Intro­duce your­self!
L:
My name is Lurie. I’ve lived in Brook­lyn, NY since I was in law school. Before that I was in Penn­syl­va­nia, and before that Ger­many. My dad was in the army so we basi­cal­ly moved around Europe every 2–3 years grow­ing up.

I’m a con­sumer rights and bank­rupt­cy attor­ney. My law firm is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing peo­ple with mon­ey prob­lems use the law to address prob­lems with debt. Most of my clients are either being harassed by debt col­lec­tors, get­ting sued by debt col­lec­tors, or con­sid­er­ing bank­rupt­cy. I also help run a non prof­it orga­ni­za­tion called Sanko­fa Com­mu­ni­ty Empow­er­ment whose mis­sion is to edu­cate and empow­er peo­ple of African descent to change the con­di­tion of our com­mu­ni­ties through edu­ca­tion­al and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment pro­grams. My hus­band and I run Break­ing the Cycle Con­sult­ing Ser­vices LLC, a con­sult­ing com­pa­ny that teach­es teach­ers how to teach kids in urban envi­ron­ments.

Why did you go nat­ur­al?
L:
Since we grew up main­ly over­seas my fam­i­ly mem­bers in the States were con­cerned that we weren’t learn­ing enough about our cul­ture so they always sent us books and infor­ma­tion about what it meant to be of African descent. In col­lege, I majored in Africana Stud­ies & Span­ish so I’d spend a lot of time crit­i­cal­ly ana­lyz­ing how black peo­ple came to be in the con­di­tions that we are in. Once I began learn­ing more of the truth about what hap­pened to us, I began ques­tion­ing every­thing about who I was and why I held the opin­ions that I (and seem­ing­ly every­one around me) held.

When I learned about how Black peo­ple were sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly taught to hate our hair, lips, noses and every­thing about us that made us Black – I became angry. I mean, it’s one thing if we nat­u­ral­ly thought we were ugly and our hair was ugly. But once I learned that we were taught to hate our­selves, it drove me to a path of self-dis­cov­ery. I now know that the anger I felt was a nec­es­sary part of get­ting my right mind back and begin­ning to heal from that trau­ma. A lot of times we are afraid of the anger that we feel as Black peo­ple. But just like the assault vic­tim has to con­front what hap­pened to her, we have to con­front and embrace our his­to­ry if we are going to heal from what hap­pened to us.

How did you tran­si­tion into nat­ur­al hair?
L:
I first cut my hair April 6, 1997 dur­ing my sec­ond year of col­lege. I start­ed by grow­ing my hair out for a few months and one of my girl­friends (who was the res­i­dent dorm room hair & nails pow­er­house) would press my roots to help me “pass” as an under­cov­er nat­ur­al. The only prob­lem was that I’ve always sweat­ed out a press in a mat­ter of moments – so my tran­si­tion was chal­leng­ing. I used braids and exten­sions to help me grow it out a few inch­es so I had some­thing to work with. I did not plan on doing a “big-chop.”

Back then there were not a lot of nat­ur­al heads so there weren’t web­sites, books and oth­er women who were read­i­ly acces­si­ble with a ton of infor­ma­tion. My hair began break­ing at the point where the nat­ur­al met the chem­i­cals. (I always thought that was a bit sym­bol­ic – in many ways we have to rec­og­nize how our con­nec­tion to a hos­tile soci­ety is hos­tile to who we are as a peo­ple… but that is anoth­er top­ic).

I was hold­ing on as long as I could to length because remem­ber, when you’re a black girl, you’re taught to want 2 things: 1) “good hair” and/or 2) “long hair.” My moth­er came to vis­it me at school in April 1997 and she watched me going through all sorts of crap to keep my press straight. Final­ly she said the words that just lib­er­at­ed me from all of that: “Lurie. It’s just hair. It will grow back.” Five min­utes lat­er half of my hair was on the floor. I haven’t looked back since.

