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Dawn // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Jan 29, 2010

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Where are you from?
D:
I am from a small town in southern Illinois — I am a military brat, so we were stationed by an Air Force Base out there and never left. I work as a senior administrative coordinator in Baltimore, MD.

Tell us your hair story.
D:
When my twin and I were younger, my mother did NOT want us to perm our hair. After years of our African American friends (do not think our “other” friends knew the difference) would ridicule us and call us “young” (only little girls have their hair like that) and nappy…. she finally gave in and around middle she school let us get a perm.

After we graduated high school, we attended Hampton University and my freshman year I was cast in a play. It consumed my life and I did not have time (or money) get my hair permed. Shortly after, I started to date a guy who kept encouraging me to cut off my hair and be natural. All of his friends were natural and they embraced all things natural so the encouragement was all around me. The summer after my freshman year I told my mom I wanted to go natural. She was not a fan. When I came back to Hampton for my sophomore year, guys would come up to me and ask what happened to my hair, said I was prettier with hair, said I should grow my hair out. And I would say “I did not cut my hair off for you”.

Most people loved my short ‘do. I held that hairstyle for 7 years. I started dating a guy who said it would be fun to see what my hair would look like long (he was not a fan of the short hair) so I put in braids once it was long enough because I did not want to watch my hair grow. When I would take my braids out he LOVED it… and so did I! About 2 years later, I was looking for a new job and my sister said “Dawn, you cannot got job hunting like that… perm it” so – almost 10 years later (ouch) I re-permed my hair.

straight
Of course, after I permed my hair, my mom FONDLY reminisces the day I had short hair *smiles*

About 2 years after perming, I went back to natural. Permed hair just is not who I am. My twin – yes… For me, never again. So I have been growing my hair out for a solid 4 years… It is healthier than ever!

big ponytail
Have you had any difficulties wearing your hair natural at work?
D:
Unfortunately, the only criticisms I have had were from older African Americans in the work force. My old boss LOVED to call me a jigaboo when no one else was around. He would say it like he was joking, but I knew it was not. I would say “I am not going to change my hair for you.” The other people at work loved my hair, so I knew he was “outvoted” in that regard… I was also told “We have made it, you do not have to ‘make a stand’ you do not have to be nappy to show you are black.” I said “I also do not HAVE to perm my hair either just to make you feel better”

hair3
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
D:
My mistakes are: heat – never will go back unless I am deep conditioning.
Trying to “try” everything at once to my hair
Greasing my hair is never goot! Yes – I said GOOT! Because that stuff makes me look like I am havin a 12 month Christmas with all of that dandruff!
I colored my hair once – that was a mistake. Left my hair VERY dry.
I have learned to just leave her alone!

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
D:
I give my hair some love on the DL every day. I massage my hair like we are married. When no one is by my desk I will rub my fingers on my scalp even for a couple of minutes. Keeping that nice blood flow a’goin is very healthy. And I NEVER do anything to my hair unless she is wet. NEVER! I may throw in about 7 two-strands at night, but that is when I rub a bunch of Coconut Oil and Shea Butter leave in conditioner in it.

What do you use in your hair?
D:
I try to deep condition every other weekend – I just mixed up a bunch of items that many people use: conditioner, honey, olive oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, coconut oil

I heard Coconut oil penetrates the hair, so it is the first Item I put on before I do anything. I put that on nightly with a bit of shea butter. I try to keep it simple. I tried to spray my hair with water and such, but my scalp dried out like a raisin on a hot tin roof. It is all so incredibly subjective.

If your hair had a nickname, what would it be?
D:
Dawn JR. When I am natural people look relieved and say it is the best reflection of who I am. I married a white man who loves me natural, which makes it fun too. He literally “boos” me when I come home with braids (sometimes I want a break) and when I take my braids out he says “There is Dawn! There’s my wife!”

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Sandy
Sandy
10 years ago

Dawn?
You are too cute, OK?!
Love your hair!

Sorry to hear about some of your bad encounters with ignorance @ work.
Why is the word “nappy” even viable anymore?
Personally, I have yet to meet a nappy natural!
Sure: I’ve met matted-hair naturals, but they’ve all been homeless!

Nappy” and “Natural” are not interchangeable “N” words!

bejai
10 years ago

Hey Dawn,
Big ups from Bmore first of all. I love that you’re able to stand up to your superiors and everyone else around you and just be you. Your DH appreciating your natural look rather than braids is very endearing. Thanks for sharing your story.

Keep is simple, keep it real

Kweenie
Kweenie
10 years ago

Cute couple! Love the hair.

