Transcript: The Beauty of Black Hair | Aug 03, 2017

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a gray blazer over a checkered blue shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says KINKY, OUT OF CONTROL, STEEL WOOL.
BLACK WOMEN HAVE LONG HEARD SUCH
LANGUAGE AND WORSE ABOUT THEIR
HAIR.
WRITER AND BLOGGER MICHELE TAPP
ROSEMAN DECIDED TO CHRONICLE HER
JOURNEY OF LEARNING TO ACCEPT
HER NATURAL HAIR AND TO HELP
OTHERS EMBRACE THEIRS IN HER NEW
BOOK; HAIRLOOMS: THE UNTANGLED TRUTH
OF LOVING YOUR NATURAL HAIR AND BEAUTY.
AND IT BRINGS MICHELE TAPP
ROSEMAN TO OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a mirrored drawing of a female silhouette with colourful decorations instead of hair.
Michele is in her forties, with short curly black hair. She's wearing a flowery blue blouse and a silver pendant necklace.

Nam says WELCOME.

Michele says THANK YOU.

Nam says THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING
HERE.

Michele says SURE, THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Nam says YOU TELL A STORY ABOUT A GIRL
NAMED SHELLY.
WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO SHARE THAT
STORY WITH US?

The caption changes to "Michele Tapp Roseman. Author, 'Hairlooms.'"

Michele says SURE.
SHELLY WAS YOUR BUBBLY, FOUR- OR
FIVE-YEAR-OLD LITTLE GIRL.
AND... HOWEVER, SHE WAS ALWAYS
TEASED ABOUT HER
COMPLEXION... NICE CHOCOLATE BROWN
SKIN... AND HYPER PIGMENTED GUMS.
YOU KNOW, THEY WERE DARK.
AND I REMEMBER IN ONE PARTICULAR
INSTANCE IN THE BOOK, I TALK
ABOUT HOW SHELLY WAS ACTUALLY
STONED BY SOME FAMILY MEMBERS.

NAM SAYS THEY CIRCLED HER.

MICHELE SAYS THEY CIRCLED HER.
SHE WAS TEASED AND TAUNTED, AND...

NAM SAYS AND SHE WAS YOUNG.

Michele says SHE WAS VERY YOUNG.
CALLED THE N-WORD.
AND ALSO JUST TAUNTED FOR HER
NATURALLY, KINKY HAIR.
AND SHELLY, ACTUALLY, WAS ME.
THAT WAS ME WHEN I WAS FOUR OR
FIVE YEARS OLD.
AND EVEN THOUGH I'M OVER 50 NOW,
I FIND THAT THAT STORY STILL
STICKS WITH ME.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I
DISCUSS IN
HAIRLOOMS
IS THE
POWER OF PIERCING WORDS AND HOW
WE HAVE TO BE SO CAREFUL WITH
WORDS THAT WE SAY ABOUT OUR HAIR
AND BEAUTY.
NOT JUST WHAT WE SAY, BUT WHAT
WE ALLOW OTHERS TO SAY ABOUT US
AS WELL.
BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH THAT WAS A
SINGULAR EVENT, I FIND THAT IT
TRAVELLED WITH ME THROUGHOUT THE
YEARS.

Nam says HOW DID... HOW DID THAT INCIDENT
AFFECT YOU?

Michele says OH MY GOODNESS, FROM THAT
MOMENT... IT WAS INTERESTING,
EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T HAVE A HUGE
VOCABULARY... SOMETHING INSTINCTIVELY TOLD
ME THAT THOSE WORDS WERE NOT
KIND; THAT WAS NOT THE KINDEST
WAY TO SPEAK ABOUT ME.
AND I FELT LIKE I WAS PHYSICALLY
MARRED.
AND IT JUST MANIFESTED IN SOME
OF THE RELATIONSHIPS I ALLOWED
MYSELF TO GET INTO, AND
PARTICULARLY HOW I FELT ABOUT MY
HAIR AND MY BEAUTY.
I FELT LIKE I DIDN'T HAVE IT
UNLESS MY HAIR WAS STRAIGHT AND LONG.

NAM SAYS AND UP UNTIL THAT POINT,
IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU
THOUGHT ABOUT.

MICHELE SAYS OH, OF COURSE NOT.
I MEAN, I DIDN'T THINK
ABOUT... LET ME SAY I DIDN'T THINK
ABOUT IT CONSCIOUSLY... BUT I REMEMBER EVEN IN MY
SELECTION OF DOLLS AND IMAGES ON
TELEVISION THAT I WOULD
GRAVITATE TOWARD, THEY OFTEN DID
NOT LOOK LIKE ME.
NOW, PART OF IT WAS BECAUSE IT
WAS IN THE '60S AND
'70S...
[CHUCKLES]
SO SOME OF IT HARD TO DO WITH
THE ERA IN WHICH I CAME UP.
BUT I THINK ALSO, JUST IN
SOCIETY, THERE WAS A GENERAL
MESSAGE THAT GIRLS THAT LOOK
LIKE ME WERE REALLY NOT PRETTY.
SO, YOU COUPLE THAT WITH AN
EVENT THAT TAKES PLACE WITH
PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSE TO YOU AND
SUPPOSED TO NURTURE YOU, AND...

NAM SAYS AND IT'S AFFIRMED.

MICHELE SAYS YEAH, IT'S AFFIRMED.

Nam says WHY DID YOU CALL THE BOOK
HAIRLOOMS?
HAIRLOOMS,
IT'S A PLAY ON THE
WORD "HEIRLOOMS, "AND WE KNOW
WHAT HEIRLOOMS ARE, THOSE ARE
THOSE CODE WORDS, FAMILY
TRADITIONS THAT ARE PASSED ALONG
THAT KEEP THE FAMILY LINES FRESH
AND VIBRANT.
AND SO, WHAT I WANTED TO DO WAS
HAVE READERS UNDERSTAND THAT
THERE ARE WORDS ABOUT NATURAL
HAIR AND BEAUTY THAT WE CAN PASS
ALONG AND ALLOW TO PUNCTUATE OUR
FAMILY LINES AS WELL SO THAT WE
CAN START SOME NEW TRADITIONS AS
OPPOSED TO SAYING THE HAIR IS
NAPPY OR BAD OR KINKY.
THOSE THINGS ARE PASSED ALONG,
OFTENTIMES, UNWITTINGLY.
BUT TO BE CONSCIOUS ABOUT MAKING
SURE THAT WE SAY THINGS THAT ARE
GONNA ADD VIBRANCY TO WHO WE ARE
IN THE YEARS TO COME.

Nam says HERE'S WHAT YOU WRITE IN THE
BOOK.

