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Four youngsters talk about their experiences regarding their curly/afro hair



Stylist, Nick Hofland (26) from Amsterdam, now living in Berlin

How was it for you to grow up with a curly/afro hair?
Difficult, you always want a different hairstyle, but you can’t. For example, I wanted a mohawk or long hairlocks. You must accept yourself and your hair, and then you’ll realize that your own hair is the best. I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Embrace your hair and love it. If you are not satisfied with your curls, you are not satisfied with yourself and that is something you got to work on.

Do you have the idea that people consider your hair as something exotic?
Yes absolutely. Somebody recently told me that my hair looked like noodles and sometimes people ask if it’s real and whether they can touch it. My answer to that is; “I’m not your poodle, (bitch).”

Do you have a role model?
Not really, maybe Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Do you ever experience embarrassing moments with your hair?
Sometimes people put something in your hair, just for the fun of it. And suddenly it turns out to be a cigarette in your hair. That’s not funny.
Also moments when I cannot brush my hair and not sleep at home, because I leave strands of hair everywhere, that’s embarrassing as well.

Do you have trouble finding hairdressers and products for your hair?
It is difficult, especially now that I live in Berlin. There are almost no products unfortunenately.
I buy everything in the Netherlands. I only know two hairdressers who can cut my hair, one in Amsterdam and one in Berlin. If they can’t, I will not have my hair done. I will never try to cut my hair myself. My mother, she is Surinamese, always said that if I cut my own hair I would get bald.

Actress, Brendaly Emiliana (22) from Rotterdam

How was your experience growing up with curly/afro hair?
Since I was six or seven years old, my grandmother relaxed my hair with chemical products. I had long and thick hair, and it was almost unmanageable at that time. Later I curled my curly/afro hair to create some more waves. I did that until my 20th, after that I shaved my hair off.

My hair did not look healthy anymore and was no longer looking forward to up keeping it. In addition, I went through a hard time, my mother became sick and I stopped my studies. It was a symbol for my personal ‘new beginning’. I shaved my head with a razor with my sister. I had not told my boyfriend beforehand. I just sent him a picture and said, “I’ve done the most courageous thing what a woman can do.” He said, “I like you as you are.” You need to have courage. Do whatever you think you feel like doing, only then will you find out if that was the correct thing to do or not.

Do you have the idea that people consider your hair as something exotic?
I myself have Brazilian and Curacao roots, and I’ve noticed that people in the Netherlands find this hair exotic. Sometimes it seems like people firstvsee my hair and see me afterwards. People sometimes ask if they can touch my hair, or ask me if I wear a wig.

Student, Music Danky (18) from The Hague

How was it for you to grow up with curly hair?
I lived in a white village and I was almost the only one with this type of hair.
I myself am half Dominican, and by my appearance I stood out; Everyone called me the girl with the curls. The rest of the girls around me with curly hair didn’t feel like their curly hair looked nice, so they straightened it. But I didn’t, I was happy with myself.

Why do you think those girls straightened their hair?
They had a picture in mind of what is supposed to be beautiful hair, and apparently in our society that is straight hair.

Why didn’t you straighten your hair?
I am positive minded and so I looked at the beautiful side of my curls.
I could not change it and I did not want to ruin my hair with the wrong products.

Do you have the idea that people consider your hair as something exotic?
Absolutely. For example; people always try to guess my origins in response to my hair.
Sometimes people also ask if they can put my curls on, and moreover, they want to know exactly how to model my hair. I don’t think people ask these questions to people with straight hair.

What would you like to say to people who are not happy with their curls?
You’ve got it and it suits you. Be creative, but do not spoil it. There are more variations possible than you may think; You can wear your hair short or long. Care for you body by doing sports for example! Your hair deserves attention too, give it the much needed care.

Model and Economics Student, Dylan Hasselbaink (19) from Koog aan de Zaan

How did you experience growing up with curly/afro hair?
I’ve never had a bad time even though I was the only one with this hair in my class.
Wherever I lived, almost everyone was white. In the past, like the other guys, I wanted a crest, but now I’m content with my hair. As a starting model, it’s also a little bit my signature style.

Did you ever have the idea that your hair was not beautiful?
Yes, unknowingly I think i did. I could not really measure myself with the rest, and I did not really know how to wear and care for my hair.

How did that happen?
My mother is white and my father, who has Surinamese roots, has almost always been bald.
Sometimes my mom bought curling products from the local drugstore, but that did not always work for my type of hair. I did not even understand how to handle my hair.

How did you learn that at one point?
I first cut my hair short and wore a cap for years. After that, I found some old photos back from the time I had long hair and I realized that it could be nice if I knew how to take care of it. Then I went to YouTube to watch some tutorials , this is how I learned how to handle my hair.

What would you like to say to people who are not happy with their curls?
Just rock it. I even joined a Facebook group for people who have afro hair. I like to see how people embrace their natural beauty and be happy with themselves.

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Omowale – The lost child that returned home



He has many names!

My name is Silvano Rigmar Haynes, my friends also know me as ‘Vano’
My little secret is that I use different (yet still my own) names to keep people guessing. I’m an 80’s baby and was born on the Caribbean island called Curaçao.

Since a young age I’ve always been very curious about my surroundings and what makes people do things differently than myself.

My best-friend partially rubbed a lot of his ‘’why’’ attitude unto me.
Which led me to ask questions like:

‘’Am I really less intelligent than others who had a higher school diploma?’’ ’’Am I aiming high in life’’? ‘’Do I got any talents?’’

It was this attitude that created the basis of who I am today.