Steph
10 years ago

Loved hearing your story, and I love the expressions you use! LOL. It makes me feel like I’m actually hearing you talk, rather than reading it. Also happy to see that someone else like to massage her scalp!

emma
emma
10 years ago

may i just say that her husband is so cute! adorable picture.

MakeupVixen
10 years ago

This is far mot one of the best stories I have read. Thanks for sharing. I love the Afro Curly Puff you rockin in the pink sweater, wish my hair could be like that.

rhythm
10 years ago

tres minnie riperton. and not just ’cause of the cute hubby 🙂

Rae
Rae
10 years ago

@ Emma I was just thinking the same thing…they are such a cute couple! Dawn you are beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing your story.

DaniGurl
DaniGurl
10 years ago

Dawn! I really enjoyed your story. I’m currently a sophomore at Hampton U (I BC Dec 09), so I know the ridicule you can come across from some of the people here. As much as I love my HIU, the long hair stereotype is real, and I’m glad to see you didnt let it get the best of you. 🙂

Gem
Gem
10 years ago

I LOVE the 2nd and 4th pictures, your hair looks so fabulous! I cannot believe you had a supervisor to say that to you. LAWD. *dead* at GOOT. Do you blog? Fotki?

Freda
Freda
10 years ago

What a beautiful couple! Dawn, I agree with the others hats off to you for standing your ground to your coworkers and other naysayers. Thanks for sharing your story.

DaliSalvadorAde
10 years ago

Hahah, I love what you said about your husband at the end. Really cute. And how beautiful YOU are! And I’m super pumped because your hair looks A LOT like mine texture wise, so I may try some of the products you mentioned. And what kinds of things do you do with the honey? And what do you like about it? Anyway, your story is great and I wish you the best with your natural hair journey.

http://www.notlikereallife.blogspot.com

LadyCook
LadyCook
10 years ago

Great story, and beautiful person! Love the first pic.; you two look so happy and make a beautiful couple! =) Your pony in the pink sweater? Love it!

lina40
10 years ago

go head Dawn — you look GOOT 🙂 This was a great story. I have a twin and she was permed for a while as well, was natural for a while and I think she has returned to the perm. As for me, natural hair is definitely me — and I love the response you got from hubby — mine is supportive as well. You are a beautiful ladY!

Natural A
Natural A
10 years ago

Love you posting. I too went through some of the looks and comments from others because they didn’t feel comfortable about it. I felt and still feel great after 3yrs natural. Your natural hair is definately you!

AfroKisses
AfroKisses
10 years ago

I must say your hair is gorgeous!

Dani
Dani
10 years ago

THIS WAS A GREAT INTERVIEW/STORY. LOVED THE COMEBACKS AS WELL> CLASSY YET STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. LOVE THE HAIR. VERY CUTE COUPLE. BY FAR THE BEST STORY IVE HEARD.

vonnie
10 years ago

Great story, I love, just LOVE, how people just think that they can come up and tell you how to wear YOUR hair…why is that? never walk up to someone else and say damn that’s some stringy straight crap, you should do something about it, yet they always have something to say about curls. kick rocks, especially the old guy! lol.….as long as you and the hubby are happy with it, who the hell else matters?

http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

mysskay
mysskay
10 years ago

very cute 1st pic (and house too, love the flowers :o))

I’m all over the pony tail too! You offered some great advice: less is more and just leaving your hair as she is. I’ve only recently started to think about dying some parts of my hair and listening to the stories of dry hair has me a little concerned. Still on the fence.…

thanks for sharing… looking at your first picture has me wanting spring to get here even more now

luvmylocs
luvmylocs
10 years ago

nice story. i appreciate your lessons learned too. they are good ones for all of us. i also think it was interesting how other people’s comments and thoughts were so influential in your journey. we all struggle with that but yeah for you for standing up to those that felt it was their place to tell you about YOUR HAIR. even without knowing you i would say that your natural hair totally suits you!! i love the pic with your and your hubby (all the shades of green are just lovely). you look happy and healthy and that’s what life… Read more »

mynaturalhairrocks
mynaturalhairrocks
10 years ago

i really enjoyed that article a lot.Your hair is the bomb! i luuuuuv it! its so beautiful and has so much body. i can see why your husband prefers it. I actually feel sorry for your older african american co-workers. There still in bondage and they don’t even know it

bad}me{good
bad}me{good
10 years ago

I love the bluntness in your responses to negativity. I understand that you’re not simply being mean or rude, but you’re coming at them with the same intensity that they’re dishing to you. I’m trans-ing and I am ready to correct a few people that I know that I will hear from when I’m 100& nat. Beautiful hair, btw. Glad that you’ve found a man that accepts and loves you and your hair for what it is. That is something that we can’t even find in some of the brothas. Oh well…

Natz
Natz
10 years ago

NICE! Couldn’t keep the silly grin off my face reading your story (and checking your hair!). and it’s AWESOME that your husband supports you 110%.

