One of the things I bitched about (and still do on occasion) is my early transition days. When I sought help from my transgender elders in the early 80's, they either blew me off, were tight-lipped about giving out any information that would facilitate my transition, or guarded it like it was the secret recipe for KFC.
Well, for the benefit of you peeps just getting started, I'm not gonna be as shady to y'all as my predecessors were. I will from time to time blog about some of my secrets that helped me become the Phenomenal Transwoman you see before you in all her glory.
Whether it's short, mid length, long, a weave to her butt, curly, wavy, bone-straight, permed, locked or braided, a Black woman's hair is her crowning glory. It expresses her individuality and style.
It can also be a political statement as well. Whether it was Afro's in the 60's and 70's, blonde hair in the late 80's-early 90's, or braids and locs currently are in the 2K's.
If there's one thing that will get a transsistah read faster than you can say 'nappy weave', it's a jacked up hairstyle. It was one of the things pre-transition that I stressed and obsessed over.
So after I found Sadat Busari, my former hairdresser in H-town, I began to search for the perfect hairstyle that fit me. My search led me directly to the magazine rack to pick up a copy of Sophisticate's Black Hair.
Sophisticate's Black Hair, or SBH for short, is a Chicago-based publication edited by Jocelyn P. Amador. For over two decades it has not only shown us the many creative ways we sistahs wear our hair, it also included informative articles about how to maintain the style after you left the salon, and also how to maintain our hair so it stays strong and healthy.
It's also chock full of clip and snip examples of various hairstyles so that you can take the one you like to your friendly neighborhood stylist and let her hook your hair up to your satisfaction.
Like EBONY, ESSENCE, Jet and Black Enterprise magazines, SBH is an iconic slice of African-American culture. It also has a mission of celebrating Black beauty. It has celebrity photo layouts in every issue in which they share their beauty tips. I was aware of SBH because I loved me some Jayne Kennedy Overton back in the day (and still do), and she was SBH's first cover model back in 1984.
I still have old SBH issues in my possession, and interestingly enough they serve as an African-American cultural time capsule. Not only do I get a kick out of seeing what hairstyles were popular back in the day, many of the celebrity layouts reflected popular cultural icons of the day such as Phylicia Rashad, Jasmine Guy, Robin Givens, Gabrielle Union, and Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon just to name a few. It also features up and coming stage, screen and music stars as well.
I never miss their anniversary issue, which features the Top 10 Best Style Women as voted on by SBH readers. BTW, for 2008 its Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Eve, Tyra Banks, Kimora Lee Simmons, Halle Berry, Rihanna, and Queen Latifah.
As it approaches its 25th anniversary, I have much love for Sophisticate's Black Hair magazine. I gleaned a few style ideas from it that Sadat easily tweaked to work for me. I also have to give SBH a shout out for reminding us and the world just how beautiful African-American women really are and not letting us forget it.
Thanks SBH, and may you be around for the next generation of sistahs to read as well.