Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hair Myths - Holy Grail & "Ethnic Hair"

Hey family! With keeping my promise of providing more information on natural hair topics, I came across a GREAT post from hair stylist and curly hair expert Tiffany Anderson. This article speaks mountains for us coily, curly and kinky sistas of all shapes and colors. Don't be fooled and stop running around sounding crazy....there is no such thing as "the holy grail" curls. Read and learn...I sure did :)

We now interrupt this blog for two small conversations that will most likely result in having lots of things thrown at me...or a collective belief that I have gone over the edge and no longer have the slightest idea what I'm talking about.

But as I've said before...I am not nor will I ever be 100% right 100% of the time. My thoughts, posts and advice are based on what I believe and observe from my professional training and my professional career as a hair stylist and curly hair specialist. If it works for someone, that's great. If it doesn't and something else works better, then that's great too. But I'm largely Italian, which means I'm always going to open my mouth when I have something to say, LOL. And there have been two topics on my mind lately I feel I need to address.

#1 - There is No Such Thing as "The Holy Grail"
Many curly girls get obsessed with finding what is known among us as "The Holy Grail" for their curls - that mythical, miraculous, one-of-a-kind, priceless treasure of a product that will give us impeccable, frizz-free, red carpet curls--the kind that always snap back into perfect ringlets even in the worst rain, hail, humidity, sleet and hurricane-force winds known to mankind.

The good Lord knows, I was on an HG quest myself for eons and there are times I still find myself falling into that trap. Even when I find a product combination that makes me look great 99% of the time, I'll catch myself thinking: sure, my curls look great...but what if I stop looking now and that one great product--that one single elixir of magical fairy tales--is just over the hill? And what if I never find it because I was happy with "second best" and I stopped looking too soon? It was enough to drive any curly girl to drink.

It was with a mixture of relief and sadness that I finally came to the conclusion--after doing hundreds and hundreds of curly heads, and studying reams of information on hair type and product ingredients--that, despite our greatest hopes and wishes, that mythical "Holy Grail"

just. doesn't. exist.

Yes, there are products that are great for our hair and will work wonders the vast majority of the time, sometimes even 99% of the time. There are products with ingredients that love our particular hair type--our texture, our porosity, our elasticity--and will make our curls look the absolute best they can possibly be.

For a time.

But ...

Hair type changes over time. Texture changes, porosity changes, elasticity changes. Weather changes. The chemical composition of your water changes. Hormones change. Medical conditions change. If there is one thing we can count on in the crazy world of curly hair, it is change. And that means no product is going to work 100% the best 100% of the time.

The same product might work almost as great, but from the bottom of my heart I do not and will never believe one single product can unfailingly give you what I call "red carpet curls"...the perfect, rockin' kind of curls that make any Hollywood A-lister turn around and think jealously, "I want HER hair." Unless you live in an environment and in a body where absolutely nothing changes, the Holy Grail will have to remain the myth it is.

Incidentally, that's why it is all the more important to understand your hair type and your environment and, subsequently, what product ingredients work the best for your particular situation. There might not be a single Holy Grail...but that doesn't mean there can't be a foundational core of products that act in tandem with each other to give you red carpet curls all the time.

#2 - There is No Such Thing as "Ethnic Hair"
Didn't see that one coming, did you?

I get a lot of questions on whether or not I know how to handle "ethnic hair" or about the special needs of ethnic hair. And I'm here to tell you there is no such thing. Hair is hair is hair. Period.

Your hair is fine, medium or coarse. Your hair is porous, overly porous, or has low porosity. Your hair has normal elasticity or low elasticity. Your hair is thin, medium or thick. It does not matter what your ethnic background is. Fine, porous, elastic, thick hair is fine, porous, elastic, thick hair whether it is on an African-American woman, a Caucasian woman, a Native American woman, an Asian woman, a Latina get the picture.

Now, you may have a genetic predisposition to have a certain type of hair based upon your ethnic background. African-American women often have much finer hair and a much tighter wave pattern than women from other ethnic backgrounds. Asian and Native American women can be so coarse and stick-straight, cutting their hair is a huge challenge because every slice of the shears can leave a visible mark. But there is no guarantee your hair will follow a certain pattern just because you belong to a particular ethnic group. I have African-American clients with loose waves and medium texture; I have white clients with coarse hair and extremely tight coils. And that's just the way it is.

