“The first day of school with my new hair every­one just stared at me, some kids would run up to me and laugh and run away. The guid­ance coun­selor asked me if I was a ras­ta and if that’s why I went nat­u­ral… It’s crazy cause now I have peo­ple from high school days admit they want to go nat­u­ral and ask me for advice.”

Where are you from?
My name is Char­rish (pro­nounced cher­ish) and I am from the beau­ti­ful by nature, Turks & Caicos Islands!! Say whaaaaa?

I am an island girl through and through. I was born in the Bahamas and lived there till I was 13 then I moved to my mother’s coun­try the Turks & Caicos. My mother’s fam­i­ly was all born in the TCI but because of hard times back in the day a lot of the peo­ple moved to the Bahamas for a bet­ter life. This is why the Bahami­an and TCI cul­tures are sooooo close, cause all of we is one fam­i­ly.

I am an artist, a thinker, a mover and shak­er, a local activist and rad­i­cal and a per­son who always gets a scowl from her mom­ma cause she pumps the fist. I draw, paint, I can sculpt, I can do print­mak­ing, I can do it all!

What is inter­est­ing about the Turks & Caicos Islands?
The nat­u­ral beau­ty. I love our beach­es and the sun­sets, I love the sand, the ani­mals, I love that you can dri­ve down the road and see ocean on either side of you. I think it’s cool that we, unlike a lot of oth­er Caribbean coun­tries, don’t have fast food chains a la McDon­alds or Burg­er King. Some peo­ple think we’re “back­wards” because we don’t but I think it adds a cer­tain charm to our coun­try. I don’t mind my Wendy’s num­ber four but I like that I can go to the local greasy shop and buy my $1 chick­en and $1 fries. I want that old grease, that island grease, on my chick­en.

What is the nat­u­ral hair scene like in TCI?
What nat­u­ral hair scene? Weave and perm are com­mon down here. I get stares and I get point­ed at. I find it amus­ing that peo­ple will pay up to $100 to put fake kinky hair in but are too scared to do the do. If you’re nat­u­ral then you’re “angry” and “prov­ing a point” or you try­ing to be some “Afro­cen­tric soul child” or you “hang around white peo­ple too much”. I get the last com­ment a lot. If I do see nat­u­ral hair on adults it’s most­ly dreads. It’s not wild and free like mine. We have a huge expat pop­u­la­tion so we have a lot of Jamaicans and when I go out and about a lot of peo­ple think I’m Jamaican. When I ask why the most com­mon respon­se is: “Cause TI wom­en love their weave.” Hon­est­ly, if you see a wom­an with nat­u­ral hair she is most like­ly Haitian or Jamaican. It is rare to see a proud nat­u­ral TCI wom­an.

When did you go nat­u­ral?
I went nat­u­ral at 16 in high school and let me tell you…it was mur­dah­hh. At the time my aunt and my mum were (and they still are) nat­u­ral. I HATED per­ming my hair and I don’t know why I didn’t revolt soon­er. But the kids in high school? Shoot…okay let’s play a sce­nar­io: The first day of school with my new hair every­one just stared at me, some kids would run up to me and laugh and run away. The guid­ance coun­selor asked me if I was a ras­ta and if that’s why I went nat­u­ral. She had this “inter­ven­tion” with me. She brought in the­se pop­u­lar girls with relaxed hair and asked me why I didn’t want to be like them. One day I just had enough and I broke down in tears, ran to the only nat­u­ral haired teacher and just fell into her arms and cried. She didn’t say a word but held me. But I am proud to say I nev­er once want­ed to go back to relax­ers dur­ing those years and my true friends stuck by me with my new style. It’s crazy cause now I have peo­ple from high school days admit they want to go nat­u­ral and ask me for advice. I should charge them a fee.

I went nat­u­ral because I want­ed to express my black beau­ty. I am proud of being black. I don’t like a lot of things black peo­ple do or how we’re por­trayed but I love my skin, I love where my peo­ple came from, I think the var­i­ous cul­tures in Africa are inter­est­ing and I love to see how things have trick­led down and changed along the way. I love the uni­ty there is in just being a black wom­an. I felt like my hair not being how God intend­ed was hold­ing me back and yes I thought all of this at 16!!

