Friday, July 23, 2010

I love being an Afro-Latina

Me @ 4 yrs old

Growing up in a Dominican household was not easy, especially being a first generation Dominican American (Afro Latina). At the tender age of 6, my mother decided to start relaxing my hair to reduce all of the screaming and hollering that went on while she tried to comb it.

I believe this was after my first relaxer

So I ended up going from screaming because she was yanking my hair from the roots to crying every single time I saw a perm box knowing that my scalp was about to be ON FIRE! (scabs included).
My mother's favorite saying was..."El que quiere mono bueno aguanta halones" which means if you want good hair you have to stand the pain. Her definition of "good hair" would be long, flowing RELAXED hair and if your perm didn't take i.e. bone straight, then they would blow dry it straight to make sure you had no curl pattern whatsoever in your hair. I've been traumatized and was brainwashed to believe that if you don't have long pretty hair, you were considered ugly.
I grew up on an all Puerto Rican block in the Bronx (NY) and all of the kids (including my own cousins) would tease me and tell me that I was too dark skinned and that my mother left me in the oven too long. The girls on my block even had a female Menudo group (famous hispanic boy band from the 80's who I was in love with) and they had the nerve to tell me, you can't be a part of the group because you're too dark. My nickname became Crispy on my block (my cousins still call me that to this day). Imagine the hurt I experienced between the ages of 6-18...doesn't hurt as much as it used to but I still have a sore spot in my heart about it. 
Girl Scouts performance 5th grade my hair was pulled back into a ponytail (relaxed)

In Junior High School I.S. 167 a friend of mine by the name of Renee introduced me to braids with extensions. I was finally able to let my hair rest from the relaxers from time to time...until I got to High School Jane Addams Vocational (which taught Business, Cosmetology and Nursing). I told my mother that I wanted to take the cosmetology course but she refused and told me I HAD to take the Business classes because I wouldn't make any money doing hair.....ARE YOU SERIOUS????

I was so intrigued by the cosmetology department that I spent most of my free time there and was letting some of my friends practice applying relaxers and my favorite high school style...finger waves and curls. 

Freshman year in High School before I was introduced to the finger waves and curls
My 16th b'day finger waves and curls

As I went off to college, I decided to cut my hair really short...I mean...really short
I asked a friend to shave the back for me but he didn't have any guards so I was bald in the back and Halle Berry short in the front. 

I loved how my hair looked short but I was still using relaxers to help it "lay down" when my natural curls grew back. It wasn't until after I had my two beautiful children that I decided to go natural and loc my hair. 

July 2001

But then my mother would tell me that my hair looked like Mojones (sh*t balls) and that I needed to cut them out. I loved my hair but unfortunately I was also suffering from massive migraines to the point where I couldn't close my eyes. As my mother cut the last loc out of my headaches were gone (TRUE STORY). 

So 6 years went by before I decided to leave the creamy crack alone for good this time and I decided to start my own locs. I made them much smaller and more uniformed this time around so that my short cut would be "accepted" in Corporate America.

January 2008 with 1 month into my loc journey

My hair is thanking me for not applying that creamy crack (relaxers) to my hair anymore and it started to grow longer and healthier than I've seen it in years...but yet mom would say to me...Porque no te cortas el pelo y te lo deriza para que se te vea bonito (why don't you cut your hair and get a relaxer so that you're hair would look pretty) I told mom...Sorry mom, not this time! I LOVE MY LOCS and they're here to stay!! :) My aunties and cousins (male and female) tried to convince me to relax my hair because it looks more natural...SMH natural TO WHO??? NOT ME!!! 

I'm proud of my hair and all of the styles that I have been able to achieve with my locs with a lot more to come. I've been documenting my journey with photos and treatment recipes that I've come across...even used a deep conditioner that my mom taught me when I was younger (cholesterol, mayo, egg and spiritu de canela [essence of cinnamon] with a plastic cap and a scarf over it to help contain the heat so I didn't have to sit under a hot dryer). 
I would love to convince my mom to go natural but I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future...she's still attached to her relaxers and attachable ponytails (I wish I had the picture of my mom back in the 70's rocking an looked so beautiful on her).
So as I continue to document my wonderful loc journey via blogs and pics I welcome any comments or suggestions as well as your stories about dealing with family and your natural hair. Us Afro-Latinas need to stick together and give each other encouragement when you feel you have no where or anyone to turn to.

Here are some of the sites that have helped me through my journey:

There are so many sites that I have researched that I may have to do a blog on just sites and YouTube channels :) Stay tuned...more information to come. 


  1. Hi there! I amglad my blog could be of some help. I hope your journey continues to be a good one and that regardless of the trials, you'll overcome and enjoy it each and every day =)


  2. This is an awesome blog post! I really enjoyed reading it and the pics to go along with it. Can't wait to read more from you. BTW, I did the BC myself last winter and kept my hair almost bald for about 10 months. I am now growing it out and going natural, curly and creamy crack for me! My mom is a black Dominican and she's been rocking the bald look for years now! I was finally brave enough to do it...I grew up having creamy crack religiously put into my hair as well and I realized it's doing more harm than good. I'm so happy to be on this journey and hair is definitely growing out fast and healthy. More power to us NATURALISTAS!!!

  3. @di0sa.s0y thank you so much for the support. It makes me feel good to know that my blog helps inspire others that have gone through similar situations. Peace and Blessings NATURALISTA ;)



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