That's not to say we shouldn't take pride in ourselves and where we come from, or not seek advice from others who share the same culture as we do! But by realizing that "ethnic hair" truly doesn't exist and knowing that our particular hair type is the key to taking the best care we can of our curls...we will always have those red carpet ringlets, no matter what our ethnic backgrounds.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to subscribe to The Silky Chronicles. To find out more information on Ms. Tiffany Anderson, check her out on her blog - Live Curly, Live Free.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Message from Tyler Perry...

The below email just came across Tyler Perry's (TP) email list. It just warmed my heart and moved me so much that I wanted to share it with you. I commend TP for stepping up and out for what is right. MAYBE we need to do background checks on celebrities (as far as what they are doing for the community) before we download their music, or buy their gear OR even pay way to much money to see them do the same thing in concert year after year...just my $.08 cents....carry on (and read below):


From: Tyler Perry Mailing List <>

Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2009 21:47:13 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: A Message from Tyler Perry - I'm So Mad


This made me so angry.

Since Michael Jackson died I have not watched the news. I have just been so disgusted at how the mainstream media has riddled this family with disrespect, and no matter what anyone, you or I included, might have thought of him, the truth of the matter is this - the man was still a human being and his kids and family deserve some privacy and space. And I know that I'm not the only one that feels this way, so I purposely kept the TV off. Anyway, I was walking through the house, and I don't know how this TV was on, but I saw a little boy on the news crying his eyes out.

So I turned it up. Here is this kid talking about being kicked out of the Valley Swim Club outside Philadelphia because he was black. Did you hear me? I said, "No way, this can't be! It's 2009. I don't believe this!" But, I know it happens even in this year of Obama.

As I listened to the story the anchorperson went on to talk about a woman named Althea Wright. This young lady started a non-profit called Creative Steps to help inner-city children. And apparently she had booked the Valley Swim Club's pool and paid for it to be used by the children through the summer. As we all know, this is such a great thing. During the summer our kids can get into a lot of trouble if they don't have something creative to do. Anyway, as the story went on I was shocked to find out that it wasn't just him but 65 children in all, black and Hispanic kids, that were kicked out of the pool. You should Google this story and read it online for yourself. It's crazy! I went from being mad to being furious.

The news reporter went on to say that the president of the club and its members said, and I quote, "We don't want to change the complexion of our club." The president refunded the money of the children and asked them not to come back. WHAT?! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I said I have to do something for these children. I can't let them think that they are inferior because of the color of their skin. Then that night I saw the president of the Valley Swim Club on the news again saying that he misspoke and that it was a safety issue and the club wasn't able to accommodate so many children. But the children themselves reportedly said that members were taking their kids out of the pool, and that they were saying things like, "Why are they here?" and "They're black", even insinuating that these kids would steal or maybe hurt their children.

Now get this. A few days later I catch the story again on CNN. This time the club was inviting the kids to come and swim. WHAT?! I'm confused. If you refunded the money because there was not enough room in the pool and it was a safety issue then why are you asking the same 65 kids to come back?

This is awful, and for anyone that has grown up in the inner-city, you know that one small act of kindness can change your life. These kids see the images of President Obama on TV and then they see the drug dealers and thugs on the corner. Which do you think is more their reality? One act of kindness, one person telling them that they are special, one moment of encouragement can make them move mountains. I know it to be true because I was one of them. They don't need to be called names and be told that they are less than, because of the color of their skin or because of where they come from.

I was told that one of these children, a seven year old, asked her mother if she was "too black to be in a pool." How do you answer that? How do you get a seven year old past that? Again, it broke my heart and I wanted to do something, and I feel like you all would want to do something, too.

That's why I'm telling you this. Since you all have put me in the position to be able to do something I feel like by me doing this we are all doing it together. So what I did was on Aug 1st thru 3rd I'm sending these kids to Disney World, and then to a Disney water park. I want them to know that for every act of evil that a few people will throw at you, there are millions more who will do something kind for them. This is all about the kids. So, thank you for letting me do this. Thank you so much. And do me a favor please. When you see these kids coming through the airport, (I'm sure you won't be able to miss them. I imagine they are going to be super excited) when you see them in the park and in the hotel, let's show them a whole lot of love and respect. Show them that they are just as good as anyone else. And show them that they can do or be anything they want to be no matter what any one says!