MICHELE SAYS YES.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Combing through life." The quote reads "While we likely don't admit it, hair has become the shelf upon which we both wittingly and unwittingly rest the volumes of our lives. From our childhood to adulthood, we subconsciously collect these experiences, comments, and actions and put them into heavy volumes that we tote around for the rest of our lives. These are the emotional weights; they are too heavy for us to bear, so we shift onto our hair."
Quoted from Michele Tapp Roseman, "Hairlooms." 2017.

Nam says WHY DO WE DO THAT WITH HAIR
SPECIFICALLY?

Michele says I WOULD SAY BECAUSE HAIR IS
SOMETHING THAT FOLKS TEND TO
GRAVITATE TOWARD.
WHEN YOU...

NAM SAYS YOU KEPT SAY IN THE BOOK,
IT'S YOUR CROWNING GLORY.

MICHELE SAYS IT'S THE CROWNING
GLORY.
YEAH.
BUT EVEN IF WE JUST SORTA DRILL
IT DOWN A LITTLE BIT AND THINK
ABOUT SOME OF THE... I KNOW THE
CHARACTERS I GREW UP
WITH... GOLDILOCKS.
YOU KNOW, OR LITTLE ORPHAN
ANNIE, KNOWN FOR THAT MOP OF RED
HAIR.
AND FOR WOMEN, I THINK THAT HAS
BEEN ONE OF THE DISTINCTIONS.
OFTENTIMES NOT WHO WE ARE, BUT
WHAT ADORNS US.
AND SO, FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN
WOMEN... I KNOW MYSELF IN
PARTICULAR... I FOUND BECAUSE I
DID NOT FEEL PRETTY, I ALWAYS
HAD LONG HAIR THAT HAD BEEN
STRAIGHTENED.
AND I WOULD GET SO MANY
COMPLIMENTS ON THAT.
AND SOMETHING TOLD ME, "WAIT A
SECOND.
SO, THIS ACTUALLY IS, YOU KNOW,
WHERE THE BEAUTY LIES."

NAM SAYS SO, YOU KEPT DOING IT?

Michele says OH, OF COURSE.
AND SO, BACK TO THE POINT OF THE
BOOK... HAIR IS NEVER MEANT TO BE WHO
WE ARE, THE END-ALL AND THE
BE-ALL.
IT IS AN ADORNMENT, BUT IT'S NOT
THE ESSENCE OF WHO WE ARE.
HAIR WISHES JUST AREN'T OWNED BY
BLACK WOMEN...

MICHELE SAYS OH NO.

NAM SAYS BUT YOU FOCUSED ON BLACK
WOMEN'S HAIR ON IN THIS BOOK.
WHY?

Michele says BECAUSE I FIND THAT FOR US, IT'S
MORE OF AN ISSUE.
IN SOCIETY, YOU CAN JUST SEE
FROM THE '60S ON, AND EVEN
DATING BACK PRIOR TO THEN, OUR
HAIR TENDS TO REALLY NOT BE
ACCEPTED.
I'M THINKING ABOUT A STUDY THAT
HAS RECENTLY BEEN RELEASED FROM
THE PERCEPTION INSTITUTE IN THE
STATES, AND IT JUST TALKS ABOUT
HOW PEOPLE, BY AND LARGE, ACROSS
RACIAL AND ETHNIC LINES, DON'T
SEE
AFRICAN-AMERICAN... AFRO-TEXTURED
HAIR AS BEING THAT WHICH IS
PRETTY OR BEAUTIFUL.
AND I'LL JUST GIVE YOU A SHORT
STORY THAT WAS REFERENCED IN THE
BOOK VERY QUICKLY.
A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, I WENT
TO AN ALPACA FARM.
I'M A CROCHETER, AND SO I LIKE
TO SEE NATURAL FIBRES.
AND THERE WERE A COUPLE OF
ALPACAS.
ONE WAS A NICE CHOCOLATY BROWN,
AND THE OTHER ONE WAS SORT OF A
CREAMY WHITE.
AND THE PERSON WHO WAS JUST
TELLING US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
THE FARM AND THE ALPACAS
MENTIONED, "OH, THIS BROWN
CREAMY ONE, NO ONE REALLY LIKES
THE HAIR BECAUSE IT'S JUST LIKE
A BLACK WOMAN'S HAIR."

NAM SAYS DID HE NOT SEE YOU?

Michele says SHE SAW ME!

NAM SAYS OH, SHE.

Michele says SHE SAW ME!

[NAM CHUCKLES]

Michele says AND IT'S ALMOST LIKE, YOU KNOW,
THE PAPER CUT, IT CUTS YOU,
BUT YOU ALMOST DON'T
REALIZE THAT IT HAPPENED.
AND I WAS LIKE, "WHAT IN THE
WORLD JUST HAPPENED?"
AND SO, THIS WAS JUST A COUPLE
OF MONTHS AGO.

Nam says YEAH.

MICHELE SAYS CLOSE TO WASHINGTON,
D.C. AREA.
AND SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT.
THAT JUST BRINGS TO BEAR WHAT
THE STUDY SAYS, AND WHAT, YOU
KNOW, MANY OF US KNOW, THAT
OFTENTIMES SOCIETY JUST DOES
NOT LOOK AT OUR HAIR AS BEING
BEAUTIFUL.
SO, IT'S A PARTICULAR ISSUE TO
US.
AND TO YOUR POINT, I THINK WOMEN
ACROSS ETHNIC LINES, WE STRUGGLE
WITH WANTING WHAT WE DON'T HAVE.

Nam says YEAH.

MICHELE SAYS YOU KNOW, IF IT'S
STRAIGHT, I WANT IT TO BE KINKY.
IF IT'S KINKY, I WANT IT TO BE
STRAIGHT.
OR ANY... ANY OTHER PERMUTATIONS.

Nam says YOU WRITE...

Another quote from the book appears on screen, under the title "Highlights, lowlights." The quote reads "Our unconscious need for public and private acceptance silently pushes us to the pristine walls of academia, where we often graduate with high grades –and low esteem."

Nam says HOW MUCH OF A BLACK WOMAN'S
SELF-ESTEEM IS TIED UP IN HER HAIR?

The caption changes to "Good hair."

MICHELE SAYS I THINK A LOT IT REALLY
IS.
AGAIN, BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST WHO
WE ARE, BUT HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE
SEE US.
AND EVEN I THINK ABOUT DURING
THE TIMES IN THE INTERVIEW AND
EVEN MYSELF, IT'S TIED INTO OUR
ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS TOO.
I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY WOMEN I'VE
SPOKEN TO, AND EVEN THOUGHT FOR
MYSELF, "WHEN I GO NATURAL." AT
THE TIME I WAS MARRIED, BUT I
WONDERED, YOU KNOW, WAS KYLE
GONNA SAY THAT, YOU KNOW, I LOOK OK?

