I was recently very fortunate enough to interview fellow blogger Honey, Afrobella. A little over a year ago I began scouring the 'net for anything pertaining to natural hair. Her site popped up and ever since then I've been a dedicated reader. Reading her blog opened up many windows for me to other blogs. I had become a "blog-bum"! Everyday when I got to work, I'd start my day by reading Afrobella's blog along with a few others (and still do :-).
It wasn't until a few months ago that I realized "hey, I can do this too", and the rest was history.
So, this is my way of paying homage to a very successful sister who's been a HUGE inspiration to me, thanks again Bella and keep up the good work!
1. What inspired you to create Afrobella? How long has it been on the 'net?
My first Afrobella post went up on August 14th, 2006, and it really kind of started spontaneously. (Here's a link to my first post http://afrobella.com/2006/08/page/2/)
I was inspired to create Afrobella because at the time, there were no other blogs like it. Or magazines, for that matter. I felt there was a void, so I decided to create the kind of magazine/website that I wanted to read; one that that wasn't about celebrity news, or simple product reviews. Where the natural beauty of black women was celebrated, and the tone was positive and informed.
2. Have you ever permed your hair in the past?
Oh yeah. I started when I was six, and finally stopped completely when I was 23. My hair was dyed and fried. When I lived in Trinidad and could afford it, I went to the hairdresser regularly to get my roots touched up and maintain my situation. When I moved to Miami, I used to relax it myself, using those at home kits. That's when I really learned why that stuff has earned the nickname "creamy crack." Having to put on the gloves, part my hair and slather those chemicals on my hair myself helped to make me realize exactly how much damage I was doing to my hair on a regular basis, without even questioning it.
3. I know there are tons of products out there dedicated to natural hair. Which products do you use on a daily basis?
Oh boy. These days, I'm loving Ojon as a pre poo, shampoo, and conditioning system. That's my next big review. I also love, love, love this new company called Hair Works. Their kinky hair cream smells like heaven. I love that Creme of Nature Daily Breakage Relief leave in, and Miss Jessie's is always my ultimate curl quencher.
4. You've been an inspiration to most (myself included!). What keeps you going?
Sometimes I don't know! It can be incredibly hard, balancing a demanding full time job as the editor of my own section in a weekly newspaper, coming home, preparing a healthy dinner, finding as much time to spend with my husband as possible, then staying up until the wee hours to get in my next day's Afrobella post. That's pretty much my routine these days -- in between I make workout time, and I do try to have a social life too, thankyouverymuch! I guess what keeps me going is the joy of expressing myself, writing whatever's in my head and my heart, and then hearing from readers from all over the world -- especially here in America and all over Europe and the Caribbean. It's great to know that my little idea, of creating a website to celebrate the beauty of women who look more or less like me, has reached so many people in so many places. I have a readership! That feels incredible to even say. And I want to keep Afrobella fresh and strong and interesting, and see it grow. It started out as just a blog, and now it's becoming even more. I'm so excited for the future. I've got so, so many ideas. My dreams of Afrobella's potential also really help to keep me going.
5. Your hair is fabulous- What hair type do you have? Also, what tips would you give to those in the transitioning, or "thinking about transitioning" stage?
Thanks, Wes! I guess I'm a 4 a/b, if you go according to that definition of hair type.
For anyone thinking of transitioning, I'd encourage them to become as informed as possible. Think long and hard about why you want to go natural, as well as why you've been using relaxers, wigs, weaves, or heat to transform your hair into a straighter texture in the first place. Make sure you're completely ready within yourself to go natural -- it takes a bold and confident woman to commit and stick with it. I think transitioning from relaxed to natural is mainly about hair of course, but it's also very much about your mind. For me, it was a big decision to finally do it, and to stick with it even through the TWA period where I didn't get much encouragement. My experience was about unlearning what I'd grown up believing (that natural hair was impossible to manage, unkempt, unattractive, needed to be combed/tidied/straightened to be neat and pretty), and learning to embrace myself as I naturally am. So that's why I say, make sure you're ready, and be patient with your hair. Quite a few women come into transitioning with fears of having to do a big chop and lose the hair length they've worked so hard to maintain. Or they want to be sure that their natural hair will look a specific way, that ideal cascade of curls. But ideally, the decision to go natural should be about having healthy, strong hair, helping it heal and grow strong after enduring chemical damage. Everyone's natural journey is different, but it's a wonderful adventure and a beautiful, enriching experience, getting to know and love your natural kinks and coils.
*Thanks again Bella!!! You can visit Afrobella at www.afrobella.com
For the honeys with relaxed hair- Would you ever consider going "natural"? And to the natural honeys- Are you happy with your decision?