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Welcome to The United KinKdom!
I hope you enjoy your stay and be sure to subscribe to www.TheUnitedKinKdom.com so we can stay in touch.
My blog is dedicated to celebrating Afro hair and the experiences of UK Naturals. Dont be a stranger, spread the word and lets keep Uniting the KinKdom one curl at a time. International visitors are ALWAYS welcome. Enjoy!
Much Love Crystal Afro x
(Natural since Jan 2011) (Contact Me: crystalafro@hotmail.co.uk) View my complete profile

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

PREJUDICE vs POWER


RACISM AT REVLON

I'm sure you've probably heard about the recent Revlon 'racism' incident.
In brief, Revlon CEO Lorenzo Delphini has been accused of making various racist and offensive remarks against Black people, Jewish people, and Americans. The accusations have been made by Mr Alan Myers, who was previously Revlon's Chief Scientific Officer but who is now suing the company for unfair dismissal. 

For more details you can read the article on The Independent, which opens with the following:
"The chief executive of beauty giant Revlon believes he can "smell" black people when he walks in a room, that Jews "stick together" and hates "dirty" Americans, according to allegations made in legal filings..."

INSTA-DEBATE
I first came across the news on Instagram via @WomanInTheJungle's page.
As you'd expect, allegations such as these, whether true or false, are going to cause a stir, but I felt that Wunmi had the right approach with her powerful comments in response to the situation.
"We need to start taking control of our black coins... One thing that (allegedly) PIG is right about is that every other race will help their own get to the top before they help another race." (@womaninthejungle)

You can read the rest of what Wunmi had to say >here<
Rather than focusing outside, on the problems other people might have with us, she turned the debate around to encourage us think about what we're doing to help or hinder ourselves as black people. Similarly, a couple of my other favourite UK Instagramers, leant their support to this line of thought. Check out this post by @brownbeautytalk:
"Following on from that Revlon incident, the only thing I can draw from it is that consumers need to give Black beauty brands as much attention as they do mainstream brands." (@brownbeautytalk)

PUT YOUR POWER TO WORK
Instead of complaining about victimisation again, and looking at how everyone else is "against us", maybe, in certain circumstances, we need to look at ourselves, and how we hold ourselves back.
Maybe it's about time that we STOP placing our power in other people's hands.

I cant help but echo some important points made on the subject of Black 'consumer power'. Firstly the L'oreal research >here< which reveals that black women in the UK spend 6 times more on hair care than white women spend. That means (on average) for every £1 a white woman spends on hair-care, a black woman is likely to spend an additional £5 extra. (Did you know we had money to burn like that?) 
Secondly, we're spending bigger bucks but we don't have ownership of any of the products or even the places where they're sold.
 
When I think about it in these simple terms, it appears to be quite an 'enslaved' mindset. Always giving out, and never getting back; all in a vain attempt to be included in a beauty standard from which you still get excluded. 
Big businesses are about one thing - making big money!
If we retracted our money from companies that disrespect and many times reject our image, we would make a big dent. Furthermore, if we redirected our money into our own representation, we would probably generate more black-owned brands that were of a higher standard, that we could buy from.

IT'S MORE THAN JUST OUR MONEY

Yes, it always comes back to money for the big businesses, but our power is huge even before we get to our finances. Again, check out the BBC article that explains:
"So called viral (word-of-mouth) marketing is important for selling to ethnic groups because products targeted at them often get less coverage in mainstream media." 
We know this to be true. When was the last time you saw a TV advert for a shampoo for Afro hair? (Seriously, if you've seen one please share!)
In make-up ads, when you do see black women, how often do you see women with deeper, rich, darker shades of brown skin? If and when you do, it's noticeable, right? That very noticeability is exactly what makes that ad the exception that proves the rule - that products for black women get less coverage in the mainstream.
The online world that we as black hair and beauty bloggers and supporters, have developed for ourselves, is worth millions to big companies. They rely on us to create consumers. So it's time to think about who and what we are supporting, as well as how and why. 

START TO STRENGTHEN EACH OTHER - HELP ME!
I felt motivated to write this because I understand the importance of supporting home-grown brands, but I also enjoy and buy, big mainstream brands too. However the debate re-ignited my determination to try and do more to support black owned businesses, and I hope it encourages others to do the same. 
So help me out, what black owned hair and beauty companies would you recommend?


