Next Sunday, July 29, Loc’d Life Magazine will celebrate three years of publishing with “Locs on the Rocks: The Launch Party,” at 3 p.m., at Uncle Joe’s Tropical Dining, 4655 S. King Dr., 1st Floor, Chicago, Illinois. At the event, you’ll meet some of the faces (and locs) that have graced our pages, both online and in print.
Loc’d Life Magazine would like to honor these faces as well as a few others who have inspired and have helped change the way that locs are viewed around the world. To that end, Loc’d Life announces the Loc’d Life LadyLocs Awards, named after our logo, to honor those that reflect the beauty of locs in themselves and those around them.
The Pioneer Award
Amazon Smiley and Nadra Smiley
If you meet a loctician in Chicago, 9 times out of 10, they’ve either trained under Amazon Smiley or have heard of her work. Her salon, formerly known as Amazon Natural Look, is now Amazon Natural Essentials, which now houses natural hair services and a full spa. Amazon Natural Essentials is home to decades of championing natural hair. The Smiley women are still training a new generation of locticians today, with a philosophy of using naturally-based products (from which they have created their own line of products), and grounded traditions in starting and maintaining locs and allowing them to thrive.
Amazon and Nadra Smiley is a mother-daughter team. Nadra grew up in her mother’s salon and learned from her mother’s skillful hands. Amazon still nurtures the locs of her patrons and still infuses them with wisdom. Together, they are inspiring a new generation of African American women and men to embrace their natural textures.
Sisterlocks are the creation of Ms. Joanne Cornwell, educator, entrepreneur, and expert in natural hair care. The Sisterlocks brand is a unique form of locs, thinner than traditional locs, but just as versatile and allowing a unique look. Ms. Cornwell has trained consultants worldwide on the art of this unique loc process, allowing countless others the ability to wear locs on a variety of textures. She has also championed the side of natural hair practicioners in state licensing debates, winning the case in California so that natural hair stylists won’t be forced to complete thousands of hours of state-mandated education with none of it in natural hair care. Loc’d Life honors her for empowering stylists with a new skillset in their arsenals and women everywhere a new way to wear locs.
The Style Award
The Christian Fields Style Bar in Chicago is a standing testament to style. Enter the Woodlawn-based salon, and you feel you have entered an urbane oasis, furnished with style. In a community where few upscale salons are located, this one stands out.
Christian entered the natural hair business by caring for his mother’s hair. While sickness ravaged her body, her hair was in his caring hands. He built his clientele over the years, and his business thrived. Then he suffered the loss of his home in a fire. Working got him through that crisis and allowed him to rebuild. Today, his salon features natural hair services, a barber, a café and a training center that also teaches a new generation how to care for locs. Whatever Christian does, he does it with style. Observe him in the chair and his patrons are treated to high drama and artistry as his styles emerge.
The Inspire Award
This award is inspired by a trip I took to Jamaica. As I watched the news there, the lead anchorwoman wore locs. Imagine, everyday, viewers are treated to someone who reflects who they are on television.
Stateside that happens here, too. Whether it’s offering skillful editorials as a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times or as a weekly news commentator on ABC-7 Chicago, Ms. Washington reflects the epitome of professionalism, grace and full knowledge of the day’s stories. Seeing locs reflected so well gets the day going with a dose of inspiration. Loc’d Life salutes Ms. Washington in giving others a model of how locs are at home on camera and in the boardroom.
The Inspire Award
Loc’d Life would like offer a special award to Bakunzi Matemane. In the earliest days of launching Loc’d Life’s first printed issue, volume 1, Mr. Matemane encouraged. As an assistant to Christian Fields, he helped introduce me to new ideas and thinking about locs. By the end of our conversation, I was ready to face the world with energy and encouragement about what Loc’d Life is all about: not just the loc styles of men and women, but how to care for locs, positive images of beauty, and the people who wear them.
