*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
Happy Holidays Ladies and Gents! Feast your eyes on this. It’s BGLH’s first male Style Icon! We’ve heard your cries and Larry is here to answer the call. Check out his feature below.
L: My name is Larry. I’m an army brat so it’s difficult to say one place I’m from. I grew up everywhere, but “Home” is Columbus, Georgia and I currently live in Gainesville, Florida. In the government’s eyes I’m unemployed, but when I’m not web browsing I work as a freelance photographer and graphic designer. I assist a West African dance course at the University of Florida, and a large part of my time is also devoted to a prayer and worship ministry I sing with called The Furnace.
When did you start growing your hair out?
L: I started growing my hair in December 2006. For the most part I was always comfortable wearing it in its natural texture. I’ve had a few disastrous run-ins with different kinds of “s‑curl” gels and flat irons, but generally I never considered that there was ever a problem with the way my hair grows from my scalp.
How do people typically respond to your hairstyle of choice?
L: “OMG – Can I touch it?!?” A close second would be “Is it real?” I’ve been growing it and wearing it out for so long a lot of the ways that it “affects” me just seem like standard procedure now. A lot of the reminders that my hair is different comes from other people. I’m pretty frequently stopped in the street by strangers with compliments mostly. Sometimes people ask to take photos of me. Who knows how many are floating around the internet. Wearing my hair natural was never an epic decision or affirmation of my blackness, but the way people respond has caused me to really examine my thoughts about natural hair, blackness and race relations, and the spiritual aspects of hair.
Do you maintain your own hair?
L: I maintain my hair by myself. The last time I was in a salon was probably about 3 years ago. I don’t get haircuts often at all. I’ve cut it myself maybe 3 or 4 times total since I’ve been growing it.
How would you describe your hair?
L: My hair is thick. There’s just tons of it. It’s pretty wiry I think. I wouldn’t say the follicles “curl” but there’s definitely some twisting and winding in no specific pattern going on up there. It knots very easily. When it’s wet it falls down and moves around very Diana Ross like, but as soon as it dries it pretty much shapes itself into an afro.
What’s your regimen?
L: I’m probably the antithesis of a natural hair guru. Lol My regimen is really laid back. I wash it with conditioner once a week or so and wash with shampoo and condition it once every two and a half weeks or so. I don’t comb it. Haven’t used a comb or pick in a few years. The most I do is run through it with my fingers a lot when I condition it in the shower (and usually end up with a large amount of hair in the toilet.) When I’ve ever washed or conditioned in the shower I’ve put some kind of leave-in conditioner in. As far as daily care, depending on how I feel I may or may not put a leave-in conditioner in before I leave my apartment. I don’t style it much. I fluff and shape with my hands as necessary.
For products I use Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo and Conditioner and I just mix and match whatever kind of leave in conditioners I feel like trying. I’m pretty fond of Blue Magic Coconut Oil actually. I also use (have used) Cantu Shea Butter, Organic Olive Oil Leave In Conditioner, Hawaiian Silky, and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (probably my favorite I’ve used.)
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
L: Flat-ironing my hair was the biggest mistake I’ve made. I flat-ironed my hair for a dance performance and pressed it almost every day for about 2 weeks. (silly boy). The texture never recovered and I had to chop it down from shoulder length to about 2.5 inches. Now I don’t make any attempts to straighten it.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
L: I think for me the most effective part of my haircare is my lack of hair care. I don’t try to coerce it into being something it’s not. I just let it do its thing. I’m sure there are plenty of ways I could do “more” but that always feels more like manipulation than natural to me.
How do you feel about women who wear their hair natural?
L: I think women wearing their hair natural is an awesome reminder that we should be enamored with the way our creator made us. I absolutely love to see weaveless women with locks, twists, afros, curls, kinks — all of that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or un-beautiful about relaxed or straight hair, but there’s definitely something special about seeing the beauty of raw, unrestrained, how-it-grew-from-my-scalp, black hair.
Anything else you want to add?
L: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matt 10:29–32