What’s your reg­i­men?
I don’t think t have a reg­i­men. I real­ly don’t. I am the worst at doing rou­ti­nes of any sort. My sis­ter gets mad at me for not hav­ing one. When I was in col­lege (I went to col­lege in Amer­i­ca) I just washed my hair and put some nat­u­ral oils in and twist­ed and it GREW. I think it was the water real­ly. Well I’m the type of per­son once I find some­thing that works I DO NOT CHANGE IT. So now all I do is wash it, put in my lit­tle oils that I steal from the pro­duct junkie aka my lil sis and I twist it and move on. When I do get in a mood I will go in my back­yard and hack some aloe, I’ll do some avo­cado masks on my hair, may­be use some hibis­cus or just shake my hair in the sea.

Where do you buy your prod­ucts?
I am actu­al­ly afraid of prod­ucts. Look peo­ple, they need to make some­thing for wom­en like me: I get scared of beau­ty sup­ply stores. I just don’t under­stand them. I go to my sis­ter and bor­row what­ev­er she’s using. There’s some kind of Man­go and Lime thing. I don’t know. Plus I don’t trust chem­i­cals at all. If I see some­thing like Xod­nau­tha­clor­si­tate what is that sup­posed to be? We don’t real­ly have any prod­ucts that say “Water” “Nat­u­ral Oils” and “Love”. That’s what I want in my prod­ucts. All jok­ing aside, the pro­duct selec­tion here is not that bad but I’d rather make my own.

What would you like to see in your coun­try in terms of hair­care
I’d LOVE to see a salon for nat­u­ral hair open up. Bet­ter yet I’d love to be able to go to a salon and not be told “We don’t do your kind of hair” by my own peo­ple. I’d also love to see more edu­ca­tion on car­ing for nat­u­ral hair be taught to girls. The few girls with nat­u­ral hair don’t know how to care for it so their hair looks picky and it dis­cour­ages peo­ple from want­i­ng to make the switch. It’s a dream of mine to have a work­shop for week tar­get­ing young adults/teens on self esteem issues and part of that would be a lit­tle talk enti­tled: Lov­ing the Nap­py can make you Hap­py. Yes.…I do day­dream about a lot of things. Now watch me make that a real­i­ty!

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
Art www.dendoo.com
Blog www.dendoo.wordpress.com
Twit­ter www.twitter.com/dendoo

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…

Leave a Reply

20 Comments on "NFATW: Char in the Turks & Caicos Islands"

Notify of

Saaay what to that ingre­di­ent lol. I am always over­whelmed in stores. I was nat­u­ral for most of my life grow­ing up except when my straight(relaxed) & wavy (natural)haired fam­i­ly mem­bers came around. I am so excit­ed so many wom­en of col­or are embrac­ing them­selves as God made them. Iplayed with styling from weaves to braids to relax­era etc but did so with undee­stand­ing of my hair. Noth­ing to ME feels greater than hav­ing my beau­ti­ful hair just be as it is. Thank you for the inter­view and thank all you beau­ties for being you.

Got alove for ma hair
Got alove for ma hair

ST. KItts and NEviS!!!!!!!!!!!!! IREPSKN!!!!!!!


Wow I’m 16 now and I have the exact same thoughts as you had, I wish I could meet some­one who feels the same pas­sion about this nat­u­ral hair move­ment at this age, but oh well. I’m think­ing about cut­ting my hair too, it’s been about 5 months, but I’m scared, i guess only time will tell. :)

God bless, Crys­tal


Was any­one else blown away by the com­ment stat­ing that if you go nat­u­ral you must be hang­ing around white peo­ple too much? this mind­set is insan­i­ty to me… lov­ing your nat­u­ral hair means you’re too ingrained with White folks but chem­i­cal­ly alter­ing your hair to fit a Euro­pean stan­dard of beau­ty makes you more ‘in’ with Black folk?




