Archive for July, 2012

My Ugly Truth

Posted in business of beauty on July 18, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, the natural hair community has been all ablaze the last couple of days over this video by a well known natural hair vlogger, Taren. The link is here:

The video is super long at a little over 30 minutes but you only need to watch about half of it to get the gist of it. A lot of people start vlogging or blogging as a hobby. If you get big enough to where you have a lot of subscribers, companies may start contacting you to review products for free. If the company’s sales increase based on your favorable review, well, great for the company. How successful you are depends on the particular vlogger or blogger. Some consider 1,000 subscribers a success. Others consider 10,000 a success. And yet still others may consider nothing less than 100,000 subscribers to be a success. At which point do companies contact you to do reviews for free, I have no clue. Anyhoo, Taren states that once a natural hair or some other beauty vlogger on You Tube gets a certain number of subscribers to their channel and/or is made a partner on the site (You Tube will make a vlogger a partner on the site once they reach a certain number of subscribers and they’ll pay the vlogger a certain percentage based on the number of clicks. I think the minimum subscribers you need is 50,000, but don’t quote me ’cause I don’t vlog) then they shouldn’t have to do product reviews for free. They should get paid. Because if they are representing the company in some fashion anyway and are reviewing a product for how many hundreds or thousands of viewers, they might as well get a cut as they are helping a company to get sales. After all, celebrities endorse products all the time. Like Jennifer Hudson becoming a spokesperson for Weight Watchers. She’s getting paid by them to sell their brand to people who want to lose weight. Why is it okay for Jennifer Hudson to get paid and not Taren, Tiffany or any other Ms. Nobody Special?

Here’s my take on the whole thing. I don’t do product reviews on here. Blogs that do that are a dime a dozen and I’d just add to the clutter. Besides, I know that what may work for me may not work for you and I don’t want people to feel that I somehow “mislead” them. That happens on a lot of blogs (and You Tube videos) already as it is. So rather than create drama over something that really isn’t all that serious, I’ve chosen to take my blog in a different direction whereby I try to relate how my hair affects my life and the lives of other black women who’ve chosen this path and discuss the political and social ramifications of our hair. Because in some instances, our hair is a lot more than just hair, although some naturals may believe otherwise. That may mean that I never get 50,000 odd subscribers that Taren or some other vloggers get, but I didn’t start doing this to get famous or to get paid. I started doing this because writing is my hobby and my passion and I wanted to share that with people.

Regarding Taren’s rant, I personally don’t like vloggers who are paid to review products. I just don’t. I can’t value their honesty when they sell out and it creates a huge conflict of interest. It also creates a problem for the integrity of You Tube in general. The site was created so that regular people like me can have a voice and so that we can be real, without the influence of a third party. If every vlogger gets paid to review stuff now, the vloggers in question may as well become actors, the videos in question may as well become commercials and You Tube may as well become an informercial site. And why should I sit through a 10 minute informercial with regular Joes when I can see them on TV with professional actors? To take this further, many companies that cater to natural hair simply wouldn’t have the budget to pay a vlogger anyway. They are start ups and don’t have the kind of distribution or purchasing power that a L’Oreal or a WEN would have. And, just my opinion, Taren acted totally ratchet in that video. I can’t see L’Oreal or WEN being willing to have her represent them and paying her as she is totally unprofessional. I can see how easy it is for someone on You Tube with 90,000 odd subscribers to think they’ve hit the big time, but in the grand scheme of things, in a country of nearly 300 million people, 90,000 people subscribed to your channel is miniscule. Outside of You Tube and natural hair message boards on the Internet, most people have never heard of Taren. I’m sure some of you reading this have never heard of her. Hell, 99.99% of the population has never heard of me. The entire discussion of vloggers getting paid is fueled by greed and an overinflated sense of self and entitlement. Because if every vlogger should be paid to review a product, I should be paid just for maintaining this blog. Or even just for breathing.

There’s a number of response videos to Taren’s rant, but this is the best one I’ve seen so far and it reiterates everything I’ve said on here:

Words never used to describe black women

Posted in Beauty standard, Racial/ethnic stereotyping on July 16, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

I got this from another site and I felt it was too good not to share. Back to regular scheduled programming in a day or two.

http://strugglingtobeheard.tumblr.com/post/27290184625/words-never-used-to-describe-black-women

The talk, Part II

Posted in Beauty standard, curly/kinky hair with tags , on July 11, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

I actually had an entire paragraph written out yesterday that preceded the post I shared from another site, but WordPress ate it. Here is yesterday’s post.

