It happened! On 08.03.18 I facilitated a panel discussion at the Black Therapist Rock conference in Silver Spring, Maryland.
YNH was created on 08.13.17 (right after the 1st BTR conference) as an online platform to support black women in gaining confidence to overcome barriers attached to obtaining outward beauty. I had the honor of facilitating a panel with Dr. LaDonna Butler, Shakia Seabrook and Tanya Barnet. You had to be there to get the essence of this conversation, below are the key points that were addressed in the panel.
The objective of the panel included explore the following:
- Assessing factors that contribute to self esteem and confidence.
- Facilitate awareness of personal traits that strengthen sense of self.
- Implementation of presenting as best self in any arena
My last relaxer was in 2007, my junior year at the University of Vermont (yes, Vermont). At that time, Facebook was the biggest thing out (sorry myspace) and there was minimal support in comparison to what is available in 2018 for people looking to stop chemically straightening their hair. I was tired of burning my scalp every 6-8 weeks and was curious of what I would look like without a relaxer. Thejourney has been character building and when I think that I have ‘made it’, I learn something new aboutmyself and the woman that I strive to be. So, what’s the point of knowing all of this? We’ll how we feel about ourselves is a result of bigger systems:
- Macro (Societal from a Eurocentric standard of beauty)
- Mezzo (Family, groups, institutions such as workplace)
- Micro (Individual)
Everything that I thought I knew about hair was influenced by someone else. What I appreciated about this panel was the authenticity of the panelist!
Dr. LaDonna Butler: Shared occupying her body and feeling beautiful as a full figured woman of dark skin (colorism came up too!).
Shakia Seabrook: Shared having positive support from her mother so that she was then prepared to face the negativity she would encounter in school, work and social settings.
Tanya Barnett: Shared her story on losing her hair to alopecia and how her identity was tied to her hair. She shared working harder to appear more feminine (big earrings/ make up) so that she could feel more comfortable with herself.
I look forward to the conference in 2019 (July 19th-21st), I look forward to seeing you there!