care stylist of the year in years 2002 and 2003.
Malaika's ongoing involvement in educational sessions, fashion shows, and editorial hairstyling keeps her in-demand stylists fresh with forward thinking and with that in mind. Malaika is the founder and chairperson for Baltimore's first natural hair care conference and holistic beauty expo. Malaika is dedicated to the evolution of the craft of natural hair care.
She is consistently requested and recognized by the host of Radio one broadcasting institute in Maryland as one of the highest volume vendors and speakers. She has lectured many times at one of Maryland's largest African American expositions of local merchants called "The Peoples Expo." She has been in attendance for more than 10 consecutive years. Her clientele includes Arista's recording artist Wyclef Jean, local artist, congressmen and city council executives. She has also reached judge status and has judges 90% of the natural hair care events across the country.
She has traveled nationally and internationally to locations including Africa and the Caribbean spreading her knowledge of natural hair care and empowering self. She is dedicated to learning and teaching innovative techniques for natural hair care.
Malaika has over 12 years of professional natural hair care consistent experience. She has developed several natural hair care techniques to help sistah's and brotha's nurture and restore their hair to its natural state. She has even held workshops called " daddies to do hair too!". She has a clientele base of over loyal 4000 people. And is steadily growing every day. She shall be opening her Washington DC salon in April of 2005 and releasing her book "Wash and wear Hair" in June of 2005 in addition she will be teaching at London's prestigious Adornment.org.uk October 2005 a class on Hair locking 101 and Creative lock styling 101.
Malaika is available for workshops and seminars by calling 410-876-6315 and 410-566-1800. Or you may email her at email@example.com. Check out her sites www.baltimorenaturalhaircareexpo.com
Yvette Smalls-Hair Sculptor/ Braider
Director, Hair Stories
Yvette Smalls is the director of the video, Hair Stories (a series of candid, funny, and poignant interviews with Sonia Sanchez, Erykah Badu, and Joe Lewis among others, which chronicles the historical and cultural issues of beauty and ³good hair/bad hair² standards in the African-American community).
Ms. Smalls is also a lecturer, folk artist, and hair sculptor, and has served as a hair historian and cultural consultant to various TV programs and videos including the AM/PM Show, Making a Difference, Saturday Tribune Program, and River Momma, as well as various news publications (The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Tribune). Additionally, she has presented lectures and demonstrations on hair and culture for the Commonwealth Lecture Series of University of Penna., Department of Anthropology and Archaeology; Free Library of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Odunde Festival; Marian Anderson Community Center; and various public schools. She has been teaching a course on African Hair Braiding and Sculpting for over 8 years for the PASCEP program at Temple University, is a Roster Artist for PA Council on the Arts, and is the current president of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Braider¹s Guild.
"A Nappy Hair Affair"
It's about more than just hair!"
Nappy. When you're talking about hair, 'nappy' is a word that still makes some people uncomfortable. Angry black parents in New York threatened a white teacher when they heard that she read from a book with that name to her third grade students. Many people who choose to wear their hair in nappy or natural and African-inspired hairstyles, are often harshly criticized for doing so.
In an effort to counter those negative attitudes, A Nappy Hair Affair(r) (ANHA), a motivational project designed to promote positive images and self acceptance among people of African descent, was formed.
'Hair Days' are the hallmark of ANHA. They are grassroots hair grooming sessions for people who wear natural and African-inspired hairstyles and for those interested in doing so.
At these casual, potluck gatherings, participants bring their own towel and hair products in hopes of finding someone to help groom their hair. In exchange, they return the favor.
The concept was created by Dallas-based journalist Linda Jones, in response to concerns expressed by women who preferred wearing styles that are free of chemical relaxers. Some of them complained about being unable to find the right stylist. Others could not afford to pay the salon costs or simply preferred having their hair done at home. Those concerns prompted Ms. Jones to invite a group of friends to her home where they could do each other's hair for free. Approximately 20 women attended her first Hair Day in May 1998.
The gatherings now draw a mix of women, men, children and people of all hair-textures and have taken place in churches, schools, salons and other public venues.
Ms. Jones' Hair Days soon became more than just hair grooming sessions. They became a time for participants to relax, socialize, express their creativity, and symbolically celebrate their culture by nurturing each other's hair.
Hair Day participants who have experienced negative and unpleasant reactions when they decided to embrace natural and African-inspired hairstyles, found the gatherings to be a safe place to vent and to be reaffirmed.
The poignant stories Ms. Jones heard from the participants inspired her to take her "hairepy" sessions to another level and embark on a project promoting African American culture, identity and self-appreciation.
Ms. Jones' efforts work prompted one of the Hair Day regulars to dub her "Mosetta," as in a female Moses who is leading people from 'o-pressed' hair bondage into nappy freedom.
Other components and projects of ANHA are a website: www.nappyhairaffair.com; public speaking by "Mosetta," motivational workshops for youth and adults, various products including motivational t-shirts, videos and DVDs about ANHA and the hair day gatherings, a Love & Nappiness spoken word and music CD; a stage production-the Love & Nappiness Revue--and her book, "Nappyisms: Affirmations for Nappy Headed People and Wannabes!"
Ms. Jones' Hair Day sessions have been imitated in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad including West Africa, Germany and The Netherlands.
Ms. Jones' presentations and motivational workshops workshops have been well received.
For booking information: Wanda Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org 214-298-3347 or ANHA 214-331-2677, email@example.com.
Get acquainted now, because Afi will soon be a name on discerning lips everywhere. Like Eryka Badu and Jill Scott before her, Afi is the latest in a line of talented "nu soul" artists emerging from the underground, singing... as well as penning... tunes worthy of their soul heritage.
Hailing from Washington, DC, Afi is the definition of a true "Soul Sista." This Howard University musical theatre graduate began performing at the age of two in traditional African dance. She soon incorporated singing, drama, and other forms of dance into her repertoire. Afi's craft was cultivated through pre-eminent programs such as The Children's Urban Arts ensemble (CUE), DC Youth Ensemble, and the Kankouran West African Dance Company.
Afi has remained fiercely independent, even in the light of a recent flurry of attention. Afi has garnered rave reviews in outlets as diverse as The Washington Post, The Gazette, African.com, Garageband.com, and the Philadelphia City Paper. One who blesses the world when she opens her mouth, Afi has serenaded her way to gigs throughout Washington's live music scene. Most folks caught her funked-out soul performances as the headline act at Cada Vez every first Saturday of the month here in DC., or at B-Girl Manifesto a popular regular showcase series for women performing artists, or even through her independently released single, "Same Ole" which earned her a nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Artist in 2002 by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA).
Without as much as a CD single available in stores, Afi racked up numerous venues up and down the East coast, including Philadelphia's famed Black Lily, and had the opportunity to open for some of the most talented and respected people in the music industry today, including Rhian Benson, Flo Brown and DreamWorks recording artist Floetry, her out-of this-world vocal ability touches her audience as she performs original and classic tunes with vocal prowess of one twice her age. Afi consistently reaches for the sun so that her talent can bathe her fans in its light. The sunflower, Afi's symbol, represents Afi's talent to uplift through performance. Her music is a testament to her gospel training, and a religious but liberal upbringing. It bears love for her idols and influences, such as Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Chaka and Aretha Franklin.
T.G.O (The Gifted One)