I feel much stronger and more con­fi­dent in who I am as a result of rebelling with my hair. For some peo­ple going nat­ur­al has noth­ing to do with pol­i­tics. But as some­one who has stud­ied the Pan African real­i­ty for so long – it’s hard to ignore the fact that we are all his­tor­i­cal prod­ucts and who we are today is a result of things that hap­pened yes­ter­day. So I know that even if I were com­plete­ly a-polit­i­cal – the rest of the world ascribes a mes­sage to my hair.

Many Black col­leagues, sec­re­taries or oth­er staff mem­bers tried to “help” by advis­ing me to get a perm if I want­ed to “make it.” These atti­tudes are rein­forced by many Black insti­tu­tions. A few years ago, the busi­ness school at Hamp­ton Uni­ver­si­ty (an HBCU) imple­ment­ed a pol­i­cy that said female stu­dents could not wear their hair in nat­ur­al styles. I believe the ratio­nale was based on the belief that a Black woman with nat­ur­al hair could not get a job in cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca. I first read the arti­cle about this while I was wear­ing a flat twist style that pulled back into an afro pony­tail, sit­ting in my office in Times Square at a major New York law firm. A lot of our hair issues are pro­jec­tions of our own inse­cu­ri­ties (which we were taught). It’s sad – but under­stand­able.

How would you describe your hair?
L:
Very thick, very nap­py. Most peo­ple don’t believe me when I say it’s nap­py until they see my afro. It can be hard to imag­ine how long, soft, flow­ing twisties can shrink up into a 2 inch thick, stiff afro if you just add water. It is also very inde­pen­dent and has a mind of its own.

What’s your reg­i­men?
L:
I typ­i­cal­ly wash it with my mom’s prod­ucts. She’s a nat­ur­al styl­ist & dam­aged hair spe­cial­ist in Queens, NY and has an all-nat­ur­al prod­uct line called Yanla’s Nature. The scalp detox & sham­poo cleans it real­ly well. I also use the strength­en­ing con­di­tion­er to comb and style. Dur­ing the week I use a spray that we make from rose­mary, net­tle, sage and bur­dock teas as a leave-in con­di­tion­er. At night, if it’s in a hang­ing style, I’ll typ­i­cal­ly braid the twists into fat braids. This helps keep the style and makes sure that the twists don’t shrink up before I want them to. Around two weeks after it’s styled, I’ll take it out and wear it untwist­ed for anoth­er week and a half (usu­al­ly until the puff is too much to eas­i­ly man­age).

What mis­takes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
L:
Using the wrong tools was a huge mis­take. I cringe when I think of all the hair I pulled out using tiny combs with tee­ny tiny teeth. The combs and brush­es I used when I had a perm are total­ly inap­pro­pri­ate for nat­ur­al hair. Instead of using tiny teeth combs or brush­es w/ mil­lions of bris­tles, I start­ed using the clas­sic “white girl” brush and big tooth combs. They were much bet­ter suit­ed to naps.

The oth­er issue was want­i­ng nat­ur­al hair – with­out unlearn­ing Euro­pean stan­dards of beau­ty.

What’s the best/most effec­tive thing you do for your hair?
L:
I don’t try to con­trol it. At first I want­ed my nat­ur­al hair to act like my permed hair did. After months of frus­tra­tion I real­ized that I was set­ting both myself and my hair up for fail­ure. It wasn’t until I rec­og­nized that Euro­pean stan­dards and hair expec­ta­tions were com­plete­ly not applic­a­ble to me that I began to relax and enjoy the nat­ur­al road.

I real­ized that what I want­ed my hair to do was the oppo­site of what it was designed to do. I had to not only cut my perm out – but I also had to cut out my expec­ta­tions for what my hair should do and be. All of my expec­ta­tions were based on a Euro­pean hair mod­el. I learned to accept the fact that straight hair can be con­trolled, gel’d and sprayed into place and nat­ur­al hair will do its own thing. My hair and I have been get­ting along ever since.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
L:
Yes. You can find me at www.NYCDebtAndBankruptcyLaw.com, www.blogtalkradio.com/danielfavorslaw, or at www.btcconsultingservices.com. I am also work­ing on a new site (still under con­struc­tion) called www.raceandrecession.com.

