Shanti In LA

DSC_3830

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)

DSC_3784

DSC_3818

DSC_3815

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?”

DSC_3855        

 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.

enhanced-buzz-wide-4313-1438441477-7  

“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.”

enhanced-buzz-wide-4595-1438443240-7

“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.”

enhanced-buzz-wide-4731-1438444741-7

“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.”

enhanced-buzz-wide-6747-1438441432-7

“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.”

enhanced-buzz-wide-9117-1438441733-7

“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).

enhanced-buzz-wide-9863-1438441658-13

“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.

enhanced-buzz-wide-28834-1438443046-11

enhanced-buzz-wide-29791-1438442711-15

“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.”

enhanced-buzz-wide-32149-1438444852-18  

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.

Things That Interest The Around The Way Curl – Deuce x Deuce

Khalil Joseph

The videography of Khalil Joseph. I recently visited LA for the first time and I went to the MOCA. On exhibition was the video “Double Consciousness” treated to Kendrick Lamar’s album “m.A.A.d city”. The video is fifteen minutes long and played on two split screens displaying the dichotomy of the beauty and the horror of black life in LA.  Thoughtful and often cryptic (no pun intended) Joseph brings to life the young, old, innocent and tainted characters of Kendrick Lamar’s  lyrics. I had never heard of Khalil Joseph until I stepped foot into MOCA and now I want to know so much more about the fiercely private director of short films and music videos. I was unable to find and share the “double consciousness” video (if you’re in LA go to the MOCA and see it!) but this video directed by Khalil for Flying Lotus “Until the Quiet Comes” shows the amazing grace he brings to grit.

 

Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”

kendrick-video-9_xyaf0l

  Which brings me to ol’ boy Kendrick Lamar. He is doing what so many muthafuckas want to do but can’t because they lack the artistic ability and affinity that comes so naturally to Lamar. For example, no matter what Kanye or Jay Z try to offer as their “original art” (Marina Abramovic, Givenchy designs, clothing, and often times music) falls flat to me. It always seems to miss the mark, feels two dimensional, feigned and selfish. But when I listen to Kendrick’s  albums, the characters he creates, the many moods he sets when I watch his collaboration with Khalil Joseph it is obvious the lil man has a distinct, altruistic message that he is attempting to share. That’s what real artist do, they have something to say and they twist, turn, stretch, sketch, type, film, paint and syncopate to get the message across in mediums that are sometimes hard to digest and understand. I dig that shit man.  

I watched his new video “Alright”  and immediately shared it with my videographer/filmmaker friend. Initially, he was pissed that the piece was so cryptic and “senseless” but because he knows that nothing within an artist’s work is unintentional he studied it and came up with an interpretation which I think is spot on. The beginning scenes are hellish, chaotic and a reflection of the times and state of consciousness of the masses. The upside down Kendrick represents the cocooned Kendrick, the growing of consciousness and resistance, the floating Kendrick is the “butterfly”, evolved, “flying high” who perhaps can be a hopeful inspiration extended to the black race which the oppressors/evil don’t want to see thus the “shooting” and bringing down of Kendrick but it ain’t over. What do you guys think? What are your interpretations? Did you like the video?

 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Confession of a Seduction Addict” 

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 2.28.44 PM

I related a lot to this article. I didn’t relate to the addiction to seduction part. I don’t pursue, I don’t meddle, I don’t change for men nor am I feign for attention. What I do relate to is the pattern of overlapping, serial monogamous relationships. I suppose I love love, of experiencing the variances of being “in like” to the reckless, all consuming madness of losing myself in another until now. I have met my match – myself. I have surrendered to being a lone. No distractions. Just me, my God and the current of my fears, hopes, pain and dreams which bubble within me like a cold, thick stew being warmed.  I can relate with Gilbert in the contemplative, difficult journey of finding the savory in alone-ness. (Hardest shit I have ever done son.)

To continue to the article, click

The Music of Son Little 

I have been meaning to share this brother since winter but…I haven’t. I love his sound so much I couldn’t not share it. Son Little is a Philly Native. I am proud to represent for him. “O’ Mother” is heart wrenching and so Donny Hathaway-esque. Tell me what ya’ll think. 

   

What’s of Interest to you guys?

