Being Afrostastic

Since, I am on break from school, I have been trying to invest time in things that I have neglected. Ah-hem..my hair. Having natural hair requires time, patience, and energy. If you do not have naturally tight curls, it may be difficult to understand why it can require so much time and energy. But it does, and during the school year, I was not tending to my 4C curls like I should. When I do tend my curls, I am able to see how beautiful they really are. Last week, I finally gave my curls some TLC. I decided that I wanted to wear my ‘fro out, and I was amazed by some of the positive comments that I received when I posted a picture on social media. A lot of the comments were about how big my ‘fro was, and I received some encouragement to let it grow bigger. I guess bigger is better. These comments were different from my pop’s response to my hair. I love my pops, but I know that he is not the biggest fan of natural hair. Here is a bit of our conversation from last week:

Me: (picking out my ‘fro in the mirror): “I have a lot of hair.”

Pops: “You do. When are going to wear your hair like this?” (pushing his hands downwards).

Me: “You mean when I used to straighten it? I’m not.”

Pops: “I liked it like that. It was nice.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m not going back to relaxing it. I could straighten it with a flat iron, but I don’t want to.”

Pops: “You like wearing your hair nappy?!”

And then the alarms went off in my head. He said the word “nappy.” I am not a fan of the word word “nappy.” My hair is afrotastic, which means it is beautifully natural. Nappy has a sad, ugly connotation to me. It is a word that many black folks have been socialized to use to describe our tight curls. Anytime, I hear someone say “nappy,” I wince. Back in the day, I use to say the word until I realized the social meaning behind it.

I know that my pops is old-school, and that is one of the reasons why he used the word. He prefers straight hair to natural hair. I don’t expect everyone to be a fan of natural hair.  And yes, I could straighten my hair without the chemicals. I could sit down and straighten it with a flat iron/blow dryer. But I don’t want to, and I would be doing so to please others. I love seeing my cute little tight curls when they are in a puff. I love putting a boho headband on my ‘fro. I like that feeling of being free and comfortable in my afrostasticness. Yes, I am making up words, y’all.

I think the natural hair movement has come a long way. When I first became natural, there weren’t a lot of natural folks out there. I was in my awkward TWA stage, where my ‘fro was very small and short. My family had to adjust to seeing my hair like that, and I had to adjust too. Folks were always asking me when was I going to go back to relaxers, as though I was in a phase. Being natural became a lifestyle.

Sometimes, a natural haired friend and I joke that being natural is a struggle. We say that it is a struggle, because it can be daunting and tiresome to figure out what to do with our natural hair. There are those days where you spend hours and hours trying to replicate a style you saw on a magazine or on YouTube. Your hair doesn’t come out like the picture. On the other hand, it can be so freeing and wonderful to play with our hair. To see how our hair can be manipulated. Then, having natural hair is more like a journey than a struggle. I’d rather enjoy the journey. Afro Chic

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Jessi Hughes: Hope, Faith, & Music!

Last fall, I attended a live concert by my friend and sister in Christ, Jessi Hughes! I’ve been friends with Jessi for a few years now, and I have been blessed by her support in my life. I hate to be cliche, but there are those friends who you know that you were meant to meet. I’m glad that I know her, and that I have the opportunity to watch her grow as a person and an artist!

Jessi is a beautiful, encouraging woman who loves God. I saw this love all over her face as she sung to Him at her concert last fall. I believe that God has given her the gift of singing, so she can uplift others. I felt uplifted when I heard some of her own handwritten songs. As a writer myself, I recognize when someone has poured everything out of them to create a song. Jessi exemplifies this quality in her songs.

Music is Jessi’s medium to help others. I feel that most people innately want to help others, and that they have a certain way that they show it. Some people use science or law to serve others, while others may use art! Jessi is an artist, and with God’s guidance, she creates art. With God, she shapes words into songs, so that others can feel empowered! It’s her mission that others will know that God is real! She desires for others to know that God can heal physical and emotional wounds!

I am very excited for Jessi as she will be launching her EP in the fall. Right now, she’s actually running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the album. I ask you to please, please check out her website and support this lovely young woman. I will attach her website at the end of this blog for you to review.  Before you head off to the site, I would like to tell you a little bit about Jessi.

Since childhood, Jessi has been singing. Although, Jessi states that she dreamed of being an archaeologist,  God directed her towards singing. She is thankful that she listened to God and chose music over excavations. Besides God and family, music is one of her passions!

Due to numerous musical influences, Jessi’s music is eclectic. Jessi loves the sound of Southern blues and soul, and gained this love from her dad’s Southern origins. Jessi’s mom is from Ghana, West Africa, and she enjoys the vibrant rhythms of that music. And Jessi is a fan of pop/R&B singer Mariah Carey and praise and worship singer, Terry Clark! I have to mention that Jessi likes electronica too.  All of these musical influences are mixed up in a wonderful, inspirational package! Her upcoming CD will display God’s love and power in a soulful and funky manner!

