Editor's Note

October 02, 2005|By KARLAYNE R. PARKER | KARLAYNE R. PARKER,UNISUN EDITOR

I remember when my hair was just beyond my shoulders. And so does my mother.

She reminds of this every now and then.

As a child, I had braids and ponytails. To style my thick, long hair, my mother used the hot comb to straighten my tight curls.

I can still remember the sound of the comb as it crackled and sizzled near my ear. At times, I felt it, too.

The use of the hot comb didn't last long. Tired of wrestling with my hair, my mother turned to giving me perms.

That was another painful experience. The white, whipped-creamlike substance lay on my sensitive scalp as the heat from its ingredients spanked my nappy strands of hair straight. In the process, my scalp took a beating as well.

I continued getting perms through the 1990s; then, I decided I had had enough. I went natural, and the change was drastic.

I went from my Anita Baker-styled hair to a short fade. My hairdresser didn't want to cut my hair. She, like a lot of women, was attached to longer, processed hair.

But she did it. With every snip of hair, I smiled.

And for most of the last 12 years (except for about three years when I permed my hair and it grew even longer than when I was a child), I've been natural.

What has been most refreshing about having natural hair is that it's easy to take care of. I'm a get-up-and-go kind of woman and this style suits me perfectly.

In my time in Baltimore, I've noticed that lots of others wear what I call the look of freedom - whether their hair is braided, locked or twisted or they're bald.

It's no wonder then that in this edition of UniSun we introduce you to others who wear natural hair styles.

Sun staff reporter Tanika White tells the story of how and why some of us opt to go natural, preferring to wear braids, dreads, fros or twists.

From one transforming experience to another: Sun staff reporterCarl Schoettler looks at an artist's strokes that brighten the landscape of an African-American community.

For those looking for a fall excursion, Sun staff reporter Emeri O'Brien looks at cruises that have an Afro-centric theme.

I hope you enjoy!

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