New music? Movies? Articles? Pop Culture? Share!!!

I Want to know!

-Shanti BTW (Our system is jacked so we can only send it from one account)

Ulta’s “Love Your Hair Campaign” Product Reviews

ulta post thumbnail

My Turn! As you know Ulta is having their in-store and online, “Love Your Hair Event” all month long. Shanti and I were gifted with some products to review and as much as we hate trying new products this wasn’t so bad.

  Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 2.11.55 PM

 

K-Pak is a product line that is starting to get a lot of attention and for good reason. I was first introduced to this line at the Best in Black Beauty Essence Event. This intense hydrator is essentially a deep conditioner stocked with amino acids that offers immediate hydration in only 5 minutes. It leaves your hair soft, detangled, hydrated and manageable and only for $4.99. Child, you can’t be that price. Mucho bang for your buck. However, please note that this product contains silicones which are highly effective at smoothing and taming frizz but can also create product build up. So, be sure to monitor your build up and cleanse regularly if you use this product in excess.

  Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 1.59.14 PM

 Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner ended up being a winner in the end but I was skeptical. Ouidad’s claim is that it ” instantly defines and hydrates curls while keeping frizz at bay… (it) creates a “moisture foundation” by infusing hair with vital conditioning proteins. Prickly pear extract draws in moisture from the air and seals it in for superior hydration while antioxidant green tea and vitamin B5 help protect and promote shine. Arnica extract lends a smoothing touch—sealing the cuticle for frizz-free results.” 

I was initially turned off by this product because it didn’t detangle my hair well or have much slip when I applied it. I added  quarter size amount to my wet hair and began to let it air dry. About 10 minutes later I examine my strands and the product was so lightweight, I couldn’t tell if my hair was actually being hydrated or not. So, I added another quarter size amount to my hair and still it felt like nothing was applied. I couldn’t see or feel the product in my hair. When I scrunched my strands together to mold them into the ‘perfect curl’ there was no white film… no product residue on my hands… nothing. It was strange. 

So, I mentally prepared myself for a horrible hair day and got my top knot supplies ready. About 30 minutes later I looked at my hair and to my surprise, I loved the way my hair looked. My curls were incredibly happy, weightless and full of movement, body and bounce. I wasn’t mad at all.  Frizz free? No. Not really. But I don’t like frizz free hair anyway so me no care.

Overall, I like this conditioner because it doesn’t create a lot of build up and it allows my natural curl to be a little more wild and free. With that said, I would definitely recommend it to curlies looking for a weightless leave-in who have looser, fine curls like mine. This is that, ‘hair blowing in the wind’ leave-in.

*Side note*  

I just dyed my hair ombre blonde and feel like I need something  with a little more slip for the time being because my bleached strands are a bit stiff and ratchet. I’ll continue to use this product again once my hair health is restored.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 2.01.09 PM

Now you already know I couldn’t resist trying out a product called Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play. This is essentially hair spray. It’s not much different from any other hair spray I’ve used besides the fact that it comes in this fun packaging. It has a lot of hold and a lot of power so if you like movement, I would use a very small amount. I flipped my hair to the opposite side in which I part it, sprayed the roots a little, fluffed and enjoyed some added body. Boom. It’s that simple. Not much to review here. It did it’s job the way I expected it to do. I do want to try their volume and texturizing powder though.  

The Results

ultareview_2

Natural Light

ultareview_1

Natural Light

ultareview_3

Natural Light

 
ultareview_4

Natural Light

 
ultareview_5

Artificial Light. No Flash

   
ultareview_6

Artificial Light. No Flash 

unnamed

To Check out more Hair Products for Ulta’s Month of May “Love Your Hair Campaign”, go to www.ulta.com/loveyourhair to see what hair products are available on sale!

Senegalese Twist Crown Up Do

senegalese twist   This video is a simple updo for senegalese twists. All you need to complete this style are bobby pins.

Keep in mind you want to hydrate your real hair while they are in the twists. The easiest way to do that is to create a hydrating mist and spray your hair both at night and in the morning.

