Where are you from?
N: Im originally from Little Rock Arkansas, currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. My ancestors are from Nigeria, but I was raised in the States. I love traveling and snapping photos, particularly photos that document. Photography is my passion, my love.
When did you go natural?
N: I went natural in 2003. I wanted to be free of my attachment to constant relaxing. I also wanted the freedom to do normal things like working out without the stress of “sweating out” my relaxer ;)
I absolutely love my natural texture. It gives me another way to express myself outside my art.
After the interview was posted, BGLHers wanted to know how to do the style featured above. Nnenna was gracious enough to write up a tutorial. Peep it:
This particular style takes a little work. First, I blow dry my hair with a dryer that has a wide-tooth comb attachment. I use a product called “Straight Solution” when drying. It protects from heat and helps prevent shrinkage. It’s also alcohol-free. Depending on your texture, you might not need to blow dry. I also add my shea butter blend to soften.
Then I take a chunk of hair on each side (near the temple) and braid about 6-8 cornrows. Afterwards, I twist all my hair into “bantu knots”. As a setting spray for the knots, I use Frank Juice. Again, it smells amazing.
Bantu knots are basically small twisted sections of the hair. After the hair can no longer be twisted, you wrap the twist around itself in circles. It’s quick and you usually don’t need pins to secure the knot. I wear this overnight and I untwist the knots in the morning. I apply my shea butter blend and diffuse a bit to make it bigger. I use bobby pins to pin up the sides that have been braided. If you want to extend the style, you can simply redo the knots after a few days…
Was it difficult at all?
N: My transition wasn’t difficult at all. I wore braids until my hair reached a length I was comfortable with. Then one day I decided, I didn’t want to wear braids again. I cut off my relaxed hair, went to the salon and I’ve been natural ever since. My friends and family loved it. My sister went natural first and I loved her hair. Now, most of the women in my family have natural hair.
I haven’t had any difficulties wearing my hair natural at work…
What do you like about being natural?
N: The versatility. There are SO many styles you can wear. Day to day maintenance is super easy as well. As long as my hair is hydrated, styling is easy and doesn’t consume a lot of my time in the morning.
Has anything in your life changed at all since going natural?
N: As far as my life changing…I would have to say I’m definitely more confident with my natural hair. I feel like a beautiful individual with my own style. I’ve actually straightened my hair with heat a few times over the years and I don’t feel like I’m myself when I do it. Of course, hair doesn’t define who we are, but I feel like I’m able to express my true self more when my hair is in it’s natural state.
What style do you like to rock?
N: I love braiding part of my hair and then rocking a twist out.
What do you use in your hair?
N: I love using shea butter in my hair. Most times I make my own blend of shea butter, rosemary hair oil, pure coconut oil, Aestelance leave in conditioner, and a bit of aloe vera gel.
Can you give a tutorial for one of your styles?
N: This particular style is fun for something quick. First I wash with a castile soap. It leaves the hair soft and helps define the curl pattern. Then I condition with “Coconut Sublime” from Curls. It’s organic and smells awesome. While my hair is dripping wet, I apply my shea butter blend. Anything that moisturizes will do for this particular style.
I take a couple of hair clips and clip a huge section of hair that would normally be considered bangs. Then I take a pretty scarf and wrap around my remaining hair. I love tying the bow up and to the side. Then I remove the clips and spray on a little “Frank Juice”. This stuff smells amazing!
Sometimes I use a diffuser if I want my fro to be a little bigger. This style is super cute if you have wonderful wraps with great patterns and it takes no time. For second day, I moisturize in the shower by wetting my hands, I finger through my fro, and I add more of my shea butter blend. Super easy.