Our Founder Featured On Vivala.com, Talks Afro-Latina Identity

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The natural hair movement has gained steam over the last decade. While it’s far from new, channeling the empowerment of the '60s and '70s, today’s decision to rock your hair without a relaxer, crema, or applied heat is undoubtedly meaningful from both a personal and business perspective. Market research firm Mintel took an in-depth look at black consumers and haircare in the U.S., unveiling that the natural hair movement is showing no signs of slowing down and is also extremely profitable. Natural hair is big business! The market accounts for at least $684 million right now, growing to a projected $761 million by 2017. There are no limits to the selection of products to wash and style our kinky, curly 'fro-textured hair. Natural hair-care enthusiasts can pick from a bevy of brands such as Carol’s Daughter, CURLS, EDEN BodyWorks, Miss Jessie’s, and Shea Moisture, among many others.

With the increase in demand for natural hair products has come the rise in digital voices and perspectives on embracing and caring for textured hair. Natural hair bloggers like Patrice Yursik, a.k.a. Afrobella; Nikki Walton, a.k.a. Curly Nikki; and Whitney White, a.k.a. Naptural85 are go-to girls for many looking to care for their tresses.

But today’s natural hair movement has expanded to include new voices that speak to Afro-descendants from Latin America and how they both embrace their natural hair and navigate identity politics. It’s more than hair for many Afro-Latinas. The decision to wear their hair natural is a reclaiming of culture and fighting back against centuries of erasure of Black identity. That erasure has led to the creation of terms like “pajon” and “pelo malo” (bad hair) in reference to tightly coiled/Afro-textured hair versus “pelo bueno,” silky, straight hair.

I was honored to be interviewed by Janel Martinez for this collaborative piece. For the full story head to Vivala.com.