‘Little Racist’ Pebbles: When Your 5 Year Old Daughter Is Ashamed of Her Afro

Eva Luna showing her dress for Kindergarten class.
Eva Luna showing her dress for Kindergarten class.

Before leaving for Kindergarten today, I lovingly lathered my 5 year old’s light fluffy afro with some Shea nut oil and olive oil like I always do– and with a hint of Geranium oil (because of its anti-lice qualities). After our regular routine, I then fluffed up her afro. She immediately told me that she does not like when I make it fluffier because the kids in her class make fun of her hair for looking funny. I know it was bound to happen, but still, it really broke my heart to hear her say that– that very same thing I heard has a child. Me and her little sister also have afros and we don’t straighten our hair. I’ve always taught her to love her hair and that it’s beautiful. However, she attends a school in which most of the kids have straight hair (either naturally or treated). I’d say It’s about 68% white and 20% Asian/Asian American. At 5 years old, some of these kids in her class have already been taught anti-Blackness. I’m not looking too deep or making this up. I can’t imagine any one of these children making fun of a child for having straight hair. Now, how do I talk about this to a school community that collectively think they are NOT racist or consciously anti-Black? Anti-Blackness is the core of the USA white supremacist racial caste system. Intentional or unconscious, most folk who have spent a fair amount of time here will be taught to ‘love’ what is closest to ‘whiteness’ and despise what is closest to ‘Blackness’ . They will teach their children this as well. The funny thing is, if I bring this subject up of ‘Negrophobia’ , ‘anti-blackness’ or even systemic racism in Albany CA (which I have already using NextDoor), there is immediate defensiveness from non-Black folk who seem to know better about race and discrimination than the few Black people living in Albany (sigh). I know I should not be surprised, but still, was hoping not to have to deal with this with my daughter; was hoping this would be done and buried during my generation as a child [in an all white school district]. (I remember countless morning burning my neck by mistake to thermally straighten my hair as a tween/teen because of the internalized hate I had about my natural afro, fueled by white peers who were relentlessly cruel about my hair if it ever ended up transitioning back into an afro– usually due to rain or humidity in the air that day, despite me straightening it that morning).

What other things will Eva Luna ‘learn’ in this new school community that teaches anti-Blackness? Have children already said negative things about her mommy ? I become very enraged when my observations are dismissed and that I’m told I’m worrying too much about ‘nothing’.

My daughter feeling ‘bad’ about her Black hair is the result of what many would think is ‘just little racist’ action by very young children…but the problem is that this is not ‘little’ at all. This indoctrination starts even before these children enter Elementary school– as I’ve witnessed many times, nursery school aged children talking about, though not conscious of it, white supremacist hetero-normative notions of beauty as if it’s simply ‘normal’) . Most adults aren’t engaged in squashing that behavior immediately– either because they don’t think it’s ‘serious’ or because they don’t have the critical race literacy skills to understand that it’s the ‘little racist’ behavioral patterns (intentional or not) that create ‘big’ racist/racial consequences 1 year, 10 years, 100 years down the road. If there is no intervention now, it becomes a catastrophic avalanche by the time these kids are adults themselves.  It starts off as a supposedly ‘little harmless’ pebble rolling down that snow covered mountain…and before you know it, entire communities at the bottom are devastated by an avalanche accumulated from those ‘harmless’ little pebbles. But that little pebble that started it all is buried with that community, undetectable; those at the top ‘confused’ what may have caused the devastation. I also want to note that it’s not just non-Black people who feel that afros are ‘ugly’. I’ve met plenty of Black identified people who have internalized white supremacist notions of beauty and have colorist and anti-Afro perceptions of ‘beauty’. (We also can’t forget the recent battle that Black students went through at South African prestigious Pretoria school to have the right to wear their hair in its natural state vs. being forced to straighten it. However, Albany CA is very different from S. Africa and I don’t want to say it’s the same either).