Tyler Perry

For the Love of Shea

Happy Motivated Monday all! I must apologize for the late posts AND the fact that I have not spoken on my new found love of naturality/naturalism (on this blog). I've been so consumed with current events and also work (as usual) that I totally forgot that I havent' really spoken out on being natural. What doe this mean you may ask.....I've recently embarked on my journey to natural hair (you all already knew this) AND recently introducing natural bath and body products! YES, I am taking the information that I am learning about some of the natural products I use to maintain my silky coiliness and and applying it to the daily maintenance of my body. Today I wanted to weigh in on the ever so popular (and somewhat main streamed) Shea butter. For those who may not know, lets start with a basic description of what it is and then work our way up to how you can use:


Shea butter is a light gray or beige colored seed oil that is extracted from the seed found inside the nuts of Shea tree. It is also referred to as the Karite tree. This unique tree can be found in 19 countries found only in the continent of Africa.

These trees only grow in the wild and can take up to 50 years to mature..but can live up to 300 years (crazy right)! Destruction of the shea tree tree is said to be prohibited because this little nut can provide a valuable source of food, medicine, and income for the population. Shea butter is sometimes referred to as "women's gold" in Africa, because so many women are employed in the production of Shea butter.


Neat thing about this supplement is that it can be used for just about EVERYTHING. Shea butter can be used as to help heal burns, scares and also reduce wrinkles. How... it moisturizes the skin, promoting cell renewal, and increasing circulation. One of its common use is for the hair and skin care. Since shea has proven to be an effective moisturizer (due to the fatty acids that are needed to retain skin moister and elasticity), commercially, it been added to many cosmetic products (shampoo, lotion, oils, facial treatments, etc) we use today!

It can and will protect the hair and skin (if used properly). As for the hair, Shea butter can serve as a natural moisturizer for the hair follicles, but also can be used to repair damaged hair. Since it is natural, you don't necessarily have to add a bunch of "other" ingredients to this supplement to get the desired out come. Some people prefer to use it solely by itself, while others use it as an ingredient to a SUPER mixture for their hair and body regimen. I say why not do both! You can repair and naturally moisturize yourself from head to toe!


Well I am glad that you asked!! Currently, I am using unrefined Shea butter in my scalp oil, daily body butter mix which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ( its actually called "Coconut Confidence"created and named by the lovely and inspirational Sunshinelovespeace) and in my weekly leave in conditioner. Since I have type 4 A/B (and sometimes I see some C...but I digress) hair, this supplement is perfect for the perfect moister point I seek, plus my coils are defined and LOVE IT. Not only am I protecting my silky coils, but also keeping it properly moisturized AND stimulating hair growth (repair if needed). I am overly conscious about my hair/skin and its moister.....I'm always looking to see if its to dry, overly oily, etc. Well with adding Shea butter to my daily hair and body regimen and making sure its a staple in my alternative shampoo's and conditioners, I know that I am treating my coils good (and in return..they will do the same).

I plan to start updating you all on my hair regimen, and also my work out routines on here as well (since some have asked). You have to bare with me, for I am without a camera at the moment, so it makes it a little hard to post pictures in a timely manner. Lol. While some have told me specifically to "do better"...I promise I am trying family.

Until next time, the orAKAle has spoken..................

Information in this post were found on the following sites:
~ Premium-Grade-Shea

Friday, July 10, 2009

Racism No Longer Exists....NOT!!!!

I'm not sure if you all have heard, but we still harbor "whites-only" policies in many city establishments around the country. While I have never been really naive to knowing this, it still stings when heard or experienced.

This past week, the Valley Swim Club in Huntington Vally Pennsylvania decided to deny 65 inner city campers, from the Creative Steps Day Camp, access to their facility. Please note the full story with details/facts are available in the link below:

Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"

Many of our fellow Americans are outraged and are doing our part to make sure a full investigation is launched and the story of this injustice is heard. Below is a template of a letter, created by Soror Star Jones (
Positively Star), that many of us are using to notify our leaders and the public that we WILL NOT take this type of treatment sitting down...let along against our youth.

