I was ready to make a very strong cultural connection to my African American heritage

Recorded May 23, 2018 Archived May 23, 2018 00:00 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: APP497784


Mother and daughter share personal stories about natural hair, politics, and culture.


  • Gabrielle Dubose
  • Brittney Dubose

Interview By



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00:02 Hi, this is Brittney, Dubose. And I'm here with my mom Gabrielle Dubose. I'm Gabrielle Dubose and happy to be here.

00:11 I'm our first question that we want to talk about with the nappy Hair Affair is, have we ever attended a hair day Gathering or been involved with a nappy Hair Affair? In other ways? I have not but I actually have a couple years ago. I did attend a natural hair care show. I was happy to be there as I was still relatively new with natural hair care in the introduce me to products and also styling workshops.

00:40 How long have you worn your hair natural? I think about 12 years now, the 12 for you. It's about 8 for me and my transition was not intentional. I did not mean to go, natural. I simply was too broke to get a perms. This was after wearing my hair in a perm for about 6 years. And I was going to my graduation for my undergrad. I was getting ready for that and did not have the money to get my hair permed and was like, you know, what?

01:22 I'm just going to rock it and see what happens and a surprise my mother completely because she even trying to get me to go natural for a couple of years and I was not about that life. I did not want to do it. I felt like I was going to be too much work, and all I wanted to do is wear my hair straight down or in a ponytail. No curls No Frills, and now it was going to be curly 24/7. And I was thrilled because I knew the first of all, you beautiful and great of hair. You have is absolutely stunning and beautiful in the natural curls. And so I was elated that you had reached that point and you were ready to take that on and go natural. I thought. Yes. Yes. Yes, but I think another reason I was nervous about as I didn't know what my natural grade of curl was going to look like cuz even though I had only had a perm for six years, you've been pressing it for so long. I don't know what my head was.

02:22 I was like if it was natural to see that's the beauty of it. You were natural. Before you even knew that you were natural. You were sort of forced into having to take on that perm because of the dance team in the hot sweltering, weather in Texas and all of that. But I knew the consistency in the texture of your hair was absolutely gorgeous. And I knew that natural you were going to love it because of the versatility of your own here, which is very true. And the transition for me, wasn't a terrible experience. Know, I didn't have to chop mine off. I was able to just kind of let it grow. And it was, it was tighter curls towards my scalp and as it got, you know, towards the end. It was like longer wispy girls, that didn't quite look at a place with the afro that I was wearing at the time. So I got to at least grow it out to a good length before I dropped it off. But what was the transition for you? Like well, the transition from me, I think had a lot to do with where I was culturally at that time living still.

03:22 Predominantly white area, in Texas and just inwardly. I was ready to make a very strong cultural connection to my African American Heritage. And so, for me, one of the ways that I could make that transition was to go natural. So that could be beautiful in my skin beautiful and the texture of my hair naturally. So and again, help me to connect with, who I am as an African-American. So I made an intentional decision to do that and I'm glad about it.

03:55 What kind of reaction did you get when you did this natural thing? Yeah, I think the reaction was mixed. Those at closest. They were closest to me, my concentric Circle. We very supportive and appreciative and, you know, gave lots of compliments and accolades in that. I think at that time, 12 years ago and fast forward to 12 years later. It's still when I'm in mixed groups crowds people wear. A lot of times, the comments are mixed. I think still not everyone understands the beauty of natural curly hair. That can be worn, short or medium style excetera excetera. So it's been mixed.

04:37 Directions were pretty and positive for the most part. Definitely. I think, the biggest difference I could see was the types of rashes. I would get from guys, and who was trying to holler at, you know, what is straight? And even if they didn't know, it could be natural and just be flat ironed in and straight, so that straight either way. I was, it can be any Joe Schmo, the street, who was going to say something. But if it was Curly in an Afro or styled up in a way that was African inspired, then it would be, you know, those who are more Afrocentric said, how you doing my queen? And my sister, and I have to say that I've had a similar experience being older than your mom. Same thing that there been an African American man who have said that who said, oh, you hurt. I love love what you've done with your hair is. So naturally. They said, you know, my queen xcetera, but there are those in and out of our community who are not, wait, not always as

05:37 Noticeable with their compliments when my hair is natural. As opposed to, when I blow it out and it's straight and then I think they're more head nods at that particular time at be at all. Because we're still under some of this European style being like the best style. And so, I think still a lot of people in our society, African-American and not are still grappling with where to find themselves. In terms of appreciating a woman who's wearing their hair natural, the last question. Why do you like wearing your hair natural or an African inspired Styles? Oh my gosh. I love the freedom. I love expressing who I am through my hair because I will call in India. Arie song, Here. I am not my hair. I'm everything is inside of me. In the hair, is just an outward expression of perhaps, who I am on the inside. So it's freedom and its Liberty, and it's making no apologies for being in this African American skin.

06:37 Tag along with that one course instead of saying it's the freedom for me. It's been a rebel and her belly is getting to go against the grain in a way that actually helps me to feel empowered and I feel as though I'm empowering others and encouraging other. I'm asking to wear American women to be comfortable in their own skin, and I truly believe that I am more confident and comfortable being wholly, who I am. I'm not making any alterations chemically to my hair and therefore may be able to say, you know, yeah, I'm perfect the way just got. It's just the way God made me. I don't need to make him a cool changes to my hair to be beautiful. And that's it. Black and loving it.

07:30 Black and lovely. Peace out.