NAM SAYS THAT'S YOUR HUSBAND?

Michele says YEAH, THAT'S MY HUSBAND... KYLE...

NAM SAYS YEAH.

Michele says THAT IT LOOKS OK.
AND HE'S ONE, YOU KNOW, MAN THAT
JUST SAYS, "YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL
EITHER WAY."
BUT I'VE HEARD COUNTLESS STORIES
OF WOMEN WHO SAY THAT THE MAN
THAT THEY'RE IN A RELATIONSHIP
WITH CLEARLY IS LIKE, "DO NOT
WEAR YOUR HAIR NATURAL BECAUSE
THERE IS A PROBLEM; THERE IS AN
ISSUE WITH IT."

NAM SAYS AND YOU ALSO GET THAT WITH
JOBS, RIGHT?

MICHELE SAYS OH MY GOODNESS, YEAH.
YEAH.
I THINK IN SOME INSTANCES, YOU
REALLY HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AT
THE LAY OF THE LAND, AS IT WERE.
AND IN SOME CASES, YOU MAY FIND
THAT EMPLOYERS ARE WARMING UP TO
IT A BIT MORE.
BUT THEN THERE ARE SOME
INSTANCES WHERE CLEARLY THERE IS
A CODE OF CONDUCT AND... AS IT
RELATES TO HAIR AND WHAT IS
ACCEPTABLE AND WHAT IS NOT.
AND IT'S PROBLEMATIC BECAUSE
WHEN YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT IT,
RHETORICALLY SPEAKING, WHY IS
THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH WHAT
NATURALLY GROWS OUT OF MY... MY HEAD?

Nam says YOU KNOW, 'CAUSE RECENTLY IN THE
STATES, THERE WAS A LAW THAT WAS
PASSED THAT IT'S OK FOR
EMPLOYERS TO NOT HIRE PEOPLE
BASED ON... IF THEY HAVE
DREADLOCKS.

MICHELE SAYS YEAH, AGAIN...

NAM SAYS 2017.

Michele says 2017, WHEN YOU...

NAM SAYS AND THIS HAPPENED IN 2016.

Michele says YEAH, SO WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT
THAT, AGAIN, TO MY POINT... RHETORICALLY, WHAT IS... WHAT IS
WRONG WITH IT?
AND WHAT DOES THAT SAY?
AGAIN, IT SAYS THAT THERE'S JUST
A BROAD UNDERSTANDING OR A
THOUGHT, RATHER, THAT THERE IS
SOMETHING WRONG WITH... YOU KNOW,
WITH WHAT WE HAVE.

Nam says WE HAVE A CLIP FROM CHRIS ROCK'S
DOCUMENTARY
GOOD HAIR.

MICHELE SAYS YES.

Nam says LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

MICHELE SAYS SURE.

A clip plays on screen in which Chris Rock, in his thirties, wearing a beanie, stands in a hair salon and addresses a black woman who sits in a hair dryer chair.

He says SO, WHAT'S YOUR DEFINITION OF
GOOD HAIR?

She says SOMETHING THAT LOOKS RELAXED AND
NICE.
YEAH.
RELAXED AND STRAIGHT.

He turns to a woman holding a tub of hair product and says WOW, WHAT DO YOU HAVE THERE?
IS THAT A BUCKET OF RELAXER?

The woman says NO DOUBT, BABY.

(music plays)

He narrates
RELAXER.
ALSO KNOWN BY ITS GOVERNMENT
NAME: SODIUM HYDROXIDE.

A clip shows a stylist applying the chemical cream to a black woman's hair.

CHRIS narrates RELAXER'S THE CHEMICAL
THAT WILL TAKE A BLACK WOMAN'S
HAIR FROM THIS AND CHANGE IT
INTO THIS.

Clips show a woman with a round afro, and then a picture of Naomi Campbell on a runway, with long straight brown hair.

In the salon, CHRIS touches a black woman's recently straightened hair and SAYS WOW, LOOK AT IT.
LOOK AT IT, LOOK AT IT.
LOOKIT, MY RING STILL THERE.

[WOMEN LAUGHING]

CHRIS SAYS MY FINGERS, ALL THERE.
I THINK I'M GONNA MARRY YOU.

[WOMEN LAUGHING]

The clip ends.

[NAM CHUCKLES]

Nam says I MEAN, CHRIS ROCK IS CHRIS
ROCK, RIGHT?

Michele says HE IS.

Nam says YOU LAUGH, BUT IT'S ALSO KIND OF
UNCOMFORTABLE.

MICHELE SAYS SURE.
WHEN YOU... WHEN YOU STOP AND YOU
THINK ABOUT IT, IT'S LIKE,
"OH, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?"
YEAH, INTERESTINGLY, "I'LL MARRY
YOU," JUST TO DOVETAIL ON WHAT
WE TALKED ABOUT BEFORE AND THE
ATTRACTION.

Nam says YEAH.
RIGHT, I DIDN'T EVEN CATCH THAT.

Michele says YEAH.

NAM SAYS SO, CHRIS ROCK ASKS... ASKS
ONE OF THE WOMEN HER DEFINITION
OF GOOD HAIR.

Michele says SURE.

NAM SAYS WHERE DOES THAT IDEA COME
FROM, THIS IDEA OF GOOD HAIR?

The caption changes to "Michele Tapp Roseman, @MicheleTRoseman."

Michele says I THINK, IN A LOT OF INSTANCES,
IT PROBABLY STEMS FROM SLAVERY
WHERE THERE WAS ONE TYPE OF HAIR
THAT WAS PREFERRED OVER ANOTHER.
AND THEN THAT HAS JUST CARRIED
THROUGHOUT.
IF YOU LOOK AT IMAGES IN MEDIA,
BY AND LARGE, YOU WILL SEE THAT
IF THEY'RE WOMEN OF COLOUR,
OFTENTIMES THEY HAVE LONGER,
STRAIGHTER HAIR.
NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, NOT
DISPARAGING IT... BUT IF YOU CONTINUE TO SEE
THAT IMAGE... IF I CONTINUE TO SEE
THAT IMAGE OVER AND OVER AGAIN
SUBLIMINALLY, IT SAY, "IF THIS
IS WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE, THIS IS
WHAT IS WORTHY OF BEING VIEWED
BY EVERYONE ELSE."

Nam says AND WHAT DETERMINED WHAT
WAS GOOD HAIR?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Michele says I BELIEVE THE TEXTURE.
THE LENGTH OF IT; THE SILKINESS.
ITS SHEEN, LENGTH, COLOUR,
LENGTH.

Nam says AND I THINK YOU ALSO SHOWED A
PICTURE OF NAOMI CAMPBELL WHO...

MICHELE SAYS YES.