Please feel free to copy and paste as needed. The youth are our future and we WILL NOT allow them to be treated as such.

Dear Public Servant who is dedicated to Justice for All (can insert your state's representative name here):

I was shocked and outraged to learn that the Valley Swim Club in Huntington Valley Pennsylvania seems to be enforcing a "whites-only" policy at their pool.

Two weeks ago, the Creative Steps Day Camp paid the Valley Swim Club more than $1900 for one day of swimming a week for their 65 campers, but after the first day, the money was quickly refunded and the campers were told not to return. Apparently, when the campers entered the pool, White parents took their kids out of the water, and the swimming club's staff asked the campers to leave after making what can only be described as racially insensitive and discriminatory comments directed at the children. The President of the club compounded the situation and left nothing to interpretation by stating that the children were not welcome at the club as they might "change the complexion...the atmosphere of the club."

I'm sure you agree that is shameful that in 2009, anywhere in America, children have been turned away from a swimming pool because of their race.

I stand together with thousands of Americans across the country in condemning the Valley Club's discrimination. We are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate whether the Valley Club violated federal civil rights laws. Together, we are sending a strong message that this kind of discrimination has no place in our society.


S. E. Hughes


Feel free to join the movement at Color of Change

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"We Had Him" by Maya Angelou

For those of you who missed the Memorial of Michael Jackson this past Tuesday, below is a copy of the poem read by Queen Latifah, written by the great (and Soror of mine) Maya Angelou.....

"We Had Him"

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Self Worth - GOOD READ

Today's post is dedicated to the ladies. Every once in awhile we need to regroup and reflect. The below posting came to me on a different list and I thought I should share. Unfortunately, the author is unknown but it is a great read. Hope you enjoy it!

In a brief conversation, a man asked a woman he was pursuing the question:

'What kind of man are you looking for?'

She sat quietly for a moment before looking him in the eye & asking, 'Do you really want to know?'

Reluctantly, he said, 'Yes.

She began to expound, 'As a woman in this day & age, I am in a position to ask a man what can you do for me that I can't do for myself?

I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man... or woman for that matter.

I am in the position to ask, 'What can you bring to the table?'

The man looked at her. Clearly he thought that she was referring to money.

She quickly corrected his thought & stated, 'I am not referring to money. I need something more.
I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life.

He sat back in his chair, folded his arms, & asked her to explain.

She said, 'I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation & mental stimulation. I don't need a simple-minded man.

I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don't need to be unequally yoked...believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster.

I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don't need a financial burden.

I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded.

I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships. Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man.

I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God.

I need someone whom I can respect. In order to be submissive, I must respect him.

I cannot be submissive to a man who isn't taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive...he just has to be worthy.

And by the way, I am not looking for him...He will find me. He will recognize himself in me. He may not be able to explain the connection, but he will always be drawn to me. God made woman to be a help-mate for man. I can't help a man if he can't help himself.

When she finished her spill, she looked at him.

He sat there with a puzzled look on his face. He said, 'You are asking a lot.

She replied, "I'm worth a lot".

Monday, July 6, 2009


Hey Family,

In case you couldn't tell, I'm am super excited right now...why....because I was recently featured on Ms. Floyd's "Natural Hair Rules" blog -!
It feels great that someone saw my story of transition and journey to a natural Silky exciting and inspiring enough to solely be discussed on her blog. I didn't think I had much to talk about or to say, but Soror Tamara was encouraging and really inspired me to want to inspire others...for that I say thank you girl!

While my journey has been tough at times, the one thing that kept me grounded and I could always could count on was the grace of the Lord! You will be surprised on how he can work in your life if you just lean on him and seek him first. I can truly say that this journey was well worth all the struggling, enduring and happiness that I've experienced. Some scriptures I live by and reference include (but are not limited too):

Trust in the Lord with thine heart and lean not until thine understanding. in all ways acknowledge him and he will make straight thy path.(Proverbs 3: 5-6)

I returned, and saw under the sum, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise. nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all (Eccelesiastes 9:11)

For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith(Mark 11:23)

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13)

And the list goes on and on.....

