“In the Castle Of My Skin” – Sons of Kemet

Hello. Meet my newest obsession in music. Check out the British  jazz band Sons of Kemet. I stumbled upon this amazing video set to the song “In the Castle of My Skin” from the band’s second album “Lest We Forget What We Came Here to Do”.  Once I watched the video, I started vibing to the music and got dammit I am obsessed. Check it out.



“Five on the Black Hand Side” by Lamont Hamilton


Beautiful photography researching and portraying the evolution of the “dap” (acronym of dignity and pride) by photographer Lamont Hamilton. 

Five on the Black Hand Side is a project exploring gestural languages that were born in African American communities during the 1960s and 1970s, including the “the dap” and the black power handshake.”

“The dap originated during the late 1960s among black G.I.s stationed in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. At a time when the Black Power movement was burgeoning, racial unrest was prominent in American cities, and draft reforms sent tens of thousands of young African Americans into combat, the dap became an important symbol of unity and survival in a racially turbulent atmosphere. Scholars on the Vietnam War and black Vietnam vets alike note that the dap derived from a pact black soldiers took in order to convey their commitment to looking after one another. Several unfortunate cases of black soldiers reportedly being shot by white soldiers during combat served as the impetus behind this physical act of solidarity.”

Ahhh, the Dopeness and depth of the DAP

To read more about this project click HERE

“Healthy Roots” Natural Dolls For Natural Girls KICKSTARTER

affbeb9dc8ca5b3f512727beb4448880_original-1   I often pace the aisles of toy stores and I leave empty handed (not just because I am cheap and a bad mother) but because there are NO DOLLS that look like my daughter. Either they are unrealistically proportioned white dolls, scary monster, weirdo, sex kittens, black dolls with straight hair and white features or they are dolls peddling propaganda of excessive materialism and sexism. Where are the dolls and toys which offer education and stimulate the imagination? Where are the dolls which offer companionship to the entire spectrum of young girls? The world isn’t just black and white. The spectrum of brown, red, yellow and every color in between is real and beautiful and in need of representation.

My daughter is a beautiful blend of her father’s Eritrean ancestry and my white and black genes. Very rarely do I ever feel that she is uncomfortable in her skin. She is constantly reminded by everyone in her life that she is extra-ordinary, clever, funny, intelligent, kind and beautiful. 

Yet every now and then she will express her desire for straight hair and her dislike for her big curly hair.  Each and every time that she has voiced her dissatisfaction is when she is stroking the knotty, stringy straight hair of a doll baby or Barbie (that she was gifted and I hadn’t the heart to throw the hell out). 

With that being my struggle, I was really excited to be contacted by Yelitsa Jean-Charles. She is a young artist coming from the much respected art school of RISD. She has created the toy company “Healthy Roots” which offer dolls that represent the variation of the African Diaspora with varying hair textures as well as an illustrated reading book and coloring book which offer basic information about natural haircare. It’s genius!

 Here is Yelitsa’s response to the state of toys offered to children of color. 

“I created Healthy Roots to fill that void. Internalized racism and colorism stem from mainstream beauty standards that exclude women of color. The pressure that girls feel to appeal to mainstream beauty standards impacts their self esteem, leading them to use dangerous chemicals like perms and bleaching creams to become “beautiful.” Healthy Roots teaches girls of color self-love through education, diversity, and positive representation. If the toys we play with influence how we perceive ourselves, imagine the kind of impact we can have with a toy that aims to inspire and empower.”


Easy reading book included w/ doll explaining basic natural haircare


Real representation of a Healthy Roots Doll


Doll Concepts

Meet Yelitsa and Learn More about her Kickstarter for “Healthy Roots” Toy Company

Yelitsa is 5 days away from her kickstarter ending. She needs help to bring this brilliant idea and hardwork into realization! She is so close already! 

Support Yelitsa’s Kickstarter Today to Make These Dolls A reality for Our Children!

Click the Link HERE

Ouidad NYFW Express Never Surpress Event


Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending one of Ouidad’s #NYFW events in celebration of their re-branding and 30th anniversary. Some curl influencers stopped by a posh hotel in lower Manhattan, sipped on some champagne, ate some treats and had their photo taken. It was all so very New York. Lol.

The highlight of the event was definitely having Chad (pictured below) work on my hair and being pleasantly surprised to find out that Ouidad is planning to launch and entire line of products specifically for the kinky curly girl aka the ethic/aroundtheway/brown/black girl. I must say, it really is gratifying to see all these folks in the industry embracing more coiled  hair types. I say F.I.N.A.L.L.Y!


