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Antonia // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • May 12, 2009


HAlo!

I stumbled upon your blog and waoh, it was great!!
I’ve been totally natural since January, didnt do a big chop, transitioned from February last year.

I live in Abuja, Nigeria now and I would definitely like to be on your blog… Reading through, the post about natural hair in Africa, Nigeria is sad but true.L says~That was a crazy post, check it out here. Someone also commented that its more about fashion, I agree with that.
My sister would look at my natural hair and say its woolly, lol. and she can never let her hair grow natural. Well I guess it’s every man to his own.

But the main reason why I wanted to go natural was, no relaxer ever relaxed my hair well and my scalp always got burnt, I was scared of that and I had a friend in secondary school who had a mark on her ear where relaxer burnt her, I didn’t want any of that sad story.

I had a low cut for a pretty long time, my mum made me cut all my hair off when I was 8, I carried that through secondary school and started growing it back at about 14, relaxed after about two years and the sad story continued, when I tried transitioning the first time, my older sister said I looked South African L asks~What’s distinct about the South African look?, and incidentally we went on hols to South Africa that time… she also said, people with natural hairs looked unkempt and I shouldn’t do it, got back to school after the Hols and my friends made me relax it and that was the last time any relaxer touched my hair (Feburuary 2008) Since then, I’ve been loving this ride.

Cheers, thank you so much for your blog!

I just had to include the last one, i love it, its not me though 😀

The city gate of Abuja at night

BGLH: Where are you from?
ANTONIA
: Nigeria. Born and Breed!

BGLH: What’s interesting about the place where you live?
ANTONIA
: I live in Abuja, the capital city — the “naija” spirit/culture in it’s totality. There is something about it that makes one keep living in this frustrating country, no matter where you go it’s simply unforgettable.

BGLH: What is the climate/weather like?
ANTONIA
: There are only two seasons Dry and Wet, then the Harmattan which is under the dry season. It’s mostly HOT HOT HOT around here, some states with mountains get really cold sometimes, especially during the Harmattan season.

BGLH: What is the natural hair scene like?
ANTONIA
: Natural hair is generally not received well, especially if you are above the age of 15. The fashion definitely influences this, but many cry about natural hair not being manageable. My sister talked about wanting to get out of bed, put her hair in a pony tail and just go, something you can’t achieve with natural hair. Natural hair is only accepted (female) if it’s lowcut, dreads on female is still associated with ills or if you are a “Deeper life” (a popular church here where female members aren’t allowed to perm their hair) or maybe you are ill.

BGLH: Where do you buy your hair products?
ANTONIA
: There is no online shopping for us here, so you have to buy what’s available. I buy hair products from any local store, I use Motions shampoo, Emily millionaire natural herbs and oil, this is very good! L says~Interesting. Never heard of that! and then olive oil. Most other stuff i get (bananas, egg, mayo, honey, shea butter, e.t.c) and mix myself. L says~Way to go girl!

BGLH: Do you have natural hair ‘meetups’ in your country?
ANTONIA
: Nope. I only have one friend Jasmine, who is transitioning. We encourage ourselves, lol. My other friends are stll bewildered at our decision.

BGLH: What do you like about being natural in your country?
ANTO
NIA: I like that i am true to myself. I also realised that quite a number of people secretly like it, especially guys 😀 L says~lol at the excited smiley face! 

BGLH: What would you like to see in your country in terms of natural hair care?
ANTONIA
: I would love to see people embrace it and not look down on it. It’s the hair God gave you for chrissakes! Lol, I know the hot weather isn’t helping but I would love that people would make use of all the natural stuff good for hair, the fulanis and hausas majorly make use of this advantage and they have great tresses.

L says~Here’s a photo of a Fulani woman that we profiled during African Style week:

The African Style week series was A‑MAZING, so please check it out here if you slept on this!

BGLH: Anything else you want to add?
ANTONIA
: I have self inflicted Alopecia at a spot at the back of my head, its coverable but i want it to grow out fast, HELP! Also if there is a way you guys can help us with getting products here, that would be awesome.

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Jc
Jc
11 years ago

Nice interview! It is an African thing Leila. South Africans are one of the few Africans who wear natural hair quite prominently. If you happen to have a lighter skin colour (in an African sense Antonia would be considered light skinned) then that is resounding for some, you must be South African. You do know all South Africans are light skinned and natural right (this is a joke…before I get stoned lol). I would also add that when used, it is generally not meant as a compliment. I have also been called South African a couple of times, among other… Read more »

Bombchell
Bombchell
11 years ago

Antonia your hair is gorgeous!! and it’s pretty cool that your still proud to rock it, cause I know after by 10th grade a lot of people cant wait to perm they’re hair. on the other side, just like you want people to hair natural hair, is the same what those with permed hair believe theirs is right. You are both trying to push each others hair style on the other. I believe in free will. I rock whatever I want, I’ve been natural several times, permed it, mohawk, braids, weave, I could care less. & i ignore negative comments from… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ Jc… really?! Whoa. That’s interesting. Why do South Africans wear their natural hair more prominently than in other countries? So interesting!

