Being on a natural hair journey has allowed many women to take an amazing path on their self-exploration process. We learn to uncover our inner creativity. It shows up in our desire and eagerness to be authentic.
The use of being creative can also be a collaborative means of fostering unity, especially in the natural hair community. I ran across a “Canadian Curly” named Toni Daley. I found her on YouTube. In between her hair tips, Toni piqued my interest with two focuses, one being her creative craft of making retro earrings/jewelry and paintings that can be viewed on her website, www.tonidaley.com, and second her fabulous Sister Owned Hauls.
Thankfully, my Canadian friend has learned how to use her love of the arts to make the bling bling…and me, well, I love her unique earrings so much my credit card goes ring ring…or ding ding, whichever comes first.
A quote from Malcolm X resonates with me in so many ways: “By any means necessary.” The natural hair community has created a forum to bring sisters together to unleash an inner beauty, to get reacquainted with one another, to learn to honor, support and lift up each other. Toni (TD) and I briefly chatted:
MSR: How long have you been natural?
TD: I’ve been natural for approximately six years.
MSR: What made you decide to go natural?
TD: I actually never “decided” to go natural. I went natural by accident. I had experienced some really bad damage from a relaxer and couldn’t relax anymore. Since I didn’t know that simply not relaxing was an option, I decided to start wearing braids until it recovered enough to relax it again.
I ended up falling in love with the versatility of braids and wore various braided styles for two years straight. When I finally stopped braiding, I was shocked…and in love with what I uncovered. I decided at that point not to relax again.
MSR: What was your inspiration to begin Sistah Owned Hauls?
TD: I enjoyed the camaraderie and support that I found in the online natural hair community and simply wished that it existed in real life. In normal day-to-day interactions with other Black women, I found that it simply wasn’t there. Not only is there a lack of support for one another, but almost a disdain, particularly in our youth.
My inspiration was just a hope that I could spread a little of that sisterhood around, or at least an awareness so that we question our actions. It amazes me how often I’ve seen a young Black woman make a point to walk past a certain neighborhood salon or beauty supply store because “she thinks she’s all that,” and yet will spend more time traveling elsewhere only to be spoken down to and often in another language.
Why are we willing to write each other off so quickly and yet put up with so much from others?
MSR: What value or benefit do you hope people will get out of watching Sistah Owned Hauls?
TD: I think that it’s a win-win for viewers. They get to learn about products and/or businesses they may not have heard of otherwise, and I think that anytime we stand in support of one another can only be beneficial.
Our money is powerful. Our money has built industries. Our dollar has funded million-dollar companies. We can do the same thing within our own communities, and it has to start with a conscious choice. Kudos to Toni and all “Sistahs” creating positive changes via product or service!
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast
welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.