Where are you from?
C: My name is Charrish (pronounced cherish) and I am from the beautiful by nature, Turks & Caicos Islands!! Say whaaaaa?
I am an island girl through and through. I was born in the Bahamas and lived there till I was 13 then I moved to my mother’s country the Turks & Caicos. My mother’s family was all born in the TCI but because of hard times back in the day a lot of the people moved to the Bahamas for a better life. This is why the Bahamian and TCI cultures are sooooo close, cause all of we is one family.
I am an artist, a thinker, a mover and shaker, a local activist and radical and a person who always gets a scowl from her momma cause she pumps the fist. I draw, paint, I can sculpt, I can do printmaking, I can do it all!
What is interesting about the Turks & Caicos Islands?
C: The natural beauty. I love our beaches and the sunsets, I love the sand, the animals, I love that you can drive down the road and see ocean on either side of you. I think it’s cool that we, unlike a lot of other Caribbean countries, don’t have fast food chains a la McDonalds or Burger King. Some people think we’re “backwards” because we don’t but I think it adds a certain charm to our country. I don’t mind my Wendy’s number four but I like that I can go to the local greasy shop and buy my $1 chicken and $1 fries. I want that old grease, that island grease, on my chicken.
What is the natural hair scene like in TCI?
C: What natural hair scene? Weave and perm are common down here. I get stares and I get pointed at. I find it amusing that people will pay up to $100 to put fake kinky hair in but are too scared to do the do. If you’re natural then you’re “angry” and “proving a point” or you trying to be some “Afrocentric soul child” or you “hang around white people too much”. I get the last comment a lot. If I do see natural hair on adults it’s mostly dreads. It’s not wild and free like mine. We have a huge expat population so we have a lot of Jamaicans and when I go out and about a lot of people think I’m Jamaican. When I ask why the most common response is: “Cause TI women love their weave.” Honestly, if you see a woman with natural hair she is most likely Haitian or Jamaican. It is rare to see a proud natural TCI woman.
When did you go natural?
C: I went natural at 16 in high school and let me tell you…it was murdahhh. At the time my aunt and my mum were (and they still are) natural. I HATED perming my hair and I don’t know why I didn’t revolt sooner. But the kids in high school? Shoot…okay let’s play a scenario: The first day of school with my new hair everyone just stared at me, some kids would run up to me and laugh and run away. The guidance counselor asked me if I was a rasta and if that’s why I went natural. She had this “intervention” with me. She brought in these popular girls with relaxed hair and asked me why I didn’t want to be like them. One day I just had enough and I broke down in tears, ran to the only natural haired teacher and just fell into her arms and cried. She didn’t say a word but held me. But I am proud to say I never once wanted to go back to relaxers during those years and my true friends stuck by me with my new style. It’s crazy cause now I have people from high school days admit they want to go natural and ask me for advice. I should charge them a fee.
I went natural because I wanted to express my black beauty. I am proud of being black. I don’t like a lot of things black people do or how we’re portrayed but I love my skin, I love where my people came from, I think the various cultures in Africa are interesting and I love to see how things have trickled down and changed along the way. I love the unity there is in just being a black woman. I felt like my hair not being how God intended was holding me back and yes I thought all of this at 16!!
What’s your regimen?
C: I don’t think t have a regimen. I really don’t. I am the worst at doing routines of any sort. My sister gets mad at me for not having one. When I was in college (I went to college in America) I just washed my hair and put some natural oils in and twisted and it GREW. I think it was the water really. Well I’m the type of person once I find something that works I DO NOT CHANGE IT. So now all I do is wash it, put in my little oils that I steal from the product junkie aka my lil sis and I twist it and move on. When I do get in a mood I will go in my backyard and hack some aloe, I’ll do some avocado masks on my hair, maybe use some hibiscus or just shake my hair in the sea.
Where do you buy your products?
C: I am actually afraid of products. Look people, they need to make something for women like me: I get scared of beauty supply stores. I just don’t understand them. I go to my sister and borrow whatever she’s using. There’s some kind of Mango and Lime thing. I don’t know. Plus I don’t trust chemicals at all. If I see something like Xodnauthaclorsitate what is that supposed to be? We don’t really have any products that say “Water” “Natural Oils” and “Love”. That’s what I want in my products. All joking aside, the product selection here is not that bad but I’d rather make my own.
What would you like to see in your country in terms of haircare
C: I’d LOVE to see a salon for natural hair open up. Better yet I’d love to be able to go to a salon and not be told “We don’t do your kind of hair” by my own people. I’d also love to see more education on caring for natural hair be taught to girls. The few girls with natural hair don’t know how to care for it so their hair looks picky and it discourages people from wanting to make the switch. It’s a dream of mine to have a workshop for week targeting young adults/teens on self esteem issues and part of that would be a little talk entitled: Loving the Nappy can make you Happy. Yes.…I do daydream about a lot of things. Now watch me make that a reality!