The Modern Civil Rights Movement: Life after George Floyd

Since 2016 the worlds eyes have watched American police departments, justify excessive force onto black bodies. It seems like once a month there is a new case of an unarmed black person dying in police custody that we have to rally behind. As exhausted as we are and as hard it is to muster surprise by the callousness in these deaths, we know that we have to keep trying.

Since 2016 the worlds eyes have watched American police departments, justify excessive force onto black bodies. It seems like once a month there is a new case of an unarmed black person dying in police custody that we have to rally behind. As exhausted as we are and as hard it is to muster surprise by the callousness in these deaths, we know that we have to keep trying. Three deaths caught the attention of the world this year because we weren’t too tired. Changes began to happen this year because we would not give up and throughout all of the chaos, there is more hope now than we’ve had in years for progression.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Judge, Jury, and Executioners

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 and told the police that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

Quote by (NY Times)

In the moments following his death, a number of things happened that people of color understand very well. The common excuses that follow police killings began to float around. Until the video surfaced and the full truth was shown, George Floyd’s case was threatened to be ignored, like the many that had come before his.

Negative comments about ethnic groups are unacceptable, hence speakers manage them by using particular types of languge, such as hedging or minimising, and other strategies, such as justifications, excuses and blaming the victim

Quote from the book Discourse & Society Vol. 23, No.1– Sage Publication, Ltd

In the case of George Floyd we heard the common phrases:

“He must have been resisting arrest.”

“He must have been violent.”

“Why didn’t he just listen to the police?”

When the chilling video was released by a bystander showing a compliant man begging for his life. The collective disgust in a person who could slowly kill a man whos lasts words were cries to his deceased mother sparked an outrage that demolished barriers between race, religion, ethnicities, and nations.

In the United States, American protests had an unprecedented number of young white paticipants. Larger than the U.S. has ever seen for an African American cause. These young activists were energized and articulate about their understanding of the struggles black people face in the U.S. and eager to absorb knowlege about anything that they did not understand. New York Times article One Big Difference About George Floyd Protests: Many White Faces explores this very concept, they wrote:

It is not just protests. White Americans are going through a wave of self-examination, buying books about racism, talking to black friends, and arguing within their own families. Still, how much of this translates into broader change remains to be seen.

Narratives and Identity

On March 13 Breonna Taylor, a 26 year old EMT, was fatally shot in the middle of the night by three police officers with a no knock warrent. Her apartment became linked to a narcotics investigation, and although the alleged drug dealer had already been arrested, the police officers came to her apartment following a lead that the young EMT’s apartment had recieved a package from the drug dealer at some point of time in the past.

Her case reached national heights three months after her death due to the George Floyd/ Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and the BLM movement. Until then her case had been sitting in a stagnant place. Her incident report had even listed that there was no forced entry and that Breonna Taylor had not suffered any injuries.

Although the police that murdered her have not been arrested, the Louisville Metro Council voted unanimously to ban no-knock search warrants and the detective that lead the case has been fired from the department.

The suppression of incidents revolving around the black community and the police is nothing new. Another case that has recently reached national headlines is Elijah Mcclain‘s. He was a 23 year old who had been walking to a convienience store in August 2019. He was apprihended by police officers for wearing a ski mask and looking suspicious. When he began hysterically begging for his life during a choke hold, he was shot with an excessive dosage of ketamine and died of a heart attack. His story is only seeing the light of day because of the current BLM movement as well.

Questions of police officer’s lack of deescalation tactics durring altercations with African American people has been on the table for years. The fear that they feel towards black people exists because of long held naratives passed down since the Reconstruction Period and little has been done since to change the fable of the savage black man.

Investigative journalist Ida B. Wells wrote an article named Lynching and the Excuse for it in 1896 that holds some errie parallels to police killings today.

“Let us assume that the southern citizens who take part in and abets the lynching of negroes honestly believes that that is the only successful method of dealing with a certain class of crimes.”

“lynchings are the desperate effort of the southern people to protect their women from black monsters, and while the large majority condem lynching, the condemnation is tempered with a plea for the lyncher— that human nature gives way under such awful provocation and that the mob, insane for the moment, must be pitied as well as condemned.

