Recently, I had the chance to converse with new natural hair blogger Hendrick from Natural Hair Men and he was gracious enough to share some of his story with the community. Read on for his interview!
MANE MAN: Tell us a little bit about yourself (your name and where you’re from).
Hendrick: Hi everybody! My name is Hendrick and I am a 19 years old British black male. My family is Jamaican but my father’s roots go back to the United States. I am just a regular guy currently at university; in my free time I like to paint, go shopping with my friends around Soho in London and I am an avid table tennis player! Some time ago I decided to let my natural hair grow and I started documenting it in my blog called Natural Hair Men where I post about natural hair and the African diaspora and where I also post examples of natural hairstyles and African hairstyles such as cornrows, dreadlocks, braids etc. I also like to post about black celebrity men who have at one time or another had natural hair styles or any African inspired style (for example Lenny Kravitz and his dreadlocks, I love that style!).
I am by no means an expert, I’m just a regular guy hoping my blog can help other brothers and sisters who want to take the next step in growing their Afro kinky hair. Plus I discovered I enjoy writing too!
MM: How long ago did you start growing your hair out? And how did people in you life react
H: I started growing my hair after seeing my sister doing it over a year ago. She completely changed her outlook on her life and appearance after deciding it was time to throw away the relaxers and irons. She got her ‘big chop’ and I didn’t recognize her the first time I saw her after she chopped her long relaxed hair! But then as the weeks went by, I noticed all the positive changes she had made in her life, and some 2 months later she looked fantastic and she would tell me how liberated and positive she felt about herself. We got talking and she convinced me to let my natural kinks grow as I have always kept my hair buzzed, maybe some hairline work, but nothing else other than really short hair.
My sister was very welcoming of my natural hair growing decision and so was my dad. My mother was at first not very happy with my sister chopping her hair so when she noticed me growing my TWA she went a bit bonkers I have to admit lol She is as old-school as it gets so men for her have to look clean and sharp, no Afros, no braids or anything like that. However, she is now getting more used to it and my sister and I are growing our afro together so that’s pretty cool and we support each other. Most my friends were cool with my change although a couple of guys who I thought were my friends did give me some crap about it. At least that gave me the chance to see who would be a true friend and who would not, and I am happy to say just about all proved they were friends and gave me their support.
MM: What has been your biggest grooming challenge so far?
H: My hair is so slow to grow! I have read that this is because afro kinky hair coils so much so I do understand what’s going on and the reason for it, but it can sometimes be a bit irritating! My sister experiences the same too, and her natural friends also complain about it, but I think some black woman go with the same mindset as when they had relaxed hair, and I believe you truly have to change your outlook on hair care when you go natural!Other than the slowness of the hair growth, I would say that I have to be so careful styling my kinks because they seem to become more fragile the longer they grow! Oh, and the frizz too….oh, the frizz!
MM: The frizz is definitely real! How do you usually style your hair?
H: I am just letting it grow and not styling it, just making sure I am taking good care of it from what I have learned online, through books, forums etc. When I have tried to style my hair, it just didn’t work and I believe afro kinky hair is best left without any major styling unless it is very long. But I am still experimenting so maybe I find a better way to style my puffy afro (I will let you all know if I do! :-D)
MM: Do you have any favorite products or hair tools that you would recommend to other mane men out there?
H: I am a big believer in the true sense of natural products. I don’t understand how so many hair products out there are advertised as “natural”, yet contain chemicals or unnatural ingredients. My sister ordered some products from the United States thinking they were 100% natural as that’s what the ads said and then we found out the products had all kind of unnatural ingredients. So ever since I just stick to my good old coconut butter and Aloe Vera gel. I use a baby shampoo for cleaning my hair every four or five days.
MM: And finally, is there anything else you would like to share?
H: I am just a regular guy who is proud of his African roots and my hair made me cement this pride, so I blog about natural hair, our African roots, living life as a guy growing “unusual” hair etc. You can find me on my blog Natural Hair Men and always feel free to pass by and say hi! My blog is just a hobby I have for now and even though I’m usually loaded with classes and projects, I always try to update my blog with some post on some cool hairstyle or hair care tip just in case it can help any brothers or sisters.
Also just the hair care alone for natural afro kinky hair can be a bit hard to grasp and there is a bit of a learning curve, so if with my blog I can help make the path easier for anyone, then my goal would be accomplished. And like I say you’re all welcome to say hi!
Thank you all for reading my story and thanks to Jor-El too!
MM says: Thanks Hendrick, we look forward to reading and seeing more of you!