I’m glad when my husband heard about what she said this morning, he told her to tell him what child or children made fun of her fluffy afro and that he’ll talk to the teacher this morning (since he is the one who brings them to school). I also think it’s interesting to point out that when visiting my parents house this past August in Lebanon CT (4% Black), my husband (who is White and German) asked my mom(Black) about how she tackled systemic racism in the white school system that we grew up in and how he can make sure his children aren’t being subjected to racist treatment. I sat there listening to my mom talk for about 30 minutes about how you have to constantly fight for your kids because of the white supremacy bound up in the educational school system. I couldn’t believe we had to have this conversation 30+ years later and it was really painful re-hearing all the examples she shared with him (from the speech therapist asking if my brother has a speech impediment “because he is Black” to certain teachers being very angry that I took home nearly all the academic awards one year because they thought these awards should have been given to white students). My mother understood the avalanches that these actions would create if she didn’t intervene and just let teachers and students think these were simply ‘little’ things (Looking at my mom, folk wonder where I got my, I just can’t keep my mouth shut about injustices, attitude! Well, now you know! LOL) 

A few months ago, while we were riding in our mini-van, my Eva Luna attempted to use a fine tooth comb that her grandmother from Germany gave her that was part of a ‘beauty box’ play-set [clearly made for children with straight fine hair]. After 10 seconds of trying to get it through her tightly coiled hair, she threw the comb on the ground in frustration and exclaimed, “What is the point of this comb!?” I tried to explain that the comb was made by people who aren’t mindful enough to know that not everyone has straight hair.  It then dawned on me that it would be so awesome to do a project that is a vegan beauty box for children with very curly/afro hair like her: (1) an afro pick (2) a wide tooth comb (3) Shea butter (4) manual of different ways to style their hair (5) other types of soothing oils and (6) beautiful photos of children with afros who have styled their hair in creative ways. Of course being distracted with 3 little kids, pregnant with #4, and attempting to find housing for months, I forgot about this idea I had. But after this morning, I want to put it into full effect. I want it to be a beauty box for any child with tight curls/afro, as I don’t like beauty boxes that assume those using it should only be cisgender girls (Who else is sick of seeing beauty sets labeled ‘For Girls’ on it?)

What are your thoughts?


(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.


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My Afro Does Not Fit into My Bike Helmet: The Adventures of a [Black] Vegan Hero

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Dr. Amie Breeze Harper posing to show her new Vegan Hero Cape after receiving an Unsung Vegan Hero Award for 2015 from the Pollination Project

“Screw it, I’m just going to shave it all off and go bald!”

This is the first thing I think of after my first few days of work at my new position within the University of California system in October of 2015.

Upon accepting a position within the Equity and Inclusion division at UC Berkeley, I decided that I would commute to work by bicycle on the Ohlone Greenway bike and pedestrian path. I was super psyched!

And then I started thinking, “So, how does this look in terms of making myself presentable for work? How do I shove 4 years worth of afro growth into a bike helmet without needing to straighten it? Do I want to spend 15 minutes, once I get to work, trying to make my hair look like I am a professional Black woman?” (Yes, that last italicized section is a loaded term with an entire history and scholarly canon dedicated to it! Check this book out.)

The first day I arrive at work, after peddling up the hill for 20 minutes, I am sweaty. My hair is sweaty, naturally, because I exercised intensely. It kind of sucks. So, the story kind of goes like this….

I lock my bike, grab my bike bags and dash into my new building to find the closest bathroom. I remove my Deuter travel cosmetics bag, unzip, and remove my arsenal of vegan hair care products and tools:

  1. Afro pick
  2. Castor Oil
  3. Hard bristle brush
  4. Soft bristle brush
  5. Shea butter
  6. Alaffia Leave in Conditioner
  7. Hair bands
  8. Jojoba Oil
  9. Wide tooth comb
  10. Homemade spray bottle of glycerin, water, and essential oil of Lemon Balm (to spritz on my hair to mask the ‘sweaty’ smell).

I look at the arsenal, think for several seconds about my game plan, and then grab the leave-in conditioner and wide tooth comb. I lather the leave-in condition into my hair, wait 3 minutes for it to ‘set in’, and then start combing through it with the wide tooth comb. 2 minutes later I’m brushing everything back and wondering if I should put it in an afro puff or put it into two neatly tied back braids.

My mind scrambles: “Can’t I just go ‘natural’ or is it too ‘unprofessional’ my first day of work?Well, it is the division of Equity and Inclusion, so would they care if I busted out a big afro?”