We see this pitying condemnation every time a police officer goes to trial and gets aquitted from a crime we all know they commited for the sole reason that they were “afraid for their lives”. This narrative is destructive and robs people of color of their right to be innocent before proven guilty. It robs them of their individuality and identity. How utterly unfair must it feel for a person with power to take your life simply because they were afraid of you before you’ve ever had a conversation?

While the change that has come from the BLM movement has been a great step in the right direction, it is a far cry from an end all be all. Yes, it is amazing that this era has ushered in a more introspective society and now that more people are questioning their prejudices and taking action against oppressors, much needed legislations are being passed. I just find it hard to be satisfied when I know that as long as there are generalized narratives being spread of the “scary black people” there will be police officers that “fear for their lives” when they come in contact us armed or unarmed, hostile or docile.


One Love: A Millennial’s Journey to Pan Africanism

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Claude McKay


This is a post about my ongoing journey to learn about Pan Africanism through journals, articles, literature, and videos for an African American Literature class that I am taking. I am by no means an expert in the study but I hope you all enjoy my findings and journey as much as I am. If at anytime I present false or off information please let me know, I am definitely open to correction. Some one else may be struggling in the same areas.

Reach one teach one!

To kick this off, I’d like to give a little insight to what lead me to studying Pan Africanism.

I’d spent 19 years in St. Louis Missouri living in either predominately African American or Caucasian areas as I glided between the private and public school systems. If there were any people in my life at that were of African or Caribbean origin at that point of time, I hadn’t known about it. My family, which migrated from Mississippi to STL during the great migration is large, close knit, and very connected to the baptist church.

Much of southern African American culture and prominence stemmed from the community and local government connections made through black church organizations throughout American history. If you would like to know more information about the rise and importance of churches in the south here’s an article written by the Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. This article breaks the information down better than I ever could.

I say all of this to emphasize that for populations affected by the generational traumas of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, the Tuskegee Syphilis study, the Massacre of Black Wall Street and plenty of other atrocities, many find trusting sources outside of the community . . . daunting. In a city like St. Louis with the demographics placing African Americans at 48%, Caucasians at 46%, Asian Americans at 3 % and all other races around a whopping collective of 2%, the focus of the an individuals world could seem fairly . . .

But I digress, this isn’t a post about the racial tension of my home town so stick with me, I promise all of this will circle back to Pan Africanism.

In 2011 I did a thing that would change my life forever.

I joined the military.

Stationed on LSD 49 USS Harpers Ferry (follow the link to a pretty cool video of the ship I lived on for about 4 years), I would go on to meet people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. But for the purpose of this post, I am specifically referring to the friends that I made from the different countries in Africa and the Caribbeans. These friends gave me something that I had never known was missing in my life; an understanding that across the African diaspora we are all more similar than we are different.

I began my African American literature class with the intention of understanding some of those old military friends better. After traveling overseas myself and understanding what it felt like to be an African American in another country, I wanted to know what it was like for them to be in this country (the US) that had so many people that look like them but mostly have no knowledge about their heritage. I wanted to know if moving to this country and seeing how racially divided and economically/systemically disproportionate we were affected their opinions of African Americans in any way.

What I found was quite the opposite.

In this class I have found inspiration from great African American writers to name a few Ida B. Wells, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni and W.E.B. Dubois. The writer that related the most to my inquisition and who introduced me to the notion of connecting the diaspora was a Jamaican native Harlem Renaissance poet named Claude Mckay.

Follow this link for more info about this poet!!! (It’s a video)

If you don’t know who he is don’t worry, it isn’t your fault! He, like so many of America’s most affluent and prominent black academics, he never made it to your history books.

Why was He so Important?

Remember how I mentioned my mission to find this narrative of immigrants from the African diaspora voicing their opinions about the lives of the American people? I read this poem of his from 1919 and it changed everything:

If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

After I finished the last line, I found myself yearning for more. Still, I am perpetually drawn back to his poem. Like a new shiny piece of jewelry, I have a hard time leaving it to sit in waiting as I struggle to find reasons to casually bring it up, wanting and just waiting to show it off to someone else.

Instead I am often compelled to take it out just to admire it, to try it on and envision myself wearing it. In fact, I have spent a considerable amount of time both mulling over the events surrounding its creation and connecting it to events surrounding African American’s cries for justice today, some 100 years later.

