scr

Linda "Mosetta" Jones has seen some pretty dramatic things at her Nappy Hair Day events. There was the time a woman spontaneously asked somebody to do The Big Chop and had her hair cut down to its new growth. There was a woman who proudly ripped off her wig to reveal cornrows. And there was the woman who wanted to prove she truly was nappy, so she doused her hair with water in the bathroom to reveal her kinks. Since her first gathering in 1998, Jones has hosted dozens of Hair Days -- stress-free, casual workshops where women can learn how to wear their hair in natural, traditional African styles. "These are grass-roots hair braiding sessions," says Jones. "We sit down at each others knee and do each others' hair." Jones, a veteran award-winning Dallas journalist, regularly had friends ask her for advice on natural hair. It was hard to find people to do their hair, and some couldn't afford to go to a salon that specialized in natural styles. When a newly hired reporter at her newspaper told Jones about her frustrations finding someone to do her locks, that gave Jones the push she needed. "I said 'I'll invite some other people over to my house and we'll do each others' hair," says Jones, who had written about hair issues as a reporter. "That's how it started." Twenty women showed up at the first Hair Day. For hours, they twisted hair, rolled locs and even did massages. They shared their horror stories -- some funny, some sad -- and the criticism they had received for going natural. "I always joke that I couldn't get them to leave," Jones says. Out of that first gathering in Dallas, Jones has built the Nappy Hair Affair Inc., a full-time endeavor. "It's a public service," Jones says. "We're promoting African-American culture and identity. The principle focus is on the hair -- wearing natural and African-inspired styles -- but it goes much deeper than hair. If this was just about a hair style, it wouldn't have any shelf life." The group has members of all hair texture around the world who have hosted Hair Day gatherings. In Germany, there is a group that calls themselves the "Euronaps." "It's not your typical salon situation at all," Jones says. "You just bring your own hair product and pick partners. Everyone gets involved." Nobody is excluded from a Hair Day, Jones stresses. "Those with perms who want to come are welcome," she says. "If you choose to wear a perm, that's fine. But if you're doing it because you believe what the Creator gave you is wrong, then there's something wrong with that. Some of my best friends wear perms." Men also are welcome, and the group has hosted an honorary "Brothers' Day." Out of these gatherings evolved Jones' new book, "Nappyisms: Affirmations for Nappy-headed People and Wannabes!" Jones published the book in 2003 to inspire and motivate African Americans to feel good about wearing their hair in its most natural or African-inspired state. It is a collection of anecdotes, jokes and essays about Black hair culture. "I'm trying to deliver a serious message using humor," Jones says."I want to let people know it's okay to be who you are." As part of her nappy crusade, Jones this summer launched her Hairepy Session Cultural Enrichment Workshops for adolescent and older girls. During the 8-week workshops, natural hair is used to raise cultural awareness and to foster self-appreciation. To help fund her endeavors, Jones sells t-shirts and hosts public Hair Days where vendors sell items. "With Linda's work on many fronts, she has invited Black people to be who we are," says Pamela Johnson, co-editor of Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories. "Linda Jones has started a revolution." Jones says her job is tremendously rewarding, especially when she talks to people who have been to a Hair Day. "People say it's changed their lives," Jones says. Jones has inspired so many people to celebrate their natural selves that her fans have nicknamed her "Mosetta," a contemporary female Moses who is leading people out of hair bondage and into the land of nappy freedom. "Jones is striking a chord with so many women because she's tapped into the pain that has haunted black women for generations and contributed to the low self-esteem many of them have because they know that, rather than being judged by their smarts and the content of their character, they're judged by the texture of their unstraightened, natural hair," says Louisville Courier Journal columnist Betty Baye. This month, "Mosetta" debuts on NaturallyCurly.com with "Naturally Speaking," a monthly column dedicated to natural hair topics.


Excerpts from Nappyisms' NaptionaryNap: One kink. Also means a little sleep. Naps: Many kinks. Also means lots of sleep. NAP: Nappy African-American Princess. A nappy diva who lets the beauty of her natural hair go to her head. Nappy: Hair that is kinky, willful, versatile and free. Hair devoid of chemical relaxers. Hair that is good, but gets a bad rap from the unenlightened. Nappy Minds: People who appreciate the beauty of nappy hair, but don't have the courage, desire, confidence or ability to wear theirs up that way. Nappy Nirvana: A peaceful state of nappiness. The bliss you feel when you cut your relaxed hair down to its nappy new growth. Nap Dap: A greeting given to and given by nappy-headed people. A handshake showing nappy solidarity that is performed by rubbing hands together and ending with a snap to signify your naps "snapping back." Napologist: A specialist in the science of naps. Nubbies: Short hair in beginning stages of locking. O-Pressed Hair: Hair that is in bondage, usually to chemical relaxers. Nappy hair straightened into submission with the hot comb. Overly Curly: Euphemistic term used by people who are in nap denial. "My hair is not nappy, it's overly curly."

0 Comments

Social