Any­thing else you want to add?
L:
An old­er men­tor once told me she admired me for wear­ing my hair nat­ur­al because as a lighter skinned woman I “had the option of wear­ing styles that look more Euro­pean.” She was a dark­er skinned woman and had lived through seg­re­ga­tion in the south.

I real­ized then that it’s not enough to change our hair if we do not change our abil­i­ty to accept our­selves as God intend­ed & designed us to be. There are mil­lions of lit­tle girls and boys out there whose ideas about their lack of beau­ty and self-worth are rei­fied each time they hear about “good hair v. bad hair” or “light skin v. dark skin.” It is imper­a­tive that we cre­ate more spaces like this site where black women can put our feet up, let our afros fluff and enjoy the beau­ty of the almighty nap, the boda­cious big nose, the love­ly full lip and the boun­ti­ful behind. It’s our own mod­el of beau­ty – mod­eled after the design God chose for us to have. And it is good. It is very, very good.

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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82 Comments on "Lurie // Natural Hair Style Icon"

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Anonymous

I usu­al­ly lurk but had to come out and say that Lurie is absolute­ly beau­ti­ful- inside and out! And to all the ppl who say that nat­ur­al hair can’t be pro­fes­sion­al, check out her pic­ture in a her suit and try and tell me that ain’t pro­fes­sion­al! As a fel­low nat­ur­al attor­ney in NYC, all I have to say is ‘go girl!’

Erika
This may be a big con­tro­ver­sial, but I total­ly agree with her opin­ion about how we were taught to hate our­selves, espe­cial­ly our hair. Why else do so many women still opt for a relax­er and feel they have no oth­er choice? My sis­ter just told me a few days ago that she had to have her relax­er since her hair is so unman­age­able oth­er­wise. In my opin­ion, com­plete brain­wash­ing by soci­ety is what caus­es black women to feel this way. And it’s so hard to con­vince some­one that their hair is beau­ti­ful just the way it grows out of… Read more »
LBell

What you’re say­ing isn’t controversial…it’s the TRUTH. And for some the truth hurts…there’s no two ways around that…

Lurie, you and your hair are an inspi­ra­tion. Thank you for shar­ing your sto­ry.

Kamilah

I so enjoyed this! Her sto­ry is so inspi­ra­tional. Its sad how we are the ones who often­times box our­selves into a soci­etal “stan­dard.” She gives me hope in know­ing that I can suc­ceed and become a respect­ed pro­fes­sion­al and still stay true to myself:)

BrownSugahChild

love love love your hair!!! i espe­cial­ly love the bridal pic!!!!

crimsonpeach

This is the woman with the fab­u­lous fro that I admired for ages! That’s what I’m try­ing to get to! Of course her per­son­al­i­ty would shine as bright as her hair. And now I can envy her twists also!

Monique, Sofull Sista

Beau­ti­ful hair and woman! I love all of the pics, it real­ly shows how ver­sa­tile nat­ur­al hair is. Love it!!!

leilei

Lurie… you are a CERTIFIED DIME!!! As a black woman I am so proud of you and what you are doing for our com­mu­ni­ty. Not only are you beau­ti­ful, but con­scious and intel­li­gent. How impres­sive what you and your hub­by are doing. God bless you both!

karlyne

all of these + more feelings~~GREAT, PRIDE, NATURAL, BLACK WOMAN!! That’s all I have to say.com

lurie

Thanks ladies! I appre­ci­ate it ;-) and am glad the inter­view added some insight. 

My mother’s salon is called The Woven Wool — she ONLY deals with nat­ur­al hair and is: 1) a dam­aged hair care spe­cial­ist; 2) cer­ti­fied sis­ter locks con­sul­tant; 3) a barber/stylist. You can learn more about her at http://www.thewovenwool.com or by call­ing her salon at 347.251.1212.

Real­ly look­ing for­ward to learn­ing more about our hair from the rest of you!