But again I digress, this is not a post about racial tensions in America.

Getting back to the point, Mckay did not distinguish himself from any African American in this poem. In fact, If We Must Die was one of the first pieces of writing that would kick off the African American awakening known as the Harlem Renaissance. My gears shifted after learning all I could about him. I now wanted to find more people like him. People who found a connection with the struggle, who saw it all and didn’t distance themselves from it but instead saw a pattern in the pain and destruction in other parts of the African descendant populations of the world.

At this point of time I had not yet known what Pan Africanism was but as I searched for other scholars, writers, artists, and activists that shared this common urge to connect across the diaspora, the term started to pop up more and more.

What is Pan Africanism?

According to an article from the New York Public Library

Pan-Africanism represents the complexities of black political and intellectual thought over two hundred years. What constitutes Pan-Africanism, what one might include in a Pan-African movement often changes according to whether the focus is on politics, ideology, organizations, or culture. Pan-Africanism actually reflects a range of political views. At a basic level, it is a belief that African peoples, both on the African continent and in the Diaspora, share not merely a common history, but a common destiny. This sense of interconnected pasts and futures has taken many forms, especially in the creation of political institutions.

Minkah Makalani – Rutgers University

Since discovering Pan Africanism I have done sooooooo much research on the subject matter that I don’t really think it would be fair to try to condense it under the umbrella of this post. I’m going to write at least one more post to visit what I have learned about it and list my pros and cons.

olivia willis

Stay blessed all and I hope to see you guys soon!

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Tenacity: Finding the Path Towards Support and Promotion in Atlanta’s Art Community

The core of Atlanta exudes an air of diversity and optimism that has the power to knock a visitor off of their feet.  In a city heavily swayed by freelancing and entrepreneurship among the entertainment industry, the allure for a writer to be swept in this culture of artistic self-expression is delightfully magnetizing.


📷 cc: Ms. Deo Soul

This summer, follow me as I dive into an exhibition of discovery throughout Atlanta’s art community. I will follow festivals, open mics, art showings and more. I aim to discover the opportunities and struggles that up and coming artists are experiencing. How do they find recognition? Are the opportunities as plentiful as they appear in the rapidly growing city? Let’s find out.

olivia willis

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Africaspan: A Growth of Diasporic Awareness


This is a post about my ongoing journey to learn about Pan Africanism through journals, articles, literature, and videos for an African American Literature class that I am taking. I am by no means an expert in the study but I hope you all enjoy my findings and journey as much as I am. If at anytime I present false or off information please let me know, I am definitely open to correction. Some one else may be struggling in the same areas.

Reach one teach one!

What does it really mean to be a black person in the diasporic context?

This question came up for me over and over as I researched for this project. How could something that plays such a big part of my life have such an elusive answer?

To be honest, although I picked this the topic of Pan Africanism, I often felt apprehensive to dig and learn more about it. I started to feel an anger that refused to fade away. Opening my eyes to racism across the diaspora in turn opened my heart to more pain without any sufficient outlet.

Well, I guess this is my outlet. The act of letting anybody curious enough to read this understand how I got to where I am now.

Since the first Pan African Congress assembled in 1919, a hum of intensity has surrounded black identity. Black people felt more inclined to voice their introspection. Questions emerged like:

Will the world ever view us the way that we view ourselves?


Should we wait for the day or create our own pockets of society and determine the perceptions of ourselves solely? These questions stood out to me as I read about the complexities of Pan Africanism.

You see, there’s been quiet flame consistently burning in my chest. I often fear it will grow hotter, crack louder, and spread past my ability to contain with smiles and pleasantries. It has always been there but it was dimmer before because I had always felt alone with it. It is something that we as African Americans usually do not talk about. But as I read more and more from these unapologetic African Diasporic literary heavyweights, I realized that this anger is very much apart of our identity.

Martin Luther King once said that “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” I agree with the notion that in order to truly extract prolonged change across the African diaspora, we would have to band together and demand it.

While trudging through videos and articles recounting countless massacres, wars, and legal battles fought across the world for the justice for people of African descent, one thing came absurdly clear; pain and anger is woven into the way we see the world. One of the best parts I imagine about the Pan African congress was that there was an open space for people to talk about the tribulations that were faced on a daily basis. It was a place that held the opportunity to put some powerful minds together to combat those injustices.

