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Nakeya Brown: Visualizing Black Beauty

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

A Plate of "Good" Hair © Nakeya Brown

A Plate of “Good” Hair © Nakeya Brown

Photographer Nakeya Brown’s series “The Refutation of ‘Good Hair’” is a sly, compelling visual conceptualization of “good hair” that forces the viewer to consider the ludicrousness of the divisive phrase – the starkly presented portraits include black women literally eating Kanekalon and hair wrapped around a fork in an otherwise standard place setting. Black women have long been the favored subjects of the 25-year-old’s aesthetically-pleasing work but the birth of her beloved daughter Mia, and her experience shooting Louisiana’s plantation country for “Becoming Home” with friend and photographer Mariana Sheppard, instilled a desire within her to produce more enduring work focused on race and gender issues.

In a conversation full of laughter, despite it being an early Saturday morning, an animated Brown discusses the fulfilling direction her work has taken, teases a new hair-centered photography project, and shares exciting news of an upcoming exhibition.

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An Artist You Should Know: Terence Nance

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

terence

How many people do you know that are bold enough to make a feature-length film while having practically zero filmmaking experience?

How many of those people would have the audacity to make the subject of the feature film about a personal heartbreak, and then cast the real-life heartbreaker in the film alongside themselves, the heartbreakee?

These were the choices made by Terence Nance, 31, a visual artist and musician with an enviable ‘fro, whose debut feature film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty– replete with a pleasantly dizzying mix of live action, line drawing, watercolor, stop-motion Claymation, retro animation – won the hearts of many who watched it and solidified his status as a talent to watch. The inventive film about a relationship that agonizingly teeters on the edge of the friendship zone was awarded the 2012 Gotham Award for “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You,” was acquired for theatrical distribution by Variance Films, and got backing from industry heavyweights like dream hampton and Jay-Z.

Nance speaks to Transitioning Movement about not moving on from his co-star Namik Minter, his upcoming projects, navigating the film industry as a filmmaker of color, and shares a funny hair story and his thoughts on the “You Can Touch My Hair” exhibit.

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Jesse Boykins III & MeLo-X: Zulu Gurus Speak On Women, Their Work, and Their Manes

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

photo on right by Olivia Sealy

photo on right by Olivia Sealy

There are men and then there is Jesse Boykins III and MeLo-X.

These soulful, independent artists are unafraid to pour the raw content of their lives, good and bad, into their art and play in soundscapes that satisfy those with the most diverse of aural palettes. Most importantly, the solo artists have gained international adoration without compromising their freedom.

The tracks that singer-songwriter-producer-actor Jesse Boykins III, 28, ornaments with his lush vocals smoothly transport listeners on blissful auditory journeys through universes of soul, electronic-dance, and world music. MeLo-X, Boykins III’s friend of seven years, deftly raps over production inspired by the same musical influences. A man of many talents – a few of which include production, painting, designing, photography, DJing, and party throwing – MeLo-X, 28, is also your favorite artist’s favorite remix-er (just ask the divine Maxwell).

Their recent collaborative album Zulu Guru (Ninja Tune, 2012) is a sonic smorgasbord of Afro-Beat, West Indian rhythms, and electro-soul that features members of the Romantic Movement – their collective of musicians, rappers, poets, designers and singers – and offers their fresh, honest perspectives on romance.

In conversation with Transitioning Movement, the charming duo reminisce on the making of Zulu Guru, discuss their philosophies on claiming one’s destiny and the power of femininity, and share their hair regimens.

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Lesson Learned: Transitioning with Braids

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

JandayBraids

Toward the end of my senior year of high school, I grew tired of relaxing my hair. I wanted to try something different, and I did not have any particular style in mind, so I put some braids in my hair just in time for graduation. I was honestly so scared to deal with my hair, and I hoped the braids would buy me some time to figure something out.

The Big Fall Out

Unfortunately, I installed my braids without cutting off the relaxed hair. And for the entirety of my freshman year of college I just left my hair in braids so I would not have to worry about it. I never trimmed my hair.

When I came home for the summer after school I was finally ready to debut my natural hair. I was so proud of the big halo of hair that I had grown over the year, until it all fell out weeks later. I had no idea that my big ol’ ’fro was mostly dead hair.

If you are brave enough to do the big chop before getting braids, go for it. If not, get your transitioning hair trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks, preferably by a professional. And once you are all natural, your hair should be trimmed every 8 to 12 weeks.

Otherwise, you will end up like me.

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How-To: Create a Faux Bun with Marley Hair

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

13 Left side

Ladies, let’s be honest. As much as we love our natural tresses, at times we get exhausted and frustrated with the amount of TLC they require. We all need effortlessly fabulous styles that we can create quickly, and what is more chic and simple than a high bun?

The faux bun created with the textured Marley hair has so many benefits it is stiff competition to other natural styles. It is a protective hairstyle that requires very little manipulation of your hair, it takes no more than 20 minutes to pin the hair in, the style can be dismantled and reconstructed very quickly, and it can easily transition from the office to a night out or to a more formal affair.

Many of us have probably avoided going out because our hair refused to cooperate. Now we have no more excuses.

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Gifting Your Natural Haired Sweetheart

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

You’ve got the girl, or maybe you’re trying to win her over.  How can she say no to a Valentine that comes bearing a new product or styling tool? This list features a range of tempting items that just might entice your girl to give you a Valentine’s Day to remember.

Curls-Champagne-Caviar

Champagne & Caviar Curl Elixir ($9, Curls)

This might not be real bubbly and gourmet food, but this “Champagne & Caviar” oil blend ­­will excite her just the same. Give her a scalp massage with the oil and not only will you make for a very special Valentine’s Day, you will contribute to the elixir’s hair growth, strength, and sheen capabilities.

Hotheads-Hand-Dry-Hair-Gloves

Hotheads Hand Dry Hair Glove  ($24.95, Curl Mart)

This wonder glove will dry her hair as she styles it, while smoothing the hair cuticles. You both will be happy with this extra time not spent drying her hair. It’ll leave room for other activities…

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Love Au Naturel

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

On a winter night made for cuddling and watching movies, my boyfriend and I were doing exactly that when he did the sexiest thing ever. He took apart the bun that I was still wearing at 1 a.m. to look cute for him, removing each pin that was sticking into my scalp. Then, he began to massage my scalp, slowly and thoroughly. I was beyond surprised because he is not the massaging type. All I could do was lay back, Super Saiyan hair and all (blame my brothers for the Dragonball Z reference), and indulge in the feeling of utter relaxation that took over my body. Even better, he made only one joke about all the oil that my hair transferred to his hands.

The massage meant a lot to me beyond the fact that scalp massages are heavenly and good for stimulating hair growth. (If he knows this hair fact, I might marry him tomorrow!) Sadly, I feel like natural hair can be intimidating for some folks; aside from the non-blacks that shove their hands in my hair, no questions asked.

The work that the average black woman, natural or not, puts into her hair usually means that she might backhand you if you mess with her hair. And let’s be real, the nappier the hair is, the harder it is to get your fingers through. But the boo’s willingness to brave the mostly unknown terrain of my hair and scalp (and my possible rage) was yet another sign that he loves my hair as it is.

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