DYI Hydrating Mist Recipe:

2-TBSP Leave-In Conditioner

1 TBSP Coconut Oil

1 TBSP Aloe Vera Juice

Remainder Water

Shake Well and Spray

*Disclaimer*

If you follow us on instagram you’ll know that while I loved my twists, they unfortunately, were not for me. My hair was far too thin and fine for them. I left the twists in for about a month and after, I did I experience a lot of breakage due to the weight of the hair and the amount of updos I wore for work. They didn’t feel too tight but at times, they felt too heavy. There was just too much pulling at my roots. Oddly enough however, the hair that was not being ripped from my scalp was pretty happy and healthy. LOL.  This told me that the  moisturizing mist worked but the weight of the twists did not. So, I still recommend them as a protective style just not for women with fine or damaged hair. You must have that real good healthy stuff to rock these. Oh well, you can’t win them all. I tried and my hard headed/big headed self will probably try again and complain about being bald when I take them out.

Whateva. At the end of the day it’s just hair. Right?

Aphrodite Xo, Thank You

I’m three years late but your video finally got to me. Shanti didn’t even put me on. I blame it on her. I hope this post reaches you and that you know you we are grateful for your support. Your post is right on time. I needed to hear that in order to get that old thing back. Back to editing I go.

Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards

As you know Shanti and I were nominated for Best Up and Coming Blog for the Essence Black Beauty Awards.  It was incredibly dope to be honored and even dope-r to get to spend some time together, dance, drank and party it up in NYC. Here are some photos from the event. Keep in mind we are sharing these because we tried to stunt on um.

FullSizeRender-4

Pose for the camera. Flick. Flick.

   
FullSizeRender-2

The gym has been good to me. Sidenote* Peep how I am wearing ‘nude’ shoes but they are really light pink. Melanin, why have you forsaken me?

 
FullSizeRender-3

She was probably the swaggiest jawn in the building. It’s just in her. She’s ice cold.

 
FullSizeRender-8

With our boo Naptural85/Whitney. Words can not express how we love love. She even marched with Antoinette in the Justice for Freddie Grey rallies the next day. #shawtywannaride

FullSizeRender-6

“Antoinette your breasts are as big as my head.”- Shanti “Shanti, your head is as small as my breasts.” – Antoinette

FullSizeRender-5
FullSizeRender-7

“Shanti, will you take my picture?”- Antoinette “Stand up straight, cross your legs and chest up.”- Shanti

IMG_4168

Luster’s Pink Moisturizer is apparently still around and thriving. No shade but shade. #sorrynotsorry

Thank you Essence for the recognition and thank you ladies for helping us get there. Muah

   

The Curl Whisperer of Duafe Salon

duafe outside

The natural hair salon Duafe in Philadelphia  has been blessing heads for over 20 years now. Celebrities such as Jill Scott, Beyonce, Tye Tribett, Floetry and Janet Jackson (just to name a few) have been enjoying the twists, locs, color and intricate braids created by Duafe’s owner Syretta and her team of stylists. I have been connected to Duafe and Syretta since I was thirteen years old. After first getting my hair braided in Syretta’s mother’s house in West Philly when she was just a young, single stylist, I  have continued to  follow her career. Upon every visit, I see evidence of her growth as an artist and entrepreneur. Her salon changed from being a small attic dwelling to being in an expansive, warehouse chic building. Her clientele ranges from multimillion dollar artists, powerful politicians to regular folk, men and women, black and white. Every time I sit down in a chair at Duafe, fragrant scents, intimate conversations, laughter and tender hands knead my spirit into a softened space of comfort and care. duafe insde Syretta has been watching with smirking eyes as this “natural hair revolution” has blown up. Two strand twists, bantu knots, kinks, curls and fros are nothing new to her. In many ways, the population is finally catching up to her wealth of knowledge, finally her skills and that of her staff may really begin to fulfill the potential that has been building for years. She is ready to be of service.

remmyDuafe’s “Curl Specialist”, Rimmy

Syretta has found her salon’s curl whisperer. 28 year old Rimmy a native of Ohio has come east to Philadelphia to follow her passion for hair care. I met Rimmy recently and immediately I knew she was to be trusted and she knew what she was doing. After meeting her, I wanted to showcase her skills, I wanted to spread the word about Duafe to all the timid, first time big choppers, overwhelmed transitioners and curly haired women frustrated with salons that ruin curls with hot blow outs, lop sided, short cuts and the inability to lead and inform about healthy hair care practices.  

