Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Natural Hair and Style Stories on HairNista in 2012

By Tenisha Mercer

This time last year, HairNista was a blip on the natural hair blog scene.

We've grown since then -- bringing you the top stories in natural hair and style. Here are the top hair and style on HairNista in 2012.

Let me preface this by saying... ya'll love some celeb natural hair. Consistently, celeb natural hair stories are the most viewed posts on HairNista. I hear you.... So, I'll be posting  more about celeb natural hair from now on.

1. Brandy Rocks a Curly Weave at the Billboard Music Awards. Can't get enough of Brandy's curly hair. Who can blame you? She looked great with it.

Brandy sporting curly hair
2. Brandy Sports Curly Weave in L.A. Again, Brandy ranks tops. I can't quite tell if this is a wig or a weave (looks an awful lot like a LaJay wig to me, but anywho) but who cares!
Brandy wearing curly hair

3. Baby Blue Ivy created quite the stir in social media -- before she was even born. We chronicled the offspring of Jay and Bey and boy, did folks weigh in on her looks on Twitter.

4. Kelly Rowland is another favorite curlie. HairNistas ate up stories about her curly hair.
Kelly  and her curls

Style is an important component of any natural's wardrobe. This year, HairNistas were particularly intrigued with color blocking.

 HairNistas love curly kids! Actress Skai Jackson ranks high among HairNista readers.

Source: YouTube
6. Natural hair and marriage. A guaranteed controversy, especially in the natural hair community, when a spouse doesn't 'like' natural hair.
What! You don't like my natural hair!


Happy New Year From HairNista!

By Tenisha Mercer

With less than 6 hours to go before 2012 is a distant memory -- HELLO, 2013! -- I just wanted to thank you, HairNistas, for an awesome 2012!

I started this blog on Sept. 30, 2011 and, tens of thousands of views later, readers from around the world have challenged me, made me think, and affirmed me! I never would have imagined when I started that my little ole' blog would attract readers and a following from 'round the world.

So, with that said, let's turn this thang up for 2013! You'll be reading more of posts about natural hair and fashion, as well as more celebrity hair posts, videos and guest features (on my to-do list) for 2013.

Keep reading, and Happy 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What to Wear with Your LBD

By Tenisha Mercer

It's peak time for New Year's parties. And what's the best, most classic thing to wear? A Little Black Dress (LBD). Now, you can find a variety of LBDs year-round, but nothing will makes it stand out this holiday like your accessories.

Whether it's a formal get together or a helluva party with friends, here are a few ideas to kick your LBD up a notch -- just in time for the holiday bash.

Add a statement necklace. A boat neck or a plunging neckline screams for a neclace. What better than a large, chunky statement necklace?

Wear an exotic shoe. No plain black pumps. BORING! If you've got only one way to stand out, make it your shoes.

Wear a pop of color. Nothing is more boring than black-on-black.YAWN! So add a pop of color -- a clutch, handbag or other accessory to brighten things up.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Your New Year's Hair Resolutions

By Tenisha Mercer

Have you thought about your New Year's resolutions?

The end of the year and the beginning of a new year.

While you're cueing up your New Year's Resolutions, why not think about what you are going to do with your hair?

It's appropriate, takes into account your goals, and is a good way of planning ahead.

Here are mine:

  • Straighten more -- once a month.
  • Detangle more.
  • Color?
  • Drink more water.
  • Henna.
  • Continue my deep conditioning reggie.
  • Develop more styles more "dry" styles - braid outs/twist outs. Anything except wash/go.
  • Take a multi-vitamin or biotin.

What are your hair resolution goals?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from HairNista!

By Tenisha Mercer

Merry Christmas, HairNistas!

I hope Santa brought you all the natural hair products you wished for.

Check out this Natural Hair Christmas Tree on YouTube by Nappy Goddesse.

                                          Source: YouTube

Monday, December 24, 2012

What's on your Christmas Wish List?

By Tenisha Mercer

Christmas is the time to splurge. And what better way to splurge than on natural hair products?

If I could have my way with Santa, this would be on my list:

1. Huetiful hair steamer. A bit extravagant for  moi, considering that I use a good old free plastic bag, a towel and a microwave. But it's Christmas, right?

2. Curlformers. Not the bootleg 'Curlformers' I buy on ebay. But the real deal. As in the deluxe package from Sally's.

3. A big basket of all those products I want to try but hesitate to shell out the money for because I don't want to be too much of a PJ: Karen's Body Beautiful, Darcy's Botanicals, Qhemet's, DevaCurl, HairRules, etc. Yeah, buddy!