Yet and still the thought of Nationalizing the African Diaspora is terrifying to me. I fear that even if every step taken toward justice was done peacefully, it would be met with anger and violence.

This fear, I realize, is also something that has bleed to me through generational traumas and I suspect it has ripples through the diaspora as well.

I believe that being a black person in the diasporic context means that you have to learn a way to live with those feelings without letting them consume you. It means being constantly reminded that to many your skin is a disposition and either rolling with it in order to fit into society or working against it to create a society worth living in.

So is Pan Africanism the answer?

In a journal article from Cambridge University Press named Challenging a Pan-African Identity: The Autobiographical Writings of Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, and Caryl Phillips Gregory D. Smithers challenges the idea of Pan African Identity by visiting a few of the notions that govern it. What interested me the most in this article was the exploration of African and African American travel writers.

Gregory mentions how black diasporic people have a tendency to either romanticize or resent Africa. Important minds like W.E.B. Du Bois and Maya Angelou both moved to Ghana in search of the true answer of black identity. Du Bois waited until the last two years of his life and Angelou once there found it impossible to assimilate. In a way these contrasts say to me that the grass was not completely greener on the other side.

Realistically speaking, I have to admit that there is absolutely zero perfect things in the world so an entire continent absolutely cannot be, but what does that say about my question of diasporic identities?

This article sent me into so many different directions, looking for the answers to my identity questions. Sadly, I still do not have answers to most of them.

At this moment I feel anxious about wrapping up this post because I have so many more questions and so little answers. I guess this is because I am only at the beginning of my awakening. I realize that I am still finding myself, so how could I possibly gather all of the answers about my black identity in one semester? I am glad I tried because my eyes are now open to so many different strengths and issues across the diaspora. Although these revelations have added a few pounds on my shoulders, they have also gifted me with a community that shares my worry, doubts, anxieties, and sadly neuroticism about the changes that need to happen and how to go about them.

RAW: Opportunities Made for Artists by Artists

To kick off the Tenacity series, I attended the annual RAW art show Magnify.

And wow!

It was an outstanding time!

Originated in 2005, the RAW Art Organization, a promotional platform that prides themselves on being made for artists by artists, showcases indie creatives in art, film, fashion, music, performing arts, hair, makeup, and photography. The RAW Artist Organization operates in over 65 cities across the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK.

To find an event in a city near you please visit http://www.rawartists.org/

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The First Impression

“I recognized from the way everyone was dressed heading towards the entrance that this was going to be a real treat.” My boyfriend David describes in our post-interview. We stood in line with patrons clad in dress suits, casual wear, tribal wraps, and costumes. People from all walks of life met at the venue hoping to come across a piece of art that they would not be able to leave without.

Inside, every artist had their own station where they displayed their talents. Most of the art displayed that night was also posted on the website. Anxious patrons like myself who had bought their tickets in advance were gifted plenty of time to run to the website, sneaking prospective peaks at pieces while anticipating the event. So accordingly, I spent most of the first hour at the event itching to meet the artists of my favorite paintings. As the budding journalist that I am, I came prepared with questions and to my surprise, most of the artists were kind and receptive.

As I walked around the venue gawking at beautiful paintings and pictures, and fashion (Oh My!) I found a few creations that required more context. The interviews were recorded on the memo app on my cell (which was surprisingly clear.) but I have not found an app that will allow me to cut out all of my stuttering, fumbling, hot messes yet so I will spare you all from that…  This time.

Dose of Dopeness

One of my favorite artists of the night was Dose of Dopeness (Vernon Strain). I was drawn to his art station by his pieces featuring African American women depicted as goddess figures and queens. I admired his ability to capture the beauty of the African American culture in a vibrant and colorful manner.


(Dose of Dopeness’s holds a piece in progress to show his signature “Melanin Drip” which he uses to portray having  melanin being poured onto the people in his drawings.)

As a self-taught artist that has been working at this craft since the age of three, he draws inspiration from the people, music, and emotions surrounding him.

ME: How do you use music to draw inspiration for your drawings?

VS: Whatever the feeling is in a song, it usually sparks an idea for a piece. I just roll with it and honestly, I just black out and it creates itself.