Shante'
Shante'
10 years ago

Hey Dawn! I’m a fellow HIU Alum! I applaud you on your strength with your journey girl, naturals like you make it easier for us. I think its wonderful that your husband loves you for exactly who you are.

@Danigurl I just graduated from HU and Idk if its that I started to notice since I began transitioning but there are tons of naturals on campus. And theres even more naturals who wear their hair pressed or in protective styles(ie. braids or weaves). Stay encouraged girl!

Shones
10 years ago

Dawn, you are absolutely adorable! I too love the pink sweater ponytail pic. It’s fantastic! and upon seeing the picture of you and your husband, my first thought was all-American couple with the flowers in the yard and everything. It’s a blessing to have a DH who loves you natural. I’ve actually had women (friends) “suggest” that I try a Dominican blowout because THEY think it’s pretty, to which I sweetly reply, “Surprise, surprise… my husband would *hate* that; he loves to touch my curly hair!”

Coffey
10 years ago

Great story, and I love how emphatic you are in response to your naysayers (who’re obviously uncomfortable with themselves). Good deal!

Belle Muse
10 years ago

Your Hubby & You are such a cute couple!!!!! Loves the hair! Especially the HUGE puff!

SanSan
SanSan
10 years ago

Dawn,

Thanks for sharing your story. I’m from Hampton Roads, but didn’t attend HU. This area has come a long way (thankfully) from the years past. People out here are ADDICTED to the creamy crack! lol

Your story is a another reassurance that beautiful natural hair has become more acceptable in Corporate America!

And you & husband are adorable.

Peace & many blessings 🙂

Olen
Olen
10 years ago

First thing I have to say, you could make some money off your boss calling you those racist names. If it happens again, record it as quickly as possible.

I like your puff. How did you do it without breaking the band? that happens to me all the time.

Kel
Kel
10 years ago

Dawn,
LOVE your story! Love your responses to the negativity, love the Afro puff in the first pic (that is my dream hairstyle, I am rocking a curly fro now, have about 2 years before I get that length). You and your husband look adorable!
Thanks for sharing.

moka
moka
10 years ago

i admire you for being natural and being true to YOURSELF!!! i am also natural and have been for nine years. i meet so many women that want to go natural but are afraid of how society will look at them. they usually say they can’t take the transition, but we know the truth…they are afraid of what others may say. i try to encourage all women to be comfortable in your skin. not that it’s about color, but i know we as black women sometimes have more difficulty because of what society has “deemed” is beautiful. so keep doing… Read more »

Nikki
Nikki
10 years ago

I think her boss was so rude, isn’t it illegal to call her a name like that? And I thought it was so ignorant for him to say she doesn’t have to take a stand and show people she’s black, we’ve made it. First off who said she’s taking a stand against anything? Maybe she just wants to be herself, I guess that is revolutionary to some people who always want to fit in. But anyway, I love her hair, I especially love the pic that shows off her puff, she looks effortlessly sexy. That’s what I love about bein… Read more »

LBell
LBell
10 years ago

I was also told “We have made it, you do not have to ‘make a stand’ you do not have to be nappy to show you are black.” I said “I also do not HAVE to perm my hair either just to make you feel better””

Brilliant! That’s the kind of stand I need to see more naturals take! Thanks for sharing your story.

wannabewriter
10 years ago

hey Girl!…your story was just so *awwwww* sweet…good for you, for standing up for beautiful choice in the way you wear your hair.…..

Christina
10 years ago

The Puff is rockin’! And yeah, no disrespect, but your husband kinda cute.…I love it when men know how to dress nice!

My boyfriend happens to be white and he LOVES THIS DOGGONE HAIR. He say he loves it so much more when he sees how much effort I put into it.

I havent worn a puff in forever,once it warms up, it is on.

Dawn
Dawn
10 years ago

Hello all! Thank you for SUCH sweet and positive words. When folks told me now to wear my hair (permed and long) It made SO far from sense to me… I could not even get angry. I did not cut it for them. That is like a stranger coming up to me and saying “You should not like black olives because I do not like black olives” What? Random much? Why should I take what a stranger says to heart? (if it is not positive *smile*) If it is not positive, it all sounds like a teacher from Charlie Brown cartoons… Read more »

Elaina Ally
10 years ago

Hey this blog is great. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Amber
10 years ago

I love the hair it is so cute and simple. And I like your bluntness it shows the actual you.Interesting interview.