4: A professional twist out. This one's probably the lowest priced out of all of them. Just itching to let someone else twist up this hair for once -- at a natural hair salon.  I think they'll really show ME how it's done.

What's on your natural hair shopping list?

Friday, December 21, 2012

HairCrush Friday

By Tenisha Mercer

Great pics of natural hair around the web. Enjoy!

Natural hair icons Corrine Bailey Rae and Esperanza Spalding

Love this cut!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kellis and Her Two-Toned Curly Fro

By Tenisha Mercer

Kelis with her son, Knight

Kelis is known for changing her hairstyles. The rapper is known for wearing a variety of styles, from pink hair, to shaved looks, curly looks, straight hair, to everything in between. Here, she rocks a curly fro with a shock of blond that's bangin'.

What do you think? Comment below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HairCrush Fridays -- REMIX!

By Tenisha Mercer

It takes a national tragedy to remind us how important life really is and to put everything  into perspective. On Friday, I was going to post my usual pictures of fab natural hair. After hearing about the shootings in Connecticut late Friday afternoon, I just couldn't.

There's more to life than just hair, ya'll.

So, here are some HairCrush Friday natural hair pictures from around the interweb via my fave site,, and remixed for Wednesday. The site has been renamed, not sure what is going on, but enjoy the collage of pics.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Curls Are Back

By Tenisha Mercer

After six weeks if wearing straight hair, I'm happy to report that my curls are back with no problem with some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and aloe vera gel. I think I'll wear it this way for about a week or so and then get it straigthened again or do a curly set.

My curls are back!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Samsung Holiday Commercial Featuring Family with Natural Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

It's extremely common to see natural hair in the media. Now, Samsung has debuted a commercial with a family full of naturals -- the most natural hair I've ever seen in one single commercial.

Maybe seeing more natural hair in the media will finally convince those who have yet to make the natural hair plunge. That, or at least it will make natural hair seem more "normal."

                                          Source: YouTube

What do you think?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

3 Blazers To Wear This Winter

By Tenisha Mercer

The last season or two may as well be called the season of the blazer. They're incredibly popular, and are easy to dress up or down -- thrown on a fitted blazer and a pair of skinnies for a cute, sexy look or add a pencil skirt and heels for the office.

Blazers are so easy. Throw on one over a dress, a pair of jeans or even dress pants for a cool, casual look. Add a scarf and some earrings and the look is so casual chic.

Here are a few styles of blazers that we love for this winter:

Tuxedo jacket. This blazer made a big return last year. It's styled similar to a men's jacket, only remixed for women. White and black color combos are incredibly popular and chic.

Retro blazer. In a nod to the 80s, those jackets that you see on Dynasty re-runs are back, and in a big way. We're seeing all kinds of retro wear, from fitted, cropped blazers to those with no collars and lapels with slightly squared off shoulders.

Bright colors. Color is hot, hot, hot, and so, too,  are colorfully themed blazers. Look for popular colors like mustard, teal and deep plum to WERK in the winter. Just because it's winter doesn't mean that you can't add color.

What kind of jackets are you buying?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Louisiana TV Reporter Allegedly Fired For Responding To Facebook Rant About Her Natural Hair?

By Tenisha Mercer

KTBS Meteorologist Rhonda Lee fired for responding to a post about her natural hair

A story about a Lousiana meteorologist who was fired for allegedly responding to a Facebook comment about her natural hair is bringing the issue of natural hair in the workplace to the forefront again.

Rhonda Lee worked at KTBS,  an ABC affilliate in Shreveport.

The Rant About Natural Hair

An Oct. 1 Facebook post questioned if Lee should wear her short TWA, and suggested she put on a wig or grow more hair. It was allegedly written by a viewer identifed as Emmitt Vascocu:

“the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”
 How Lee Responded

This was Lee's response: “Hello Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

“I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

“Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

“Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.”

KTBS Fires Lee

KTBS alleges that Lee's response was a violation of company procedure.

This is what KTBS News Director Randy Bain said about the comment on Facebook:

“If harsh viewer comments are posted on the station’s official website, there is a specific procedure to follow. Ms. Rhonda Lee was let go for repeatedly violating that procedure after being warned multiple times of the consequences if her behavior continued.”

Lee claims she "has yet to see " a policy or procedure, but the station claims it sent an email to staff on Aug. 30 about the policy.