ME: I saw on your page that you’re from Columbus, OH. Do you travel to do the events or do you live in Atlanta now? Have you seen a difference in the art cultures between the two states?

VS: I still live in Columbus but I will travel almost anywhere to get my art seen. The cultures are very different. Art in Atlanta is more of a collective and community-oriented scene where Columbus artists are more supportive of only those they know or are within their circle. In regards to style, there’re artists of all calibers in both cities that produce insanely awesome work.

To find more information about Dose of Dopeness please visit http://www.rawartists.org/doseofdopeness

Caitlin “KK” Nixon.

Another artist that I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing was Caitlin “KK” Nixon. Like myself, she is not a native of Atlanta, GA. She moved from Birmingham Alabama for college and also to find a home for her unique style of work.


She has a business named Hell is a Place which takes first world civil and political issues and depicts them in macabre and humorous ways.

During our interview, I was able to learn a bit about her as an artist and a few ways she maneuvers through the industry. One portion of the culture that I had not given much thought before starting this interview was collaborations. Caitlin and I spoke indepthly about how collaborations in the community can broaden the skill set of an artist and open up opportunities for exposure.

ME: How have you seen collaborations play a part in the exposure of your work both positively and negatively?

CN: Collaboration plays a huge part in one’s exposure, and I’ve used it a ton to push and promote myself. The pluses are vast, from being able to be apart of those opportunities that you would of otherwise not of had, to learning new skills and techniques that you can apply to your own projects. However, of course, you can’t have good without bad, and I’ve seen my fair share of failed partnerships that ran risks of portraying negative ideals about one’s personality or work to jobs that just failed.

To find more information about Caitlin “KK” Nixon please visit http://www.rawartists.org/ckknixon.

The night at Magnify was definitely one to remember! The welcoming atmosphere, live performances, and amazing art sent me out of the door with my head spinning and body buzzing with excitement. Every creator and performer gave one hundred and ten percent to all of us in attendance and it was received with more support than I ever would have imagined. I will definitely be attending next year!

olivia willis

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Writers Block: We Meet Again

Lately, I just have not been able to pull out the motivation to write anything.

Maybe it’s because of the many rejections I have been receiving in my endeavors to make my writing more public.

Maybe it’s because I have a tendency to announce my accomplishments before they actually reach success.

Either way. . .

It feels like I have a giant cement wall blocking the path to my creativity.  . . More like my writing pores are clogged with the mediocrity that follows performance anxiety.

I know that the key to fighting writer’s block is to just write anyway . . . so here I am writing about the fact that I cannot write anything.

Believe me, the irony is not lost on me.

Moving on to better news.

I visited my hometown last weekend to celebrate the graduations of two of my baby cousin’s and they were both moments that rocked me to my core, to say the least.

They are the first people that I can remember being born so not only am I extremely proud, I am also trudging through the growing pains of realizing I knew babies that are now men.

(Hello adulting, we meet again!)

One is going to the same university that my younger brother graduated from back in 2016, so we are all ecstatic about that. The other is diving straight into a career of construction, following his grandfather’s footsteps and hitting the ground running with a GREAT job.

I pray that they both have a fairly smooth journies into adulthood.

I have a few projects kindling for this summer so I really need my creative juices to start flowing. I’m thinking about coming on here more often to ramble. . . Just to establish a voice and to keep my creativity from dwindling.

I hope you all stick around with me as I find my way.

I’d still like to have a general theme for my WordPress but there are also times I’d like to just write because I want to write.

Why not enjoy the process of making this my own.

4 Natural Ways to Beat an Itchy Scalp

Believe me, I have been through the times when it seemed like the itching would never end. The first few months of locking were definitely the worst of times. Every time I started to itch I would just grease or wash in hopes of finding some sort of relief. Let me tell you, nothing is worse than changing your oil and shampoo just to continue the itchy struggle. I have found that the first step to beating an itchy scalp is discovering the reason why it is happening. If you are itchy, don’t worry.  Here are four reasons you might feel this way and natural, affordable ways to rectify the itch. Remember, these are ways that have gotten me over the hump, but everyone’s scalp is different. All of my advice stems from having curly/coarse hair. If these solutions do not work for you feel free to tweak them to your liking. Listen to your scalp!