Alicia
Alicia
11 years ago

I did a search and found this article regarding South Africa’s natural hair movement: http://journalism.berkeley.edu/projects/southafrica/features/hairpart1.html
Here is a quote from the article: “Beauticians around the city speculate that for many black South Africans, the end of Apartheid signaled the end of being ashamed of black culture…And, at the center of that expression is the business of hair.…After 1994 in South Africa, the people began to be proud of themselves because before that we were made to believe in the European style of beauty”. Any South Africans (or other African nationals) have a different opinion (or do you agree with this)?

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think it is complicated as to why SA’s are more accepting of natural hair than other places. I’m not in African studies and someone else may be better placed to explain. I’m sure someone will weigh in better. 

I think that the apartheid era isolated SA from the American influence that has consumed a large part of Africa. I also think that apartheid also spurred a rebellion and pride in everything black including our hair. 

This is not to say that SA’s don’t relax their hair because they do. However they are notable for NOT demonising natural hair.

Ore
Ore
11 years ago

Wonderful interview. Antonia, I applaud your decision to stay natural amidst such opposition. It’s not easy at all.  I also wear my hair natural and I live in Lagos, Nigeria. It can be hard dealing with the stares of amazement and shock. The worst are the back-handed compliments, e.g. “I like your hair but I could NEVER wear my hair that way.” Nigerian stylists, for the most part, are totally incapable of dealing with natural hair, despite it being what we are naturally endowed with. This has led to my personal decision to try and do my hair myself. If I go… Read more »

G
G
11 years ago

Very nice interview. Naturals going against norm. Love it. You and your hair are beautiful Antonia.

SweetStar
SweetStar
11 years ago

*throws up Hausa/fulani gang sign*

All my cousins are relaxed in Nigeria, but when i am there and in Niger i have never recieved a negative comment. I guess it depends on the region/ethnic group maybe?
One of my BF Ronke lives in Lagos and her family were so against her transitioning i was totallyshocked! I guess i have been insulated to a degree.
But your hair is too cute Antonia, stay natural!

Patricia Grannum
Patricia Grannum
11 years ago

I never thought African girls would be ashamed of their hair until I went to university in Canada. At my school, there were a lot of African girls but I don’t remember any of them wearing their hair natural. One of my friends who is from Cameroon was told by another African (also from Cameroon) girl that natural hair “would not suit her” I was like, “How could it not suit you. It’s your natural hair!It grows out of your head that way! 

http://womanofcolour.blogspot.com/

mellowyel
mellowyel
11 years ago

Nigerian naturals stand up!!! Antonia, Your hair is gorgeous! 

Two comments:
a) I totally bought Emily Millionaire last time I was home — they use purely natural ingredients. The only thing that worries me is that placenta is listed as one of the ingredients, so I’m not sure I still want to use it…

b) I live in Abuja, and will be back home in July. Anyone interested in organizing an Abuja naturals meet-up? 

P.S. What exactly do you do at a natural meet-up? (pardon my newbieness)

eccentricyoruba
eccentricyoruba
11 years ago

omg, Antonia could be my hair-twin! i’m an Abuja girl and i also faced the same problems relaxing my hair because it never ‘relaxed well’. i used to get really upset because of the pain i went through, i always cried while i got my hair relaxed.  i cut my hair when i was 11 and had my hair short for 6 years.  i love Antonia’s hair, when I return to Abuja for good we should definitely start our own meetups. and i agree with Jc regarding SA and natural hair. they seem to be more comfortable with natural hair.  Most… Read more »

iffy
iffy
11 years ago

woah! i don’t feel so alone in my plight after all these naija girls have come forward.

eccentricyoruba
eccentricyoruba
11 years ago

Iffy, I would have come out sooner but I’m a very lazy person ^__^. I like your hair too!

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

hii am african and i just want to clear things up. South africa is not the only country were lots of people have natural hair.what i think she means is,in SA there is a particular style which is synonimous with SA women in particular.Most women with short afro hair would be classified as having a twa,but in SA they cut it much shorter,like how a man would have it ie a very close shave ‚where there is literally less than 1/2 ” of hair. so even in zimbabwe ‚having a twa is not odd at all,its only when you have a… Read more »

yours truly
yours truly
11 years ago

i am patiently waiting for my hair to hit that length. her hair seems similar to mine from that pic and it looks great. i am happy for her that she didn’t give into relaxers again.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

@ Anonymous — I have to point out that I was called South African when my hair was shoulder length. I don’t really think it is about length, it is about having natural hair and specifically very curly natural hair.

