BGLH: Where are you from?
Weena: I’m 19 and I was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Both sides of my family immigrated here from Port-au-Prince, Haiti in the 1970s
BGLH: What’s interesting about the place where you live?
Weena: Montreal is a very multicultural island. Many tourists say some parts resemble some European cities because of its French influence in its history. Most Montrealers speak French or joual (French with a Quebecois accent) and most Americans (especially from upstate NewYork/Vermont) come here to club/go to bars because the legal drinking age is 18. Celine Dion is from here and if you don’t like hockey you are considered weird/crazy, lol.
BGLH: What is the climate/weather like?
Weena: The summer is short and it can be extremely humid. The winter is long and frequent snowstorms are considered normal.
BGLH: What is the natural hair scene like?
Weena: It’s not very big but in the last 2 years it has definitely grown. I see at least 1 or 2 naturals every day on the bus/metro/street.
BGLH: Is natural hair normal or unusual?
Weena: It’s not really normal but it’s not unusual either. I don’t have people trying to touch my hair every time I go out or giving me the side eye. The only time I was asked if my hair was a weave/wig was when I went to Brooklyn, it never happened here, lol. It’s slowly starting to get accepted but I still see a lot of relaxers and weaves/braid extensions/wigs.
BGLH: What are the reactions to natural hair?
Weena: I was natural until I was 15 or 16 years old and I relaxed it for 2 years. In elementary school I used to always wear braids and my classmates (multicultural) always wanted to see my hair loose, they were fascinated by my hair, lol. All my family is relaxed but they never forced me to relax my hair. I was a big fan of natural hair when I was little, I would watch my mom brush her relaxed hair and think that her hair was pretty but at the same time I loved my hair. I remember telling her ”I am going to be natural my whole life because my hair is beautiful”
When I got to high school (mostly white with maybe 15 black people in my grade) the first thing the black girls asked me was why I didn’t relax my hair. I always told them because my natural hair is beautiful, why would I do that. They would laugh at me but I didn’t care. In secondary 3 (9th grade) I started to think like them and wondered why I didn’t relax my hair too (It’s crazy what peer pressure can do) So I gave in…just to be like everyone else.
BGLH: When did you go natural? Did you transition or big chop?
Weena: When I did my big chop 2 years ago, my family just thought it was a phase but they liked it, especially my grandmother (who never wanted me to relax my hair in the first place) on my mom’s side. Some were shocked because they thought my hair was pretty when it was relaxed and they were wondering why I would cut it. Now I rarely get negative reactions, they are mostly always positive.
I was planning on transitioning for a year but that quickly turned to 6 months, later to 2 months to finally the next day lol. I transitioned for less than 2 months and did my big chop on May 12th 2007.
BGLH: Where do you buy your hair products?
Weena: I buy them at the BSS, drugstore, natural health food store and online.
BGLH: Do you have natural hair ‘meetups’ in your country?
Weena: Not that I know of.
BGLH: What do you like about being natural in your country?
Weena: It would definitely be standing out.
BGLH: What would you like to see in your country in terms of natural hair care?
Weena: I would like to see more products available in Canada. I don’t know how much money I spent on shipping but I’m sure it’s more than $100, lol. And of course more naturals and less damaged relaxed hair
BGLH: Anything else you want to add?
Weena: No one ever said the journey was easy. I’ve noticed a lot of naturals say that the first year their hair didn’t seem to grow but the second year it flourished! It’s true so hang in there!
When there is a product that looks interesting, do your research!!! Go on youtube, forums, fotkis to see what other naturals with a similar texture as yours say about it before buying it. There are some products I’m not trying because many of my “hair twins” don’t like it.
Good luck to everyone and Happy Hair Growing!! 😀