1. Dry Scalp

Over Washing

Those of you that have read my post about my dreadlock journey know that I suffered from dry scalp for way too long in the second year of my journey. After my big chop, I got accustomed to washing my TWA ( Teeny Weeny Afro) once a week. This is fine with a TWA because it has the luxury of being moisturized and brushed/combed. Locs are meant to be washed, oiled, and essentially . . . Left alone. Over washing stripped my scalp of it’s natural oils and for a while, I struggled to find a balance with washing and oiling because of my mistake.


Make sure that the shampoo is sulfate free.  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) are found in most shampoos from department/ drug stores. These ingredients can strip the moisture right out of your hair.

The solution

Solving this problem is easy. Gradually space out your washdays. Make the next washday a week in a half later, then the next time two weeks.

There are a ton of natural oils that will help to regain the moisture. Some of my favorites are Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, and Pimento Oil. Rose water is also fantastic for everyday use.

2. Not Washing Enough

I know that there are plenty of people advising dreadlock wearers to wash their hair about once a year (I’m exaggerating for a dramatic effect.) but under washing could be a cause itching and other problems. Because we do not brush our hair, there is an extremely high probability that we will experience build up. This is all of the dirt, dust, oil, and shampoo/conditioner resin that sticks to your scalp during the periods between wash days. This needs to be washed out routinely or a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia/ Pityrosporum could begin to grow on your scalp. This is very very itchy, flakes like dandruff, and fills your hair follicles with puss. Some cases of extreme under washing have also lead to alopecia.

The solution

This solution is a little more difficult than you’d think it would be. In order to eliminate the itchiness,  find the sweet spot between wash days. This may not be the same time frame as other friends and family members. Begin with the wash routine used before locking. If it is to often space it out gradually. If it is not enough, try washing more often.


3. Clogged Pores

With locs, hair lotions and thick moisturizers are virtually obsolete. I have heard of others diluting hair lotion and moisturizers with water, but to be honest. . . It has not been a necessity for me.  Remember that most of us are not brushing our hair anymore, so the thick moisturizer is just sitting on the scalp collecting dirt and trapping dead skin. This will make the scalp more prone to itching. ( This was a huge problem for me as I transitioned from loose natural hair to dreadlocks.)

I have stopped using conditioner for this reason. Although many loc wearers still do, I find that my scalp is happier without.

4. Season Changing

Season changes can be a big concern for allergies. Our scalp is not immune to them. Washing and oiling routines may have to change with the weather. If your skin dries out more in the summer, you do not have to force the routine that worked in the winter and spring. Be flexible. I personally use more rose water and castor oil in the summer months than I do at any other time.

The Solution

This took a very long time for me to discover. Paying close attention to our scalp during the seasons changing will assist with our readiness to take action.

We all have faced itchiness from time to time. Being aware of the causes are the first steps to ensuring that it is not a continuous cycle. We all want healthy happy locs. I hope that the information here has been helpful. For any questions or to share tips and tricks, you can find me on

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My Dreadlock Journey : The Beginning

As you read in the title, today I will be sharing the beginning of my loc journey. Some of the information that I give here can be used in your own journey but keep in mind that I am not a loctition or a professional. Feel free to use any of my tips as a guide but remember that everyones hair and scalp are a little different, so what works for me. . . Someone else may have to tweak to their comfortability. Now . . . lets get to the good stuff.

For as long I can remember I have had a fascination with dreadlocks. Family members and acquaintances would sport them on and off and I would berate them with questions until I got on their last nerve.

After contemplating for yeeeeears, starting my first loc journey, then promptly cutting the journey short because I stared with permed hair. (It was a hot mess. . . and done in a beauty shop that told me it was a good idea!) I big chopped in December of 2014 and spent a year getting acquainted with my hair texture.


February 2015, after leaving the military I began my loc journey.


I had never done two strand twists before, and I had never retwisted dreadlocks but I was determined to make it work. The first few times I washed my hair ( I was still washing once a week.) Some of the twists came down all together and I would have to restyle my hair all over again. After a few trial and error washdays I found a method that would help me keep my locs intact without retwisting so often.

I stayed optimistic.

Here’ s a video I found that is the closest to the technique I used.


I had some blow back from family and friends in the beginning. I’ve always done my own hair and like I mentioned before, I had absolutely no experience, so sometimes my locs did not look as well put together as some of them may have liked.