The LocStar Award
Mr. Baptiste is a style and color master. In an interview online, he stated that he believes locs are just larger strands of hair, where you can create any style that can be done on relaxed hair. The result: innovative styles that are truly breathtaking. A sought-after loc stylist on the hair-show circuit and by celebrities, Mr. Baptiste styles locs with creativity, energy, music, and historical roots. The Indianapolis native lives by the motto of being a loctician who is always reinventing and always evolving. I was drawn to Mr. Baptiste as a former assistant art director at Sophisiticate’s Black Hair. Everytime his pictures crossed my desk, I noticed them. Today, those styles still turn heads.
The Freedom Award
Harriet Tubman led countless former slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Today, Ms. Fowler is leading a new generation to freedom from chemically-straightened hair. The project: The Harriet Experiment, a year-long adventure through natural hair with seminars, education and maintenance for participants. Loc’d Life was there at their launch party on the eve of New Year’s Eve. That night, some did the “Big Chop”—cutting off the relaxed strands from their tresses. Some started their locs. The night ended with a preview of a filmed sequence of participants. To undertake such a project is no easy task. Yet Ms. Fowler does so with encouraging words, a warm spirit, and inspiring friends to help guide all who participate. The Harriet Experiment truly helps others in embracing and nurturing their natural textures.
The Beautiful Award
When Loc’d Life interviewed Ms. Auset a year ago, I was inspired by her beauty. Yes, she is a celebrity makeup artist. Yet it was her inner beauty that caught my eye. As she described her loc journey, she revealed her evolution of her own beauty ideals. As she leads her Metamoorphose project, which transforms women holistically inside and out, you see her desire for beautifying the world reflected in those who took the journey. Each project is a testament to innovations in beauty, and how one can beautifully craft their own life. What’s next for Ms. Auset? Whatever it is, you can count on it being beautiful.
The Role Model Award
Erika Jones Purvis
Throughout the pages of Loc’d Life’s printed edition, volume 2, you will see the beauty of these women. Ms. Washington graces our cover in a stunning black and white photo by Benjamin Mays. She is also one of the women of Entwine Naturalle Couture, a line of styling products for natural hair. Evin Marie is a playwright, whose latest production, Blotch, received accolades. Her other talent is as one of the most energetic models that Loc’d Life has ever photographed. Erika Jones Purvis crafts events with her firm, A Social Life. Fanta Celah is an artist whose soul is reflected in paintings, jewelry and henna art. Finally, Sabreen Sabur inspires with flowing designs from her line Royal Closet, a line with signature stitchings and tassels, which she herself describes as “a lot like locs themselves”. All of these women show the readers of Loc’d Life that there’s beauty, personality, versatility, vitality, and freedom of expression in locs. Loc’d Life thanks them for their positive images of beauty.
Who are these winners of the Loc’d Life LadyLocs Awards? I invite you to see them as they accept their awards next Sunday, July 29, in Chicago. Tickets are $10 and are available through www.locdlife.eventbrite.com. You will truly be inspired, as I am.
‘Till next time,
Loc’d Life Magazine
http://www.locdlife.com (click on the blog link to take you here)
Get the printed version of Loc’d Life Magazine, Volume 2, mailed direct from hp magcloud. Preview ALL the pages and a line-up of stories, including…
- Ledisi, Our Locstar and how to achieve her signature updo
- Role Models: Loc’d models who are rocking the industry
- Loc’d Life Man, featuring Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald and men’s styles by Chicago’s Christian Fields Style Bar
- Chescalocs’ Franchesca Ramsey
- Putting Style on Top: Fashions of Sabreen Sabur’s Royal Closet
- Chicago’s Spoken Word artist Awthentik
- Loc Q&A
- The Harriet Experiment’s year-long journey to natural hair
- Exercise and nutrition for you and your locs
- We Want Locs: an open appeal to imagemakers for more locs in ads, TV and elsewhere
- Plus a roundup of shampoos and the top oils for locs
You don’t want to miss out on 40 pages all on locs. Get your copy today at www.locdlife.com! (Volume 1 is available, too!)