Afro Alice has taken the time to interview a very remarkable figure in the Facebook haitian community, Rachel Misère.
1- Tell me about yourself.
First of all, I am very honored to be interviewed by an awesome Fanm Vanyan like you, who is doing a great thing for the Haitian natural hair community. I am a servant of the highest God, I am simple yet I loathe mediocrity. I also like to help others and encourage them; in addition, I like to have fun and be inspired by everything and everyone. I like nature and try to be outdoors whenever I can.
2- Tell me about Opinions des Femmes
I always had a passion to help women – Haitian women, and my people. I’ve worked with the Haitian Community. Therefore, I have seen and heard everything that is oppressing Haitian Women. I had an urge to do something about it so I ‘’ bat bouda’m, mwen leve pye’m ‘’ (dust my butt and get on my feet). On October 5, 2012, a platform was created by me with an amazing, beautiful and strong team consisted of 5 Haitian women, hence Opinions de Femmes. It is a community for Haitian Women to come and feel at home, it’s like a virtual home for my Fanm lakay to express themselves fully, to learn, to cry, to ASK for help, to enjoy life, to educate, to advocate, to encourage, finding solution, to support each other and learn new ways to live life to the fullest.
3- Any upcoming project for Opinions des Femmes?
Yes, Opinions de Femmes is a ‘’ Lakou’’ in progress. We are still crawling yet we have BIG dreams for the future. We are working on creating a logo and a magazine; we hope to get an office based in Haiti and abroad where we want to create a community for women. The rest shall remain a surprise!!!! Stay tuned ladies.
4- How and when did you return natural?
After my hair got damaged by a perm in March 2008, I decided right away that keeping it natural was the best decision. I cut my hair, the ends precisely, and braided it for the following years. My mom usually sends me Minoval for my roots and always advises me to wash it with Herbal essences, which I did for a while. However, I started taking care of my natural crown in September 2010; I have discovered the natural hair community then, and was grateful.
5- How did people surrounding you react to this change?
I had a great support system during that time and still do. My parents are a big advocate for natural hair, my sister is a great cheerleader and most of my peers are natural as well, so the reaction was pretty positive.
6- Who is your hairspiration?
My hair inspiration is my sister, I once saw a picture she had when she was natural, I was in awe ( she’s going back to natural now, thank God, probably after my constant winning for her to go back, 🙂 ), she had a mega afro and that’s what I am striving for, a big and healthy afro. My other hair inspiration is Jenell from Kinky Curly Coily Me, I’ve seen her hair grow from a TWA to shoulder length.
7- Who did support you?
My support was my family, close friends and the natural hair community. Other women with natural hair motivated me as well; it has become acceptable now to wear our hair freely and without judgment. Although, you are going to hear ignorant comments from ignorant individuals, when I see other natural women in the street, as soon as our eyes meet, we smile, it’s like to say ‘’I respect you ‘’ and that is an encouragement!
8- What do you love about being natural?
Being natural gave me a boost of confidence to wear my hair the way it was created; it also encouraged me to wear more colors. It saves me money and help me embraced myself fully as a Haitian Women. I like the fact that I can do various styles with it; I can wet it whenever and wherever, overall I like the relationship I have with my hair.
9- What is your hair regimen?
My hair regimen consisted of washing it once a week, with a natural shampoo I purchase at Whole Foods called 365, and the great Tresemmé Naturals conditioner. Right after that I used the L.O.C (Liquid, Oil, Cream) method; I then spray my hair with oil, either Jojoba, almond or argan, afterward I seal it with the raw Shea butter. During the week I sprayed my hair with a concoction of oil I made with water and oils; I added various oils, argan, avocado, jojoba, castor, and olive oil to keep my scalp moisturized because it gets dry often. It does wonders for my hair.
10- What is your opinion on the natural hair revolution going on in the States and in Haiti?
My opinion is that I am more excited to see Haitian women wearing their hair natural, as you are aware, our community don’t appreciate’’ Fanm tèt grenn’’ and I think it was a stronghold that needed to be fought and we are doing it peacefully and with class. So I encouraged any women going down that road to ignore the naysayers and wear your hair however you choose. More power to our Haitian Women. Enjoy your life ladies to the fullest and we at Opinions de femmes love you! Kenbe fèm, pa febli!
11- A message to the natural hair community?
Enjoy yourself, be genuine, eat healthy, be patient, support one another and stay connected to your roots.