Throughout her life, Jessi has experienced joys and challenges! In those times where her heart and skin were cracked, God applied His medicine on her! As Jessi’s friend, I know that she is a compassionate person, and wants all to experience the same hope that she has experienced! Jessi’s hope is in Jesus!

https://www.jessihughesmusic.com/

116 in Beantown: Conclusion

After our THIRD meeting with Lecrae and Andy Mineo, we waited outside of House of Blues for the doors to open. We weren’t playing around about having a good view of the stage.  Fortunately, we met up with N again who brought his friend J (or I’ll call JJ to distinguish from the other J). N had a VIP ticket, so he was able to save us some space that was close to the stage. The concert was FABULOUS! I’ve been to a lot of concerts, but I can put that concert in my top five list. Christian rap has that ability to give you a good beat and make you self-reflect. I was blessed, and I did not want the music to stop playing. I am glad that I spent the day with J and E, and met some new folks: N and JJ. Look at two awesome videos of the concert below.  Warning: I am yelling and acting up. 🙂

116 in Beantown Part 2

Last time, I told y’all about running into Lecrae and Andy Mineo at Shake Shack. After, J,E, N and left Shake Shack, we went into different directions. N had to go somewhere before the concert, so J, E and I decided to walk to House of Blues. Before we started walking there, J mentioned that her phone needed to be charged. E suggested that we find an Apple store. At first, J was hesitant but then decided it would be best to go to the store. We were probably there for exactly 20-25 minutes and left once E and J’s phones were charged. Well, we were surprised again. Check out the video below with someone obviously photo bombing,or maybe I should say video bombing me:

As you can see, I couldn’t believe we saw them a third time. I thought that I had just saw Lecrae, but the girls told me that Andy Mineo was there too. By this point, we were pretty excited and having one of the best days ever!

Stay tuned for some highlights from the concert!

Blessings y’all.

afrotasticlady

116 in Beantown Part 1

I’m in the middle of craziness of grad school final papers. Yes…it is crazy..no joke…and will make you want to pull your hair out. When I am done, I will feel so accomplished. Anyhoo, I want to talk about my experience in Boston a week and a half ago. Hence, I will be sharing the experience in parts, because it was that awesome and fabulous.  Along with my co-worker J and my classmate E, we made the trip into Boston to attend the Anomaly Tour with Lecrae and Andy Mineo. First, we went to the Lecrae and Andy Mineo meet and greet at Johnny Cupcakes. By the way, if you are unsure of who these two guys are, let me give you a very short explanation.  They are rappers who spit positve Christian themed messages and are signed to Reach Records. I really enjoy their music, so I knew that I had to make it to this meet and greet. I’m glad that E let me know about it. I told J about it, and she was down. Check out the my geek moment below as I was waiting in line outside to meet Lecrae and Andy Mineo:

We waited in a line for about an hour and a half. While we were waiting, we introduced ourselves to N, a fellow Lecrae and Andy Mineo fan.  We were all so excited and chatted about our love for their music.  The meet and greet was supposed to be happening from 12-2pm, and I became a little nervous when it approached 2pm. Fortunately, the girls and I were not the cut off point and were able to walk into Johnny Cupcakes.  When the girls and I approached the table where Lecrae and Andy Mineo were sitting, they were so down to earth and greeted us with smiles. I asked the guys to sign my Heroes for Sale and Rebel CDs. Lecrae commented on the fact that I brought the Rebel cd out and noticed how frayed the cover was.  I told him that was one of the CDs that I had on repeat and that was why the cover looked like it did. When we all left the meet and greet, we were chatty, smiley, and hungry. We invited our new friend N to lunch and decided to get our grub on at Shake Shack.

While we are chowing down at Shake Shack, can you guess who walked into the place? Guess..guess…guess! Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and their body guards.  We were so surprised and shocked that we were running into the guys again.  More geekiness on my part happened.  I saw Andy Mineo ordering some food. I looked at him, yelped, and did a little jig. I figure that he must have thought that I was nuts. Maybe, he is used to folks acting up when they see him and Lecrae.  We weren’t able to take pictures  with them, but we were able to offer our table to them. You know, we had to display Christian hospitality. Andy Mineo fist bumped N and I and said “Double-dippin’, huh?” Umm…I was done. I got up and yelled “This made my day.”  E, J, N, and I did not want to overwhelm the guys as we figured they were tired and hungry, so we left.  Even though, it would have been great to take pictures with our fave rappers, I think seeing them randomly in person made us happy.  With our happiness bursting within us, we could’ve all done cart-wheels down the streets of Boston.

Please stay tuned for some more highlights from our day in Beantown!

Blessing y’all,

afrostasticlady