“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

                                                                                                                 (Post By Shanti)

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

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”


  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)

Memoir Writing Workshop – Reflect. Remember. Release.

tumblr_mo4cdmQNOY1s8x8t4o1_500   A excerpt from a piece I am working on for this workshop:

“I am fourteen years old. My parents are arguing again in the backyard as I watch them from my bedroom window. My father’s black frame is tight. His right arm rises and falls like a karate chop with each word he yells. My mother stands in front of him, chest out, red faced and crying. He must seem threatening to my neighbors – this rigid black man yelling at the top of his lungs at a hysterical white woman. I am worried that they will call the cops on them. I want to bring them inside but I don’t interfere this time. I just watch. 

My dad soon comes into my bedroom. He is late for work. He apologizes for the scene. He tells me he feels hopeless and that he can’t do it anymore. I tell him they should just get a divorce. I don’t feel very sad. I don’t cry like I usually do when my parents fight. This time I don’t care. I feel numb.

I recently started high school. Each day I wake up early and get off to school by myself. It takes me about an hour to get to school each day. It’s an agricultural high school. We learn about plants, farm animals and the environment. I really enjoyed the orientation that I had to go to during the summer. I got all A’s and won awards. I was surprised when they called my name for an award the first time but I was embarrassed by the third. I don’t have the same focus that I did back in the summer because now I think I am in love…

He pages my beeper. I have been waiting for it all day. Once I get home from school, I shower, oil my body with coconut oil, slick my curls into a high ponytail, put on new Baby Phat panties I bought from Burlington Coat Factory and dress into a new outfit. I have a job at a gourmet food shop that pays me in cash each week. I spend most of my money on clothes. I have six pairs of Timberland boots in different colors and a fresh pair of air force 1’s in all white and red and white. I am the only girl in my high school to wear a Roc A Wear valor sweat suit. I think all of the girls are jealous of me. I think all of the boys like me. I don’t have many friends. 

I call him back. “Yo, meet me on Wayne Ave.”

My heart is racing. I rush to leave my home. I am happy to get away from the heavy, dark space it has become. My father left a month ago. He moved into a new apartment five blocks away. I don’t know where my mom is. She has started a new teaching job and often comes home late and tired. She cries a lot at night.

I walk the four blocks to meet Ali. He is sixteen. He drives a car, has a Nextel, white teeth, light skin and freckles. He isn’t like my last boyfriend. Ali isn’t my friend. We don’t stay up late talking on the phone. I don’t know his mother’s name. We don’t laugh very often. He says I talk funny, like a white girl so I talk less and curse more. 

He is the first boy I ever French kiss. We sit on the steps of a church and pass gum between our mouths swapping his Big Red for my Winter Fresh. His tongue is wet and forceful like his hands which squeeze my small breasts and push in between my thighs. 

I don’t know what I am doing but I feel grown. I feel like the older girls who have full breasts, big hips, asses and who have had sex. 

I meet Ali at a park. Fall is here and the sun is setting earlier. It is nearly dark. My mom flashes into my mind but I push her tired, worried image into the back of my thoughts. 

Ali looks over my body and chews loudly on his Big Red. In between the interruption of his Nextel which barks random “Yoooo’s” and “Where you at’s”, he kisses me and touches my hair.

He wants me to go to his cousin’s house down the street. A house I have never been to. I feel nervous but I play it cool and agree. I know why he wants me to go to this random house. He wants to have sex. 

I am a virgin and a lot of my friends from middle school have already had sex. They tell me about the way it feels and how many boy’s they have been with. I want to experience it. I like the way my body responds when he kisses me and touches me but my young, fourteen year old self is in conflict.”

final writing promo

 This is memoir writing. It comes from memory about experiences and moments that make deep impressions and grooves into the woodwork of our lives. For me, writing is an act of healing. It helps me to reflect, remember and release moments that bring me confusion, hurt and shame. Writing helps me to accept myself and all my varied circumstances so that I can forgive others (and most importantly myself) and grow.

I know that there are other young, old, experienced and fresh writers out there with their own stories that have been stagnant in their psyches for so long. It is time to loosen the hardened material and allow the beautiful alchemy of words to unfurl. 

 I have facilitated a Memoir Writing Workshop here in Philadelphia beginning July 7th-21 lead by Maleka Fruean. Every Tuesday for two hours in this short writing workshop, we will explore our memories and our life’s narrative- from the first time we remember feeling fear to the last time we ate cotton candy. We’ll use humor, sadness, and everything in between to begin creating polished non-fiction pieces that read like great stories. We’ll explore our own unique writing voice in the world through in-class writing prompts and exercises, and short assignments to work on at home. This workshop is for women, and for all levels of writers. Our work will be shared and workshopped in a safe and encouraging environment.

 Seating for Registration is limited. For more information and to register hit the link. Can’t wait to hear the amazing stories to come!

Registration for Memoir Writing Workshop

New Video : My Color Results After Using Shea Moisture At Home Kit

Although late (this video was filmed in winter) I wanted to share the results I had with Shea Moisture’s at home coloring kit. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...