Sheri Madison Kwarteng/Contributing Writer
Issue date: 3/9/08
One-by-one, Shonta Williams, a resident of northwest D.C., removed the aerosol cans, jars, and tubes of hair care products from her toiletries cupboard, just days after having her hair Sisterlocked last March. Among them were a variety of shampoos, conditioners, oil sheen sprays, and hair dressing oils. She packed them into a box and dumped them into the trash, ridding herself of over $100 in hair care products and over a hundred years of society's Black hair care propaganda. This was a major milestone in her Sisterlocks journey - a journey of self-empowerment that challenged everything she knew about black hair care. "As Black women, we have been taught to use products to keep our hair moisturized," said Williams. "But the Sisterlocks method stresses the importance of keeping the hair care process organic."Shonta made her transition from relaxed to natural hair styles during her grad school years in 1997 after hearing a peer talk about her experience going natural which she described as liberating. "I cut [my] hair … leaving only the new growth that had not been relaxed," said Williams. "For me, it was more about acceptance. I realized I had to accept myself in my natural form." But 10 years after her transition, she still found herself spending an unseemly amount of time and money on maintaining her natural hair twists, which she wore for 10 years before converting to Sisterlocks. After seeing consultant's Sisterlocks, and reading the numerous blogs of women who are now wearing the locks, Williams was sold. "I had never seen Black natural hair so beautiful."Through skillful manipulation, Black women have broadened their hairstyling options overtime. Relaxing, pressing, and hair weaving are just a few methods that allow Black women to enjoy a variety of hairstyles. In its natural state, Black hair is often course, kinky, and difficult to comb. As such, the upkeep can be labor intensive and time consuming, making braids and dreadlocks a very attractive alternative.