"When we see complaints from viewers, it’s best not to respond at all. … If you choose to respond to these complaints, there is only one proper response: Provide them with [redacted name] contact information, and tell them he would be glad to speak with them about their concerns. Once again, this is the only proper response."
Lee Says KTBS Ignored the Comment

Lee claimed she felt the need to respond because “the station didn’t do anything” after the comment was on the station's Facebook page for six days.

“Racial instances, racial comments can be very sensitive and if they’re allowed to just sit there, to me it’s almost condoning harsh comments like that,” Lee told CNN.

CNN's O'Brien said the conversation could have led to a conversation about why natural hair is scary to some, but Lee said she wanted to educate.

I feel like I was punished for defending myself; whereas other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip instead. I feel that a lot of times, and particularly in the deep South, that racial issues can be scary, they can be very touchy and, as my former employer saw it, as controversial. … You may have the policy but I also feel there’s a responsibility to educate viewers and if that opportunity comes up, then grab it, take hold of it, embrace it, and use it as a platform for helping repair relations within our community. And I really feel that hiding is doing more of a disservice than actually helping to educate the viewing population when you have the opportunity.
Some news anchors have had different experiences, with at least one TV news anchor getting nothing but positive reviews about her natural hair. And recently, Wisconsin TV anchor Jennifer Livingston made national news after she responded on-air to a viewer who made derogatory comments about her weight on Facebook.

It's interesting to note that Livingston became a cause celebre for online bullying among adults. I see it no differently with Lee: This viewer made a bullying comment about her hair. The difference was that Lee's station did not back her up and, instead, fired her. An educational moment was clearly missed.

 My Thoughts

As a former journalist, I can say that TV news reporters are particularly challenged by wearing their natural hair. Not only are hairstyles strictly regulated -- even spelled out in contracts -- with some stations, those journalists have the added pressure of ratings and whether viewers will like their hair. Superficial, I know, but very true.

The issue, IMO, becomes was this really about natural hair and does a journalist have a right to respond to an attack on their heritage? If the station fabricated a company statement about responding to Facebook, this case just got national attention and Lee is probably going to walk away with a healthy settlement and possibly a new job after all this national media attention.

It's easy for blogs to say this journalist was fired for wearing her natural hair, but to me, it seems that she was fired for responding to a post about her natural hair. There is a big difference and the question becomes did she violate station policy?

What This Means For Natural Hair In Corporate America

I found what Lee told CNN's O'Brien about her natural TWA particularly interesting:

“I even had a news director once say that my hair was too aggressive for Sacramento,” Lee told CNN's Soledad O'Brien, and said her natural hair has led to her not getting interviews.

It also shines a brighter spotlight, unfortunately, for women who are afraid to wear their natural hair at work, who see this story and think, "See, THIS is why I can't wear my natural hair."

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Creating A Winter Regimen: 3 Easy Tips

By Tenisha Mercer

Taking care of natural hair in the winter requires some regimen adjustments
By now, winter has settled in much of the U.S. -- and the challenge becomes what to do with our hair in the colder temperatures (if you're lucky).

Winter is when you have to bring out the big guns -- especially for natural hair. Nothing will stunt your growth and set you back like that wool scarf/coat damaging your hair or those freezing temps on wet, wash and go hair.

What's a HairNista to do?

Up your moisture game. That's right, up your moisture. This is no time for slacking on ingredients. You gotta get those uber creamy moisturizers and rich creams on your mane to protect it from the elements. Note: They don't have to be super pricey, but you do have to have quality ingredients.

Don't leave the house with wet hair. It sounds like common sense, but in the natural hair world, it really isn't. So obey some advice that your mother or grandmother probably told you years ago when you were a little tyke: Don't leave the house with sopping wet hair in winter; your hair can freeze and break off (like mine almost did a few years ago during a cold winter).

Protective styling is your friend. The winter is the perfect time to wear out styles It's much cooler, less humidity for out styles. But if your hair is rubbing up against your wool coat, scarf or hat, you may want to rethink that strategy and do updos, pony tails and other styles to protect your fragile ends -- the oldest part of the hair.

What's your winter regimen?

Friday, December 7, 2012

HairCrush Friday

By Tenisha Mercer

I may not have short hair, but  I think they make for some of the flyest cuts.

Here are a few pics  of dope short cuts.


Too FLY!
Love it!


CNN's Soledad O'Brien Examines Colorism in the Black Community

By Tenisha Mercer

CNN's Soledad O'Brien asks, "Who is Black America?"
Who is Black in America?

Soledad O'Brien examines that question and answers in her latest CNN installment, "Black in America," Sunday, Oct. 9th at 9 p.m.

