Month: April 2014

It’s been two weeks since 234 Nigerian school girls were abducted from their school by a group who does not support western education being taught in Nigerian schools. I am ashamed to only just found out, but now that I know, so will a lot of others. Speak for the voiceless. Be a Warrior for the helpless. Make others Aware. Spread the searchlight with your Awareness!

Pushing Forward: Short Story

Elleon couldn’t believe she had gone this long without accomplishing the dreams she’d set for herself as a young girl growing up in a world of fantasies and make believe. She would spend countless hours rehearsing songs and dance moves, even perfecting the skill set of keeping her imaginary audience engaged in her performances. Yet here she is, a young adult….well does late twenties still count as young? And she was trying to catch up to the promises she made herself a long time ago….What would that young girl say to Elleon if she could see her now? Stand in front of her, and really see her.

Would her younger self simply hug her and know the efforts put forth to accomplish those dreams she lived and breathed? Surely her younger self had to know her expectations for life are just so high and how much Elle beat herself up over not being the success story she needed her to be….she wanted her to be…..she knew Elle could be.

I hope I haven’t disappointed her too much, Elle thought. I hope when she looks from the inside out, she isn’t ashamed of my accomplishments. I hope she doesn’t silently pity me when watching others doing the things she wanted me to do and enjoying the lifestyle she always wanted.

But who is she to judge, right? I mean she’s just a child! What does she really know about life and the aftermath of innocence? What does this wide eyed, big idea dreaming, anything is possible, kid really know about life anyway!?

I can’t be too hard on her. She really didn’t have any other choice but to dream. It was what kept her from believing the things other kids would spat out about her. Her appearance, her clothes, her height, her weight, her teeth….everything was subject to scrutiny. So could I really blame her for dreaming big and encouraging me to reach for the stars? Elle whispered the words silently in her mind.

“Dammit! I owe her that!  I owe her the opportunity to know she wasn’t dreaming in vain or that she was crazy for dreaming outside her environmental box! I will be my own hero again. I will swim in the soul of my younger self, fearless and ready, willing to win.” Elle spoke the words out loud, something she rarely did anymore.

Elleon  calmly brushed back a tendril of hair from her face and began to walk upon the stage.

Spring Queen Feature: It’s A Natural Thang Salon

pinkcrown

Hold up, wait a minute Spring Queen Features ain’t finished!

I know it has been a good little week since the last feature, but have no fear and shed no more tears, it is back and in full effect!

This week’s feature goes out to one of my favorite Pisces in all the land, Rayna Nash, salon owner and incredible natural hair stylist.

Before we get into the fabulous styles she creates, let’s get to know the woman behind the locs…..

It's A Natural Thang Salon Owner & Stylist

It’s A Natural Thang Salon Owner & Stylist

Why this profession as a natural hairstylist?

RN: I chose natural hair as my area of expertise because I’m a proud Black woman and thankful and grateful for every aspect of the creation of us being from the Divine Creator! I think as a race [Blacks] we’re created with so much character and our natural hair is a distinct reflection of that unique beauty. I’ve actually never had a desire to work with relaxed or straight hair. I remember in hair school trying to get away without giving our “live models” a relaxer, which was a requirement for passing. But that’s how much I despise the “creamy crack!”

How long have you been a natural? Why are you still natural?

RN: I have been natural since 2000. Truth be told, I’ve been wanting locs since I was in seventh grade (1994) but my mom felt like I needed to be “established” first….locs and naturals were not as acceptable during that time. However, as soon as I went off to college, I jumped aboard the Natural Chick Train with a one way ticket! I will absolutely forever be natural for the rest of my days solely off principle and respect of believing the Creator did not make a mistake in my creation process. Plus, I love mu endless artsy options in finding new character in my “love tresses” to accent and emphasize. I could not do half the styles I do with straight hair.

