Almost six years ago, I changed my hair out of boredom- I had experimented many haircuts, colors and looks already- I first got the Surf Up cut, the military cut then cut all of it. At the time, I was not thinking about returning natural. I was having versatility fun…..
As my hair started to grow again, I started to wonder what I would do with it: cut it again? Keep it “kinky” or texturize it to make a change? I have always liked Tanya Saint Val and Orlane’s curly hair then figured out the texturizer was what I needed to get “the look” I applied the creamy crack and started to make research about “curly hair maintenance”, this lead me to books and videos and articles about natural hair (curly, kinky and coily).
What I discovered about natural hair was GOLD to me! I didnt know my hair liked water, I didnt know I could define its texture, keep it beautiful without chemical transformations. I was in awe!!!!!! I had to experience that myself so I re-big chopped in July 2010 and that was it!
People started to question my choice to remain natural as soon as my hair grew past three inches. From my household to my workplace, people made fun of me: I was named “Tèt tchong tchong” “Anba bra moun fou” “Sentaniz” “Sè Pwotestan” “tèt boude”. Natural hair was neither appropriate, nor dressy, nor professional, nor elegant. The more the mockeries and sarcasms about my hair, the more I was determined to both keep my hair natural and prove them wrong.
As my natural hair journey went on, I would spend hours reading blogs and watching vlogs. I’d personally contact some authors/hair gurus/ trichologists to ask questions and explanations on controversial hair matters. Meanwhile, I’d post pictures of my haircare, hairstyles and new findings every single day on my social networks. My hair was grateful to me. It grew beautiful, long and shiny and soon, the people who used to make fun of me started to compliment me and ask me help them do the same!
By December 2011, I had so many people asking for my help on how to go back natural, take care and style their newly natural hair that I was thinking of creating a Facebook page where I could share the information at once for everybody. What would I call the page? How long would I keep it for? Would it really help my friends and relatives?
On January 1st, 2012, I eventually created Afro Alice : 1) Afro from Africa and Alice from Celtic meaning Noble to honor our noble Heritage from Africa 2) I had an Afro and Alice is my alias. The publications were first made in English only to cater to my close environment needs then were changed to Haitian Creole when the public grew larger six months after. There was more coming…..
Throughout all my personal natural hair journey, I never had downs or doubts or self confidence issues – I was in an adventure and everyday was different and unique. Yet, to help people, I had to understand them better. Their feelings, realities and views were different than mine. I continued to dig even deeper in my research and really connected to my public to better tailor my writing to their needs. My followers were like babies of mine depending on my expertise, example and guidance to make it through this new and fearful journey they were starting. I never knew hair was related to so many aspects of our lives: our health, our finance, our beauty, our culture! Afro Alice was becoming more than a “just for fun” initiative. …..
I have always been good at styling hair and I have always been good at empowering people. I loved hair and I loved people. Afro Alice was my opportunity to make a difference in my own humble ways. Along with the invaluable and continuing help of friends, advisors and supporters, Afro Alice became formally the Premier natural hair center in Haiti but my work was more virtual and I needed to connect more with the people.
In 2015, after two years of styling and caring for people’s hair at my place, I decided to open a salon for people with natural hair to better educate them and assist them. I also organized gatherings, tours, workshops, forums and groups to empower more people and it worked well. I organized and participated in exchange programs to foster an environment of sisterhood and collaboration for the community. People from around the globe contact us to express their appreciation and their gratefulness. The natural hair movement has never reached such a momentum before and I am proud of my contribution to that.
Today, four years later, Afro Alice helps and empowers people through the social media, the educational tours and events, the beauty salon and the blog. Looking back, Afro Alice is worth my sleepless nights, my tears of frustration and all I went through to help my people. Some days, I even felt like giving it all up! But, hey! Here I am! Putting my little bricks to build the Castle.
Can you imagine how joy fills my heart when the eyes of a little girl brighten after I boosted her self esteem! Can you imagine how fulfilled I feel when I realize how my words changed another woman’s life! My heart bumps when I empower my people!
The respect, the appreciation and the love I get from my people, I earned it with my sweat, my tears and my vision of altruism and love. With Afro Alice, I made connections, discovered lands, improved myself and accomplished things I didnt know I could. I still have a long way to go but I am happy with where I am now with Afro Alice.
I wish you could see my tears and smile of accomplishment and fulfillment as I am concluding.
I never thought my own hair would change my life in such an awesome way.
Happy Anniversary to Afro Alice!!!