I ask myself if  I should I scope around the building later today to see what the other Black women are doing about their ‘professional appearance’…or, have I internalized the trauma of ‘good hair’ and ‘bad hair’ so much that I am driving myself nuts over something that is no longer a big issue? (Of course I’ve internalized it! Have you not noticed that decades long images in the USA mainstream showing ‘professional’ and ‘beautiful’ hair appearances that are straightened hair? )

I decide on putting a part down the middle of my scalp and then making two braids and then tie them back-

–shoot, I forget that I should have added the castor oil which help with ‘fly away’ hair (what’s so bad about ‘fly away’ anyway?). I roll my eyes, huff with annoyance, and then un-braid the whole thing, smother castor oil on my palms, and then massage it throughout my entire afro. A drop falls onto my shirt. Shit, this stuff does not come out! I think.

I grab a paper towel and dab it as quickly as possible– too late. I now have a quarter size spot of castor oil on my shirt.

Someone enters the bathroom and I quickly wonder to myself, “I have all these products and tools laid out and my hair is half done as castor oil drops down my forehead. Great, freaking first impression, Dr. Amie Breeze Harper. Do they wonder what they hell I’m even doing here?”

I remind myself to comb and braid my hair quickly, before the leave in conditioner starts drying.

After 5 minutes, my hair is done and I have wiped away all the castor oil that was near my forehead and hairline. I worry that perhaps my hair looks too greasy and the the castor oil will leak down my neck.

I look at the size L helmet I have on the shelf near the mirror. The inside is glistening with the olive oil I had already put on my hair from last night, before going to bed. It’s a ‘large’ helmet and I can’t even fit my hair in there.

“Amazing, right!? Like, it’s made for people with short hair, fine straight hair, or no hair!” Screams my internal monologue.

Throughout my entire work week, I do this regimen every morning, promising myself that at the end of this first week of work, I will ask my husband to shave the entire thing off…. but the end of the first week comes and I do not shave it off.

Plus, the oils in my hair seem to be degrading the inside structure of the helmet (once again, these helmets are designed with the assumption that people aren’t putting 5lbs of shea butter and other oils in their hair, each year! LOL)

I started wondering if I should start a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for helmets that fit big afros, lots of dread locs, etc and don’t fall apart from the inside out if a little yummy shea butter or black castor oil touches it.

[…this kind of reminds me of what I was trying to do when I was younger and wanted to go swimming! Come on, you know I’m not the only one who used to, or still does, plan their public swimming appearance around their hair appearance! LOL]

Despite figuring out that maybe I should wash my hair every day, to make the stinky smell go away from sweating to death while biking up the hill (I’m probably exaggerating about the ‘stinky’ smell of my hair in my own mind), I realize that after week 2 I don’t enjoy trying to wash and condition my hair every day, comb it out, braid it to fit into my helmet, only to get to work and see that the helmet made the hair look ‘funny’ with helmet pad dents imprinted on my hairdo. I end up undoing the braids once I get to work and then combing, brushing, and re-braiding it after to make sure there are no funny ‘dents’ or pieces of hair that have come out of place…then spritz with lemon balm.

(And yea, with 3 kids 6 and under, it’s kind of hard to spend a long time washing and combing through my hair in the shower, braiding it, etc without them bugging me about something they need… because goddess forbid I am given 12 minutes for my own personal hair-care regimen without a 4 year old asking me and then crying if she can have a lollipop for breakfast!)

It’s week 5 of my new job and I have finally decided to stop being angry about this (strange I’d be angry, right? I mean, it’s just long strand keratin , so why get up in a fuss about it and make it central to my bike commute!?) and just accept that it will take me 15 minutes to do my hair, once I get to work…Or maybe I’ll just shave the whole thing off like I did back in 2009 when I was a grad student and not working as a ‘professional’ (what does that mean anyway. Aren’t we all ‘professionals’ if we’re getting paid to work, period?)

See, even unsung vegan heroes have their hair care issues, anxieties, and problems 😉

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Dr. A. Breeze Harper flies away to her next adventure.

Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Find out about our 2016 upcoming conference “The Role of Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism”. If you missed our Spring 2015, “The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter” you can download the recordings with slides, here

Also, learn about our other projects and how you can donate to keep the Sistah Vegan Project alive and vibrant.

Blueberry Avocado Sorbet Recipe and Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter: We Can Do Both!