But I kept pushing forward anyway. There is no cheat to get out of this stage of the loc process. Some retwist more often so they wont have to see so much of the frizz but be carful with the twisting because it can thin your hair.

I washed once a week and retwisted twice a month for the first six month of my journey. Although, my hair still loc’d in about five months, I would not recommend this.  I spent the entire next year combatting dry scalp and flaking because I washed so much. Now I wash about twice a month and retwist every six to eight weeks. This regimen is not ideal for starter locs, but as time progresses your wash and twisting routine will change organically with your schedule and scalp needs.

I only use coconut oil, Jamaican Black Castor oil, and water to retwist, but I will add Eco Gel if I am going to an event and I want them to look really tight. I have done this pretty much the entire time. The only exception to my current routine was when I started my two strands. At that time I used the Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking gel.

If you are just starting your journey, I would personally like to thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope that I have been able to help in some way. If you have any questions about loc’ing or if you just want to swap stories, you can find me on

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5 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Locs


Four years ago, I pulled together the courage to start a journey that would change the way that I saw the world forever. I say courage because I had been contemplating it for years. I started with two strand twists and I have been retwisting and styling my locs on my own, never looking back. Since the beginning, my babies (my dreadlocks) and I have been through plenty of ups and downs. (I do not want anyone to think that this has been a cakewalk.)


This is me about 6 months in.

If you’re here because you’re thinking about starting your loc journey, I would like to start out by saying, that you are already on the right path. Always research, research, research before you make big decisions.

While I have absolutely no doubts about my decision to start my loc journey, there are a few things that I wish someone would have told me before I started. What I am listing below are tips that I have from managing my own hair for the past three years. I am not a loctition or a professional. Feel free to use any of my tips as a guide but remember that everyone’s hair and scalp are a little different, so what works for me. . . Someone else may have to tweak to their comfortability. Now . . . let’s get to the good stuff.



I was not immune to this. Like many, when I started my locs I had an image in mind that I thought they would look like. I followed a few Instagram pages of women who had beautiful very small dreadlocks and I just knew that mine would be just as full and vibrant as theirs. I love where mine are but I had to learn the hard way that hair textures are the determining factor in the size and volume of dreadlocks. However. . . you will have more luck molding them to the size you like if you manage them on your own.



The photo on the top 6-8 months photo on the bottom one year.

Around the three month mark your dreads enter a phase called budding. During this time they swell and become very fuzzy. (Do not be discouraged, this phase is over before you know it.) Just remember to keep them moisturized, they will keep growing and being happy. After the budding phase, your dreads move into the Adult phase. That started happening around my first locversary (loc anniversary). I had started with my two strands so small that by the time my locs started shrinking, I had to begin merging a few of them together.

3. Low Maintenance Does Not Mean No Maintenance!


Sometimes dreadlocks seem so easy to maintain that some forget that they need love. Like plants, they need to be watered regularly. Yes . . .they actually NEED water. Before you use your oils be sure to give them a quick spray of water. I like to use one of the small spray bottles from Walmart, I usually infuse Jamaican Black Castor oil, and Vitamin E oil so I can spray and go in the mornings. My scalp loves it!

I know that there are always whispers about not washing your hair for months when you have dreadlocks but that is not actually a necessity. As long as there is regular, thorough moisturizing, once or twice a month wash days won’t hurt.

4. There Will Be Judgement

Just Stop.gif

For the first three months of my journey strangers would just stare at me, even some of the people closest to my life were asking if I was going to take my two strands down anytime soon. Nobody could really tell that I had a method to my madness. But I digress, I started my journey during a tremendously difficult time in my life. In a world where I could not control much, it felt incredibly rewarding to pour so much energy into myself. I found confidence in knowing that I had started something that would be rewarding, now my time and efforts have paid off. If you decide to start locking your hair just know that there will be haters and there will be lovers. Don’t sweat the petty things.

5. The Loc Fam

Now that we’ve talked about the haters let’s talk about the lovers. The dreadlock community is the best community to be a part of. Most are willing to stop and answer questions for newcomers. We are always happy to see each other and to give compliments and words of encouragement. I am personally always open to answer questions.

I hope this helps anyone thinking about starting dreadlocks. It really is a fun and challenging journey.