Kit
Kit
11 years ago

Her hair is lovely. My hubby and I along with our kids went to Ghana (my hubby’s home) a couple of years ago. I was transitioning underneath a huge afro weave. It looked just like my hair looks now. No one said a thing. I didn’t see one fro or anything resembling natural hair that I can remember on Ghanaian women. I did see a few American naturals. The little school girls all had very close cut hair. We are so turned out as a people it’s ridiculous. We’ve been through so much and it has absolutely impacted us to the… Read more »

AnyaPosh
AnyaPosh
11 years ago

Her hair looks healthy! I also live in Abuja when I am in Nigeria so I definitely know where she’s coming from.  Last summer in Abuja, while I was getting my hair braided in Wuse Market ‚all the hair dressers were amazed & completely shocked at my hair. They thought it was a wig because it’s a BIG FRO & dyed dark brown & caramel highlights. They were just astounded at why I would keep it natural. The hair braider even complained that my hair was hurting her fingers so we had to pay ber =N=500 extra (=N= : naira,… Read more »

Sugabelly
Sugabelly
11 years ago

@JC: actually Igbos (Nigerian ethnic group/sub-nation) are also naturalyl lightskinned. Not all of them are of course, but if you are Nigerian and light skinned, then you will FIRST be suspected to be Igbo rather than south african.

I think south african is too much of a leap. The south african reference towards Antonia is because of her natural hair because it’s much more accepted there than in Nigeria.

eccentricyoruba
eccentricyoruba
11 years ago

@Anyaposh, I’ve sworn never to do my hair again. I did braids at a salon and my edges suffered. Sadly I’ll not be in Abuja in July 🙁 maybe another time hopefully.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ mellowyel… LOL @ “pardon my newbieness” !!!
you know what, i’ve actually never been to a meet up so i don’t know what’s done. i guess you could do whatever you want to do. but you guys should definitely do it!!! (and send me pics!!!)

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

It has nothing to do with been ashamed of what God gave us for chrissake and that something some pple with natural hair should know.…some of us have weaves because it is less stress..and even if it is because of fashion it is not a sin-abi?to each is own …no need to look down on those with permed hair and pass judgement…

Indigenous Productions
Indigenous Productions
11 years ago

Hi Antonia,
I’m also a natural and have been wearing my hair like this for about 8 years. I live in Lagos, Nigeria. If you are ever in Lagos, Holla! So far I know 6 naturals in lagos and one is transitioning. Pretty cool

Laurel
Laurel
11 years ago

lol @ Jc, I wondered why I got so many marriage proposals in the one week I was in sun city, SA..

@ Indigenous productions, I live in Lagos too when I come home so I can be the 7th person..lol..yay to natural meet ups in Naija..I think they are def. needed

GamineGirlie
GamineGirlie
11 years ago

Hey all, Nice seeing this here, Thank You L! My Dad said to me today, “why do you leave your hair like that??”, i had it in twists..i seriously had nothing to reply, different emotions went through me, i didnt reply him. he just looked at my hair and walked on. People just find it incredible really, that you would be natural without having just a lowcut @JCIts usually not a compliment, its just like..eh SA’s are crazy,they’d do anything. i saw a lot of naturals there, even skin-cuts..i was like waoh, you cannot feel out of place there as a… Read more »

eccentricyoruba
eccentricyoruba
11 years ago

Antonia, thanks for reading my blog. and i checked yours out too. do you write fiction? we could be more than hair twins then 0__0 lol

Antonia
Antonia
11 years ago

@eccentricyoruba

i do! i do!

yay

twins! lol

jemimahnaa
jemimahnaa
11 years ago

Yeah! u go gal…sowi m just readn d ur interview u knw hw work gets and internet too..vnt vn bloggd in a while:(.m happy ’bout d interviw tho…@Black girl with long hair..apart from antonia who helped me make up my mind about my decision to go natural ur blog(which she showed me) has been of serious inspiration even tho am still gettin used to ma hair…but i’m totally lawvn it and dnt care wat anybody else finks..wink* plus d guys around me like it a lot..v been diligent wth ma hair since August..i fink*…and products are quite difficult to come… Read more »

iffy
iffy
11 years ago

hi,

…at eccentric yoruba, thanks a lot.
at indigenous productions, i live in lagos as well; yay 8 of us.
at jemimahnaa…i totally agree with the limited availability of products here.

Ngozi
Ngozi
10 years ago

I’m so late, but bit ups to all my Naija girls! I’m based in the US (currently in Europe tho) but I know it’s not easy in Naija o! Last time I was there, summer 2008 people were harrassing me. I wore braids (twist extensions) but did not want to get them redone. I left them in for a usual six (6) weeks and people were calling them “old” and “not fine” even though they would be okay in America. Naija babes, why is this? Do people really get re-braided after 2 wks? When I visited in ’07 I let… Read more »

Nkem
7 years ago

I know this is four years now, but i read your story here in 2011. You were one of those who inspired me to go natural.I hope you are still natural.I live in the east. Do you have a blog where you can be reached?

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