MC Elis – 6 year old Brazilian musical artist

This young girl is over here singing about: Loving her natural hair: it’s NOT dry/hard, it’s her crown as a queen Being sick of racism Pride in her Blackness: referring to herself explicitly as Black (preta) rather than one of the endless other terms that refer to color (mulata, moreninha) but try to maintain distance…

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Gritaram-Me Negra! [They Shouted, Black Girl!]

**Tinha sete anos apenas, [I was only seven years old] apenas sete anos, [only seven years old] Que sete anos! [what seven years?!] Não chegava nem a cinco! [I wasn’t even five!] De repente umas vozes na rua [when suddenly some voices in the street] me gritaram Negra! [shouted, “black girl!”] Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra!…

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Why I Love/Hate Travelling

I decided around graduation that I would do the irresponsible thing that twenty-somethings do, and travel instead of looking for a job. To be fair, I’m only going for about a month; I’m visiting my boyfriend, and I’m in a country I’ve been to two other times now, as opposed to backpacking through Europe and…

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Relaxers & Brazilian Blowouts: What are you really putting in your hair?

The Brazilian Blowout Allegedly Contains A Lot of Formaldehyde…

Hmmm. While I know that US relaxers don’t have formaldehyde as a main ingredient, I wonder, if one of the ingredients really was carcinogenic (which still could be a possibility) would they tell us? I mean sodium hydroxide (aka lye) was a pretty terrible main ingredient in relaxers for a LONG time—a chemical that while I was in chem lab, you’d have to be SUPREMELY cautious never to get on your skin because it’s corrosive. Non-lye relaxers are better, but what do we really know? Women have been told that formaldehyde is carcinogenic but they’re not planning on stopping the Brazilian Blowout anytime soon, because their natural hair is just not as desirable for them as silky smooth straight hair.

I just don’t know what to think anymore. I try and be supportive of black women who want to chemically alter their hair, to be clear that they’re free to do whatever they want with their hair, and to not be THAT natural-haired girl who tells every black woman that they need to free themselves from the chemicals–the “creamy crack.” HOWEVER, after all the hours spent in biology and chemistry labs, and knowing just how thin the skin on our scalp is and how it can be a vehicle for chemicals entering our body through absorption, I’m becoming less concerned with being perceived as one-of-those-preachy-naturals and more concerned with making sure black women (in particular) are well-informed about the potential health risks of putting that stuff on your scalp; and especially with putting it on the scalps of children.