When locks and words meet, when art and beauty mix, you find Mélissa Beauvery, a Haitian naturalista and word artist.
1- Tell me about yourself
I am a spoken word artist, potter and art/cultural activist. I am very down to earth, practical and simple. I love life, laughter and people. I create art as self-expression and therapy through this life cycle.
2- How and when did you become natural?
In my teenage years, I always had braids or kinky twist extensions in my hair. I never really liked relaxing or doing my hair. My last relaxer was when I had to do my hair for family function and it ate one side of my hair. I was devastated. I decided to cut my hair completely and I loved how I looked.
3- How did your surrounding react to the change?
When some people saw me without any hair they would say things like “ou te pi bèl lontan” or “ou te gen bèl cheve.” Ou konnen bote yon fanm se nan cheve l”. It dawned on me how addicted we were as a people, to a false European rendition of beauty we never would and could achieve because it is not ours. It was a very liberating to own my hair texture.
4- Who was your support? Your hairspiration?
My brother had locks and cut his and my friend Mely has such long beautiful locks I was inspired. I love the way each lock molded. Years ago, It was five days before the New Year and I asked Mely to do small individual twists and it took two days and I have never used a comb since.
5- Tell us about your lock journey.
Mwen pè peny. I am literally TERRIFIED of a comb. So I knew that locking it would be my best alternative to avoid the painful process of untangling my hair. I wash and retwist once a week and sometimes once every two weeks. I do not twist them tight nor do I apply heat to my hair. I have grown an attachment to my locks and I always remember a time period according to the length of my hair or color of my locks. It is as if my hair grows with me. It has been about four years and I love to see how we have slowly grown together.
6- What’s your hair regimen?
A little castle soap for my scalp and hair. I like using deep treatments weekly because the color of my hair. My favorite hair mask is the banana, egg, honey and olive oil . My hair drinks it up and has good strength and shine afterward. I like to re-twist my hair with honey wax or olive oil mixed with castor oil. I also put essential oils so my hair could smell good. As for grease, I use Indian hemp and I mix castor oil, olive oil and ginger to stimulate growth and of course some essential oils.
7- Tell us more about your writings.
My writings are pretty much my reflections of any given time and manifestation of the world in my head. But recently, Haiti has been in heart and is the main focus of my writings due what is going on overall in Haiti and my experiences abroad.
My writings are really more in storytelling format. They don’t hold the same metrics and grammar rules of more formal poetry and prose. It really a formless story. Free.
8- Do you have any upcoming project you are working on?
I am working on more theater centered writings such as monologues and short skits highlighting various social issues.
9- What’s your thought about the natural hair revolution which started in the U.S and is widespread in Haiti?
I am elated that the natural hair revolution has spread in Haiti. Nothing is more POWERFUL than the hair if a black woman and what it represents for her image her heritage. The pride, acceptance and self love.
10- Any message to the Haitian natural hair community?
Keep your crown! You are and will always be a queen.
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