Silvano Rigmar Haynes

You also go under the alias OMOWALE ASANTE, what does this name mean?

Malcolm X became a great hero to me around my early twenties’.
During his tour in Africa, Nigeria to be precise. They gave him a Yoruba name: Omowale. Meaning the (lost) child has returned home. Let’s say the name sank into my sub-conscious. And I basically fell in love with the Yoruba people shortly after that.

Then came the Asante who I also felt some connection to.
In late 2016 I put those two names together to recreate my Africanity..
Later I came to found out that Asante means because of war.

So, ‘the lost child has returned home because of war’ was born. And with such heavy meaning, I just had to ‘’own’’ this name.

Silvano Rigmar Haynes

So at what point in your life did you grow with passion for African history?

Well that started around my 17th birthday when a cousin of mine told me:

‘’There are a strange group of people in Rotterdam that almost speak our language’’.

He was referring to the Cabo Verdeans which led me unto the beautiful but enormous rabbit hole of the history of my ancestors. And that’s how I created the brand Atunwa in 2016

The definition of ‘Atunwa’ in Yoruba theology translates to reincarnation  in your direct family-line. The philosophy of my brand is: teaching African history and Black empowerment through fashion. Pan-African consciousness meets gritty urban Black culture.

Your brand ‘Atunwa’ promotes African culture, what is your mission and vision with this brand? 

My mission is not only to promote African (diasporic) culture but to shake people into taking action. Every order comes with an infographic to show what we can do as one and why it’s important to OWN everything around you. Let me put it another way: making people aware of how dope African history/culture and it’s people are and start building with the correct mindset.

Silvano Haynes and friends – Photo by: shinethruheartphotogtraphy

My vision, without the fluffy stuff is to become a household name for every black person walking down the street in whether it be St.Kitts or Tanzania.
T-shirts, Hoodies, flipflops, sneakers. Our invasion won’t be televised.

Why should we buy from Atunwa and not from other African designers in the Diaspora?

To semi-quote an article on our spiritual predecessor:

‘’created to specifically target young Black/African  consumers.’ Their clothing was as a response to high-profile fashion brands expressing they didn’t want to market their collections to particular groups of people.’’


I won’t mention their name but to add to that, I’ll say that we aren’t looking to fuse ideas, gaining a particular strand of mainstream attention or selling Black culture to other cultures while being detrimental to our own. Atunwa didn’t come into existence in a reactive manner. She was born to fill a void of a new cultural revival.

Silvano Rigmar Haynes

To how many African countries have you been and which one of them stuck the most?

Sadly enough just Egypt. To be precise the upper Nile region. The city called Aswan is pretty much where you can still feel the ancient African presence.
So yeah… pretty cool place and people.

What have you learned from Africa?

That we all share a common cultural source. We are just different branches/expressions of the same tree. It just happens that people aren’t very aware of that. Two things I love the most is how organized we used to be in all aspects of life and the central role of African women.

How does a continent like Africa affect you personally in your daily life?

The most simple answer I can give is: showing me that everything happening on this world has to be viewed through unfiltered African eyes. And not the Euro-glasses handed to me through generations. In other words: Stay true.

What is the best way for melanin people to find their (unknown) African roots?

And if you want to know what DNA-markers are the most dominant within you. Use the company called

Do you believe in DNA tests like MYHERITAGE to find out where someone’s roots are set up?

Please check the infographics made by AfricanAncestry. Those other companies… Well I shall speak of them no more.

BoB’s for life is the path to greatness.

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Michael Cary aka MiJaCa the Talented DancingExtraOrdinair



mijaca by sorawya2

Who is Mijaca?

My name is Michael Cary also known as Mijaca in the dancescène.

I’m a person who really  tries to put my whole heart and soul into dance. I do that because it is one of my biggest passions. ( also known as my life ?). My other passion are spending time with family, Friends, life partners a.k.a my squad. We all have our own individual passions and the same passion which is dance. We also share many same goals. If you look at my life partners in my crew it will really reflect who I am as a person.

My sister and I were raised by my grandmother(she is American btw). Also do I have 3 brothers. I am 21 years old by the way.


Photos are made by : @sorawya

Photography by @sorawya


Where did you grow up?

I was born in Zwijndrecht which is close to Rotterdam city in the Netherlands. I lived there till the 3rd grade in elementary school. After that I moved to Vleuten and finished elementary school there.

Not too long after that I relocated back to Zwijndrecht and finished highschool in Dordrecht. Also did I graduate from the dance school in Utrecht Overvecht called “Creative college” it is an street style school where you learn a lot of stuff about the whole hiphop dance-scene.


Photography by @sorawya


So your greatest passion is dance?

That is correct and my fam “the squad” as well ofcourse.

Because i do literally everything with dance. I think in dance; I move with dance and I cannot imagine that i will ever completely stop dancing.

This also goes for the fam. I can’t imagine the fam stopping any time soon.



Dancing is also a way of dealing with my personal stuff. It brings me joy and I love being joyful with other people. I travel more due to dance as well. My whole life is influenced by music and dance.

What other passions do you have?

I love doing so much stuff it is hard to name them all. I am interested in a lot of things. Doing photo-shoots is one of these things.

I really like doing them and it would be so funny to see these pictures when I am older and look back at them.


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Sherrie Silver is the 23-year-old who choreographed Childish Gambino’s This is America



Choreographer Sherrie Silver. Net photo.

In this video Sherrie talks to the BBC about coming to the UK from Rwanda , how she developed her love for dance and why Africa is still so important to her.

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