Now tell us about the atmosphere of the salon. I know, but I want readers to know how you would describe it. 🙂

RN: My salon has an ultimate welcoming vibration. you come once and instantly become family. We welcome every client with open arms (literally lol). We strive to make everyone feel comfortable and at ease. Any day at Its A Natural Than Salon, is bound to be a treat for each client. We just enjoy vibin’ with whatever a client has to offer and in that process continue producing healthy wholesome hair! I have been told by so many clients that we have “growing hands” that I am very close to making that our claim to fame! [laughing] Truth be told, I’m truly just great-filled that the Creator chose me to be the conductor of this hair movement. I wouldn’t want things to be any other way!

What are the products you have to help your clients maintain their fresh styles?

RN: I’m a  pretty simple type of stylist when it comes to products for the hair. Although I know that there are all kinds of products out there for every type of texture, I also am very old school with what I feel is necessary in maintaining great natural hair. For the most part, I don’t think there is nothing a little shea butter blend or natural oils ( including jojoba, coconut or castor…to name a few) cannot fix or make better. The finer the hair, the lighter the product (water/oil blend). However, the thicker and more resilient the hair, the more concentrated the product (shea/oil blends). A typical night routine while maintaining a protective style consists of spritzing the hair with a water/oil blend and then rubbing the hair with a shea blend. Cover the head with a satin or silk scarf to allow hair to marinate over night to rise the next morning with well moisturized hair. Products are available at Its A Natural Thang Salon $5-$15 depending upon size.

A lot of women hate shrinkage, what is one way to prolong shrinkage without an insane amount of heat?

RN: A common way to avoid shrinkage is to avoid using products that have a dampening agent in them like water or cream, but instead using something with oil or butter base. In addition, medium to large plaiting or twisting sections on the head nightly and pulling apart (combing out) in the morning help to prolong length.

What is the biggest misconception you believe women have about transitioning to becoming a naturalista?

RN: The biggest misconception I feel women have when transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is thinking their natural texture is too “nappy” or kinky to complete the process. This misconception has kept so many women from going 6-9 months of the transitioning to deciding too just throw in the towel and put the creamy crack back in their heads. [But] what they don’t know is that their natural texture is softer than it may seem. It’s the “transband” which is the area on the hair shaft where the relaxed hair stops and the au-natural new growth begins, that creates a very intense hair battle of the strong versus the weak. This area typically tangles up badly because of the two different textures, which gives an illusion that the woman’s hair is extra kinky and unmanageable. When in reality, if the relaxed part could just be cut off, the strong new growth would have a chance to be free and flow accordingly.

To not be biased…is it possible to have relaxed and healthy hair?

RN: Technically it is possible to maintain healthy hair and still have a relaxer, however, the truth of the matter is, once the creamy crack is applied to the love tresses, it instantly wipes out all the curly and wavy natural texture of the hair. I am an avid believer that our hair in its natural texture (given proper TLC) is simply the healthiest state it can be in!

What about coloring? Is putting color chemicals into your hair healthy? What products do you recommend for hydration?

RN: The thing about color is that it’s not the coloring process that is unhealthy for the hair, it’s the lack of aftercare that creates a situation. The hair ultimately needs even more TLC once colored. The client cannot allow the hair to dry out or it will get brittle and break off. Here is where the spritzing and rubbing routine discussed earlier comes into play. It is crucial to try to create an ideal moisturized atmosphere for color treated hair at all times because it is now in a semi-sensitive state.

What is the next level for Its A Natural Thang Salon?

RN: What’s our next step??? To take this show on the road….we are trying to be an International Thang baby! Stay tuned!

Rayna resides in the South Atlanta, GA area. Its A Natural Thang Salon (itsanaturalthang.com) 

Everything you know you should do, but don’t do, has an effect. It is deeper than your thoughts. More pronounced than your emotion. It is life. Live it in a way that impacts to inspire. Change the concept. Create leverage.
Peace and Blessings -AP

Highs and Lows

In any relationship, whether family, friend, romantic, there will be moments of heated passion. The kind that causes the hurt to overrule the righteous mindset. We forget our agreements of commitment. We fall short of our word. But with love and understanding, we can find our way back. Therefore, truly live in your moments of peaceful relationships. Truly give reference to the love, to the calm, to the joy. Stop complaining about one another, enough to enjoy each other. Say nice and caring things. Surprise someone! Live the highs enough to endure the lows.

