Lately, I’ve been falling down the rabbit hole that is You Tube and luckily for me I found this guy! I thought it would be great to have Narada’s perspective featured on MANE MAN. He has serious styling skills and thankfully, he was willing to share his story. He seriously knows his stuff! Don’t forget to check out his channel AfrikanHairGod. Without further adieu, here’s Narada!
Tell everyone a little bit about yourself (your name, where you’re from, etc.)
My name is Narada Hayes and I am 21 years old. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia. I attend Georgia State University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. I plan on attending Cosmetology school afterwards to pursue a career as a professional hairstylist. I was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after I was born, my family moved to Kansas City, Missouri until 2001, when we relocated to Atlanta. Outside of hair and YouTube, I like to watch anime and action sci-fi TV shows. When I’m not doing homework or making videos, I am probably playing my PlayStation 3. I LOVE playing video games; I could play for hours non-stop
When did you start growing your hair out? How have people in your life reacted?
I decided to begin growing out my hair almost 4 years ago in April 2008 on my 18th birthday. Though I did not realize it at the time, the start of my hair journey represented my transition into adulthood. As my hair has grown and thrived these last few years, I have grown and matured as an individual as well. I like to think of my natural hair journey as a symbolic representation of my growth as individual.
I have had much love and support from all of my family and friends throughout my hair journey. Though there have been a couple of family members of mine that weren’t as receptive of me growing my hair because they felt that it was not conservative enough. However, they have come to be a lot more accepting and open to my journey. Now they have come to love the “natural” look and have even asked me to style their hair like mine!
Well, your styling skills are BANANAS! What inspired you to start your channel (AfrikanHairGod)?
There were a couple of reasons that I decided to begin my channel. When I first began my hair journey, I knew absolutely nothing, yes NOTHING, about hair care. Like many other people, I found You Tube and used it as my resource to educate myself about how to care for my hair and grow it long and healthy. Everything that I know now (including my signature style, flat twists) I learned from watching others’ You Tube videos. I have been so grateful for all the knowledge that I’ve gained from others and felt that I had to give back and contribute my newfound knowledge and experience with the natural hair community.
My second and main driving factor that pushed me on to the You Tube scene was the lack of male representation in the You Tube natural hair community. I often felt disregarded and often overlooked when I watched videos as I constantly heard vloggers referring to their viewers as”natural divas” or “natural sistas” or “curly chicas”…..and the list goes on. It was very rare that vloggers referred to natural men outside the context of locs, afros, and cornrows. I wanted everyone in the natural hair community to acknowledge men into their circle and realize that many of us watch videos or read blogs but very few of us actually make them. I feel as though my presence on YouTube has done just that.
What has been the response to your channel?
If I had to describe the response I’ve received from everyone in one word, I would say AMAZING! To be honest, when I first began I didn’t think that everyone would be so receptive of a man talking about hair care, especially in something that is so dominated by women. I imagined they would say things like, “What…. A guy? What could he possibly tell me about hair?” As far as I knew, it was unheard of a guy doing hair tutorials on YouTube, especially styling his own hair. However, from the very beginning, everyone has been so welcoming and receptive to me. Many people have told me that I have been their sole inspiration for going natural. That is so humbling to think that I, of all people, would inspire so many people through their natural hair journey. I have also received thanks from many of my male viewers telling me that they appreciate me for just being a male face for them to watch and relate with on their hair journey. It really is such a fulfilling and wonderful experience to inspire and encourage men and women along on their natural hair journey.
Can you share a little bit of your usual hair routine?
To be honest, I like to keep it simple. I like to shampoo/deep condition my hair about every 2 weeks (or when I feel that my hair needs it). After I wash it, I like to moisturize it with water, oil, leave-in conditioner, and then seal with butter (all in that order), and stretch and dry it overnight in chunky braids.
The next day when I take down my braids, I am left with soft, shiny, moisturized, and stretched/detangled hair. From here I can go 2 different routes. I’ll either style it, or leave my hair as it is and enjoy my fluffy afro. When my hair begins to feel dry again (which is usually about 2-4 days or so) I moisturize and stretch just like I did after my wash. I find that keeping my hair stretched and moisturized like this, minimizes tangling and breakage, and leaves me with full, stretched big hair. I like to listen to my hair. When it needs to be moisturized, I moisturize it. When it needs to be washed, I shampoo/condition it. When it needs to be trimmed, I trim it. It’s all about being responsive to your hair’s needs and using the right techniques that are suitable for your particular lifestyle.
Do you have any favorite products or hair tools that you would recommend to other mane men out there?
I realize that a lot of men like to keep it very simple and minimal when it comes to their hair. My best advice for them and everyone else out there is water and oil. Both are very inexpensive and accessible. Water is natural hair’s best friend. Oil helps seal in that moisture and gives your hair a vibrant sheen. Yes, these are fundamentals but that is as simple as it gets. I prefer to use natural oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or extra virgin olive oil. You can find all of these at your local grocery store reasonably priced.
Anything else you would like to share?
Oftentimes I hear a lot of people say that they struggle with their hair, that they don’t know what to do with their hair, or that their hair journey is difficult. I don’t view natural hair as being something that is difficult, instead I like to think of it as learning something that is new. With anything that you are not familiar with, there is always a learning curve. You don’t know everything there is to know from the start. I, too, had a hard time in the beginning of my hair journey. After taking time watching YouTube videos and researching on the internet, I learned of the numerous mistakes I was making, the proper technique for handling my natural hair, as well as, a better understanding of natural hair in general. Collectively, all of this has made my journey much easier and enjoyable.
You really never stop learning about your hair, which is what makes it so exciting for me. Every day that passes by, I learn something completely new. Your journey doesn’t have to be difficult and frustrating. Your natural hair journey is what you make of it.