I’m pro natural hair because it’s natural, it’s ours, it’s mine and no one, no standard or beauty or ugliness, no stereotype should dictate what I do with something as defining and as personal as my hair. ~Brianna



BGLH: Where are you from? Are you a native of that country?
Brianna
: I’m from Trinidad and Tobago, in the West Indies. Born and raised here.

BGLH: How did your family end up there?
Brianna
: I’m a product of people from all over the place; Africa, India, China, Scotland…I can’t really say how I ended up here!

BGLH: Why did you decide to go natural?
Brianna
: I was convinced the first time I had my hair relaxed, at 14, that I was destroying it. I was used to having my back length natural hair combed and braided at night. I guess my mother got tired of doing that all the time! I, personally, have never felt complete with relaxed hair. I found it more complicated to deal with than natural hair. I have very sensitive skin and frankly relaxer scared me a bit.

BGLH: When and how did you go natural?
Brianna
: Over 3 years ago. [Brianna is now 25.] I just stopped going to the salon. I just stopped relaxing my hair. I didn’t take the warnings about hair damage too seriously. I just told myself it’d work out. And it did, for me. I finally went to a loxologist (a hairdresser specialising in natural hair. That’s what we call them) and cut all the relaxed bits off. I was so pleased after the washing and twisting and drying. I actually felt proud of myself and my totally healthy head of hair.

BGLH: Could you describe your regimen? What products and ingredients do you use?
Brianna
: I have a weekly ritual that takes a couple hours. I wash and condition; nothing special – Pantene Relaxed and Natural or Head and Shoulders. Then I sit down and comb the whole thing, divide into thick sections which I braid and let dry. After that, I just undo the braids, run my fingers through and put on a head band. That’s my entire regimen.

BGLH: What mistakes have you made in your natural journey that you’ve learned from?
Brianna
: I let myself be talked into texturising my hair!! I did and because my hair is fine and curly-to-wavy, the texturiser just made it go limp and STRAIGHT. I don’t think I have forgiven myself yet. I was so upset, I cut off a year’s worth of hair gradually and started over. I’m not going to touch it again.

BGLH: How does your hair work for your life?
Brianna
: I work in Corporate Communications. I’m a university student. I’m also a girl who draws and paint. I haven’t encountered any instances of outright discrimination or negativity in any sphere of my life. At the same time though, there are assumptions associated with being young and Black with natural hair.

BGLH: How is your hair an expression of your personality/inner self?
Brianna
: I’m a strong willed person and I loathe dishonesty and insincerity — I think my hair is beginning to express that. I get the “Empress” comment alot — people think it’s regal. I enjoy watching it grow and making sure it’s healthy; much the same way I am about my character and my life and my art. I paint girls with mainly natural hair because I think it should be celebrated.

BGLH: Why do you paint natural women? Is there are philosophy behind that?
Brianna
: I have always found women beautiful; the elements that make faces unique. I find strength and dignity beautiful. I think that because my work could be described as being largely self portraits, the women reflect what I am experiencing at this stage in life – loving my natural hair… It was always a personal thing. I’ve only been opening it up to the public for about a year and a half. I do sell now though.

Some of Brianna’s art


BGLH: Why are you pro natural hair?
Brianna
: I see no reason why natural hair, in all its forms, shouldn’t be an accepted and admired thing. I come from a place where, not too long ago, people with dreadlocks weren’t allowed to work in banks. We still have the problem where private schools are discriminating against students with dreadlocks. I think it’s high time we got rid of the negative assumptions about natural hair.

I’m pro natural hair because it’s natural, it’s ours, it’s mine and no one, no standard or beauty or ugliness, no stereotype should dictate what I do with something as defining and as personal as my hair. That being said, I believe that once it doesn’t come out of adhering to what is perceived as beautiful or acceptable or out of self hate, we should be free to do whatever we want with our hair.

BGLH: Is there a fotki or web page where we can find you?
Brianna
: Yes, I blog at http://briannamccarthy.blogspot.com. I look forward to seeing you!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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27 Comments on "Brianna // Natural Hair Style Icon"

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Bri

Thank you so much Ladies!

And Leila — Thank you!

AfroButtafly

What a beauty! And I love the artwork too. I need to get a hobby. LOL

jenteel

beauty and talent! love it!

luvmylocs

great feature. i love the piece with the woman with the short afro with the flower in her hair. keep up the great work!!

Shanel Nicole

Great article, I visit her blog at least once every few days to see whats new on her blog. Her art work is beautiful~

The Star

Wow, her inner beauty is really reflected inside and out. Her hair (and artwork) are gorgeous!!!

Erica

Hey Brianna! Have you considered putting together an Etsy store? It's for folks who make their own crafts and artwork and want to sell them. You're definitely talented and I see a few things I want on my walls!!! I'm not sure exactly how it works, but just go to Etsy.com and I'm sure you'll find some info there.

Jadeite

You're are is gorgeous! I pictured where I'd hang it as soon as I saw it.

Nakieda Jasmine Massey
Nakieda Jasmine Massey

Oh my, I made the same mistake when I first went natural, I thought a texturizer was the right thing to do, but I don't have a very tight curl pattern so in essence it was a relaxer, and like you it was a years worth of hair growth down the drain, it was all chopped off but now 1 year later it has grown back better than ever, I still have some work to do but I'm happy with it!
Cheers!

Patricia Grannum

Oh wow, It's great to see Brianna featured here. I interviewed her over at my blog last week (http://bit.ly/48at3Q) The interview was mostly about her work but she has great hair too! Glad to see a woman from Trinidad celebrated.

http://womanofcolour.blogspot.com

TheDailey

very cute hair… i like how it looks in an afro! wild curls :]

Bri

Hey People, I'm thrilled that you like my work so much! I don't have a place I sell work through at this time…but if you're interested feel free to email me here: brianna.mccarthy@gmail.com

Thanks and take care!

Brianna

Gina

Beautiful Hair.

Anonymous

Brianna, if you read these comments, please post where we can buy your art. I couldn't find it anywhere on your blog. If your stuff's not for sale, it should be. Your work is stunning. I can easily see it on greeting cards, notepads, wall mounts, tee-shirts. I see a few pieces I want myself.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

Hey guys,

I'm glad you like Brianna's art! She emailed BGLH to commend the blog and once I saw her hair and art I knew she had to do an interview. So glad she agreed 🙂

If you want more information about her art, check out her blog (the link is in her response to the last question).

~Leila

thelady

I love the second painting. Do you sell your art?

cjbrown

I agree! The artwork is wonderful and your personality is refreshing!

Please post if the artwork is available for purchase!

Anonymous

your artwork is beautiful. very unique. your hair is the bomb too!

Anonymous

LOVEEEEEE your art. Where is it sold as I would love to own a piece.

Bri

This is so awesome! Thank you so much!

yours truly

yay a trini feature! glad brianna got some spotlight here. she's a true beauty and quite talented as well.

as for the discrimination thing, she is on point. as a matter of fact, i know someone personally with dreadlocks who spoke about being discriminated against a popular bank here when she put in an application there. we're multicultural but still have a long way to go.

Pat

Your drawings and paintings are beautiful and I love the way you use colours. Awesome!

TAMMYANKA

such a beauty. I like the nonchalant way she describes her transition. He art is beautiful!

Licklemslady

Your work is beautiful! I'd like to decorate my living space with portraits and paintings like yours so that it counter acts the images broadcasted everywhere else. I'd like for my little girl and boy ( when i get around to having them) to become accostumed to seeing those images around.

Foxy not-so Brown

i love your artwork!!!!!!!!

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