It’s More Than Hair–Being A Role Model



“Young girls can’t aspire to be something they don’t see.”

—India, from My Natural Sistas 

This quote totally resonates with me and reminds me of an experience I had to a few years ago.  I had the pleasure of working with youth in an after school/ summer day camp program a few years ago. This was before I converted to Islam and began wearing the hijab.

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Three Year Old with a Relaxer

Tanika 3 years old

Tanika 3 years old with chemical relaxer

This is me on picture day in Pre-Kindergarten.  I was three years old.  As you can see my hair is bone straight from a chemical relaxer or “perm.”  At this age, it was ingrained in me that my hair was bad and needed to be altered.  Although I was only three years old at the time, I distinctly remember having this message instilled in me.  One day, my mother’s sister and her children came to visit from Louisiana.  Several of my relatives were sitting around the table in my grandmother’s kitchen talking.  I was sitting on the counter next to a Dark and Lovely Super Relaxer, which is meant for extremely coarse and kinky hair textures. If you have ever had a relaxer before, then you know there are adult “perms” and “kiddie perms.”  Well this one was the adult version.

My aunt asked my mother, “Are you going to put that in Tanika’s hair?”  She was concerned about her giving me the maximum strength  adult “perm,” even though I was very young. My mother replied, “Yes, her hair is bad, so she needs it.” This memory sticks out to me, so much even though I was very young at the time.   For  17 years of my life, from ages 3-20, I was addicted to the “creamy crack” and hated my natural hair.

If you check out the rest of our blog, Tasha and I talk about topics such as worthiness, positive thinking, overcoming life’s tests,  and the importance of self-care, etc.  So, what does hair have to do with the overall message of this blog?  It has everything to do with it.  For me, making the decision to accept my natural hair texture was more about accepting the part of me that I believed was inherently bad for the majority of my life.  It about loving the God given me, including my natural hair.

Going natural has changed not only my life, but has allowed me to have a positive effect on many young girls’ lives and self-esteem.  Anyone who knows me in real life, knows that I love natural hair!  I love styling it, reading about it, watching videos about it, and writing about it.  It’s more than hair, it’s about self-love, self-esteem, health, being a role model, empowerment and so much more.

I want to share with you some more of these stories in future posts.  In the meantime check out this song I absolutely love called Love Me So Naturally by Alicia James that totally relates to my point.

You are beautiful.  Own it. Accept it.  Inspire others to do the same.  What  physical characteristic do you love about yourself?


Peace and Blessings

Love Always,

Tanika Monique

Always and Forever

Forever and Always