Closed Captions for Hearing Impaired. I hope it works Out. I’m still trying to figure CC out.

Recipe:

2 Pints of Blueberries
5 pitted dates
1 large Hass Avocado
1/2 c of water
1 tsp of organic Spriulina

Blend on high for 1.5 minutes in Vitamix or comparable blender. Put into ice cream machine like a Cuisinart Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt maker. You can always had more dates to make it sweeter.

See what else the Sistah Vegan Project is up to. Yea, we do recipes, we blog, but we also are the only pro-vegan project that does things like put together critical race feminist oriented vegan conferences! Check out our Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter: Challenging Neoliberal Whiteness While Building Anti-Racist Solidarity Among Vegans of Color and Allies. coming April 24-25, 2015, online!

And we are the only project working on a critical race and decolonial analytical book about veganism, ethical consumption, hip hop veganism, and alternative black masculinities. Find out more here.

As much as I love mainstream vegan recipe blogs, I’d love to see more critical and outspoken posts that question systemic oppression beyond non-human animal cruelty. It is possible to throw down a mad cool recipe about local ingredients to make sorbet and then talk about how systemic racism makes so many of us sick…and then offer some recipes for ‘racial tension headaches’ to start the conversation about what it’s like trying to eat vegan food in a USA in which the food system– well, ‘the system’ overall– maintains and perpetuates racism and justifies/normalizes anti-black  violence as well as speciesist violence.

On a side note, several of you have asked about my hair. It’s big, fluffy, and voluminous. A lot of folk who have had more than one baby, have told me that their hair is thin or has and continues to fall out. I had the same problem until I figured out this secret.

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Loving my afro and building my knowledge and confidence to 'go natural'

Thank you for watching the above video. I recorded this 4 years ago, a few months after my first baby had been born. Since then, I have researched even more intensely, how to maintain healthy skin and hair. Here is a recent photo of me:

image

If you found this video inspiring and/or want to learn more about plant-based methods for maintaining a healthy afro, as well as what to do ‘beyond’ Hempseed and shea butter for skin and hair care, please consider taking a 60 minute webinar course offered by me, Dr. Breeze Harper to learn more:

  • Learn how to combat breakage and strengthen your hair, no matter how long or short.

  • Discover how postpartum hair loss can be remedied without medical treatment or expensive alternatives

  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin

  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

Will you join me?

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.
Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

Date: August 18, 2013

Time: 12:30 pm PST/3:30 pm EST (USA Time Zones)

Cost: $30.00

Spaces : 30.

Duration: 1 hour talk and 15-30 minutes for Q and A (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through Any meeting.com so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it ,you can join the webinar with a password via a free Any meeting.com account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q and A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairAug182013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

Want strong healthy hair and glowing skin? Black hair and skin care the natural way!

Black women and girls: My name is Dr. A. Breeze Harper. You can achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a few simple steps. I want to share this wisdom with you. Will you join me?

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.
Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.
  • Learn how to combat breakage and strengthen your hair, no matter how long or short.

  • Discover how postpartum hair loss can be remedied without medical treatment or expensive alternatives

  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin

  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons or spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 15 years.  I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.

Date: June 30, 2013

Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST (USA Time Zones)

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

Achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair: Black hair and skin care the natural way

Black women and girls: My name is Dr. A. Breeze Harper. You can achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a few simple steps. I want to share this wisdom with you. Will you join me?

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.
Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.
  • Learn how to combat breakage and strengthen your hair, no matter how long or short.

  • Discover how postpartum hair loss can be remedied without medical treatment or expensive alternatives

  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin

  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons or spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 15 years.  I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.

Date: June 30, 2013

Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST (USA Time Zones)

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

“Come on, y’all know Black women be ashy and can’t grow their hair”: Unlearning ‘ugly’ myths about Black hair and skin

Growing up, I experienced a lot of women of color telling me that Black women ‘just can’t grow hair.’ I never doubted this, as I thought that that was true, as my hair never seemed to grow. In addition, I thought us Black folk were just supposed to have not only have hair growth problems , but always ‘be ashy’ and have ‘dry looking’ skin. Why did I accept such a myth, which seemed to be more about harboring internalized racism about the ‘lack of natural beauty’ of Black women, than it did with any ‘real’ facts. I remember one day at Sally’s, hearing two black females working there, joking about how black women are always ashy and that we can’t grown our hair to saves our lives. I was in my early 20s and perhaps it was because I had finally been introduced to bell hooks (LOL)– but their comments were quite upsetting and infuriating to me. Why did so many of us think this way about ourselves? However, little did I know that a year or two later, this was indeed a myth and I could   ‘easily’ achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a change of lifestyle through a plant-based diet and hair/skin care regiment. I want to share this wisdom and my experiences with you. Will you join me?

