I had a weird experience a few weeks ago. Really, it was an awesome experience.
I was out with my friends at a beauty supply store. We were just hanging out, doing girl stuff. You know how it goes. When we approached the hair section, my friends, who are both white, rushed to their favorite hair products. I immediately felt uncomfortable. I knew I was about to be surrounded by products I had never heard of before. Products I would probably never use. Products that didn’t even have me in mind. I could hear my friends ahead of me chattering about dry shampoo and hairspray. There’s always the ETHNIC section, I thought. I’m used to going to a different section for black hair products. But, at the same time, I didn’t want to be separated from my group. I didn’t want to be singled out. As I entered their hair section, for a second, I felt excluded. Not by my friends, but by a system. A system that, when they say BEAUTY, don’t mean me. I am ETHNIC. But when I finally did join my friends, the first thing I saw was Shea Moisture....
What! Umm, isn’t this the place for “normal” hair? For a millisecond, I was literally shocked. At the same time, I surprised myself with how much joy and excitement I felt! I knew these products! And I could actually use them!
Right next to my friend’s hair products were mine. I didn’t feel excluded anymore. Instead, I felt accepted for who I am. I didn’t need to separate myself to embrace my natural hair.
Once I got over my surprise, I remembered the Shea Moisture Break The Walls Campaign which made this experience possible for me. For those who don’t know, Shea Moisture is one of the leading brands for curly/Afro hair. I personally love their products! That’s why I was so excited to hear about the Break the Walls movement to put natural hair products in the beauty department, instead of in an ethnic section.
I wasn’t exposed to the division between “normal” hair products and my hair products until recently, when I became more responsible for my curls and I started going into the hair aisle on my own. I immediately noticed that “normal” hair products were in one section called BEAUTY and my supplies were usually in the back under ETHNIC. For some reason, it seemed natural to accept this system, this ideology. I guess I didn’t feel like a had the right to question the system.
Shea Moisture challenged me to not only question the system but recreate it in truth. Not on stereotypes, but in who I really am. I am ethnic. But I am also beauty.
I love how Shea Moisture challenges the word “normal,” which is something I’ve thought about all my life. What’s normal for my friends is rarely normal for me. Whose definition is right?
When I say what is normal, I’m not talking about morality or standards. I’m talking about my personality, my looks, my culture, my heritage compared to someone else’s, and being considered “abnormal.” Or being cast aside because I’m not the majority. In a Western worldview grounded in sectioning and classifying things and people (thanks, Aristotle), it’s easy to group people based on a shaky foundation. It’s easy to force people into a trend because it’s “normal,” even though it will be replaced in 2 weeks.
It doesn’t make sense for normal to be objective. It doesn’t make sense for someone of a different ethnicity or hair texture to not be considered BEAUTIFUL. I am who I am. And I’m thankful for it. I’m not going to let someone change that. And I never want anyone else to feel subjected to a lesser opinion of themselves! That’s what this blog is for. To empower girls to embrace themselves in truth, beauty, and goodness. My sisters and I wanted this natural hair section to specifically reach teens like us, so they can discover the beauty in who they were created to be.
#breakthewalls #whatisnormal #thankfulnesscampign
The purpose of NJB BEAUTY is to empower young women to embrace the temple God has graced them with!
With a culture constantly attacking the self-esteem and image of girls like us, we provide teen-friendly styles and tips for Afro-Natural Hair.
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The Kamau Sisters
Hi! We're Nia, Jada, and Bailey Kamau. We laugh, sing, read, and have Narnia marathons probably more than we should. Thanks so much for checking out our blog!
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