Chad was extremely kind and friendly. He immediately recognized that I had fine hair but instinctively knew that I wanted to achieve more body. He recommended the product line, “Play Curl” for which I am excited to try and review. Apparently, it’s going to give me all the life. We shall see. I am slightly skeptical, yet somewhat hopeful. After all, Ouidad has been one of our favorites for a while. While I have never been to their salon, I have had the pleasure of using some of their products and they have never steered me wrong.  Click here and here for some of our reviews.

So, thank you Ouidad for having me.

@Ouidad Event Host: @NatalieZfat Hair Stylists: @NikkiProvidence and @ChadPendley5 Makeup: @EricaMUA Photographer: @LordAshbury Venue: @SixtyHotels #ExpressNeverSuppress

The Faces of Philly’s First Community Collaborative

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.33.56 PM

Shanti, Curran Swint, Syretta Scott

I feel so proud of myself for following through on this event. I feel so proud of being in the presence of so many people of color creating space for creativity, prosperity and straight chillin’ together.  Thank you Syretta of Duafe and Curran of Kings Rule Together for putting this together with me. Thank you to Keisha for allowing us the space and many materials. Thank you Sarah for being the Goddess of Games and directing the energy of the children for the day. Thank you Tsehaitu for having my back and always offering your hand and suggestions. Thank you Taqiy for being generous with your artistic talent. Thank you Kriss Mincey for sharing such a strong performance. Thank you to all the vendors who took a risk with me and who continue to take risks daily in their pursuit of business.  

Shout out to Atiba for creating such a beautiful, impromptu photo shoot with all of the attendees and participants of the event. 

Here are the many faces of Philly’s First Community Collaborative. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.51.35 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.51.50 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.52.43 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.53.02 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.53.38 PM  

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.53.52 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.31.54 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.54.18 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.27.41 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.32.47 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.55.54 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.56.11 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.54.35 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.55.39 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.55.09 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.52.30 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.31.23 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.32.32 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.30.45 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 4.31.38 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.55.25 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.56.24 PM


Thank you to all that attended. So grateful.

All photos are by Atiba Green



Shanti In LA


I was in LA for the first time in June. I went to visit a friend Emiliano Styles and was shown a wonderful time. We went to lofty high rise restaurants overlooking downtown LA, ate delicious octopus tacos in Grand Central Market, went hiking on Runyun Canyon, bike riding in Venice, and found our way into a secret, hidden Cuban bar with a live saxophone player who played to a woman who danced, twirled and writhed her hips until her white vestido fell and she was left to gyrate in only her bra and panties. We ate fried chicken at Roscoes and discovered the talent of Joseph Khalil at the MOCA. We skipped the Hollywood scene and I absorbed the sun rays and buena onda of the West coast without the glitz and glam of Lala Land.

  DSC_3766 (1)




I especially loved the graffiti-esque murals that brought an urban edge to the romantic curls and scales of the Spanish architecture. I loved the Latino presence in LA. I loved seeing the traditional Mexican cowboy with a shiny big belt and brown, wide brimmed hat, hand in hand with his lovely woman to the “neo” Latino influenced by black culture, cool as a cucumber with Converses, conversing with the distinct West coast Latino lilt “Ehhhhhh, what’s up?”


 I was in the best of company with Emil. He is a creative inspiration for me. He is an artist, grounded in discipline with just the right shiny sprinkling of idealism and hope.  He is photographing, writing, shooting, directing and editing a beautiful life for himself. He is dope, working hard to be doper. Having well put in his 10,000 hours of practice, he still makes every effort to sharpen his skills and expand creatively. With that being said, he made sure to have his camera on hand  during my visit and documented my time in LA.  He made a video of me! I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you all. He says he wanted to simply capture my curious nature. The video meant much more to me than that. It brought visuals to my daily prayer, “Let it all work out.”

SHANTI IN LA from Emiliano Styles™ on Vimeo.

Black Girls Getting Their Hair Done Via Buzzed


Photographer Adama Jalloh is celebrating black British girlhood via the hair salons of south London in her “Identity” project.


“Rarely do you go to exhibitions and see images of black people, especially when it’s in the UK.”

Adama Jalloh recently completed a degree in photography at the Arts University Bournemouth. “I went to a uni where it was predominantly white people and most of the projects they did tended to be things I wasn’t necessarily interested in,” she says. So in her second year, she started a project that was personal to her, and would shine a light on her – and other black girls’ – beauty rituals. She began visiting black hair salons around Peckham in south London to find subjects, and named the project “Identity”. “I thought the way I live, and the way other black girls have lived, should be shown in that same kind of environment, and in a positive light. Because most of the time when you see images of black people, it tends to be quite negative.”


“A lot of questions are asked whenever I do my hair so I thought I would show them what it’s all about.”