Great arti­cle, I love your spir­it and con­fi­dence. I hate the rude com­ments too but if you’ve got a good sense of humour you bounce bakc and keep it mov­ing, they cant take you joy:-)


I’m glad every­one is lik­ing the inter­view and my “bub­bly” per­son­al­i­ty. Don’t for­get to book your tick­ets to Turks & Caicos! My mom­my will make you an island meal!


I hate that the first com­ment was such a neg­a­tive one :( I loved your inter­view char! (you have a love­ly name as well)I wish I had a sea ner­a­by that I could just go “shake” my hair in lol


great inter­view


“Water” “Nat­u­ral Oils” and “Love”. lol i’d like to see that in prod­ucts too :P


You bet­ter get it, Char! I love your bold­ness and your pas­sion for seek­ing out your own iden­ti­ty. You’re also real­ly fun­ny! We live in a world that works to make us hate who we are and lust after mate­ri­al pos­ses­sions. It tru­ly is refresh­ing to read about some­one with your dri­ve and char­ac­ter! I applaud you on your courage and most of all for your abun­dant dis­play of self-love! The world needs more indi­vid­u­als who yearn for the per­son God cre­at­ed them to be, not an imi­ta­tion of some­one else! God Bless!


LOL very inter­est­ing inter­view, she’s so fun­ny. :-) I like the ingre­di­ent joke haha.

Seattle Slim

I love her!!! She is like a friend in my head lol. This inter­view was very refresh­ing and I just love her thought process. You go sis.


I total­ly agree. The best inter­view I’ve read on here. Loved her sense of humor…and I love to see my island peo­ple on here.


Being from the Bahamas I had to com­ment when I saw this. I feel a lit­tle less lone­ly bout going nat­u­ral. Though like one or two of my friends decid­ed to go nat­u­ral and one already is.

Any­way, inter­est­ing sto­ry. I haven’t got­ten rude com­ments as yet, though I have been asked when I was get­ting a perm and a friend offered to lend me her flat iron.


She is too fun­ny and cute! Btw I final­ly saw Good Hair yes­ter­day (yes I’m super late) but one thing is for sure, those Kore­ans have absolute­ly no respect for black peo­ple but most of our peo­ple are too blind and igno­rant to even real­ize that and con­tin­ue to pay the Kore­ans mort­gage and their kids tuition!!!!


[…] This post was men­tioned on Twit­ter by den­doo, Black Girl Long Hair. Black Girl Long Hair said: char talks about the #nat­u­ral­hair scene in the turks & caicos islands http://bit.ly/9fkDS0 […]

@Jerica, if you couldn’t tell by the over­all inter­view I was in an incred­i­bly jok­ing and high spirit­ed mood when I wrote this. Tax­ing weave and ban­ning weave was a joke. Could you imag­ine the chaos it would cause? Peo­ple might not be able to get up out of bed! lol and our coun­try could make a but­t­load of mon­ey if they taxed weave. Econ­o­my would perk right up. I have noth­ing again­st weave, I don’t under­stand it. I lit­er­al­ly have to have a weave inter­preter when I go into the weave store cause it’s too con­fus­ing for me but… Read more »
Wow, I loved this. So inspir­ing. I faced a lot of those rude com­ments when I was younger and nat­u­ral too. Peo­ple would always ask me, “when are you going to relax your hair?” or “why don’t you relax it or get a weave?”. Real­ly, I feel that relaxed wom­en are just in a dif­fer­ent state of mind than nat­u­ral wom­en oth­er­wise they wouldn’t be ask­ing those ques­tions and doing inter­ven­tions on ppl to get a perm! That’s  why I think it’s so impor­tant for us as nat­u­rals to car­ry our hair well as we go out in soci­ety. We ARE… Read more »

lol lol lol I like her, “picky” you know you are from the caribbean when you hear that word.


A ban or tax on weave? Is it real­ly that seri­ous?! Why can’t they wear what they want just like we wear our hair the way we want??