Where do you live?
R: I was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, which remains my home. I am the Founder & President of a nonprofit organization Prisoners’ Wives, Girlfriends, & Partners (PWGP). I started the organization because resources are extremely limited for the women/men who are on the outside trying to maintain relationships, raise kids and keep their families together. It has been shown that the family connection goes a long way to keep prisoners from reoffending. If we can teach couples how to have healthy relationships in a way that honors both partners, we can cut down on the rate of recidivism. Ultimately, the community is better served when families are together.
I am also a life coach, specializing in relationships & self-esteem.
Why did you go natural?
R: It wasn’t a decision to go natural per se. When my husband went to prison, his hair was cut. For a Native American, this was a big deal. His hair was everything to him. To show my support, I cut my hair too. I went in the bathroom with a pair of scissors and started cutting. I found it easier to transition under a big fluffy curly-styled wig.
I became the true embodiment of Mary J. Blige’s lyrics, “Take me as I am, or have nothing at all”, but I didn’t say it to the world, I said it to Reesy.
R: My regimen is very simple. I use the complete line of Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus at Target. The shampoo doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped and the Curl Enhancing Smoothie is great for twists. I wash my hair every one to two weeks, depending on what products I have in it. I wet my hair at least twice a week, add my leave-in conditioner and either Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Mango Shea Butter, or Jane Carter Solution Wrap & Roll, depending on what my hair scent is for the week. I deep condition once a month with the hair milk.
All it took was one very expensive product that didn’t do anything different than the cheaper products and I knew product junky-ism wasn’t for me. All I want is clean, moisturized, soft hair. Curls are not necessary. I don’t want to be obsessed with putting things on my hair. I don’t want natural hair products to become the new “creamy crack”. I am however, a hair accessories junkie (don’t judge me).
How do you retain length?
R: I have no idea. I don’t follow any of the “rules”. I play in my hair all the time. Most days I wear my hair out (I love drama) and I don’t trim.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you learned from?
R: I allowed a stylist do my hair who didn’t normally work on naturals. Three years into my process, my stylist convinced me to get a product that would make my hair more manageable, but insisted it wasn’t a relaxer. First clue, it smelled like relaxer, but again she insisted. After the shampoo, when I came up out of the basin. Her assistant asked if she had relaxed my hair. I burst in to tears. It’s been four years since that disaster. Also, stylists do not know the meaning of the word “trim”. I do my own hair, less expensive and more convenient.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
R: Two-strand twists. I twist my hair every night before bed. It helps to cut down on the amount of tangles.