“One of the underlying questions is always: ‘Is your hair part of your identity?’” says Jalloh. “And for me, it definitely is – like an extension of who I am.” The Identity project showcases the versatility of black hair. “When you are young and growing up, you kind of don’t realise how versatile your hair really is – you only see it in one light.”


“When it’s a black audience, it’s not just about discovering. It’s more reminiscing and remembering.”

“When I was showing my work at uni, it was to a mostly white audience. So the way they would respond to it would be completely different to the way black girls would,” says Jalloh. Her images are infused with nostalgia, and recognition. The aim was to stoke the collective memory of black British girls, most of whom share this universal history. “I wanted people to remember what it was like to go the salon to get their hair done,” she says. “This was me wanting wanting people to remember how they used to do their hair.”


“The images are mostly of young girls.”

Jalloh found younger customers to be her most willing subjects. “Teenagers and older women were a bit more skeptical about getting their picture taken,” she says. “I guess when you’re younger you don’t really care that much.”


“It was definitely drawn for a black audience.”

“When I was at uni, there was just a lot of hair touching,” says Jalloh, who won the British Journal of Photography’s Breakthrough Award in May 2015. “This project in particular relates more to black women, and I knew it would get a positive response,” she says. It is important to Jalloh that her work be something audiences can relate to. A selection of her photographs is being shown at the Black British Girlhood exhibition in London (curated by Bekke Popoola, and now extended until 5 August).


“I just wanted to show how versatile our hair is, whether its natural or in extensions.”

Jalloh says the majority of the salons she visited were staffed by African and West Indian women, who were mostly reluctant to have their photos taken. “When I mentioned the project, they didn’t want to be seen on the internet,” she says, laughing. “So when you look at the images, you’re seeing their hands rather than their faces.” The restriction ended up working in her favour. “It would have been cool to have more faces in it,” she adds, “but by the end I was focusing more on the actual ways our hair was being done and trying to tell a story about that.



“Anything to do with black British girls is pretty much non-existent.”

“I’m 22,” says Jalloh, “and if I went to an exhibition and saw [the art at Black British Girlhood], I’d be like ‘yeah, I can relate to that.’” “I want people to react in a similar way to how I reacted.”


Jalloh’s next project centres around gentrification and a disappearing way of life in south London.

“I’m working on a project that’s slightly linked to identity, but not focused on just black girls – it’s more of a community of black people and other people of colour,” she says. The photography series centres on the residents of an estate close to where she lives in Peckham. “It’s being knocked down and new buildings are being built near and around it already and being labelled as “affordable housing” when really, it’s not affordable. The people who are going to move in there are far richer than the people who are being kicked out of the estate right now.” “There’s so much gentrification going on at the moment. I’ve been documenting parts of the estate and the people who live there, just to make sure there’s a memory of it left over because it would be a shame not to.”

The Black British Girlhood Exhibition is on until August 5th at the Centre for Better Health in Hackney.

Looking For Local Philly Artisans And Vendors For August Event

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 3.02.14 PM

Shanti Co-creator and editor of ATWC + Syretta Scott owner of Duafe

Around The Way Curls X Duafe

Are Bringing You A PHILLY Event!

Celebrity hair stylist Syretta Scott is hosting the First Annual Community Collaborative to support and encourage her new neighbors in her North Philadelphia community towards economic development with a day of engagement, education, and entertainment!

On August 15th, 2015 at Panati Recreation Center of Allegheny West located at 3100 N. 22nd St in Philadelphia, a collaboration of the city’s entrepreneurs, artists and activists are coming together for a day focused on igniting North Philadelphia’s business potential in a fun, relaxed family orientated setting with food, games, music and selected speakers.

Syretta Scott has been a heavyweight in the natural hair community for over 10 years. She has established herself as the natural hairstylist for celebrities such as Jill Scott, Smokey Robinson and Janet Jackson. She recently made the strategic decision of moving her hair salon “Duafe” from a prosperous, protected location in East Falls back to the heart of North Philadelphia were she was raised.

The presence of the business “Duafe” is a bright marker, highlighting that “the hood” does not have to represent stagnancy and poverty. “Duafe” intends to keep a location in North Philadelphia with motivation to build up the community, being integrative rather than segregative, which seems to be the unfortunate pattern of gentrification throughout the city. ‘This is a call to action to rebuild North Philadelphia from the inside out”, says Syretta Scott.

Duafe wants your help in spreading the news about the First Annual Community Collaborative. We welcome those who can reach an audience of businesses, sponsors, volunteers, families, youth, elderly, home owners and other members from the North Philadelphia community.

final promo 1

If you are down for the cause and want to participate in this event as a vendor, food truck vendor, volunteer, political activist, sponsor or attendee please email Shanti at Aroundthewaycurls@gmail.com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...