Nam says I THINK THAT WAS A WIG SHE WAS
WEARING.

[LAUGHS]

Michele says OH, LET ME ALSO SAY... THAT WAS A
WIG, BUT LET ME ALSO SAY THE
ABILITY TO SWING YOUR HEAD...

NAM SAYS YEAH.

Michele says AND HAVE YOUR HAIR MOVE.

NAM SAYS BUT I THINK WE ALL DID
THAT.

Michele says I KNOW I USED DO THAT WHERE I
WOULD PUT LIKE A TOWEL OVER MY HEAD.

MICHELE SAYS YES.

NAM SAYS YEAH.

Michele says YES, FOR ME, IT WAS A CLOTH... A
CLEAN CLOTH DIAPER...

Nam laughs and says THE DIAPER.

Michele says IT WAS A DIAPER.
I WAS IN FRONT OF A SEARS AND
ROEBUCK FAN WITH THE METAL
BLADES, AND I WOULD JUST STAND
THERE UNTIL IT WOULD JUST WHIP
ALL AROUND MY HEAD.
SO, THAT'S... THAT'S THE GOOD
HAIR.
IF IT CAN MOVE, YOU KNOW, AND
NOT JUST STAY IN ONE PLACE, THEN
THAT'S WHAT IS GOOD.
WHY?
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE'VE SEEN
ELEVATED IN THE MEDIA AND
OTHER... OTHER PUBLIC PLACES.
AND SO, THAT'S WHAT THE LOOK IS.

Nam says AND CHRIS ROCK ALSO MENTIONED A
RELAXER.

MICHELE SAYS YES.

Nam says AND IT'S THAT CREAM THAT YOU
PUT, AND IT MAKES YOUR HAIR
STRAIGHT.

Michele says YES.

NAM SAYS WHERE DOES THIS IDEA... WHERE
DOES THIS COME FROM, LIKE, YOU
PUTTING THIS CHEMICAL IN YOUR
HEAD TO MAKE IT STRAIGHT?

The caption changes to "Big business."

Michele says WHAT I WOULD SAY AND NOT KNOWING
THE COMPLETE ORIGIN...

NAM SAYS YEAH...

Michele says BUT JUST SUFFICE AS TO SAY: BY
ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE IT
STRAIGHT.
EVEN IF IT'S A CHEMICAL.
I REMEMBER WHEN I PERMED MY
HAIR, I REFERRED TO MYSELF AS A
SERIAL PERMER, MEANING I PERMED
FOR YEARS, AT LEAST 20 OR SO.
AND I WOULD SUSTAIN BURNS... I
HATE TO SAY IT... IN MY SCALP.

NAM SAYS BECAUSE IT STINGS.

Michele says IT MORE THAN STINGS.
IT LITERALLY... IT BURNS.
AND SO, I WOULD HAVE A SCAB AND
HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT, BUT MY
HAIR WAS STRAIGHT.

Nam says WELL, WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES
OF USING CHEMICALS LIKE RELAXERS?

Michele says WELL, I MEAN, NUMBER ONE,
THERE'S SO MUCH HAIR BREAKAGE.
A LOT OF TIMES WITH
AMERICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN, IN THE
COMMUNITY, YOU'LL SEE A LOT OF
THE EDGES AROUND THE HAIR IS
VERY FRAGILE, OR EITHER THE HAIR
FOLLICLE IS JUST NOT HEALTHY.
YOU'LL SEE A LOT OF THE
SCABBING, BREAKAGE, HAIR LOSS.
AND ALSO, I WOULD SAY TOO, JUST
THE SEETHING SELF-LOATHING
UNDERNEATH AND JUST THE SENSE
OF, "I'M DOING THIS EVERY FOUR
TO SIX WEEKS BECAUSE I'VE GOTTA
FIX MYSELF.
THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME."
SO, THERE ARE EXTERNAL, BUT I
BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE INTERNAL
ISSUES OR CONSEQUENCES AS WELL.
SO, IT'S NOT JUST TOPICAL.
IT'S MORE THAN... IT'S SOMETHING
THAT'S GOING ON IN THE SERVICE.
AND AS WE CONTINUE TO DO THAT,
WE PERPETUATE THE MESSAGE THAT
"I'M NOT GOOD THE WAY I AM."

Nam says IT ALSO AFFECTS YOUR LIFESTYLE
BECAUSE IF IT RAINS OR EXERCISING...

Michele says OH, FORGET IT.
THERE IS NO SWIMMING.
THERE IS NO EXERCISING OR ANYTHING...
NAM SAYS YEAH...

Michele says THAT'S GOING TO CAUSE IT TO
REVERT, AS IT WERE.

Nam says AND THIS COSTS A LOT OF MONEY.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO BLACK WOMEN
SPEND ON SUPPLIES?

Michele says WELL, IT DEPENDS.
YOU CAN DO OVER-THE-COUNTER
WHICH IS GONNA COST MAYBE ABOUT
10 dollars OR SO, BUT IT CAN GO UPWARDS
IN THE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS.
AND I KNOW PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY
GET IT DONE ON A WEEKLY BASIS.
YEAH, SO IT CAN COST A LOT.

Nam says YOU WRITE THAT THE AVERAGE BLACK
WOMAN SPENDS THREE TIMES AS MUCH
ON BEAUTY PRODUCTS COMPARED WITH
OTHER AMERICAN WOMEN.

Michele says YES, SURE.
AND I THINK, IN SOME INSTANCES,
IT SPEAKS TO CHASING, AS I
RELATE TO IN THE BOOK: THE
BEAUTY PHANTOM.
THAT LOOK THAT I WANT AT ANY
COST.
"I KNOW I DON'T HAVE IT, AND I'M
GONNA HAVE TO REALLY EXPEND SOME
DOLLARS IN ORDER TO MAKE IT
HAPPEN."
I MEAN, THERE'S NORMAL UPKEEP.
I'M ALL FOR THAT.
LOVE LOOKING GOOD, AND I THINK
WE SHOULD DO THAT.
BUT WHEN IT'S EXORBITANT, IT'S
REALLY SOMETHING ON THE INSIDE,
I BELIEVE, THAT'S DRIVING US TO
AN EDGE THAT WE'RE NOT EVEN
OFTENTIMES AWARE OF.

Nam says WHAT LED YOU TO FINALLY EMBRACE
YOUR NATURAL HAIR?

The caption changes to "Going natural."

