UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE By Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
Remember this song from church?
“This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine… This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…”
Yah, that’s right and this light is shining on you and all that you do, in the name of love, on our journey of love as we get to know one another better. But with me being me, it’s not a little light, it’s a Big Light, babies! Because all of you are truly loved, wanted, needed and appreciated so you deserve to feel as special as you truly are and I’m loving it. So now, all I’d like for you to do is sit back, relax and enjoy. Or stand and jump and shout if you want to! You can do that because we’re gonna take you there and this time right into natural hair and body care with Juanita Henderson and this is what she has to say.
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Juanita Henderson and I’m the owner and operator of Chocolate Kinks and Kurls, which is a natural hair and body care experience that caters to the women and men that would like a healthier approach to caring for their hair and body. You can find us at 2700 S. Lafayette St., inside Community Care Pharmacy in the Natural Hair Care aisle. And, this is how it all started:
“I attended a couple of conferences in Indy via another natural hair group, as well as a local natural hair group here in Fort Wayne because I wasn’t quite decided on whether or not I wanted to transition back to my natural texture, since my hair had been relaxed since the age of six. After attending a few of those events, I was talking with my nine-year-old daughter who asked me if she could get a relaxer and I told her absolutely not! She should be happy with what GOD gave her and that I think she’s beautiful and I love her hair. Then she said, ‘well you have a relaxer,’ and that changed my whole, total thought process. From that day forward, I said I wasn’t going to get a relaxer anymore.
“So, I transitioned away from the relaxer for about eight months and on Oct. 24, 2012, after I’d worn a protective style for about six weeks, I went to my stylist and said, “Okay I’m ready to go for the big chop, which is when you make the transition from having any relaxed hairs remaining on your head and I did it and I’ve never looked back. On my journey of returning back to my natural hair, I had a hard time accessing quality products like the ones I would see on social media or on you tube because those things wasn’t assessable on the ground here in Fort Wayne. So, I was purchasing products and buying things online and paying shipping and all of that so I then said, well there have to be more than just me who are having this issue here, in Fort Wayne. So why not bring these products here and that’s what started this Chocolate Kinks & Kurls experience.
“The way Chocolate Kinks & Kurls name came about was, I had a day off from work and I was at home laying in bed and I thought that if I’m going to do this, I need a name that’s going to be catchy and something that I can relate to and something, that embraces being returned back to my natural hair texture. So I went through many names and scratched off many names. Then I text a couple of people the different names that I had in mind to ask their opinion even though they had no clue what I’m about to do. I had a lot of positive feed back from the name Chocolate Kinks & Kurls because they just thought that it was catchy. Then I had my children make the final decision and they liked it best too. Also, the two chocolate girls that you see on our advertisement within Frost or on the Billboards, are actually images of my two daughters.
“And, I’m the only Fort Wayne retailer for Alikay Naturals, which is a diverse brand and I think that a lot of times people make the mistake of natural hair care products means that if you have natural African American hair then this product is for you and that’s not true. The fact of the matter is, when you see a natural or organic product, it doesn’t limit itself to only African American’s textured hair. Also, when it comes to the ingredients, it’s means that they are natural, organic or a combination. So it’s about the quality of the product and not just for a specific type of hair. I’m also the exclusive Fort Wayne retailer of Karen’s Body Beautiful products. Both brands are very well know and have been featured in magazines such as Essence, Upscale and the list goes on, as far as their recognition on a large media scale. Plus, we’re also the retailer for other well know brands and we have available to you body washes and creams, body butters, natural soaps, real genuine African black soap, natural and/or organic hair care products and much, much more.
“The response has been great and I love it because it’s something that I felt was needed and I’m excited to say that on Saturday June 29, 2013, I’m hosting our Kinks, Kurls and Cocktail Mixer inside the wine bar at Chop’s which is located at 6421 W. Jefferson Blvd., from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. And, it will be the launch of not only new products but it’s the roll out, of sharing with the public, our new second location that’s coming about very soon. We’ll also discuss the next Kurl talk event that will be at the Renaissance YMCA on July 13, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Kurl Talk is a monthly event that we have to educate on specific topics. So, if you’re natural, thinking about going natural or just started on your journey and you have questions and want to get feedback, join us.
“Another reason that I feel these products are much needed is because, more people are making the conscious choice to be natural and not to put chemicals on their hair. You will find that certain chemicals has been linked to cancer and things like that and if you look at the statistics for cancer, African American women, are at the top of those list. And, if you think about who buys the most of hair and skin care products filled with all of these different ingredients, that are now being linked to cancer, it’s black women. So with Chocolate Kinks and Kurls, it’s our job to educate you, so you can understand why ingredients are important.
“I feel blessed to have something that has become so dear and close to me because of the purpose that I’m walking in. It has fulfilled so many things for me and has awakened so much within me and I feel humbled.
