I recently had the honor of writing a feature story on natural hair for the February 2017 issue of Birmingham magazine. The women I interviewed for the article — Alexis Barton, Akirashanit Byrd, and Keisa Sharpe — each had a compelling hair story to share and I hope you’ll read.
With one interviewee, fashion blogger Alexis Barton, I discussed the debate on whether or not a woman can still call her hair “natural” even if she occasionally straightens it with a tool such as a flat iron. Barton says, “To each her own, but I consider my hair to be natural because it’s not chemically relaxed.” She stressed that we must remember that a black woman’s hair isn’t always a political statement and “For some people, it truly is just hair.”
Nonetheless, Barton does believe that going natural can be a journey toward self-acceptance. It certainly was for me and even thinking about if I should straighten my hair or not helped in this process.
Back in 2012 I wrote a guest post for CurlyNikki.com on how natural hair made me a better feminist, a realization I came to after contemplating this question about flat ironing my curly tresses straight. Let’s step back in time and take a look at the post…
I often stand atop my soapbox to declare that writers need to be entrepreneurs because we need to learn how to market ourselves and build our personal brands. But once you are an entrepreneur can you also be an activist?
Most of the scribes in my tribe don’t simply want to use their words to make money; they also want to make a difference. But once you use your platform to speak up about the issues you care about, you, of course, run the risk of losing customers. That’s why many marketing gurus say entrepreneurs should never talk politics or broach any controversial topics. But in today’s political climate, it may feel impossible to stay silent.
As a writer I feel obligated to post some thought-provoking and heartfelt prose about what it meant to participate in the Women’s March of Alabama in Birmingham yesterday. But I’m honestly at a loss for words.
On Saturday, January 21 thousands of women from across the country will gather for the Women’s March on Washington. News reports indicate that at least 1,200 buses have applied for permits to park at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC., on the day of the march. If you’re in the Birmingham area and unable to make it to Washington, D.C., you can stand in solidarity at the Alabama Women’s March scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Kelly Ingram Park.