Michele says FOR ME, I WAS TRYING TO GET
PREGNANT A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO.
AND I FIGURED THE BEST WAY FOR
ME TO DO THAT WAS TO STOP
PERMING BECAUSE I... I WASN'T
QUITE SURE... BUT I KNEW THE CHEMICALS IN MY
BLOOD STREAM WASN'T THE BEST
THING FOR A BABY.
AND WHEN IT DIDN'T WORK OUT FOR
US, AND I WALKED THROUGH
INFERTILITY... WHICH I TALK ABOUT
IN THE BOOK AS WELL... I STILL HAD
NATURAL HAIR.
AND I REALIZE, AS I WAS DEALING
WITH THIS ISSUE THAT MANY WOMEN
FACE, I WAS ALSO DEALING WITH
THE FACT THAT I JUST DID NOT
FEEL PRETTY BECAUSE I DIDN'T
HAVE THIS PERM.
BUT I WAS STILL INTRIGUED THAT I
LIKED MY HAIR.
AND SO, THAT'S WHEN I REALLY
BEGAN TO SORT OF GRAPPLE WITH
WHAT WAS ON MY HEAD, BUT THEN
ALSO WHAT WAS IN MY HEART ABOUT
HOW I REALLY FELT ABOUT MYSELF.
AND HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THAT
SINGULAR INCIDENT, I DON'T EVEN
KNOW IF I WOULD HAVE GONE
NATURAL BECAUSE I WAS JUST THE
TYPE OF WOMAN... YOU'LL SEE IT IN
HAIRLOOMS... WHERE I WAS LIKE, "WHEN I DIE,
JUST STRAIGHTEN MY EDGES."

Nam says AS LONG AS MY HAIR IS STRAIGHT.

Michele says AS LONG AS MY HAIR IS STRAIGHT,
YEAH.

NAM SAYS ARE MORE BLACK WOMEN
EMBRACING NATURAL HAIR NOW?

Michele says I WOULD SAY IT'S HARD TO SAY... BECAUSE YOU MAY LOOK AT
NUMBERS AND SAY,
"OH, WELL, PEOPLE ARE NOT
USING AS MANY PERMS."
BUT IT'S ONE THING TO EMBRACE IT
ON THE OUTSIDE, AS I SAID, IT'S
ANOTHER THING TO EMBRACE IT ON
THE INSIDE.

NAM SAYS YEAH.

Michele says AND SO, THE... I BELIEVE THE
FALLACY IS TO SAY JUST BECAUSE
YOU HAVE NATURAL HAIR, OR YOU
WEAR YOUR HAIR IN ITS NATURAL
STATE, RATHER, THAT YOU
DEFINITELY EMBRACE IT.
THE TWO DON'T ALWAYS COINCIDE.

Nam says YOU WRITE ABOUT GOLD MEDALIST
GABBY DOUGLAS...

MICHELE SAYS YES.

NAM SAYS THE YOUTH PHENOM...

MICHELE SAYS YES...

Nam says AND THE BACKLASH SHE RECEIVED
FOR HER HAIR DURING THE 2012
LONDON OLYMPICS.
WHAT HAPPENED?

Michele says OH, I MEAN, DURING THAT TIME,
EVEN THOUGH SHE HAD JUST SUCH A
PRISTINE APPEARANCE AND PRISTINE
PERFORMANCE, RATHER, FOLKS WERE
JUST FOCUSING ON HER HAIR BEING
"UNKEMPT."

The caption changes to "The mane debate."

NAM SAYS WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HER HAIR?

Michele says THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT,
IN MY ESTIMATION, BUT PEOPLE
DECIDED IN THE TWITTERSPHERE AND
EVERYWHERE ELSE THAT HER HAIR
WAS STICKING UP ALL OVER THE PLACE.
AND JUST THINK ABOUT IT, IF YOU
FLIPPED ALL OVER, AND YOU'VE
DONE DIFFERENT TYPES OF
GYMNASTICS, YOUR HAIR IS NOT
GOING TO BE IN PLACE EITHER.
BUT AGAIN, THAT BECAME THE
FOCUS.
AND IT SPEAKS TO WHAT WE'VE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT ALL ALONG.
EVEN SOMEONE WHO'S A STELLAR
ATHLETE, THE HAIR AND THAT IMAGE
CAN UPSTAGE WHAT SHE HAS DONE SO
WELL.
AND THAT ENDS UP BEING THE MAIN
FOCUS.

Nam says AND A LOT OF THE CRITICISM WAS
FROM BLACK PEOPLE.

MICHELE SAYS YES, I UNDERSTAND THAT.

Nam says IS THERE AN IRONY IN THAT?

Michele says I THINK THERE IS.
BUT TO SOME DEGREE, IT REALLY IS
BECAUSE OFTENTIMES WE HAVE NOT
DEALT WITH THE ISSUES.
SO, IT'S EASY.
EVEN THE STORY I TELL ABOUT
SHELLY... IT'S EASY TO CRITICIZE WHAT I
HAVEN'T DEALT WITH, AND IT'S
EASY TO POINT OUT THE PAIN THAT
I FEEL IN SOMEONE ELSE.
SO, OFTENTIMES, WE HAVE NOT
REALLY DEALT WITH IT ENOUGH, SO
THAT'S WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING.
YOU CAN ATTACK SOMEONE ELSE.
IT'S EASIER THAN ATTACKING
MYSELF.

Nam says AND YOU ALSO WRITE ABOUT HOW
THAT CRITICISM AFFECTED GABBY.

Michele says IT REALLY WOUNDED HER SPIRIT.
AND IT... IT APPEARS THAT IT
WOUNDED HER SOUL AS WELL.
AND IT'S REALLY HARD WHEN YOU
GET IT FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT
LIKE YOU, BUT THEN WHEN YOU HAVE
TO SUSTAIN THOSE TYPES OF
COMMENTS FROM SOMEONE WHO IS LIKE YOU...

NAM SAYS RIGHT.

A picture shows Gabby competing at the Olympics. She's in her twenties and has black hair in a tight bun, and several hairpins.

Michele says IT'S EVEN MORE HURTFUL
BECAUSE YOU WOULDN'T EXPECT THAT.

NAM SAYS WE TOUCHED ON IT A LITTLE
BIT...

MICHELE SAYS YEAH...

Nam says BUT HOW DID SLAVERY INSTILL
THIS IDEA OF OUR... LIKE, BLACK
HAIR BEING BAD?

MICHELE SAYS OH.

Nam says LIKE, THE TEXTURE?

MICHELE SAYS SURE.

NAM SAYS YEAH.