Adekemi
10 years ago

I am loving your hair…

Maureen
10 years ago

Hey Dawn! You know I loooooovvvee Looovveee Looovee your hair! and you are right it’s so much healthier AND another plus is it grows much faster natural. Kudos to you for sticking it out. I love that you tell people you didn’t cut your hair for them. I often get hair comments from randoms (*ahem* Jerks!)and from now on, I’ll set them straight about where they lie on my priority list especially when it comes to MY hair! PS: I made AQB watch “Good hair” last weekend and I think he’s finally starting to understand what black women go through or… Read more »

Dawn
Dawn
10 years ago

Maureen
You know I am going to bring ya back to black (heh) I know we both thought we needed to be permed to work, but with this blog and many more you will find there are SO many ways to be natural and no one would be the wiser!
You are very sweet and supportive, thank you.
Now it is MY turn! You never know, you could be interviewed after YOUR BC! (Big Chop)

Kimmy
Kimmy
10 years ago

Hey Dawn..Love your story.I have been transitioning for 9 months now and I am doing the BC at the end of the month. My husband couldn’t be more pleased (also white). He has always hated relaxers and weaves, he was always burning for me to wear my hair natural. After 5 1/2 years together and really understanding our history in black hair I’m so excited to bust the real me out!! Its really funny that most blacks believe that white culture will have a problem with our natural hair when in fact we as a people have really helped develop… Read more »

Nk
Nk
10 years ago

Dawn!!!

I can’t wait until my fro gets bigger. I am newly natural and when I saw your afro picture, I said to myself I can’t wait for my hair to grow. I think the thickness and length almost break me down and makes me want to put something in it to make it more manageable. I realized the other day my hair may never be curly all over and I have to love it.

Dawn
Dawn
10 years ago

Hey there, Nk - Your fro will get bigger, no doubt with that. It is easy to become impatient with your hair, but remember, when it was permed — there were days where it was not quite right or it was in an “in between” stage. No matter the “grain” of your hair — hair is hair, and there are moments it will take a minute for you to feel comfortable with it. When your hair was permed, did you always have a great hair day? If it was, you are AWESOME :”) It takes time to figure out what your… Read more »

Mira
Mira
10 years ago

Love the first pic of couple and green house! I want a green house 🙂
Jigaboo!? LOL How funny is that! It is laughable and also sad. Your retorts to such comments are awesome Dawn.

Dawn
Dawn
10 years ago

HA! Just read you comment, Mira. It is laughable… That is why I did not pay that old man any mind…
Thanks!

adilma
adilma
10 years ago

Thanks for sharing Dawn, I also was a military brat, and growing up there were very few ppl. of color, so going natural was just not an option for me, and I had kinky tendrills, my mom tortured and perm my hair, it would always break off. I begged my day to retire in a town were I would graduate with some of my ppl of color. He granted my wishes and I now years later never left my proud affluent african american community! I went natural after my kids were born with braids and twist, cut it all off,… Read more »

sapphire starr
sapphire starr
9 years ago

Great post.…LOVE the hair! Your my hair~spiration…lol. I’m inspired in more ways than one. Stay blessed!

wakeshia benton
9 years ago

hey my friend sapphire been trying to get me to go natural but the look i didnot like now i see its lots of ways you can change up and still look sex. natural is the longest hair ever.can you send me some information on things to but on my hair to make it heathly, and take get this perm out of it…thanks address; 79 stuart street apt i
charleston sc 29403

wakeshia benton
9 years ago

hey my friend sapphire been trying to get me to go natural but the look i didnot like now i see its lots of ways you can change up and still look sexy. natural is the longest hair ever.can you send me some information on things to but on my hair to make it heathly, and take get this perm out of it…thanks address; 79 stuart street apt i
charleston sc 29403

Kristen
Kristen
9 years ago

Your natural hair do is soo beautiful! I love it represent!

JouJou Louis
9 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing. My guy also hates when I wear my hair in braids (extentions), when I do he calls me a fake natural lol. He really loves my hair. Although he finds beauty in all women as I do, he often questions me on why women of coor hide their beautiful tresses behind perms and/or false hair. While both of us do not knock women for perming and/or weaving, we still find ourselves questioning it. Simply because we have never seen a women who stopped perming look bad. Every woman who transitioned looks fantastic! It is… Read more »

MrsCottonCurls
MrsCottonCurls
9 years ago

LMAO @ him “booing” you…but that’s so cute. I love it!

Shimi
Shimi
9 years ago

Great interview, I love the camera shot of that puff. Lol @ your husband’s ‘boo’.I just got box braids (1st time in 13 years)and my husband had the same reaction. I BC’d this summer after transitioning for 12 months and he loves my hair so much that getting braids was quite a shock for him,lol.

moncler down jackets
8 years ago

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Dale Adjei
8 years ago

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