I found Rimmy’s muse in one of my best friends – Tsehaitu. She has been perm free for seven years but she has yet to really get into the groove of knowing and caring for her curls and kinks. She has been persuaded by the myth that you can really have the best of both worlds. You can have straight hair one week, curly hair the next and healthy hair all around. Her hair was misshapen, dry and in need of some TLC. I brought her to Duafe and Rimmy for a transformation. Here is her transformation.

 

Tsehaitu’s Hair Before 

tse front

tse side

tse back Tsehaitu maintains a very simple regimen of Jojoba oil and water on her hair daily. She sets it at night with 5 chunky twists and fluffs in the morning. She is not a slave to definition by any means. She actually prefers less definition. For the past 3 months she has been going to a hair salon (off and on) and getting her hair straightened. She was assured by a hair stylists that her hair can stand heat, it won’t be damaged and that with a steady trim every 6 weeks she was doing her hair some good. Rimmy looked at her hair and said “WRONG!”. Remmy explained that,  “There is no in between with straight and curly. You either commit to having healthy curls or maintaining straight hair. If you want to go between straight and curly, your going to end up HAVING to wear it straight because your curls can NOT withstand the damage of heat. Eventually your curls will retreat into stringy, porous, life-less strands.” This was the case with Tsehaitu’s hair. She had heat damage. Her natural curl pattern remains unknown to her even seven years after she has stopped perming her hair. 

example of damage hair

“If your hair is wet and your curl does not spring back after pulling it, if  it doesn’t have any elasticity to it, your hair is heat damaged.”

heat damage

Rimmy’s Solution

Rimmy asked what were Tsehaitu’s hair goals. Tsehaitu said she wanted manageable hair that would grow.  Rimmy was completely honest with Tsehaitu explaining that heat damage is similar to a perm in that your hair is forever altered. There is no going back. The only two options were big chopping or transitioning. The only way to healthy, happy, thriving curls was to stay away from heat. 

Tsehaitu did not want to big chop, so they agreed that the journey would be a slow and steady one. Every 6 weeks Tsehaitu agreed to come to get her damaged ends clipped by Remmy as the healthy, unaltered curls grew in from the roots. The beginning of Tsehaitu’s healthy hair journey was getting her hair shaped. 

Shaping to Rimmy is the most important aspect of healthy curls ( second to product). In her opinion,  it doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful curls if your shape is wrong. With a bad shape, you are doing your styling potential no justice.

Rimmy dubbed the common shape of Tsehaitu’s hair – The Sting Ray. “Long on the sides with a long tail in the back”. If you look closely, you will see that the “tail” in the back is an illusion to length and does not really provide an honest representation of length. The tail had to go. Tsehaitu took a deep breath and let it go.

DSC_3374

thin ends“See through” ends that needed to go.

cut hair floor

After Cut

aftr 1

aftr 2

aftr 3

Rimmy’s Styling

Due to the fact that Tsehaitu’s curl pattern is damaged, she is going to have to continue to create the illusion of a curl pattern and definition. Rimmy applied Duafe’s product for moisture and shine and began doing a variation of a two strand twist. The hair is two strand twisted down it’s length and then tucked into itself to create a loop. She then put Tsehaitu under the dryer for a short time.

twist

loop

The Results After Shaping and Styling

r 2

r 5

r 3

r 8

r 9

r 7

r 11

If you are in the Tri-state area and you are looking for a natural hair salon, check out Duafe Holistic Hair Care in Philadelphia. Check out all of their styling in braids, locs and curly hair care. Book an appointment and tell them ATWC sent you!

Dua-fe.com or call (267) 297-7636

@locsbyduafe

@rimmysparkles

Essence Nomination: The Best Up And Coming Black Beauty Blog

essence around the way curls antoinette henry shanti mayers

Essence’s Black Beauty Awards are around the corner and we have been nominated!

It’s quite an honor to be celebrated and nominated by Essence. Below is the voting information. Thanks for the love!

Link to Vote: essence.com/beautybloggerawards

Voting Ends: April 27, 2015

#bestinblackbeauty

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...