Michele says WELL, I WOULD SAY BECAUSE DURING
THAT TIME, THERE WERE NOT
IMPLEMENTS OR TOOLS TO REALLY DO
OUR HAIR.
YOU KNOW, WE DIDN'T WE HAVE NICE
WIDE-TOOTH COMBS AND THINGS OF
THAT NATURE.
AND SO, THERE WERE... THERE WERE
CARDS THAT WERE USED FOR
GROOMING ANIMALS.
AND THAT WAS ACTUALLY USED FOR
SLAVES' HAIR.
AND SO, THAT IN AND OF ITSELF,
JUST THAT AWKWARD CORRELATION
BETWEEN THE ANIMAL AND THE HAIR
OF A SLAVE.
AND THEN IF... AGAIN, WHAT I FIND
IS THAT PEOPLE TEND TO CRITICIZE
WHAT IS NOT LIKE... WHAT THEY ARE
NOT FAMILIAR WITH.
AND SO, IT DEFINITELY TAKES MORE
WORK TO DO OUR HAIR.
AND SO, IT WAS... IT ENDED UP
BEING DEEMED BAD.
AND SO, ANYTHING THAT WAS CLOSE
TO THAT, I BELIEVE THAT JUST
SORT OF CARRIED ON THROUGHOUT
THE GENERATIONS WITH THE SLAVE
MASTERS AND LOOKING AT, YOU
KNOW, THE SLAVE'S HAIR.

Nam says I WANNA SHOW ANOTHER CLIP.

MICHELE SAYS SURE.

Nam says THIS TIME IT'S FROM FOX NEWS.

MICHELE SAYS SURE.

Nam says BILL O'REILLY DISCUSSING U.S.
CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS'
HAIR FROM THIS PAST SPRING.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Patriot games. Waters: Trump supporters aren't patriotic."
In the clip, Maxine Waters, a black woman in her fifties with short wavy brown hair, speaks in the U.S. Congress.

She says YOU'RE NOT NEARLY AS PATRIOTIC
AS WE ARE.

A MAN SAYS SO, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, BILL?
WE'VE BEEN LISTENING ALL
MORNING.
WE CAN'T...

Bill O'Reilly says I DIDN'T HEAR A WORD SHE SAID.

[MAN LAUGHING]

Bill O'Reilly says I WAS LOOKING AT THE JAMES BROWN WIG.

[MEN LAUGHING]

Bill O'Reilly says IF WE HAVE A PICTURE OF
JAMES... IT'S THE SAME...

A MAN SAYS IT'S THE SAME ONE.

BILL SAYS RIGHT.

A WOMAN SAYS NO!

A MAN SAYS AND HE'S NOT USING IT
ANYMORE.
THEY JUST FINALLY BURIED HIM.

The WOMAN SAYS OK, I GOTTA DEFEND HER ON
THAT.

BILL SAYS YOU'RE ALL WRONG ABOUT
THIS.

The WOMAN SAYS I HAVE TO DEFEND HER ON
THAT.
SHE'S... YOU CAN'T GO AFTER A
WOMAN'S LOOKS.
I THINK SHE'S VERY ATTRACTIVE.

Bill says I DIDN'T SAY SHE WASN'T
ATTRACTIVE.

The WOMAN SAYS HER HAIR IS GREAT.

Bill says I LOVE JAMES BROWN.
BUT IT'S THE SAME HAIR...

MAN SAYS EXACTLY...

Bill says JAMES BROWN, OR THE GODFATHER
OF SOUL, HAD.

The clip ends.

Nam says WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

Michele says DISTASTEFUL, DEFINITELY.
AND... THOSE COMMENTS JUST REALLY
SPEAK TO WHAT WE HAVE BEEN
SAYING THROUGHOUT OUR TIME
TOGETHER: OUR HAIR IS JUST NOT
DEEMED AS BEING APPROPRIATE.
AND ALSO, JUST TO TAKE IT A STEP
FURTHER, IT'S SEEN AS A LAUGHING
MATTER, SOMETHING THAT IS NOT
TAKEN SERIOUSLY.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT CAN BE MADE
FUN OF.
AND AS SOMETHING THAT'S VERY
DISTASTEFUL.
AND IT'S SO INTERESTING BECAUSE
HERE YOU HAVE AN ACCOMPLISHED
WOMAN, SOMEONE WHO IS NOTED FOR
WHAT SHE SAYS AND FOR HER
THOUGHTS, COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED
JUST LIKE BACK TO GABBY.
EVERYTHING ELSE THAT SHE DOES,
WE'RE GONNA ZERO IN ON THAT ONE
PIECE THAT SOCIETY SAYS IS NOT
GREAT, IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
SO VERY DISTASTEFUL.

NAM SAYS AND ALSO JAMES BROWN DIDN'T
WEAR A WIG.

[CHUCKLES]

MICHELE SAYS HOW ABOUT THAT.

Nam says THAT WAS HIS NATURAL HAIR.

MICHELE SAYS YES, SO...

NAM SAYS RIGHT.

Michele says A LITTLE HISTORY NEEDED THERE.

[NAM AND MICHELE CHUCKLE]

Nam says YOU WRITE THAT MEDIA IMAGES HAVE
HELPED MANY WOMEN OF COLOUR
DEVELOP THE IDEA THAT HAIR IS
IMPORTANT BUT ALL HAIR IS NOT EQUAL.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Michele says THERE ARE SOME HAIR THAT GAINS
THE PRAISE AND PLAUDITS OF OTHER
PEOPLE MORE THAN OTHERS.
AND SO, BACK TO, AGAIN, PEOPLE
THAT TEND TO HAVE LONGER,
SILKIER HAIR... NOTHING WRONG WITH
THAT... BUT OFTENTIMES, THAT'S
THE HAIR THAT... "OH, YOUR HAIR IS
REALLY NICE," OR, "YOUR HAIR IS
BEAUTIFUL."
AND SO, YOU SEE THAT A LOT OF
TIMES IN THE MEDIA.
VERY RARELY DO YOU SEE SOMEONE
WHO'S WEARING THEIR HAIR THAT
LOOKS LIKE MINE, JUST TO BE
HONEST.
AND SO, AGAIN, THAT SENDS A
MESSAGE THAT THIS HAIR NEEDS TO
BE FIXED.
IT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED, YOU KNOW?
AND I THINK ABOUT ME YEARS AGO
WHEN I WAS ASPIRING TO BE AN
ON-AIR REPORTER, MY LOOK WAS
LONG, STRAIGHT HAIR BECAUSE THAT
WAS WHAT I SAW IN THE MEDIA.
AND SO, THAT'S WHAT I SAID,
"THIS IS WHAT... YOU KNOW, WHAT
BEAUTY IS."
AND SO, THERE IS... REALLY IS A
NEED TO REDEFINE WHAT BEAUTIFUL
IS AND TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE.
AND FOR EVEN... IF YOU DON'T SEE
IT, TO KNOW WITHIN YOURSELF.
I LIKE HOW NICOLE ARI PARKER
says IT IN THE BOOK...
THAT "WE ARE ENOUGH."
WHETHER SOMEONE SAYS IT OR NOT.
BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH THERE CAN BE
EXTERNAL DIALOGUE, I THINK WHAT
IS MOST IMPORTANT IS THE
INTERNAL DIALOGUE.
WHEN THAT DIALOGUE IS ON POINT,
AND YOU'RE USING
HAIRLOOMS,
WORDS ABOUT HAIR AND BEAUTY THAT
ARE WORTH PASSING ALONG, THEN
YOU WILL BEGIN TO SEE A
DIFFERENCE.
AND THERE WILL BE MORE OF AN
EMBRACE, TO CIRCLE BACK TO WHAT
YOU SAID BEFORE, OF NATURAL HAIR.
NOT JUST BECAUSE I HAVE IT ON
THE OUTSIDE, BUT BECAUSE THERE'S
SOMETHING THAT'S GENERATING ON
THE INSIDE THAT'S MORE
AUTHENTIC.

