Madam C.J. Walker (1867 – 1919) – Black History Month

Depending on your neighbourhood, there will be a beauty salon, hairdressers or hair product shop available for you to get your must-have hair products. But where did the idea of selling black hair products on a mass scale come from? And who looked at this niche market as a means of basing a successful business on? The answer is Madam C.J. Walker.

Born on December 23rd 1867 into a family of sharecroppers, Walker was named Sarah Breedlove at birth and turned an uneducated background into a hair product dynasty that can be highly admired today. Her name which has been largely documented in history, derived from placing ‘Madam’ before her third husband’s name C.J. Walker.

In the 1890s, Walker suffered from scalp ailments so decided to create homemade remedies as well as, also using products from the Annie Malone brand – a black female entrepreneur at the time. From growing up in humble beginnings, Walker became a sales agent in 1905 for the Malone brand, after moving to Denver – the place in which she met and married her third husband.

After her name change, Walker decided to found her own business in which she sold a formula which helped heal and condition the scalp. It is said that the idea for Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower came to her by way of a dream she had and by looking at these pictures here, you can see why this product would have been so popular at this time. Some of the ingredients used in the formula had to be sent for in Africa but because of the her dream, Walker took the necessary steps to get them in her possession.


To promote her hair products, Walker travelled throughout heavily populated black areas in and sold door to door. In 1908, Walker opened the Lelia College (named after her daughter A’ Lelia) as a means of training hair culturists, to help people learn how to care for their hair. Walker hired Walker Agents to help sell her products on a wider scale and created a national association and cash incentives for them in order to instil loyalty amongst them; she also did not want to be the only one benefiting from her success.

Walker was widely acknowledged and recognised for her entrepreneurial skills and philanthropy, as she can be regarded as America’s first female, self-made millionaire.

With pinnacle women in our history such as Walker, we can pave the way for even stronger, ambitious women in the next generation.

Madam C.J. Walker…we salute you!


The Beauty Project: A Return To Natural

You’ve got to check this out, a well put together video summing up popular views on the natural hair journey.
Less than 5 minutes long, watch it and let us know if you can relate.

Remember This..

Hot Comb

Remember blowing on the comb when it first came off of the fire to cool it down lol

Why did you have to sit through it, was it for the high school prom,
family christening or a wedding?

Tell us your hot comb experience


Sip and Mingle Event

Sip and Mingle Kickin it With the Kinks Event


Monday 27th May 2013
6.30pm – 11.00pm
Ritzy Cinema
Coldharbour Lane

KICKIN’ IT WITH THE KINKS first anniversay is here!  Head down to The Ritzy cinema on this special night to view a premiere screening and indulge in a  journey of self-discovery. An evening for you to sip, mingle and learn to embrace your very own identity. More Information


Wrap and Dine – Part 1

Wrap and Dine Natural Hair EventSunday 31st March 2013
4.00pm – 7.00pm

Located near Tulse Hill Station
Enjoy 1 and half hours of head wrapping followed by a delicious two course vegetarian meal.
The workshop includes:

  • Wraps for use on the day
  • Demonstrations of Head wrapping Basics 
  • Simple starter Head wrap Styles
  • History of Head wrapping
  • Putting Theory to Practice

More information and tickets >>Here<<


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Must See: Afro Hair Come Back

Check out the BBCs take on the natural hair movement. Is it becoming a global trend…


I’ve had my fair share of ‘bun ups’ from the hot comb lol, way back when the hot comb was actually heated on the stove! Just thinking about it now makes me quiver; I remember hearing my hair sizzle before it fell to the ground. Luckily enough, my hair has now fully recovered and is larger than life 😉
Do you have any similar stories?

Combs from Kemet: Egyptian Hair Ornaments in an African Context

Combs from Kemet Event The British MuseumCombs from Kemet Event The British Museum

Saturday  2nd March 2013
1.15pm – 2.15pm
Stevenson Lecture Theatre
British Museum
Great Russell St

Although in everyday use throughout the Nile Valley, hair combs reflect the often changing culture and belief of inhabitants of the region over 4,000 years. This illustrated talk will explore the iconography and imagery they depict More Information


Celebrate Black History Month!

Hey hey hey,

February’s started and it is not only themonth of lovebut also, in the United States, it’s the time to remember our past and the people who had an impact on our present. Yes, it is Black history month!

Let’s have a look of what this event really is.

Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson

What is Black history month?

This period of the year was originated by Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), an African-American historian, in February 1926. At first, the commemoration was called “Negro history week” and only celebrated during the 2nd week of February, to match both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. But 5o years later (1976), the name was changed to “Black history month” and was extended to the whole month of February.

Nowadays, this month is celebrated in the whole United States, and is synonym of history, achievement and pride. In fact, what is celebrated is the people and importantly the events which have made black history. It’s a moment to thank and remember people like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. for their contribution. Our life would probably be a lot different, without their courage.

But, how is it celebrated over there?

Continue reading

Timeless Inspirations

Mother Teresa once said:

We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.”

Some people understood this statement very well. Indeed, people like Rosa Parks and Bob Marley did. These two great minds had (and still have) an undeniable impact on the world today. Let’s go back, way back…

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

She is still known today as the “mother of the civil rights movement”. The famous woman, who refused to give up her seat on this bus, on this 1st of December 1955…  Who would have thought that she would still be remembered for it today? This act of boldness was the beginning of a new era for the black community. This act inspired the black population of Montgomery, and gave them the courage to boycott the bus company.

