In case you haven’t noticed, natural hairstyles have gone mainstream. From Jill Scott and Janelle MonÃ¡e gracing the cover of magazines with their kinky coily tresses to Tracee Ellis Ross rocking her natural crowns on our TV screens. But despite the popularity of beautiful fluffy afros, some black women and girls are still insecure about wearing their kinky textures in public. With this in mind, Dr. Phoenyx Austin, M.D, a certified Sports Medicine Specialist and a Health Communications Specialist, sprung into action by publishing “Love Your Hair,” a children’s story and follow-up to her bestselling natural haircare book “If You Love It, It Will Grow.â€
[Related: Plus Sized Model Challenges Fashion Industry’s Definition of Beauty]
“It’s in those young, impressionable years that little brown girls are looking around for role models and images of beauty that look like them. If little brown girls don’t get that need met, and they don’t have someone telling them “Your brown skin is beautiful,â€ or “Your natural hair is beautiful,â€ it’s almost inevitable that those same little brown girls will look in the mirror one day and start to view themselves as “less thanâ€ the status quo,â€ said Dr. Phoenyx.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Dr. PhoenyxÂ to talk about how Fitness, beauty, health and happiness are all interrelated, and the Aha.â€moment that launched her book series.
BlackEnterprise: Considering your background is in health and fitness, describe the moment that inspired you to publish a children’s book.
Phoenyx: Without question, much of the insecurity and negative thoughts about my natural hair stemmed from receiving my first relaxer at the age of 5 while also seeing a standard of beauty constantly projected in the media that looked nothing like me.â€
I constantly get emails and have read countless Amazon reviews where women explicitly mention the part in “If You Love It, It Will Grow” where I talk about the deep rooted pain and insecurities I went through as a child.” So after seeing how much my hair story resonated with countless other women, I always knew I wanted to write a children’s book to reach little brown girls specifically.
I really had no clue how I was going to approach it until one day when I was doing my favorite type of workout — jumping rope. There was something about the rhythm of my jumping, and the cracking of the rope against the pavement that sparked this rhyme in my head, and before I knew it I was singing the stanzas to Love Your Hair! It was like someone turned on the creative faucet in my head and all the ideas, verses and even the illustration layout started to flow. In all the years and all the stories I’ve written, I’d never had a full story from beginning to end pour out of me like that and in a fever of excitement I ran, grabbed my iPhone and started recording myself as the story continued to sing the verses.
Continue reading on the next page…