How long have you been growing your Loc's?I’ve been growing my locks for about 10 years. I’ve been completely natural for around 12.
What made you decide to grow your hair naturally without chemicals?
When I finished school and started to work, the girl that sat next to me respectfully suggested that I give my hair a rest from the chemicals – my hairline was pretty damaged. It’s funny, cause although I knew my hair was over processed and my hair line forsaking me, from being pulled back too tight, too often, I never even thought about taking a break. It always seemed ‘natural’ to keep getting a relaxer. In fact I started braiding with the intention to resume relaxing after a couple months.
I took up Art classes and began making friends with the older people within the group. Amongst them, was a really robust respect for African heritage, which I kind of fell into. Around that time as well I became a born again Christian. I stop just attending to God casually and really knowing Him and understanding the beauty He purposely gave to me. The enlightenment and homage to African culture was more of a healthy appreciation than a black supremacy/ fight the power kind of thing. I was just really infatuated with my dark skin, my nose, my frame and every kink in my hair. It was awesome.
So with all that going on around me, in my head and in my spirit, I just never got another relaxer; locks came some time after.
What are some of your favorite products?
My favourite products are Wave Nouveau Finishing Lotion and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. As we say here in Trini – it bes’! The combination keeps my hair light and soft. I’m also loving Aubrey Organics Clarifying Shampoo, it gently removes excess everything, without stripping my hair. About a year ago, really close friend of mine, started sharing all the info she was coming across on natural hair. Sites like thenaturalhaven.com, hairlicious.com, napturality.com. Since then I’ve been creating my own hair regimen and my hair’s responded well – it’s naturally blacker and shinier. But I have learned, the hard way, to go easy on the quantity of products I put in my hair at a time, since it could be a little difficult to get them all out and they then remain in the locks. Not cool.
You’re from Trinidad. What is the culture like there?
Trinidad is actually part of a twin island state – Trinidad and Tobago. My country is definitely unique and undoubtedly blessed. We have a ton of natural resources, invented the steel pan, have lots of beaches, pretty birds and flowers - all that cool Caribbean stuff. But our richest treasure is the people themselves :-). (To read the rest of Nikeisha's Interview, click on READ MORE to continue......)
I think we have every race on the planet here! And because of that there’s this plethora of cultures, tradition, religious celebrations, holidays and FOOD. It’s awesome! We’re also one of the more advanced Caribbean islands in terms of our global relationships etc, but we still manage to be pretty laid back. Lol!
Is natural hair something that is loved and embraced where you’re from? Or are there still a lot of societal pressures to have long straight hair?
Girls with natural hair aren’t scorned, jeered or met with any prejudice in most circles; the stigmas are slowly dissipating. Within the very large relaxed hair community, there’s a general heated and vocal apprehension about going natural. I talk to girls all the time to find out what they think about transitioning and everyone is like, “Girl you don’t know how hard my head (hair) is!” Long, straight hair is the aspiration. I personally think that growing up, Caribbean girls had a hard time, no pun intended, with the products on the market. There was nothing over the counter that gave our hair what it needed. So, since there’s so much choice for relaxed heads, I guess they’re thinking why look back. I try to make them look forward in my own little way, pointing them to the resources that I’ve come across that teach us how to be good to our hair and give it the chance it never had.
What is your advice for anyone looking to go from process hair to their natural texture?
Firstly going natural doesn’t have to about being eccentric, artsy, hippie or rebellious. It’s just about appreciating all that the Father has given you. Why do all the other races accept what grows out of their heads and we are so discontent? There’s no need to be :) Don’t get me wrong; I think a woman has a right to do whatever she wants with her hair. But it really hurts me when she turns to a relaxer because of a deep-seated and unfortunate inferiority complex and or dissatisfaction with who she is.
Also, if you’re going natural – get knowledge! There are lots lovely ladies with fantastic sites (like this one!) with great information. Some of my favourites are lecoil, natuallyleslie, naturalhairhaven, napturality and beautifulbrowngoddess and chescalocs on Youtube. Also take a look at the style galleries for inspiration, there’s so much you will be able to do with your natural hair.
Natural hair is so, so versatile; the experience doesn’t have to be a frustrating one. Soft, black, shiny, lustrous and long hair looks like a dream but it really isn’t – it’s beautiful reality.
You can find me online at:
nikeishajoseph.viewbook.com – I’m a photographer. Woot!