Sunday, 4 January 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
It's been a while ain't it! 
I wish I'd been able to keep you up to date with all that hapened in 2014, but somewhere around my 30th birthday (Whoop Whoop), I decided it was time for a break.
I'm back now though, and ready to enjoy 2015 as much as possible and provide hair-help where I can. 
If you're new to the world of being natural, I've shared some useful links to posts for beginners below, or you can click the different tabs along the top of this site.
You can also contact me by following me on any social media sites. Just search for me @CrystalAfro.
HAIR UPDATE
From October 2014 until now, I've been pretty naughty with my hair. I've not taken care of my ends and it shows. I've used heat and holding sprays. Left my hair out overnight with no scarf or bonnet. I basically broke almost all the rules.
However, in December I decided it was time to get back on the wagon and rebuild some healthy hair habits in time for the new year.
Most recently I've fallen back in love with the braidout. 
BIG HAIR DONT CARE!
 I'm kind of in love with just how big my hair can be if I want it to be.
I also like the freedom of no hair having to be exactly in place. Having said that, I have found that there is a bit of an art to fluffing out the fro.
I tend to push my fingers into the roots and gently pull the hair up and then out from there. Sounds simple but I promise theres a certain technique that I've only just conquered.
As much as I love it, I'm thinking that next week it might be time to put this baby away. Stay tuned and we'll see.... 
In the meantime, let me know how you've been, how've you had your hair for the holidays, what events you're planning to go to?
Get in touch!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

SECRETS OF THE AFRO COMB - BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY

Secrets of the Afro comb,
6,000 years of art and culture blog tour
A Legacy of the Origins of the Afro Comb
Exhibition


UNITED KINKDOM - GIVEAWAY
Last Summer I worked with Kandace as a fellow community committee member, helping to develop the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Kandace also wrote the children's book to accompany the exhibition - Secrets Of The Afro Comb.
The great thing about the exhibition, which aimed to be both engaging and educational, is that even after it's gone we can all continue learning and sharing the knowledge. 
So here, as the final stop in the Secrets of the Afro Comb Natural Hair Blog Tour, Kandace visits with me at The United KinKdom to share one of the ways it's legacy lived on through a Children's workshop this Summer.

Kandace, tells us all about it:
During the summer I had the pleasure of participating in a summer school for young people aged 14+. 
My role was 2 ½ days based around the Secrets of the Afro Comb book.  We did a variety of workshops around several of the topics covered in the book and enjoyed a day out visiting two different museums.

Looking at the Afro combs in the British Museum’s Early Ancient Egypt gallery
One of the three top voted lessons was African hair type.    Yet surprisingly it was one of the most difficult to learn at first.  It’s easy to describe how African type hair is but not so easy to understand the why.  I am still not sure why but I think this session was popular because it is so rare for children of African descent to learn things about themselves in this way.

With a smiling student at the end of a long day!
Looking at the hairstyles on the Benin plaques.
So peeps this is your final chance to enter the prize draw!  Leave a comment below for your chance to win an autographed copy of the book.  Remember all comments are also entered into the grand prize draw to win:

·      Your face and your favourite natural hairstyle captured in a forthcoming book!

·      A limited-edition quality print of the illustration in the book ‘collage of beautiful faces’.

·      An autographed copy of Secrets of the Afro Comb, 6,000 Years of Art and Culture.


About the Author
Kandace (K.N. Chimbiri) is the author of three ancient African history books for children; Step back in time to ancient Kush activity book, The Story of Early Ancient Egypt and Secrets of the Afro comb, 6,000 years of art and culture.
Secrets of the Afro Comb, 6,000 Years of Art and Culture (ISBN 978-0-9562525-3-1) is available from Amazon click here for details or from the author’s website www.goldendestiny.co.uk.




Secrets of the Afro Comb Blog Tour Schedule



Sunday 5th October




Monday 6th October




Tuesday 7th October




Wednesday 8th October




Thursday 9th October

Grand prize draw winner announced on www.facebook.com/goldendestiny and on www.black-children-reading.com