Photo courtesy of Instagram
Story by Katrina Johnson / Contributing writer
Sometimes society’s ridiculous beauty standards can make it hard to accept yourself, especially if you’re a young girl. That’s why Monica Thomas and Whitney Russell want to inspire young girls to embrace their natural hair. The Murfreesboro natives started a local business and empowerment program earlier this year called NapturallyMe.
The program is geared toward young girls with wavy, curly and kinky hair. Thomas and Russell said their goal is to “plant (the) seed of loving yourself at a young age.” The pair’s passion for this program is obvious, as it stems from their own relationships with their hair.
Thomas shared her struggles with self-acceptance when she was younger.
“Having bone straight hair was ‘it,’ and (that’s) what I wanted,” she said. “At the time I didn’t feel like my natural hair was pretty.”
Now, she and Russell have worn their hair naturally for a long time, and which is full of healthy, voluminous curls. However, it took a while to embrace them, which is why they know how important it is for young girls to learn to do the same.
“Learn Create Embrace” is NapturallyMe’s motto.
“Learn” is all about educating people about hair. Thomas and Russell teach people about the science behind hair follicles, essential oils and butters and what types of products work best with different hair textures.
“Create” refers to creating natural hair products like shea and mango butters, peppermint shampoo and conditioner and natural oils to condition the scalp.
The final part of the company’s motto, “Embrace,” is all about getting girls to embrace themselves and their natural beauty.
Russell said it is about “empowering and making girls feel beautiful with their natural hair.”
“Most importantly, (it’s about) teaching them to love their hair. Hopefully by being surrounded by other young girls, they will be able to relate to others who have curly hair as well,” Thomas added.
Their first event was held last year in October at First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. They had a Powerpoint presentation that taught the girls about different hair textures and ways to keep their hair moisturized and healthy. After the presentation, participants got to create their own natural hair products, which Russell and Thomas said the girls loved. Shortly after their first event, many parents began contacting them wanting to know about the next NapturallyMe event. It was clear that the two women had gained the support from more than just the kids.
In December the empowerment program held a Christmas giveaway on their social media and website. Two winners were selected to receive free natural hair products at the end of the month.
These young African-American entrepreneurs are doing something huge for their community, and it’s inspiring to watch. The rapid popularity their empowerment program gained was evidence of the importance and need for the business.
One thing is for sure, these women are going to continue educating girls on the power of embracing their natural hair, making their dreams come true and positively impacting those around them.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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