4. What was the reaction of your peers as you were growing your hair out? (touching on the topic of black men being looked at a little weird when they grow their hair out in comparison to Hispanic and white men)
When I was living with my father in Brockton, MA during my Junior and Senior year of high school, I was introduced to two different cultures I’d never come across; Cape Verdean and Haitian.
Up north, compared to down south where I’m currently residing in Greensboro, NC, my peers were extremely open with black men having long hair since many Cape Verdean and Haitian guys were already years in, growing their hair long.
Coming from a West African background where men were shunned for having long hair, I quickly adjusted to the most embracing atmosphere of culture up north. Now, when I moved down the south having long hair became a bit controversial in a ridiculous way in 2010.
In my experience in the south, there’s a stigma whenever a black man wears his hair out and it’s not predominantly in braids or a ponytail. He is considered very feminine.
This didn’t bother me simply because my peers in this state of NC weren’t hip to men embracing their naturally produced roots. I remember telling them that year, “you can go ahead and laugh at me now, but watch…. all of you guys will want to grow your hair out in like 4 years”.
Sure enough, 2015 came around and black men began started to grow their hair out. It’s so bad that now these same guys are asking me —“what do I gotta put in my hair for it to grow”. Lol!
5. As an influencer how do you want your natural hair journey to impact other men and other women who are struggling with their own journeys?
My journey is to honestly help bring a state of “identity” on how one can be just as powerful displaying what they’ve naturally produced (hair) since “birth”.
While staying true to one’s own potential in understanding self-appreciation, self-acceptance, self-awareness, so that confidence may follow in their hair journey.
6. There are still men out there who do not like their wives or girlfriends with natural hair, to the point where a woman would actually consider giving up and getting a perm.
What would you tell the guy?
What would you tell the girl?
I always wonder when silly things of this nature will diminish but this is what I would stress to the male; “you understand that for many years our race of people have been oppressed by individuals who stripped us of our identity, while forcing us to emulate their ways in order to make us forget about our own culture/ways.
But, yet you continue to demote your woman’s natural identity of beauty that has been stripped from her for many years since before her (wife) time.
So, I ask you are you a husband/boyfriend or oppressor?
As for the women: “hey have you ever thought about what your life would be like if your cultural roots were never forced out of your mindset?
What I mean by that is think for a second and really understand why you actually would want a “perm”. Has it never occurred to you that you may have inherited a trait of emulating someone else’s appearance rather than your own? See we are created in Gods image in so many ways, that even though our race of women was oppressed to portray another group of people’s customs/ways.
That does not mean that you don’t have a beauty of identity of your own. So, imagine the difference if you walked boldly representing your own roots as if your beauty was as equal and as astonishing like every culture would in the world?
7. Working in natural hair can take you in many directions, from brand endorsements to stylist, what is your ultimate goal? What do you want to achieve from your work in natural hair?
To remind women of color and the upcoming generation that they all have an identity of beauty that has always been established naturally since their birth.
And that, as a black man, I can encourage other black men across the globe to accept their natural alluring appearance as a person.
While showing them that I’m also going through the same journey just like them. Aiming to understand the ways of self-acceptance, self-appreciation, of oneself so that confidence can follow along my hair journey.
My other goal is to become a brand ambassador of a major hair supply line and create a product that can become a great asset to the natural hair community.