*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
R: I am Ray Symone from Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m currently a full time student working on a Fine Arts degree with a concentration in painting. I hope to one day own my own tattoo shop and be a part time Art Teacher to little kids.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
R: A lot of things got me to make the decision. I wasn’t the normal kid. As far back as I can remember I always wanted natural hair, but at the time I didn’t know what that was called. I wanted my hair to be big and fierce, but I continued to get perms because I thought that was what black girls were supposed to do. Afterward I would wonder why my hair wouldn’t get big and curly.
In 2009 when I became a freshman in college I started doing my own research and started learning about the damage perm could potentially be doing to my hair and the rest of my body by seeping into my pores. After that I vowed to never go back to the creamy crack.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
R: I tried to transition once before during my junior year of high school, but failed. My freshman year of college I went to school out of state so I transitioned that whole year under sew in weaves. My last perm was August of 2009 and in August of 2010 I did the Big Chop. I got tired of dealing with the two textures and simply went into the bathroom and chopped it all off myself. Most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced! I sported my TWA for a while, but ultimately decided to let it grow into semi-freeform locs.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
R: It’s changed me spiritually and mentally. It’s like as my natural hair grew in, I also grew up. I’m more conscious of my actions now and how it will affect the younger African American generation. I have a 10 year old little sister who goes to school in a predominately white area and sometimes I hear her ask my mom why can’t her hair be long and straight like the other girls. It breaks my heart. She has a head full of beautiful, thick, curly hair that when pressed out is down her back. I hope by rocking my natural tresses I’ll be able to set an example so she’ll learn to appreciate her own beautifully nappy hair.
How would you describe your hair?
R: It’s very thick and kind of crazy. It likes to do its own thing and is naturally a reddish brown color. Since I’m semi-freeforming I just sort of let it do what it wants.
What is your regimen?
R: I use three main oils: sweet almond, jojoba, and grape seed oil. Since I’m semi-freeforming I only retwist my hair once or twice a month. For that I use pure aloe vera gel. I wash weekly with Dr. Bronner’s Almond Shampoo or Black Soap and afterwards I do a light palm roll with the aloe vera or sometimes just oil and water. I barely use conditioner because my locs are still young (only 9 months), but on occasions when I do, I use Giovanni’s Smooth as Silk. Every two weeks I do an ACV rinse to make sure my scalp stays clean and so I don’t accumulate any build up. I moisturize daily with one of the oils and my spray bottle, which is just water and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Overall my regimen is pretty simple.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
R: When I was relaxed I made the mistake of coloring my hair…A LOT. I’m an artist and we all know artists like bright colors and change, so when I hit high school I was constantly dying my hair and cutting it. My hair was severely damaged by the time I decided to go natural. I haven’t colored my natural hair at all. Sometimes I feel like changing it up, but I don’t want to waste all the progress my hair has made. It hasn’t been this healthy in a very long time.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
R: Just leave it be and keep it moisturized. The more I let my locs do their own thing and feed them, the better they look.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
R: I have a YouTube channel that I run with my boyfriend about our loc journey. The link is http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLocBlock#p/u.
Anything else you want to add?
R: If you’re thinking of going natural, but are a little hesitant, just go for it. It’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Some people say it’s low maintenance, which I know isn’t true for everyone, but it’s healthier for you. Rock your God given hair with pride; nappiness is nothing to be ashamed of.