-AP

Thinking Out Loud

There are so many amazing things God is able to teach you. I have an awful habit of comparing my life to other people’s lives; rather friend or foe.

I don’t think my life is bad, sometimes I think about how others have used what means that had to accomplish their goals or dreams, then I look at what I have been blessed to obtain and wonder have I wisely utilized my gifts wisely to expand my territory. It often comes to me when I am witnessing the life celebratory events of others; graduate school….engagements….marriages….baby showers…new homeowners.  And although I am old enough to know better, to know that there are hidden journeys behind each moment, sometimes I can’t help comparing my moves in life to their moves.

But that perspective changed for me recently. I was speaking with a homegirl of mine and while we were chatting away, she said something that struck me. She told me that she did not feel that she had accomplished or experience a life changing moment. I literally had to remove the phone from my ear and stare at it. Here was someone who I admire as a young successful professional woman who has seamlessly made the transition from college girl to grown woman. She has traveled for her job, purchased her own home and recently received a promotion with her job.

As I reminded her of her life accomplishments, it was then that I noticed mine. How sometimes because the scale we view success its on and the scale we live daily can seem eons a part, but all it takes a quick assessment of where I use to be, to tell me I have accomplished a lot. My life is no where near what it was five years ago, and for that I am thankful.

 

I have to teach myself that having those things; marriage, kids, a home are wonderful goals to accomplish, but what if those things were to happen now. Would I be ready, prepared? Would I appreciate the gravity of there presence in my life? Would I know how to manage my life and the new roles I would have to take on with those changes? Would I feel cheated in some way, cheated that I didn’t get a chance to fully focus on me and my needs and my life.

It is then, that I view in love. Excited and joyful to share in the experience that others create and are so gracious to include me. I have forever for those things to happen to me, if I so choose to

Boy Stop! 20 Year OutKast Anniversary @ Coachella?

So if you haven’t heard by now or watched the Youtube video of the long awaited return of the Atliens to the stage, you should(http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oPEiAGFMnNI )A true fan of their music would appreciate the constant flood of memories the epic Atlanta formulated group brought on April 12….but the concert goers at Coachella seemed to be underwhelmed by the privilege.

When the group opened with B.O.B. I figured, okay they gonna start it off hype, something nostalgic,yet commercially successful….the crowd was lukewarm. From there on, as I sat in my living room jammin and rockin’ around my living room, those ungrateful persons stood in place. Moving and screaming only when prompted.

Who can afford a $300 ticket to witness the 20 Year Anniversary of OutKast and not be crunk,is down right lame as hell. What’s the point? And I know there were other acts, but OutKast is The Act, and that dope ass experience seemed to be lost on the crowd.

Now had the 20 Year Anniversary been in the A!….now you talking about CRUNK! I can guarantee the atmosphere would be electrifying and one the A would never forget. The talk of the town!

Fish and grits…mannnnn what does that crowd know about Delowe and Headland? Jelly Bean Skating Rink? Old Nat Hwy? The AUC? Westend Mall?
20 Years of history developed through the experience of the city who experienced it with you. Better yet, a culture of people who experienced it with you.

So why didn’t they bring the long awaited return of Daddy Fat Sacks and 3000 to Atlanta?
Why didn’t they grace the very culture they speak of with a walk down memory lane of Box Chevys and Caprices?

The South really embraced OutKast, they are the best to do it in our eyes. It would have been nice to share in that experience with them. The Home Team and the Home Crowd, epic! But I guess, there are always underlying factors behind the scenes.

Certain decisions and moves that are taken for certain reasons. I just hope the lackluster reception of Coachella, doesn’t deter the historical duo from gracing the stage again. You can always come home OutKast!We’ll turn up wit’ ya!

Even the sun goes down
Heroes eventually die
Horoscopes often lie
And sometimes why
That nothin is for sure
Nothin is certain
Nothin lasts forever
But until they close the curtain
It’s him and I
Aquemini
-OutKast, Aquemini ’98