This is typically a racist idea that Black hairstyles are not suited for the workplace or other formal setting and are messy, disruptive, unhygienic, and unkept. All of these are ideas that are not true but are a way of seeing the people with these styles as not qualified or accepted.
Despite growing awareness by the public on this issue the courts have generally been reluctant. This is due to typically due to a failure to state a claim and associate it directly with the race.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Understand About Hair Discrimination”I had the pleasure of interviewing Marissa Atiya, Author, Coach, and CEO of 4Curls. Marissa is immersed in the natural haircare industry. With a health background, she understands and teaches the importance of clean products and her regime to reaching tail-bone healthy hair with women. She is passionate about health inside and out as well as inspiring women in entrepreneurship.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit of your childhood backstory and how you grew up?
As a kid growing up in Louisville, KY I was a competitive and athletic kid, participating in sports from gymnastics to field hockey, always staying active. Academically, I was involved in STEM programs at school always interested in the sciences. I kept my parents busy shuttling me to various academic and athletic events.
Can you tell us a story about what inspired you to become a natural hair advocate?
Originally it all started with a blog. Diving in deeper, discovering that it was more than just caring for natural hair it was about embracing it.Women were always asking me how I managed to take care of my hair despite busy schedule. Many black women where not familiar with taking care of their own hair so I wanted to help and share some knowledge. As I began doing research for the blog, I discovered that 80% of black hair care products contain toxin and chemicals that put black women at higher risk for infertility and breast cancer. As a health coach, this was totally unacceptable. I also learned that some women had been taught to be ashamed of their natural hair texture. Being told that black hair needed to be straightened so that it would not be a distraction or look “unkept”. I chose to educate and encourage other.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Probably about 2 weeks after starting my natural hair Facebook community to share haircare tips I received a message from a member. She said “Thank you so much for all the information, I am 54 years old and let me tell you, I have learned more from you about my natural hair than I have learned in my entire life,” when I tell you I was so excited for her. I thought to myself “Wow”. I am half her age but I was able help her embrace her natural beauty. I thought, if I make an impact in just 2 weeks imagine how many more women I can in more time.
As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact, perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
Make sure that it is something that you are interested in, not just to get attention. Then, when you get your first success story from a client, if you are so genuinely happy and excited for them then it isn’t for you. After that it is about staying consistent and remember why you are doing it. I know it sounds cliché but honestly be yourself, whether your quirky, silly, clumsy, or anything else. Remember to always have fun with it
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Spend time with just yourself each day. This is a part of learning to love and appreciate yourself, being comfortable with being with you. Take that time to really seeing your true beauty inside and out
- Get dressed and take yourself out every now and then. Put on that dress, try a cute new hair style. This is often overlooked, but treating yourself is a part of your self-confidence
- Give yourself a pamper day/ spa day. This can be at home or at a spa. The glow that we get when we get to relax can make us feel beautiful. Try it out
Can you share with our readers some of your techniques to style natural hair?
Try a versatile style that you can keep up for the up to a week. This helps keep the hair protected and prevents over manipulation along with reducing breakage. Not only easier to maintain but versatile style can be styled throughout the week to keep it looking fresh and different such as individual braids and twist.
Can you share some of your techniques about how to best maintain natural hair?
Keeping hair up in a protective style that is not too tight is key to maintain hair. Along with keeping hair protected, setting a regular haircare routine is vital along with using natural products that will help to provide the hair with the nutrients it need to thrive and be healthy.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can help articulate to our readers your “Five Things You Need To Understand About Hair Discrimination”. If you can please share a story or example, for each.
- This is typically a racist idea that Black hairstyles are not suited for the workplace or other formal setting and are messy, disruptive, unhygienic, and unkept. All of these are ideas that are not true but are a way of seeing the people with these styles as not qualified or accepted.
- Despite growing awareness by the public on this issue the courts have generally been reluctant. This is due to typically due to a failure to state a claim and associate it directly with the race.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you want to go fast go alone, If you want to go far go together” This has been relevant because a lot of time you hear just to grind and you just have to work, work, work. Yes you may get there faster that way but when you get there you will relieve you haven’t been living and you have no one. Also, the truth is you can go faster with others that have skills in other areas and you can collaborate with.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
Ashley Massengill because she is open and transparent and is motivated by seeing others succeed. That is my mission and it is great to see someone who wants other people to succeed along with them not just go alone.
How can our readers follow you online?
Facebook at facebook.com/marissa.atiyay
IG @ marissa.atiya
And join the facebook group Natural Hair Growth
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!