This week’s feature is on a seasoned Naturale. We would like to present to you Ms. Benita Brown. Read her HAIRstory here.
Name: Benita Brown, Hometown: Chicago, Major: Journalism (Magazine Publishing and Management)
What or whom inspired you to go natural?
Honestly, when I stopped perming my hair I didn’t realize what “going natural” was. I was just trying to grow my hair back from a cut I did in middle school and ”transitioned” for 3 years before cutting the ends off. However, my best friend’s sister had the cutest fro and I remember asking her how she got her hair that way. She then introduced me to youtube and that’s when I started experimenting with hairstyles I saw online. Some of the hair gurus I loved watching were Rustic Beauty (who gave me the idea to cut my ends!), Kimmaytube, and Pretty Dimples.
How has your journey been thus far?
Great! Now that I know different techniques to get my hair how I want it, my confidence has defiantly increased, but at first I was so lost. Just ask the kids from my high school lol..it was either a hit or miss for my hair. Although I still have an occasional bad hair day (or week), I don’t let it affect me like it did before.
What products do you use for your regimen?
Whatever I have around. I’m pretty cheap, so I use stuff like Shea butter and shampoos and conditioners I see on sale. At this moment, I’m using KMS California Free Shape Shampoo (which i bought from a salon that was closing), Suave or Pantene for curly hair conditioner, Garnier Fructis leave-in and shea butter.
How has being natural affected your life?
I think it has changed the way people perceive me. Sometimes people think I’m a certain way because of my hair, and after meeting me they tell me how different I am from what they thought, which is really interesting to me. There are different stereotypes people with natural hair get that I didn’t deal with while wearing straight hair, and it has made me more aware of my identity as a black woman in America. Not to get too deep, but sometimes having natural hair is like some political statement where you’ll have people who hate it (until it grows long) or admire you for being “brave.” So I had to learn to be comfortable with my choice, while also learning to react positively to negative feedback.
What are some natural styles that you like to rock?
I love bantu knot-outs and mini-twists.
What would you like to tell a transitioning for fellow natural?
The best thing I did during my “natural hair journey” was research and experiment. Going on youtube or different blogs and learning from other naturals is a such a great way to learn about our hair, especially if you don’t have people around you who can teach you.
Is there a blog or web page where we can find you?
I have a tumblr: http://brownblessing.tumblr.com/ and follow me on twitter ;) @benitabonete
Stay positive and find people who are too. When I cut my hair and some people tripped, it was nice to have my friends and also the natural hair community online who understood what I was going through (or at least gave some advice to help).