The importance of loving ourselves sometimes gets lost in whatever journey of life we are in. Even children, depending on their environment, aren’t allowed or given the chance to truly love themselves. It could be improper upbringing, lost parents, or any combination of, well, just about everything. Janay Anderson recognizes this and realizes that, culturally, there is a lot that has been and is being taken away from us in this version of modern society. She’s just released a book, I Love My Curls, which helps push hair positivity to the forefront and to make black children understand that their own acceptance does not have to equate with others’ views of them.
Black Enterprise got the chance to speak to her about her latest book, how important hair is in the black community, and how her assisting people with their self-esteem is needed.
You’ve written a book, I Love My Curls, which was just recently released. What is the premise of the book and why did you feel the need to write it?
The book was written to give black girls a platform to embrace all of the goodness that comes from their unique hair. I wanted little girls to feel special; to feel represented in a positive light when it comes to their hair.
What makes hair such a big thing within the black community?
Hair is our history, it’s our legacy. Our hair is essential to our identity. It speaks to who we are. There’s nothing like it. It’s diverse and versatile. Throughout history, our hair has been our crowning glory. It grows up to the sun. Sadly, in America and most of the colonized world, our hair is policed. We’re told that our hair is “unkempt,” “unprofessional,” or “distracting.” If you go into any hair group on Facebook, you’ll find discussions ranging from what is “natural,” to how we can increase our share of ownership in the black haircare industry.
Black hair matters
You’re also a hair coach, what does that entail and how did you make that choice to be in the business of hair?
I love helping my people along their natural hair journey while showing how to reach their natural hair goals. It’s like being a personal trainer; it’s a process. It’s a process and it takes time. But when you put in the work, you’re gonna love the results.
It’s been a journey for myself. Having two daughters, I wanted to make sure they knew that their natural hair is a beautiful journey to be embraced. It’s one thing to tell them that, but it’s another thing to emulate that message. It’s critical that our girls know that they don’t have to fit into the European standard of beauty.
What are the important aspects when it comes to helping others with their self-esteem and how do you use the talent and knowledge you have within to help others realize what they can do?
You have to understand that people need to appreciate their authentic selves. While no one’s perfect, you’re perfect in your own way. You can break away from the mold of tradition.
I try to teach them how to improve their self-esteem by affirming the things that matter. We tackle bullying and negative self-talk. It’s important to focus on the changes you can make and let go of the things you can’t change. People get triggered by society so I teach people how to get that messaging out of their heads
It’s important that you love yourself and embrace everything that makes you the person that you are. My experience with my own natural hair journey is what I use to help people get comfortable in their own scalp.
There are several media messages, including cartoons that demonize hair. When it comes to our girls, it’s my mission to make sure they know how amazing their natural hair is and that it is not only beautiful but magical.
Confidence is key
What advice or suggestion would you give to someone who is striving to be successful in what they do?
The first thing that I would suggest is to get out of your own way. Focus on your happiness. Focus on your own definition of success, not what you see on TV or social media. Also, give yourself time and celebrate the little victories as you strive to achieve your ultimate goals.
When it comes to running and/or even starting a business, what is needed, from your point of view, in order to sustain the business of being in business?
It important that you find a community that knows you and can benefit from the services that you provide. I think people should find you trustworthy because you have developed something that solves a problem and improves their lives.
Staying efficient helps you a lot. Having a team is crucial, especially in the creative process.
You gotta engage with your customers. It’s more than just bringing bees to honey. You gotta engage online and offline. Go to events. Shake hands. Lean on your customer’s feedback and make adjustments.
Don’t be afraid to grow. Don’t be afraid to start or do something different. Don’t be afraid to embrace change in order to get to where you’re going. Also, make sure that you embody the messages you’re looking to convey. Be consistent and dedicated and you will succeed more often than not.
What are your future projects?
My plan is to extend the book by turning it into a series of books and an animated series. We’re looking to create some courses that focus on hair journeys for moms and daughters.
It’s an exciting time for us. For I Love My Curls to debut at No. 1 is nothing short of a blessing and an honor. I plan on doing more speaking engagements to push hair positivity to the forefront, as well as developing more content to help parents of curly girls make great strides in building up the next generation of Black Girl Magic. You can keep up with everything we’re doing here at Love My Curls on Instagram and Facebook @ILoveMyCurlsBook.