The Beatdown

Safe Winter Hairstyles For Afro-Latinas To Keep Your Rizos Defined And Moisturized Even When You Want To Wear Them Straight

Wintertime can be a rough season for black women. Not only do we have to remain hyper-vigilant about moisturizing (ashy skin is a big no-no), but we also have to go the extra mile to make sure our hair is properly hydrated. Seasonal elements like wind, dry air, and cold temperatures have been known to wreak havoc on already-fragile strands. And as most naturalistas know, lack of moisture = breakage. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

So to help out all of the Afro-Latinas who are struggling to keep their strands shiny and their rizos bouncy in the midst of the roughest season of the year, we’ve compiled a list of protective and low-heat hairstyles for black hair this winter. Check it out below!

1. Jumbo Flexi Rods

Flexi rods are the perfect tool to use if you want looser, bouncier curls without resorting to damaging your hair with heat styling. Jumbo Flexi Rods are one of the latest trends that have been sweeping Instagram’s natural hair community. Devotees love them because they’re low maintenance, low-damage, and long-lasting. Not to mention, they’re fun to put in!

2. Box Braids with Triangle Parts

Since box-braids made a huge comeback in the last few years, black women have been putting their own spin on the protective-style staple. The latest craze is parting your braids into triangular sections as opposed to the traditional “box” parts. That makes this style both protective and trendy.

3. Faux Locs

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Got a birthday reading from the amazing @readingsbyvida this past Friday and spent the weekend marinating on all the things she confirmed and enlightened me on. So good!! Check my stories for one of the invaluable things I received from my reading and comment below if you will be joining me for the #GoodVibesandChill challenge this month. ✨💜 P.S Still dying over these #fauxlocs! I felt so beautiful. My first protective style ever done by the beautiful @andranita_bita. Still so crazy to me how she even ended up doing my hair LOL Scroll back down on my feed to last summer for the story. Love her! I have a video on the process on my channel too if you want full details. Happy Monday Vecinas!

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Faux-loc extensions are a stylish and low-maintenance way for black women to keep their hair protected from cold, wind, and dry climates during the winter. So, not only do they protect your hair from breaking, but they are 100% Instagram-able.

4. Senegalese Twists

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Senegalese twists have been around for years, but they’ve recently gone through a renaissance. All you need to do is search Instagram or Youtube for your favorite natural hair beauty guru, and you’ll find a picture or video of her rocking this stylish ‘do. And like box braids and faux-locs above, this hairstyle is almost always extensions, so your natural hair will be protected from the harsh winter climate.

5. Roller Set/Tension Rollers

Tension Rollers are great for black women who want to occasionally wear their hair straight without worrying about compromising their natural curl pattern. The look is achieved by naturally stretching the hair follicle over a jumbo curler. The curl is then “set” under a hair dryer. Because this look is done with low heat, there is less damage, and therefore less breakage. It’s a perfect look for Holiday special occasions.

6. Clip-In Pony Tail

The clip-in ponytail is perfect for the woman who wants to look fierce but has a limited amount of time to do so (and let’s be honest–isn’t that all of us?). Many of us are in the thick of our natural hair journeys and our lengths might not be exactly where we want them to be just yet. Say what you want about clip-in extensions, but there’s no denying that they’re fast and they get the job done. If you’re worried about clip-in extensions looking too obviously artificial, invest a little more money in real hair.

7. Micro Braids

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What little black girl didn’t pine after Brandy’s era-defining micro-braids in the 90s? Well we’re in luck, because the look is finally making a comeback! While not as low-maintenance as box braids and Senegalese twists (micro-braids are known to tangle), they’re still a protective style. Not to mention, the braids’ thin width makes them easy to style into other hairdos like twists and braids.

8. Braided Updo

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If you’re tired of extensions, but you don’t quite have the time (or energy) to commit to brutal wash n’ go’s, then a braided updo might just be the middle-ground you’ve been searching for. A half-braided ‘do is the type of look that looks much more elegant and time-consuming than it actually is. Go to your trusty salon (or maybe your madre or tía, if they’re talented) and ask them to cornrow your hair only halfway through your crown. Not only will it be less time-consuming, it will be less expensive too.

9. The Whitney Bob

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If you’re in the middle of your grow-out phase after the big chop, don’t despair! This phase can be one of the most rewarding when it comes to playing with edgy haircuts and experimenting with hairstyles. One vintage mid-length cut that’s going through a renaissance is “The Whitney” afro-bob. But before you get this cut, make sure your stylist knows exactly what you want, because shape is everything when it comes to this style. Once you’ve achieved the desired cut, stick to roller sets for a low-heat, loose-curl look.

10. Hat With High Pony

The ultimate Bad Hair Day style has been transformed into the look of Instagram queens everywhere. If you’re in between protective styles, or you’re not about that extension life, a baseball cap and a high pony are a surefire way to disguise the state of your fifth- (or sixth-) day curls. All you need to do is throw your hair up into a high pony, place the pony through the cap’s closure, and mist your hair with some curl-reviving spray to bring it back to life. Voila! Instant Insta-baddie.

11. Mini Bantu Knots

Have you ever spent what felt like hours on your hair only to realize that you have to do it all again on the other side of your part? Well you’re in luck, because the Trend Gods have spoken, and they have determined that one-sided hairstyles are so in this winter. Especially one-sided mini-bantu knots. So you can claim your throne as a trend-setter and a women who protects her ends!