To celebrate her courage,  her statue will be placed at the Capitol Hill this year, making her the first African-American woman to be represented there.

Bob Marley (aka Tuff Gong)

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

The most well-known reggae singer/songwriter and musician of all time. This  full head of  locks grew up in Jamaica  where he dedicated a large amount of his time to music.  He first joined The Wailers, but after a while he decided to do his own music, while still working with the group. Continue reading

Stand Out Speak Up

Your hair is able to speak volumes about who you are in a non-verbal fashion. Being a fan of rock music may mean to a fan shaving off all their hair, or dying it a plethora of colours, breaking away from “tradition”.

rock music hairstyles rock music hairstyles

Whereas if you are a fan of Indie or Folk music you may decide to grow your hair as long as possible, abstaining from scissors.

Indie Hirstyles

The correlation between both is that by parties would argue they are unique and special, but isn’t the desire to be unique and special all part of societies plan to create unity? Incidentally all those that share the same commonalities group together to make up echelons and or Diasporas of society. So in that respect how different is anybody really? Like sheep we all muster together to be seen and heard. And that is precisely why Angela Davis and others lived their life in an afro, because as black people we were not seen and seldom heard, it wasn’t about fashion or pop culture like it is today, (thank you very much Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and all the other hair drones) no it was about making aAngela Davis statement that caused attention/offense, whether intentionally or unintentionally-I couldn’t tell you.


When I say the name “Angela Davis” it would only be those that are interested in the political movements of African-Americans in the 1960’s that could recall who this lady is, and the part she played during this time. Born January 26, 1944, Davis big afro became synonymous with her political activities. Being that the “afro” was envisioned as the signature style, demonstrating that you were resisting the oppression in an oppressive time, opting out of using chemicals, and embracing your hair in its natural state. Just the use of an afro comb was necessary, nothing else. Showing to the world that a great deal of “black power” resided in the ability to be unconformable (having an afro) in an uncivil time.

The inherent racism in America in the 1960s caused a vacuum that black people were unwillingly sucked into and ideally gotten rid of. But there were a few who resisted and Davis was one.

Ester Selassie

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Locks: A Cultural Act Or A Trend?

Locks or locking of the hair is mainly associated with Rastafarianism the Jamaican religion, culture and some see it as a movement. Binding the hair to form matted thick collectives of hair is all a part of the Rasta doctrine which states that members should refrain from cutting, shaving or putting chemicals in their hair. Doing the above is seen as Eurocentric, as opposed to being Afro-centric which is what the movement embodies.

A condensed history of Rastafarianism goes a little something like this..NaturalPride
During the 1930’s Haile Selassie the 1st became Emperor of Ethiopia. During this time in Jamaica there was a renaissance where the majority of citizens were descendents from slaves and the predominate religion was Christianity. Searching for a black public figure to lead or aspire towards, some Jamaican’s began to associate Haile Selassie with the second reincarnation of Christ, or as the late Reggae artist Garnet Silk refers to him in a well known song Christ in his kingly character. Another phrase used to illustrate Haile Selassie is the “Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judea”, and it is precisely this term that in my opinion leads you closet to the rationale behind Rastas wearing their hair in locks. The Lion or the Lioness is seen as being unregimented, wild, untamed, dominating and authoritative in its natural habitat. It’s one of the most feared mammals in the animal kingdom, subsequently “Rasta’s” associate themselves to the embodiment of this by wearing wild and free hair but most importantly natural hair that in some regards has at times been feared by those in the Western society. As comedian Paul Mooney claimed in regards to how Europeans feel about our hair he said; “If your hair is relaxed, then white folks are relaxed, if your hair is nappy they’re not happy” – Paul Mooney.

Even now in this contemporary society, finding a salon that caters for natural or locked hair can be quite difficult. You may ask how I know this, well for the majority of my life I had locks, and I was only able to find two salons (Morris roots, Tia’s Hair Salon) which catered for my hair style. I personally do not use the term “style” loosely at all, considering in these days it is most definitely seen as a cool and trendy hair style, in comparison to the more sacred reasons Rastas hold. Celebrities such as Lil Wayne (Left), Waka Flocka Flame (Centre) and 2 Chainz (Right):

NaturalPride NaturalPrideNaturalPride

Are all current successful American rappers who have illustrated the fact that is doesn’t have to be a religious choice, but just another way to experiment with your hair. Portraying that men just like woman wish to enjoy long flowing fabulous hair, and having locks makes this even more feasible as the hair achieves long length due to the fact that it does not shed. This is the key principle of not combing the hair out, which causes an interlocking effect.

Rasta’s believe you shouldn’t run a comb through your hair as this is envisioned as a “Babylon Ting”, which is a vernacular that refers to Western culture or the Eurocentric way. Conversely proving that you are Afro-centric by going against the grain of conforming, therefore allowing you to become more of an individual. But although this is a genuine reason for adopting “locks”, it doesn’t necessarily have to be linked back to any religious doctrine. Even though a Rasta may disagree, it is better in my opinion that the religious tie to wearing locks is lessened (not abandoned) but lessened. Due to the idea that more people may flock to this hair style if they know they don’t have to let’s say change their whole life style or belief system. Let’s face it, “locks” is about freedom and not feeling pressured to look like the majority, which in some regards is what being a unique individual is about.

By Ester Selassie

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