TaKenyah, the Graduate
What's going on kreatives?!
The month of December is always an exciting time of year. In addition to the birthdays, holidays, and social gatherings this is also a month full of college graduations! I myself was a December graduate in both undergrad and graduate school; sometimes it feels like I just walked across those stages yesterday. Enough about me though, we are here to celebrate TAKENYAH!
I was originally supposed to feature TaKenyah and a few other college graduates in a piece I had composed for another website, however the editor-in-chief chose to make changes to the publishing schedule so here we are. While the other women to be featured in that article will be May graduates, TaKenyah was my only December graduate and I knew she deserved to have her story and advice shared with the world.
**As a sidenote, TaKenyah was featured in another article for KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com in which I discussed some of my favorite black female podcasters
For this blog post, I asked TaKenyah to discuss her path to her final semester of college, her journey with natural hair, and her advice for women in college who are looking to start their natural hair journey.
Institution: Eastern Michigan University ; Ypsilanti, MI (PWI)
Degree attained: Bachelor of Science in Communication with a Minor in Electronic Media & Arts
1. Describe your path to reaching this final semester/year of college. I started at my University in January of 2014. I haphazardly attended community college for 2 years after graduating high school in June of 2012. I chose my major based on my passion for radio/conversation and I changed my minor from Journalism to Electronic media and Film when I realized I wanted to be both on the radio and involved in the editing process. I did not join any organizations/groups (though I tried). After graduation I plan on moving to Atlanta, Georgia to begin networking and building a brand to build my career. Ultimately, I’d like to have a successful nationally syndicated talk show. I want to create a safe space for informative, thought provoking, open minded conversation. I want to be apart of the culture shift (for most importantly the black community), while supporting other minorities and educating the oppressor so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes moving forward. I want longevity not popularity and hopefully with that achievement I am able to give BPOC opportunities, or in other words, “Put my niggas on!”
2. How did having natural hair shape or impact your college experience?
I decided to make the big chop on June 17,2017. It was the summer before the beginning of my senior year and I had survived an attempt to take my own life, and 2 years (From September 2014-December 2016) of what I can consider some of the most traumatic moments of my life. In that time frame I had been to 19 funerals (Average about 1-2 every 2 months), 3 of which were immediate family members that helped raised me, the rest were family as well (or else I wouldn’t have attended them). I cut my hair to symbolize my choice to live and not die; I had already been natural but I wore a lot of protective styling for convenience. I have to say, being nearly bald at a PWI (predominately white institution) was different for me. Now granted, during this time my college was going through a lot of race issues because of a graffiti incident so there was a surplus of black ethnocentrism and pride.
When it comes to HOW I cut it, that’s a story in itself. I was in my room, staring in the mirror fed up and missing the fuck out of my family, I took some medium length black handle scissors and gave myself a horrible cut. I went out the next day and decided to take it further and cut as low as I possibly could. My best friend called me crazy but hey, a woman who has drastically changed her hair is about to drastically change her life and I AM DOING IT.
3. We all know that college kids don’t have much money to work with. What are some of your favorite hair products and/or styling tools that are under 5 bucks each?
-V05 Shampoo, it’s like a dollar but you HAVE to condition after or it’ll dry your hair.
-A black beauty supply headscarf for lazy days
-A toothbrush sis!
4. What is your advice for a girl or woman in college who has decided to go natural?
We are living in a day and age where you can damn near get a degree on Youtube! So if you have any styling questions YT is your best bet. But to the girl who cut her hair and you feel insecure, I challenge you to walk boldly and own your features. Show off that cut and make the world adjust to your new energy. It took me awhile. The literal first day I cut my hair my dad said “ Who told you to cut your hair and why?”
At first I felt insecure, but I replied “ I didn’t know I had to ask you about what I wanted to do with MY hair”. Your hair is not your glory, your spirit is! Learn to accentuate your facial features that stand out to you. Give a sickening eye liner, a popping lip, learn to do individual lashes from the beauty supply, pop on some highlight and OWN YOUR LOOK. Learn skin care regimens, get to know yourself outside of just hair. People respond to what you put out, make the world adhere to your beauty demands not the other way around. So cut your hair, choose that color and live your best life. If all else fails tack a wig on and flourish. It’s all about confidence.
Congratulations TaKenyah! #ClassOf2018