What an appropriate question. Nearly 200 years after slavery, Colorism, the practice of intra race cdiscrimination based on skin coloring, is still alive and well in the Black community. And while this isn't a hair issue per se, it has EVERYTHING to do with how we view ourselves -- and how we accept our natural hair, even.

More than just who is Black, Soledad also examines the experiences of a bi-racial woman who identifies as white , revealing that "Black" isn't always so clear cut: Is it an experience or does it solely stem from race, even as more Americans are bi-racial and identifying themselves as such

Who's "Black" and Who's not?

But back to colorism. That's my issue; take one look at my skin and you know I'm Black. But what you may not know is that it was often the subject of riducule.

As a child growing up in the 80s, the message was clear: light skin was in. And that message was drilled into us, from the types of girls we saw in music videos to the guys who were the subject of affection. Black wasn't very beautiful.

We Still Face the Color "Issue"

That has changed,  and we now see Black people in all different hues.

But ask any kid and they'll tell you that colorism is still very much apart of our community. As someone who was teased for my cocoa brown skin as a child, I can tell you that nothing much has changed: Kids still mercilessly tease dark-skinned children, and light-skinned children face discrimination as well. Dark girls still have woefully few role models in TV and film.

That's the thing about colorism; it doesn't always mean that darker skinned people are teased; sometimes, lighter skinned people are also teased. Either way, the pain still hurts the same. And it damages generations, poisoining families who unfairly treated members of their family who they deemed to be too dark or too light.

Creating yet another generation of Black folks who dislike their color.

O'Brien herself is "bi-racial" but said she identifies as Black. Her newest topic is among several issues she's tackled as part of "Black in America,."

We can talk about it until the cows come home; but until little girls and boys aren't teased for being "too black" or teased for being "light bright", then we really haven't come as far as we think we have.

Have you experienced colorism?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Solange Knowles in A Retro Dress

By Tenisha Mercer

90s retro is red-hot, and none other than fashionista Solange Knowles recently stepped out in a thigh-high, double split dress.

Knowles looked fab in the dress, which was a peachy undertone that looked great against her skin. She wore a straightish textured wig, and topped the look off with strappy sandals and a little clutch.

Perfect! So elegant.

I love how 90s fashions are making a comeback!

Would you wear fashions from the 1990s?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

HairTroversy: Is Dutch Tradition of "Black Pete" Wearing an Afro Racist?

By Tenisha Mercer

Is "Black Pete," a Dutch holiday tradition, racist? -- Photo Credit: Associated Press
"Black Pete," a long-standing Dutch holiday tradition that honors St. Nicholas' helpers with celebrants dressing up in a costume of an Afro wig, thick red lips and black face, is drawing sharp criticism and allegations of racism.

Critics say the "Black Pete" outfit resembles racist caricatures of Black people, though it's only been in the past few years that anyone has dared speak out against the tradition.  The holiday tradition is known as Zwarte Piet — whose name means "Black Pete" in English. Supporters insist on upholding the tradition and say it's a harmless fictional figure that doesn't represent race.

But a growing number of people are saying the figure is racist. Last year, there were even protests.  And at least one influential website has called for celebrating the practice with the now controversial figure to end.

I think it's as racist as they come, apparently it is the Dutch version of Amos and Andy and Sambo. It's clear to me that they are demeaning a Black person; just because it's not in the U.S. doesn't make it any better.

What do you think?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Alicia Keys Wears A Short Curly Do

By Tenisha Mercer

Alicia Keys sports a short, stylish curly hairstyle on the cover of Jet Magazine.

CUTE! Alicia big chopped over the summer, and has since worn a variety of chic, short looks, including slicked back and straight styles ever since.

What do you think of Alicia's hair?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Target Launches Collabo with Neiman Marcus

By Tenisha Mercer

The retailer known for chic and cheap -- Target --- today launches a holiday collaboration with luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.

The Target + Neiman Marcus collection includes 50 items from well-known designers such as Tracy Reese, Alice + Olivia, Derek Lamb, Tory Burch, Rag & Bone, Robert Rodriguez and others. The line will includes everything from shoes and kids' clothing to bikes and luggage and prices range from $19.99 for home decor to $179.99 for luggage.

It marks the retailer's most expected collabo to date: Target's Mossimo Collection sold out last year in minutes online and in-stores last fall, crashing the retailer's site. Expect the Neiman collection to sell out, too.

What do you think of the Target + Neiman Marcus Collection?

Tracy Reese blouse -- $79.99

Skaist Taylor vest $79.99-- Source

Lela Rose Top $69.99