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons, spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 18 years. I have also been asked for years, to offer quick and basic classes to teach women my secrets. Well, I have finally decided that I feel comfortable enough to transition the Sistah Vegan Project into a non-profit and start offering basic interactive webinars that teach you what I have learned. Even though all are welcomed to attend, this particular course will be focused on the specific needs of Black women and girls.

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Growing your hair and having a natural (i.e. afro) is possible through holistic methods. In this webinar, I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.The second part of this webinar will teach you about the herbs, foods, and topical treatments I use to achieve glowing and healthy skin. I was able to cure my ‘incurable’ eczema and tackel my constantly dry and ashy skin.

Date: June 30, 2013 Time: 10:00 am PST

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

"Come on, y'all know Black women be ashy and can't grow their hair": Unlearning 'ugly' myths about Black skin and hair

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.
Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

Growing up, I experienced a lot of women of color telling me that Black women ‘just can’t grow hair.’ I never doubted this, as I thought that that was true, as my hair never seemed to grow. In addition, I thought us Black folk were just supposed to have not only have hair growth problems , but always ‘be ashy’ and have ‘dry looking’ skin. Why did I accept such a myth, which seemed to be more about harboring internalized racism about the ‘lack of natural beauty’ of Black women, than it did with any ‘real’ facts. I remember one day at Sally’s, hearing two black females working there, joking about how black women are always ashy and that we can’t grown our hair to saves our lives. I was in my early 20s and perhaps it was because I had finally been introduced to bell hooks (LOL)– but their comments were quite upsetting and infuriating to me. Why did so many of us think this way about ourselves? However, little did I know that a year or two later, this was indeed a myth and I could   ‘easily’ achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a change of lifestyle through a plant-based diet and hair/skin care regiment. I want to share this wisdom and my experiences with you. Will you join me?

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons or spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 15 years. I have also been asked for years, to offer quick and basic classes to teach women my secrets. Growing your hair and having a natural (i.e. afro) is possible through holistic methods. In this webinar, I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.The second part of this webinar will teach you about the herbs, foods, and topical treatments I use to achieve glowing and healthy skin.

  • Learn how to combat breakage
  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin
  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

Date: June 30, 2013 Time: 10:00 am PST

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

Ask Dr. Breeze: How do I grow my hair back because of postpartum hair loss?

1. High protein diet (70-90g per day if you are lactating)

2. Diet high in the ‘good’ fats, such as avocados, coconut, and walnuts.

4. Maca Root. 1 tsp per day, in the morning, mixed in a smoothie or cooled down hot cereal, or some yogurt. Don’t take on an empty stomach, it could irritate it. Don’t take after 3pm or you may not sleep. Take for 3 days and get off 1 day.

5. Nettles tea. 3 tbsp of nettles leaf to 12 oz of water. Simmer the nettles leaf for 3 minutes in the 12 0z of water to neutralize the stinging component. Drink 2 cups per day, several times per week.

6. Use black and clear castor oil. Rub the oil (mix with a thinner oil to thin it out and make it easier to apply) on thinning parts of your hair. I rubbed it on my hair line. You can also add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner. You can put a large amount onto your hair and wear a cap on it for about an hour and then shampoo it out and add conditioner.

Timeline of Hair Loss and Recovery

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November 2011. Lost one whole inch from my hair line. You can see the little bits of fuzzy hair around the edges that will break off completely in the next few weeks. I am 3 months postpartum here.

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November 2012. Hair line has come back. Hair is stronger, shinier, and thicker. I have it pulled back, but it’s actually down to my shoulders.

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March 2013. Hairline fully recovered.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. Please consult with your physician or practitioner before attempting anything I have suggested.