That post really hit a nerve because 35 years ago, I was that child. A child who was reared in a predominantly white neighborhood and was envious of the long, straight hair that her white classmates possessed. A child who felt that her kinks and coils were ugly. A child who dreaded having to explain why her twists and braids were able to stay in her hair without unraveling while the braids and twists her white classmates attempted to put in their hair unraveled within seconds. And so on. All these years later, I realize that I dreaded having to explain my hair to people who didn’t look like me because at the time, I actually didn’t really understand it. No one in my family understood it either. Neither did friends of the family. Basically, many of us were taught that it wasn’t acceptable and that it needed to be hidden with wigs or weaves or “fixed” with chemical or thermal straighteners. When I begged my mother for a relaxer at the age of 9 or 10, all she said at the time was that I was too young. She didn’t have the tools nor the self esteem to instill the kind of pride in my hair that the mother in that post did and by the time I was in high school, I was allowed to get the perm. I’d love to say that what that little girl experienced was an isolated incident, but I can’t. Unfortunately, similar incidents like that are played out among numerous little black girls all the time.

That post also segues into a major pet peeve that I have. Now, what grown women do to their hair is their business. However, when I first started posting on hair boards, I soon discovered that my first perm at 14 was at a fairly late age. I was shocked to see a number of people admitting that they had gotten their first relaxers at the age of 3 or 4. Those caustic chemicals can damage the hair of grown women, resulting in burns, scabs and hair loss. You can imagine how much more damage they can do to a small child. I personally don’t remember girls getting perms before around the age of 10 when I was growing up and a number of them weren’t allowed to get them until puberty, like me. Perms were a rite of passage in my day. Now mothers are slapping chemicals into their daughters’ heads before they even reach kindergarten. The reasons go beyond the mainstream media. They’ve brainwashed black women into accepting the European standard of long, straight hair for decades. It’s partly due to the fact that we live in a faster paced world where people want instant gratification. Today’s mothers don’t have the patience or the time to care for their daughters’ natural hair in the way that it needs to. So their solution is to slap a relaxer, regardless of the damage they can do, because they think straight hair is easier to care for. However, a lot of women don’t have the knowledge to care for relaxed hair properly and are unaware that it needs protein treatments, deep conditioning and the like just as much as natural hair. If anything, relaxed hair needs those treatments a lot more frequently than natural hair. Besides laziness though, the message the mothers are sending to their daughters’ is damning by perpetuating the belief that their hair is ugly and that in order to be accepted or even loved, it needs to be straight. They should accept the burns and scabs as a badge of honor because”beauty is pain.” I wish we could banish that phrase from the language. Being beautiful shouldn’t have to be painful by doing things to your body that it was never meant to tolerate. I also think the push to perms our girls’ hair at younger ages is partly due to our society sexualizing our children at younger ages. It’s not uncommon for parents to go to Children’s Place to find clothes more suitable for a prostitute than for an 8 year old. Straight hair is regarded as sexy in our culture. Black girls in general aren’t regarded as beautiful but we can easily change their hair so that they won’t be ignored in the very least. It’s kind of sad, really.

The mother and daughter in yesterday’s post are the epitome of strength and confidence, something more people in our community need. Will we ever get to a point where “the talk” won’t be necessary, because our hair would have been fully accepted as normal and not a curiosity? I hope the answer is yes, but who knows.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

livingnaturallyeverafter

Let me start off by telling you all that I am not an authority figure on hair nor do I claim to be the best parent in the world. Now that I put my disclaimer out there let me introduce myself. My name is Asmarett  Ashford and I am the founder of Living Naturally Ever After. I am a married mother of two who lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I work full time as a school counselor in a rural school system outside of Atlanta. This is my first attempt at blogging so PLEASE be kind.

                                                                   Good Hair and the Talk.

                My daughter went to a well known and highly sought after private school in Atlanta, Georgia from the time she was 3 years old until she reached the 2nd grade. This school is known in the African American community in Atlanta as “the school”. Many prestigious and…

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