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The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education Fired An Educator For Speaking Positively About Black Hair

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The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education Fired An Educator For Speaking Positively About Black Hair

On Tuesday, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education released a campaign video directed at youth that shattered harmful attitudes surrounding “pelo bueno, pelo malo” — the idea that thin, straight hair is beautiful and afro-textured coils aren’t.

“In the Ministry of Education, no little girl, little boy or grown adult should be discriminated because of their physical appearance. We are committed to guaranteeing the equality in identity,” Marianela Pinales, then director of Gender Equality and Development at the Ministry of Education on the island, said in the video, as young Black and brown boys and girls send similar messages about loving their hair as it is.

The 52-second PSA is long-overdue in the Dominican Republic, one of many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that has held tightly to the white supremacist belief that skin and hair texture that aligns closer to European standards of beauty are both more attractive and deserving of better treatment than those with hues and locks that are darker and thicker.

For that, many on the island and diaspora celebrated the video, including Edith Febles, a respected journalist and natural hair advocate, who aired it on her show, La cosa como es. However, just after the video debut, Febles said Pinales was discharged.

While the Ministry of Education said that Pinales was fired because she missed several recent events — a claim the educator denies — and not because of the video, which some have considered controversial, many find the timing around her termination questionable.

“The timing is very *very* suspicious to say the least,” Amanda Alcántara, the digital media editor at Futuro Media Group, wrote in an article for Latino Rebels.  “Much like the roots of anti-blackness in the country itself, the people in power seem to stop at no cost to maintain white supremacy. This confirms that even as consciousness grows, the problem is systemic.”

On social media, many others have shared similar sentiments.

The campaign, however, is reaching audiences in and outside of the Dominican Republic, where it has the power to challenge beauty ideals and young people’s relationships with their hair.

Read: 6 Afro-Latinas Open Up About What Headwraps Mean To Them

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10 Empowering Songs By Afro-Latinas About Loving Yourself

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10 Empowering Songs By Afro-Latinas About Loving Yourself

It’s Black History Month, a time to uplift and celebrate the historic events and people of African descent who have contributed to culture, achieved excellence and sparked social and political change. But it’s also a moment for reflection, of honestly evaluating how much — and how little — has changed for the African diaspora throughout the US, Latin America and beyond.

Confronting the everyday violence, discrimination, disadvantages and inequality Black individuals have and continue to endure, while necessary, could be enraging and upsetting, and makes self-care practices all the more necessary.

This year, whether you’re celebrating the beauty, resilience and magia of blackness with a Black History Month party or well-deserved care day, music can always add to the occasion. Here, a mix of Spanish and English songs by Afro-Latinas and for Black women that unapologetically declare self-love and engage in self-worship to add to any Black joy playlist for the month of February and all the days that follow it.

1. Celebrate being a daughter of “La Diaspora” with Nitty Scott.

When the Afro-Boricua rapper dropped Creature in 2017, she gifted Black women, particularly Black Latinx femmes, with a full project that saw, understood and exalted their existence. None of the bangers on the LP did this as intentionally as the song and short film “La Diaspora.”

2. Make your voice and joy heard with Christina Milian’s “Say I”

When the cubana teamed with Young Jeezy to drop this 2009 bop, she encouraged women to “do what you want to do. Don’t let nobody tell you what you’re supposed to do.” And that’s some pretty liberating ishh.

3. Some might call you “CRZY,” but Kehlani wants you to embrace the term.

Confidently dancing to the beat of your own drum, especially as a woman of color, is neither expected nor welcomed, largely because it makes it more difficult for white supremacy to thrive. With “CRZY,” the part-Mexican R&B songstress encourages femmes to embrace and reclaim the slights people throw at you for being a radiant, go-getting mami.

4. And Calma Carmona’s “I Got Life” shows that there is so much to be joyous about.

In her Spanglish rendition of Nina Simone’s “I Ain’t Got No … I Got Life,” the Puerto Rican soul singer declares all the beauty she has, from her voice, to her hair, to her smile to her life, in a world that told her she has nothing.

5. Something else you have: “Tumbao.”

In la reina de salsa’s multi-generational hit “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” the late cubana Celia Cruz reminds Black women of that unfading, indescribable, swing and swag that Black women carry with them in every space they occupy.

6. Prefer an English joint? Cardi B will also remind you how “Bad” you are.

With “She Bad,” featuring YG, the Dominican-Trinidadian rapper engages in self-worship and encourages other Black women to feel themselves and own their sexuality without apprehension or apologies.

7. ‘Cause Like Maluca told you, you’re “la mami del block.”

In the Dominican singer-rapper’s mega bop “El Tigeraso,” Maluca makes the indisputable claim that Afro-Latinas have it all: “tengo fly, tengo party, tengo una sabrosura.”

8. And like Farina says, not everyone is deserving of your greatness.

In “la nena fina’s” urbano-pop jam “Mucho Pa’ Ti,” the colombiana raps what everyone knows: She, and you, are too much — too poppin’, too powerful, too radiant — for the unworthy.

9. Now that you’re reminded of who you are, enter every space like Melii walked into the club in her music video for “Icey.”

With sparkly, high-heeled white boots, a laced v-neck bodysuit, some tiny red shades and confidence that entraps you, dominicana-cubana Melii knows her value — as a woman and an artist — and watching or listening to how self-assured she is will undoubtedly rub off on you.

10. ‘Cause at the end of the day, you’re a “Million Dollar Girl” like Trina.

Like the Dominican-Bahamian rapper, alongside Keri Hilson and Diddy, told you in 2010: “Baby if I want it, I got it / ‘Cause I’ll be gettin’ some more / ‘Cause I’m a million dollar girl, for sure.”

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