MsKroberts
you are amaz­ing! One of the best style icon inter­views that i’ve read. I have been strug­gling with the fact that so many black women have been chang­ing our hair, yet our kids, fam­i­lies, health, men have and are falling by the way­side. I com­mend you! I am so glad that I had a chance to read this today. I had a meet­ing last night with a few peo­ple to in regard to start­ing an orga­ni­za­tion to help griev­ing kids in our com­mu­ni­ty, that have expe­ri­enced death/incarceration of a loved one, from a per­spec­tive of oth­er black psychs that have… Read more »
lurie

Thanks MsKRoberts! That is fan­tas­tic that you are start­ing an orga­ni­za­tion — and I can think of SO many peo­ple who would ben­e­fit from some­thing like that. We don’t all have to do every­thing but if all of us would just do something…can you imag­ine how far we would go? Much suc­cess to you and your group!

Adeyinka

She is gor­geous!

Amore

I real­ly love her hair. She tru­ly is beau­ti­ful. I also would like to know where her mother’s salon is in Queens please. I’m in the New York area as well.

Monz03b

She is beau­ti­ful and so is her hair. It is so big! Rock it!

Tracy

Deep, Lurie. Just deep! I real­ly appre­ci­ate the way yout bring out the his­tor­i­cal aspects of how Blacks (were taught to) feel about them­sevles, their hair, their unique feau­tures. Deep…

eSPy

Yes I love her! I’ve also con­sid­ered law school but have been feel­ing like I am too rad­i­cal to be a lawyer. But I too would like to use the law to empow­er our peo­ple.

Also, I saw her afro pic on LeCoil and always admired her aura. She’s beau­ti­ful! And I LOOOOOVE her hair in her wed­ding pic. Nice choice…

Im all over the place with this com­ment. But I enjoyed this one a lot!

Dont nev­er tell me nat­ur­al hair aint pro­fes­sion­al! ;-)

tonia b

Amaz­ing, edu­ca­tion­al and inspir­ing fea­ture. As anoth­er poster men­tioned, I read each and every word wish­ing there was more. Beau­ti­ful hair and style!

June

This inter­view made me think a lot. Thanks for this. There are some hard truths I don’t like to acknowl­edge about myself, but this is push­ing me there.

I do have to say what is it with all these women that look like teenagers this past few days? They look so young and gor­geous. I am feel­ing so awful here. I am going for a long run once I get home.

K. Lynn

Gor­geous! And I live in Queens, too! Lurie where does your mom work? I may have some clients for her, myself includ­ed.

luvs

+1

CoilyRob

+ 2

lurie

Hel­lo ladies, much appre­ci­a­tion for the love ;-)
Her salon is called The Woven Wool (www.thewovenwool.com) and you can reach her at 347.251.1212. She is pret­ty close to York Col­lege so not sure if that is your area or not. Either way — here’s to #team­nat­ur­al ;-)

Li

Very inspi­ra­tional and gen­uine! Plus, her hair is amaz­ing!

Sonya

This is the best inter­view yet, I read it from start to fin­ish! Shout out to all the Africana Stud­ies majors! <3

MommieDearest

YES! One of the best nat­ur­al hair inter­views I’ve read on ANY site in a while. 

She is love­ly and her hair is sooooo thick and lucious…

Alecia

Ditto…one of the best inter­views on BGLH!

Deeds

My sen­ti­ments exact­ly!

Anon

Beau­ti­ful woman with beau­ti­ful hair. I enjoyed this inter­view very much!

Cee Cee

WOW!! Her hair is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!! (fight­ing hair envy) And so accom­plished too! Thanks for these fea­tures!

Jack

Well said, well said!

Brittany

Beau­ti­ful!

krenea

Lurie is an amaz­ing woman tak­ing care of much busi­ness and I’m proud of her accom­plish­ments and don’t even know her! Beau­ty inside and out it appears and hair that is abso­lut­ly incred­i­ble!

lina40

+2
I love that she applied her new-found knowl­edge first to her own life, instead of just recit­ing it to oth­ers. She is a force of change, and YAY — a HAIR TWIN :) check­ing out her pics so I can rock sim­i­lar styles in my envi­ron­ment!

Sharese

+1

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