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

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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.

Why?
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.

Original article: i-d.vice.com

Culture

RiRi honoured for her ‘extraordinary commitment’ to Caribbean island as it makes a historic political transition.

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RiRi

RiRi Rihanna honoured for her ‘extraordinary commitment’ to Caribbean island as it makes a historic political transition.

The singer was honored Monday in her native Barbados during its presidential inauguration, which served to mark the country becoming a republic. Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the crowd: “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions and to do credit wherever you shall go”.

Barbados formally cut ties with the British monarchy by becoming a republic almost 400 years after the first English ship arrived on the most easterly of the Caribbean islands.

@badgalriri

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Culture

Angel Rich the Melanin Wonder named to be “The next Steve Jobs” by Forbes!!

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Angel Rich “The Next Steve Jobs”

 

Angel Rich, from Washington, DC, has developed a very innovative app called Credit Stacker that teaches students about personal finance, credit management skills, and entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging way. The app is so popular that 200,000 people (and growing) downloaded it to their smartphones and tablets within just two weeks of its launch.

 

Melanin Wonder Angel was raised in Washington, DC, and graduated from Hampton University. She also studied at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. Way to represent her Melanin self!

She briefly worked as a global market research analyst for Prudential, where she conducted over 70 financial behavior modification studies.

She says that during her time there, she helped the company generate more than $6 billion in revenue. She resigned, however in 2013, to start her own company, The Wealth Factory.

Remarkably, the app has been named the “best financial literacy product in the country” by the Office of Michelle Obama, the “best learning game in the country” by the Department of Education, and the “best solution in the world for reducing poverty” by JP Morgan Chase. It has won first place in several business competitions including the Industrial Bank Small Business Regional Competition and the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition. Angel has won more than $50,000 in business grants with her efforts.

Her company’s Credit Stacker app is available in four languages and in 40 countries and is rapidly approaching 1 million downloads.

Although the app is free for users to download, the revenue model is to generate money on the back-end from advertisers in addition to existing contracts. She also has a partnership with the D.C. Dept of Insurance, Securities, and Banking.

In time, other major financial companies like NASDAQ, J.P. Morgan & Chase, Wells Fargo, and more will likely want to get on board as well

 

Download the Credit Stacker app from the iTunes App store here, visit:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creditstacker/id1130346776

Download the Credit Stacker app from the Google Play app store now, visit:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.capital.creditstacker

Follow Melanin Wonder Angel Rich on Facebook and visit www.facebook.com/wealthylifers

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Culture

Culture vs Religion

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Normally I don’t get into religious topics. I´ve experienced intelligent people with common sense, reach for infantile like arguments in the name of the Supreme being they serve aka God/Allah/Yehovah. Such arguments can end up very messy. But to be fair, as African/Black people these are conversations we need to have.

 

Disclaimer: I was baptized in the catholic church and later took the holy communion. Until my early twenties, I was a devoted catholic that prayed to white Jesus for salvation & forgiveness. All of that changed when I first visit the Elmina Castle in Ghana. Right above the dungeons,  where they kept my ancestors enslaved, they had a church to worship every Sunday. Also worth mentioning is that my children are Muslim. This blog is in no way meant to attack or offend anybody’s religion.  

Before the colonizers came we had all these riches. A sovereign Africa with social, economic political and spiritual systems in place. After the invasions we were evangelized but powerless. They told us our own African spirituality was evil and that our cultures were primitive and savage. All while doing the evilest things to us as a people. The irony of it all…

As Mahatma Gandhi said:

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”

Another great wisdom comes from Marimba Ani:

`Your culture is your immune system’.

 

Decolonizing our minds

Without knowing who we are we can not free ourselves politically, mentally or spiritually. Any religion that demands you to denounce who you are can not be in the best interest of you or your people.

Black people are the most religious people I know, yet we find ourselves at the bottom of the social & economic ladder everywhere we are. We pray to messiahs or prophets in languages that are not our mother tongues. There must come a moment that we should look at our believes in a critical way.

The truth of the matter, Christianity and Islam has been enforced upon us and is such a huge part of our political and social systems. On the continent and in the diaspora,  it would be naive to expect this to change any time soon.

The good news is that as we continue decolonizing our minds,  we are also decolonizing our faith. We are replacing images of white Jesus with black ones. Africanizing Christianity to suit our cultural needs.

Last but not least, each day more of us are exploring and re-connecting with African spirituality.

At the end of the day, the way we connect to the higher source should bring about empowerment and justice. On a personal and collective level.

Lighting a candle in memory of my ancestors

I embrace African spirituality in my own unique way because it feeds my soul. As an example, every Monday I light a white candle and put a glass of water for my ancestors. I grew up seeing my great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and all my aunties doing this. This is part of my family culture. It reminds me that I am connected to a lineage of great women & men who came before me. They sacrificed for me to be here. It empowers me. It humbles me and helps me align with my purpose. As I walk on this earth making my own sacrifices I hope and pray that when I’m not around my children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren will light a candle next to a glass of water in my memory.  Because every step I’m taking is in gratitude of the ones that came before me and for the love of the ones who are coming after me.

 

Culture is like Vitamin D

I often compare culture with vitamin D. As black people we are people of the sun. So when we find ourselves in Europe we need to take vitamin D as a replacement for the lack of sun we get in this part of the world. That spiritual Vitamin D for me comes in the form of another family tradition, my spiritual baths on New Year’s Eve. I take some of what I saw my grandmother doing and add some of what my own ‘yeye’  (soul) whispers me to do. As I give these baths to my children while we pray or think positive thoughts my heart runneth over with love. The smells of the perfumes bring me back to my own childhood when my grandmom gave us these New Years spiritual baths. The instructions she gave us about incense. But also the importance of reading your bible. The only bible I own was given to me by my late grandmom. 

 

The Almighty source

The stories in the Bible or Quaran may or may not be all true. Again I’m not coming for anyone’s faith, I’m just saying I wasn’t there and there are all these different theories out there. What I know for sure is that I am here because there is a GOD almighty that love me so much that blessed me to be part of a lineage of amazing Power Queens & Kings. 

What I also know for sure is:

I was raised by my late great grandmother Gani. A woman who was a young widow and managed, as an entrepreneur to raise five daughters on her own.

I was raised by my late grandfather, Papai, that cooked the most delicious fish, bean salad and breakfasts ever and always had my back.

I was raised by my late grandmother Ethel, that made sure I inherited a rich syncretized spirituality called Santeria. This is the navigation system I use to find my own spiritual path.

I was raised by aunties and uncles that made sacrifices every day. They rose above the circumstances they were born in, to provide the next generations with more opportunities, more freedom. I am honoured to call them my ancestors.

My culture is how I honor my ancestors

Religion/Spirituality is how I connect to that almighty Source. My culture is how I honour my ancestors. My heritage as an African/Black woman that is part of an ethnic group aka African/Black/Melanin rich people that is the cradle of the creation of God called humanity.

The source of evil

Recently somebody asked me what I think is the source of evil. My response: Ignorance. Because only ignorance would allow human beings, with their limitations to think they have the monopoly on the path to God. Ignorance and cult-egoism would put conditions on a love our brains are not even capable to comprehend.

Religion is religion. Culture is culture. We need both.

Love yourself enough to have Agaciro. “Agaciro” is a Kinyarwanda word that means dignity. This is exactly what we need as we continue to decolonize our mind, body, and spirit.

For me personally…..Africa is my religion.

     Ashe

 

 

 

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