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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