The Politics of Natural Hair
Harlem restaurant played host to a Toronto Naturals Meet Up group event centered on whether the use of protective hair styling was a political statement or simply a style choice.
The panelists leading the discussion included Monique London, Co-Founder of London Ivy Natural and Organic Products; Keina Morgan, Licensed Curly Hair Specialist; Janet Jackson, Creative Director/Owner of Jou Jou Hair Studio; Toni Daley, Vlogger, Jewelry Designer and Artist along with Vloggers and Natural Hair Enthusiasts, Nicky “Splinta24” and Natural Neiicy.
From left to right: Monique London, Nicky “Splinta24”, Keina Morgan, Natural Neiicy, Janet Jackson & Toni Daley
Judy and Gail arrived before the event got started, to enjoy the delicious blend of Afro-American/Afro-Caribbean inspired cuisine served at Harlem.
Upon arrival at the event, invitees were treated to swag bags filled with products where the majority of the items were from female owned businesses from right here in Ontario.
Gail and Judy had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with some of the panellists, namely Toni Daley and Shaneice Crystal (Natural Neiicy). They also met Élana Camille, a talented painter and illustrator who only picked up a brush five weeks ago! Her work was on display throughout the restaurant.
Judy, Toni Daley & Gail
Gail & Shaneice Crystal aka Natural Neiicy
Judy & Élana Camille
Monique London, co-founder of this inaugural event, moderated the discussion that sought to answer the question, is protective styling a style choice or a political statement? Monique began by defining protective styling as styles where the hair is not worn loose so as to protect hair ends which are usually the oldest and most fragile part of hair. Hair is tucked away and sealed with some kind of moisturizer in braids, twists, or beneath weaves or wigs.
The debate turned lively when Monique lobbed hot button questions such as if women choosing to wear weaves and wigs did so not so much as a protective style choice but rather because they are essentially psychologically dependent on them. Some of the panellists vehemently defended their choice to don weaves stating that it was simply a matter of convenience. Others stated that they really just enjoyed the ability to change up their look without causing undue damage to their natural hair. Wherever the panelists or audience members fell on the protective style spectrum, the event fostered healthy debate and the ability for the community to come together and learn another’s point of view.
And of course, our post would not be complete without deets on our outfits!
Gail’s cool casual outfit
Tall girls, we didn’t forget about you! Here are some links to recreate Gail’s outfit:
Moto Style Jacket: here and here // Jeans: here and here // Sneakers: here and here (up to size 11) or here (up to size 12). If you can forgo the wedge, feel free to borrow black high top sneakers from the boys (see here)!
Judy’s sassy short look
Again, tall ladies, you have not been forgotten. If Judy’s outfit is more up your alley, you can recreate with the following:
Till next time,
~ The quartet.