It’s an awakening because it opened up so many things that I wasn’t aware of. Hair holds energy no matter what your cultural background is and so when people cut their hair or shave their head it’s not because they’re going crazy. It’s because it plays apart in their awakening and for me, it put me right into what I believe my purpose is and my purpose is to touch the lives of others, which is something that I’ve done in pharmacy for 10 years. And, this has just allowed me to have more of a direct connection with ladies in the community and in other cities that are on this journey to rediscovering themselves as well and embracing their natural texture and living a healthier life style. It’s not just about hair, it’s also about nutrition and since I’ve returned back to my natural texture I have lost 36 pounds because I found out if I wanted to have healthy, glowing hair it wasn’t just about what products I use but also what I put inside of my body. I increased my water intake, fruits and vegetables, supplements and it’s just a whole body experience and that’s why I call Chocolate Kinks and Curls an experience. And, it all started with my kinky, curly hair and it has awakened everything else inside of me to want to live a healthier life, to be a better person and to be a support system to other women who are making the decision to take that hair journey and I love it.
“I feel that this is a movement and it’s so beautiful to see a movement like this in our culture that’s opening doors for so many African American women to start small businesses and it’s doing this because it’s movement is happening in all the cities. This is such a positive movement and I’m just fortunate that my daughter opened up my eyes, called me out and all of this came about out because of it. Being on this natural hair journey for myself and for others is a spiritual thing, not on a religious level, but spiritual. Because we relate it back to feeling found, when we took control of cutting our hair and embracing ourselves which relieved burdens because we began to walk into ourselves and not about what society is projecting on us and that makes all the difference in the world.”
Wow, this is fun and exciting and I’m loving it and now, I’m going to introduce you to two other people that are on this same journey so that they can share about their experience, as well as, how they love what Juanita started with Chocolate Kinks and Kurls and this is what they had to say.
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Nicole Fowlkes and I love these products. Being a new found natural here in Fort Wayne and having a place to go, to get these products, that suit my hair care needs feel great. I went through my transitional phase for a year now in May and I just did the big chop, so I’m now truly natural. This experience is like taking a new turn in life by accepting my true natural state and now I’ve grown addicted to it so I’m looking at everything that’s natural and that’s where Juanita comes in.
“The specific product that I really like is Bentonite Clay Mask. It cleanses your hair of toxins and has multiple purposes because you can also use it as a face mask to pull those toxins out of your body and it feels great afterward and I love those dual purpose products it helps save money. Juanita is very helpful in helping me pick out products and she’s very knowledgeable on things natural. I think that going natural is just great for the black community or any person of ethnicity to be able to accept their natural. Because in society they tend to want to change us into thing’s that are different but when we become more enlightened and accepting of our true selves it brings out the real beauty of who we are.”
“Hello Frost readers. My name is Nikitta Smiley and I’m happy to share with you what some of these products has done for me and my children. First of all, I had been dealing with my daughter having a dry, flaky, itchy and bleedy scalp for about two months. I took her to a dermatologist and she’d been on antibiotics for six week’s and that still didn’t clear it up. Then, Juanita introduced me to the product Shea Butter African Black Soap System and asked me to try it and see how it worked for me. Within a week, her scalp was healing and clearing up and within three weeks her scalp was totally back to normal. That made me feel good to know that there was a product out there that healed my daughters scalp and my daughter is feeling good too. After everything went away and I got such good results, I continue to use this product because not only did it heal her scalp it also moisturized her hair and she has a real high kink curl and not only that this product detangled her hair at the same time and it’s real pretty after that.
“I also transitioned from relaxers to my natural hair and I’m totally natural now so I’m using a product that I purchase from Juanita that I used on another daughter of mine called, As I Am, and that’s working awesome for me. I’m also having a personal experience and it feels good but I didn’t cut off my relaxed ends, I basically wore a lot of sew-in’s and braids until the chemical got off of my hair. I’m happy to see that so many women of color are interested in becoming natural because we’ve been taught that it was not okay to be nappy and that you had to be straight, long and beautiful. But now, I’m experiencing with my own heritage and I know that it’s okay to have natural hair and it’s just all about being educated on how to take care of it and knowing what products to use and Juanita can help you with that. And, that’s important because we need to be beautiful, natural and curly without the chemicals in it and work with the hair that GOD left us with.”
Now in closing I say, Juanita great job and I’m so proud of you and your accomplishments and the beauty that you bring to so many due to your understanding of natural products and how they work for the betterment. Also, thank you too Nicole and Nikitta for your wonderful input.
Don’t forget about the third annual free community picnic that Frost Illustrated is bringing to everyone at Memorial Park starting at 1 p.m., June 30. I hope to see all of your beautiful faces there. So until next week, when your Beauty Page comes to you, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
This article originally appeared in the June 19, 2013 print edition.