scr

When Kaya Casper decided to go natural eight years ago at the age of 19, she was hungry for information about natural hair.

But what she found in hair magazines were pictures of models wearing extensions, weaves, wigs and texture-altering chemicals on their hair.

'I found two pages here, three pages there, but there really wasn't much,' Casper says.

So in July 2003, Casper published the first issue of Naturally You!, a magazine featuring models with 100 percent natural hair -- no extensions, no weaves, no texturizers or relaxers. Natural afros, locs, twists, and updos are only a few of the styles featured on models with varying degrees of kinky hair.

Naturally You! has articles by and about people -- women, men and children -- who have natural hair and those transitioning to natural hair. Most of the models are amateurs, and they represent women of all hair textures and styles. And the magazine also addresses other aspects of natural living, including mental health, mental wellness and physical wellness. 'In Naturally You!, it's cover-to-cover natural hair,' Casper says.

Casper, like many women, didn't always accept her hair's natural texture. She got her first perm at the age of nine.

'I begged for it,' says Casper. 'At that time, I thought I had really nappy hair. It was horrible. I lived in a white neighborhood and I wanted to look like the other white girls and the other black girls who all had straight hair.'

But Casper developed a sensitivity to the strong chemicals. So she decided to cut it all off.

'People said 'Don't do it,' she recalls. 'They told me it was a horrible idea. That motivated me to do it even more.' So she took her scissors and started chopping.

'It was an empowering feeling to walk out with no hair to hide beneath,' she says. 'It was so interesting when it started growing back in.'

Transitioning was an intense process, she says. Even after her hair started growing in, she had a mental transition to go through. She had to get used to her new look -- a process that was difficult at first.

'I wasn't prepared for it at first,' she says. 'I went back and forth. I finally accepted it the way it was.' Six months after she went natural, Casper says she had the privilege of shaving off her mother's perm. Her sister also has gone natural.

'It has been such an experience,' she says. 'They're both happier and much more grounded.'

Casper says she originally wanted to create a Web site that provided the information she had gathered over the years while she was learning what to do with her natural hair.

'But a lot of people started asking for it in print because a lot of black people don't have access to the Internet,' she says. 'Hopefully we can reach more people. I was blessed to go through the process and come out on the other end of it. I feel I need to pass it on.'

0 Comments

Social