Nam says BUT EVEN AMONGST BLACK WOMEN...

MICHELE SAYS YEAH...

Nam says NOW THERE SEEMS TO BE LIKE A
HIERARCHY...

Michele says OH, YES, YES.

NAM SAYS OF WHAT IT'S LIKE WITH THE
DIFFERENT TEXTURES.

[LAUGHING]

Michele says I KNOW.

Nam says AND THE CURL PATTERN...

Michele says YES.

NAM SAYS THE FORESEE OR THE CURL
PATTERN.

Michele says YEAH.

NAM SAYS SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE
BLACK WOMEN... 'CAUSE IT SEEMS
LIKE BLACK WOMEN ARE NOW DOING
TO EACH OTHER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE
DID TO THEM.

Michele says SURE.
I... AND WHAT I WOULD SAY IS THAT
WHEN THERE ARE SYSTEMIC ISSUES,
IT REALLY TAKES TIME FOR
HEALING.
THERE'S AN ACRONYM THAT I
CREATED EVEN AFTER I WROTE THE
BOOK WITH HAIR... HEALING ALWAYS
INVOLVES REINVENTION, H-A-I-R.
AND SO, THERE HAS TO BE A
REINVENTION OF THOUGHTS... HAVE TO BE A REINVENTION OF
FEELINGS ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS
AND WHAT OUR TRIGGERS ARE.
AND THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT I REALLY WAS PURPOSEFUL
ABOUT WITH
HAIRLOOMS.
IT'S NOT JUST A BOOK WHERE YOU
JUST READ ABOUT DIFFERENT
PEOPLE'S STORIES, BUT THERE ARE
EXERCISES AT THE END WHERE YOU
CAN BEGIN TO WORK THROUGH.
AND I HAVE A LOT OF OPEN-ENDED
QUESTIONS.
ASK YOURSELF, HOW DO I REALLY
FEEL ABOUT MYSELF?
WHEN THE LIGHTS AND CAMERA AND
ACTION ARE GONE, HOW DO I FEEL
WHEN I TAKE MY MAKEUP OFF, WHEN
MY HAIR ARE TWO-STRANDED TWISTS
AND SOMEONE WOULD SAY I LOOK
LIKE BUCKWHEAT, HOW DO I FEEL
ABOUT MYSELF?
AND SO, THOSE ARE THE
TYPES OF ISSUES THAT REALLY NEED
TO... YOU NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT
THOSE THINGS.

Nam says AND YOU FEATURE... YOU PROFILE 32
BLACK WOMEN IN THE BOOK.

MICHELE SAYS AND MEN.

Nam says AND MEN.

MICHELE SAYS YES.

Nam says AND, YES, THE GENTLEMAN FROM
SESAME STREET.

Michele says YEAH,
SESAME STREET.

NAM SAYS AND HE CREATED THE VIDEO
FOR I "LOVE MY HAIR."

Michele says YES, YES.

NAM SAYS FOR HIS DAUGHTER.

Michele says YES, HE DID.

Nam says HOW IMPACTFUL DO YOU THINK THAT
VIDEO WAS?

The caption changes to "Untangled truths."

Michele says EXTREMELY IMPACTFUL.
AND I WOULD SAY FOR A COUPLE OF
REASONS.
NUMBER ONE, IT SHOWED "US."
ONSCREEN, AND ANYTIME YOU SEE
US ONSCREEN, THAT'S SOMETHING
THAT'S GOING TO AFFIRM WHO WE
ARE.
BUT THEN ALSO THE FACT THAT IT
WAS
SESAME STREET,
AND IT WAS
SOMETHING THAT WAS DONE FOR A
LITTLE GIRL.
AND I THINK IN MANY OF US,
THERE'S THAT LITTLE GIRL THAT
WISHES SOMEONE HAD CATERED TO US
AND SAID... "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL" BEFORE YOU
GET IN YOUR 20S, 30S, 40S, OR
50S.

Nam says YEAH.
AND 32 PEOPLE PROFILED IN THE
BOOK, WHAT'S THE COMMON THREAD
AMONGST ALL THOSE STORIES?

Michele says TWO COMMON THREADS.
ONE I WOULD SAY IS THAT IT'S
TIME FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN
WOMEN... ALL WOMEN IN PARTICULAR,
BUT SPECIFICALLY FOR US, TO KNOW
THAT WE ARE ENOUGH.
AND THEN ALSO, THE OTHER MESSAGE
WOULD BE TO EMBRACE WHO WE
ACTUALLY ARE.
DON'T SPEND SO MUCH TIME TRYING
TO DO SOMETHING FOR WHICH WE'RE
NOT GENETICALLY DISPOSED OR
TRYING TO LOOK LIKE SOMEONE
ELSE, BUT GET TO KNOW AND TO
LOVE WHO WE ARE BECAUSE
TIME... TIME PASSES.
AND YOU WAKE UP, AND YOU'RE 30,
AND THEN YOU WAKE UP AND YOU'RE
50.
AND YOU'RE LIKE, "WHERE HAS THE
TIME GONE?
I'M CHASING AFTER SOMETHING THAT
REALLY NEVER IS GONNA BE MINE."
BUT THEN ON THE OTHER HAND,
THERE'S A GOLD MINE OF TREASURE
AND WORTH ON THE INSIDE... IF WE WOULD BUT TAKE THE TIME
TO FOCUS ON OURSELVES, STOP THE
CRITICISM... AND THEN TO CELEBRATE WHAT
WE'VE GOT AND ENHANCE THAT.

Nam says NOT TO PLAY FAVOURITISM FOR THE
PEOPLE IN THE BOOK...

MICHELE laughs and says SURE!

Nam says BUT WHAT WAS YOUR... WHAT WAS
YOUR MOST IMPACTFUL STORY?
LIKE, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM
THESE PEOPLE?

Michele says OH GOODNESS.

NAM SAYS I MEAN, MAYA ANGELOU WAS IN

Michele says LIKE...
SHE...