The lesson is to make sure anything that you do, you are doing it in fact for YOU. Grow and develop during your journey and enjoy every minute of it. Below is the link to her wonderful blog. Take a look at the feature, leave a comment and if you want, subscribe!

Addendum 7-07-09

I have also been featured on Curly Nikki's blog page as well
Check me out!!!!!

The orAKAle has spoken.......

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An Open Letter to BET

I'm sure everyone is aware that on Sunday, June 28, 2009, BET (Buffoon Entertainment Television) ATTEMPTED to pay homage to THE GREATEST entertainer of all time......Michael Jackson. Due to my disappointment in the show, I decided to let my voice be heard and notify BET (Bamboozled Entertainment Television) of my thoughts of their "MJ Tribute" show.

(Disclaimer - this letter was originally developed by Ms. Tracy J with permission to alter, send and post as I deemed appropriate. A huge thank you to Soror for allowing us to use your format.)

Dear BET,

Please accept this email correspondence as my views on this year's award show.

While I hate to admit this, Black Americans know EXACTLY what to expect from BET in terms of awards shows, and I'm afraid that's exactly what we got on Sunday, June 28, 2009. I'm sure it's no secret that many Black Americans take issue with the programming featured on BET, as it fails to stimulate us intellectually. The 2009 BET Awards were no different. My expectations for this show were very high, considering that we lost THE GREATEST star in music history--Michael Joseph Jackson--this past week. Instead, I was met with an award show that fell short of giving honor or paying tribute to his memory.

Had this merely been the BET Awards, I would NOT be as disgusted. As stated, we already know what to expect. However, it was repeatedly stated over the course of the past three days that BET was working hard to rearrange the show in order to pay tribute to Michael Jackson. I commend BET for ATTEMPTING to pay tribute to Michael Jackson during certain segments of the show. However, in total, the show failed to show any reverence to him AT ALL! Considering Michael Jackson's impact on entertainment at large and Black entertainment specifically, I wish that there would have been a better showing in honor of his memory. While I commend all those that tirelessly worked behind the scenes to put the show together, it fell horribly short in terms of being a "tribute."

There were several moments in the show that made me cringe and gasp, most notably the performance by Lil Wayne and the "skit" performed by Ving Rhames and Tyrese. To request the audience repeat after him that "Guns is (sic) Michael Jackson" was the lowest moment in the show. For a man that fought against injustice and violence, it was a direct slap in the face to his memory. As for Lil Wayne, the overwhelming majority of his performance was beeped out and otherwise laced with inappropriate content. Along with this, the appearance (of what seemed to be) young girls on stage while this atrocity was going on. Where there no "PG" versions of the song that could have been performed for the national audience? I find it hard to believe that BET would approve this performance to be televised.

Thank God for New Edition, Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo, Maxwell, Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, and Eddie Levert for their performances and individual tributes to Michael Jackson. They were appreciated and brought smiles to my face. Even Arsenio Hall, in the pre show, had heartfilled words to say (that educated as well) about our beloved Michael Jackson. However, it seemed as though his spirit was forgotten throughout the remaining portions of the show. There were barely any mentions of his name by the number of artists that crossed the stage over the course of the evening. In fact, I saw more promos for foolishness like "Toya & Tiny" and "Frankie & Neffie" than I saw people paying respect to Michael Jackson!!

I was lost throughout most of the show and actually felt duped. I waited with bated breath, hoping that each subsequent segment of the show would be the one that featured the tribute. Alas, it wasn't until the last 5-10 minutes of the show when we FINALLY got anything that resembled a tribute to Michael Jackson when Janet Jackson bravely took the stage, followed by a lovely duet by Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo. The song was beautiful and fitting as a tribute to Michael. Too bad we had to sit through almost three hours of "What in the world...?" moments in order to witness it.

Perhaps a lot of us got our hopes up by anticipating a more fitting tribute to Michael Jackson from BET. That is our fault. As an award show, I will not overlook the hard work that the BET staff may have put into it. However, in terms of it being a "tribute" to Michael, I will forever be disappointed with the 2009 BET Awards. I do hope that BET is preparing a more fitting tribute to Michael Jackson to be aired in the very near future. If not, it will be another missed opportunity by BET to bring back the essence of what Black Entertainment Television USED to be....

(smh in disgust) the orAKAle has spoken........