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So What You Saying?
Over the past few years, there has been a movement among African-American women. A movement almost rivaling that of the Black Power Movement of the 1970’s and that is the Natural Hair Movement. African-American women all over the world seem to have taken India Arie’s song, “I am Not My Hair” and turned it into their personal anthems. Gone are the days where so many African-American women are “conforming” to white societies views of what “beauty” should look like, i.e. long flowing hair which has translated in the African-American community as long flowing weaves, sometimes down to the butt and replaced with African-American women being proud of their hair without the assistance of perms to make it straight but the curly, kinkiness and nappyness of their own natural hair.
The ladies of The Untamed Hair Tour, Vanessa Prince, Priscilla K. Deason, Jana’e Holmes, Tearra King and Mykisha Thomas all embrace being untamed, which translates to being natural for them. Each lady brings a different expertise to the group besides being natural. These specialties range from event producer, chef, Plus-Size Fashion and Natural hair Blogger, fashion expert, Brand creator, Event caterer, and hair guru. The ladies have made it their mission “to help women realize that their lives and their hair are not matters to be pacified or subdued, but rather, are much better when they are UNTAMED.”
It was during a visit to New York in 2009 that inspired, The Untamed Tour’s founder, Vanessa Prince, to go natural. “At the time, the natural movement was pretty new, and during my visit, I ran into many women who wore their hair in ways that I deemed to be brave. They had short hair, twists, locs, and all sorts of exciting styles. So it made me wonder, “Why couldn’t I do that too? What’s keeping me from really seeing what my hair is like?” So I started with eliminating the heat in my regimen, and then just let my hair transition. Now Badu (my hair) is full-grown and I love her, even when she misbehaves!”
Today there are millions of African-American women who like the ladies of Untamed Tour, have made the “transition” to natural hair and have become empowered by doing so. The women of The Untamed Hair Tour say that it’s “not just about hair.” They believe “It is about life, love, and the pursuit of nappyness. The freedom to do what you want with your life, and your hair. It’s about what exists in the space between the top of your head and the soles of your feet. Being Untamed is about who you are as a person, as a woman, and about living accordingly.”
Vanessa wanted to be able to combine her love for natural hair and events, with an additional element of sisterhood. She had grown tired of the natural hair elitism that had developed, and wanted to promote a message of self-confidence, but also love for your fellow lady. “It’s about compliments, not condemning,” Prince says which has always been a prevalent issue among women in the African-American community.
The world saw this up close and personal in Spike Lee’s film, School Daze when he brought to the forefront the discrimination in the African American Community based on skin color and hair texture. Many of us remember the scene with the women divided into two groups, “The Jigaboos” – women with natural hair and darker skin and “The Wannabe’s” – women with lighter skin and longer, straighten hair and weaves, in the beauty salon singing the song, “Good and Bad Hair.”
With that great divide between African American women when it comes to hair, Vanessa believes that the divide is because “most of us (African American women) aren’t comfortable in our own skin, so we spend time judging others to make ourselves feel better. Ever notice how mean you get when you’re in a bad mood? It’s the same kind of thing. Be happy with yourself and you will be happier with others. That’s what the Ladies of Untamed are about. We embrace each other’s differences. That’s what makes us all beautiful!”
Thus comes in the desire of the group to empower women and they have done so by doing live events, conferences, meet-ups and workshops around Southern California. They promote the idea that we all are beautiful in similar and different ways. And “just because I shine, doesn’t mean that you can’t shine too. We, as women can coexist! So why not tell that lady that she looks great, and let her tell you the same. And if she doesn’t, oh well, you know you look good! Keep it pushing.” Their goal is to make sure that we, as women, appreciate one another to the fullest and let one another know that they can let their beauty radiate at all times. “It’s okay to hold yourself in high esteem.”
The Ladies of Untamed Tour are looking forward to eventually have the tour move outside of Southern California to reach areas that women aren’t able to have good natural hair care products and information. They want to spread their message of hair love, body pride, self-expression, and creativity.
As for what the future holds for the Ladies of Untamed, “You can expect us to spread more love, have more fun, and share more knowledge. We aim to be of service to women and help improve lives. We love that we can start the conversation with hair, and end it with a positive affirmation and a message of self-confidence. That’s the whole point of all of this, right?”
The Ladies of Untamed Tour can be reached at: Untamed Tour
Photo Credits: Untamed Tour, iamtopflight.com