NAM SAYS SHE'S KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

[LAUGHS]

A picture shows Maya Angelou at around sixty, with curly gray hair.

MICHELE SAYS SHE'S BEYOND A BIG
DEAL.
JUST TOWERING GRACE... AND ELEGANCE AND KINDNESS.
AND WHAT... WHAT SHE TAUGHT ME
WAS... THAT AT THE END OF HER LIFE,
SHE LOVED AND FULLY EMBRACED
WHO SHE WAS.
IT WAS NOT EVEN A QUESTION.
REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYONE SAID.
SHE LET ME KNOW THAT YOU CAN GET
TO THAT POINT.
SOME OF THE OTHER STORIES THAT
REALLY WERE JUST WONDERFUL
FOR ME, THERE WAS AN AUSTRALIAN
WRITER AND VISUAL ARTIST WHO'S
IN THE BOOK... SUE
MCPHERSON.
COMPLETELY AWESOME STORY, YOU KNOW?

NAM SAYS WHAT WAS HER STORY?

Michele says OH, HER STORY.
SHE TALKED ABOUT HOW SHE BATTLED
WITH CANCER AND WAS A SURVIVOR
OF THAT.
BUT SHE LOST ALL OF HER HAIR,
AND IT WAS AT THAT TIME, SHE
SAID, "YOU KNOW, HERE I AM
FOCUSING ON HAIR, AND I'M
CLINGING TO LIFE."

A black and white picture shows a woman with long curly hair.

Michele says AND SO, IT BEGAN TO SORT OF
LEVEL SET THE THINGS THAT WERE
IMPORTANT TO HER.
SO, HER STORY, AGAIN, WAS JUST
REALLY GREAT.
THEN THERE'S ANOTHER CANCER
SURVIVOR IN THE STORY AS WELL,
ELAINE JAMESON.
AND SHE'S BEAUTIFULLY BALD.
SHE SAID SHE JUST GOT TO A POINT
WHERE SHE JUST WANTED TO TAKE IT
OFF, AND SHE DID NOT ALLOW HER
HAIR TO DEFINE HERSELF.

A colour picture shows three black women talking, two with short-cropped hair and one completely bald.

Michele says SO, TO CIRCLE BACK AND TO ANSWER
YOUR QUESTION, I REALLY CAN'T
BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL
FAVOURITES.

[NAM LAUGHS]

Michele says THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING IN
EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE
STORIES.
MC LYTE WHERE SHE CHANNELLED OR
JUST TOLD THE NEXT GENERATION TO
REALLY EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE AND
TO NOT FOCUS AND GET HUNG-UP ON
HOW YOU WEAR YOUR HAIR.
BUT JUST MAKE SURE IT'S
AUTHENTICALLY YOU.

A picture shows a woman in her thirties with long curly brown hair with highlights.

Michele says EACH AND EVERY ONE REALLY WAS A
GIFT TO ME.
AND I'M SO GLAD I'M ABLE TO JUST
SHARE IT, REALLY, WITH THE
WORLD.

Nam says AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE BLACK WOMEN
TAKE AWAY FROM THIS BOOK?

Michele says A SIMPLE MESSAGE: THAT YOU'RE
ENOUGH.
YOU... I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE
HAS TOLD YOU.
I DON'T EVEN CARE WHAT YOU'VE
TOLD YOURSELF.
TAKE THE TIME TO REALIZE THE
TREASURE AND THE VALUE THAT'S ON
THE INSIDE OF YOU.
IF YOU GET THAT OUT OF THE BOOK,
YOU'VE GOT IT.

Nam says AND I JUST WANTED TO MENTIONED
ONE MORE PERSON...

MICHELE SAYS SURE...

Nam says BECAUSE WE WERE TALKING ABOUT
WORK.
THERE'S MAJOR GENERAL MARCIA
ANDERSON.

Michele says YEAH.

NAM SAYS CAN YOU TELL US HER STORY?

Michele says SURE.
MAJOR GENERAL MARCIA ANDERSON.
SHE HAS A REALLY RIVETING STORY
ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF WEARING
YOUR HAIR NATURAL
IN THE U.S. ARMED FORCES.

A picture shows the General, in her forties, with black hair in a tight bun.

MICHELE SAYS AND ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT I REALLY LIKE ABOUT HER,
NUMBER ONE, SHE WAS NOT BITTER
IN TELLING HER STORY.
SOMETIMES THAT CAN HAPPEN
DEPENDING ON WHAT WE SUSTAIN,
BUT SHE WAS NOT BITTER.
AND WHAT SHE SAID WAS THAT WHEN
SHE WORE HER HAIR NATURAL AND
SHE REALLY ROSE TO THE OCCASION
OF LETTING PEOPLE KNOW THE
ISSUES THAT SHE WAS DEALING
WITH, IT WAS AN EDUCATIONAL
MOMENT, AND...

NAM SAYS FOR HER?

Michele says FOR HER AND ALSO FOR THE PEOPLE
AROUND HER, THAT THERE WERE
OTHER WHITE COLLEAGUES THAT
WANTED TO ASK, YOU KNOW, ABOUT
HAIR AND WHAT IT'S LIKE, BUT
THEY FELT AFRAID TO.
AND SO, SHE SAID, BECAUSE, YOU
KNOW, THAT ISSUE CAME UP IN
TERMS OF WEARING NATURAL HAIR IN
THE ARMED FORCES, SHE WAS
ACTUALLY ABLE TO BE AN EDUCATOR.
AND SO, I LIKE THAT... THE FACT
THAT SHE COULD HAVE BEEN VERY
BITTER AND SAID, "I'M NOT GONNA
TELL YOU ANYTHING," YOU KNOW?
BUT SHE TOOK THAT AS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE SOMEONE,
TO UNDERSTAND AND TO WALK IN
SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES.
AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE
BEAUTIES OF
HAIRLOOMS
BECAUSE
THERE'S SO MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE
COVERED; THERE'S SO MUCH GROUND
THAT'S COVERED, AND I'M GETTING
A LOT OF FEEDBACK.
EVEN PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT BLACK
ARE READING THE BOOK, AND
THEY'RE SAYING, "YOU KNOW,
SOMETHING RESONATES WITH ME."
BECAUSE I BELIEVE ALL OF US WANT
TO BE ACCEPTED AND TO KNOW THAT
WE'RE SEEN AS BEING BEAUTIFUL
FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
NOT JUST FROM THE WORLD, BUT
EVEN FOR OURSELVES AS WELL.

Nam says BUT NOT TO BE DEFINED BY...

MICHELE SAYS PRECISELY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Nam says THANK YOU SO MUCH, MICHELE, FOR
BEING HERE.

Michele says SURE, THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

NAM SAYS A GREAT READ.

Watch: The Beauty of Black Hair