I sincerely hope that you've had the opportunity to see the poem, "A Beautiful Disaster"; if not, before you read any further, go take a look at it in a previous post [HERE]. The poem resonated with me on so many levels that I had to share it, but I also took notice to the criticisms and reactions, both positive and negative, that the video conjured. This led me to reach out to, Kayla, the beautiful mind behind the poem and understand things from her point of view....
Kayla, tell us about yourself...
My name is Kayla Enigma but you can call me Kay for short. I would consider myself a very creative, motived and passionate person who is not afraid to be criticized or to embrace my uniqueness’s. Whenever something peeks my interest I always put my all into it, which is what you may have noticed and appreciated from my video “A Beautiful Disaster”. I’m 21 now and I find as I get older I become less and less afraid of thinking outside the box creatively as a means to inspire those around me. I currently live in Toronto where I was born and raised but my parents are both of Jamaican decent, which is similar to a lot of the Black Canadians who also live in Toronto. I have a certificate in Media Studies and I am currently working towards my degree in Communications with a focal point on Women’s Studies. I really want to be able to utilize all of the skills/talents I have in production, writing and communications towards uplifting the spirits and the minds of black women all over the world so that we too can feel confident and beautiful naturally.
Why did you to go natural?
What sparked my interest about going natural was actually a paper that I wrote in college about how the identities of modern day African America women have been impacted by slavery. I found quite a passion for the subject and delved right into it, touching on relationships, professionalism, and of course image. I was always someone who changed my hairstyle a lot; I think I’ve tried everything from blonde curls like Beyonce to the infamous Rihanna Mohawk, so you can imagine that I was also running out of options. I just so happened to be on Facebook one night when one of my friends posted a picture from one of her favorite natural hair Tumblr blogs and intrigued by how beautiful the woman in the picture was with natural hair I clicked it to see more. And it was pretty much history ever since then! It took me about 2 minutes to walk upstairs to the bathroom, take out my clippers and buzz my head almost completely bald. I wanted to experience a new hairstyle, but there is a lot more to it then that; I believe that going natural is more then just a simple choice. It’s liberation, freedom, and unity in knowing that by doing so we together are redefining the stereotypical image of beauty and proving together that afro-textured hair is just as beautiful as any other hair texture. It’s learning how to love yourself for the first time.
What inspired you to create the poem, "A Beautiful Disaster"?
I honestly created this poem because I was compelled to express a lot of feelings I had after realizing why I refused to go natural for so long. I wanted to do it artistically so that the message would come across clearly, intelligently and from a place of truth and love. My own personal journey is one that I think a lot of women will be able to relate to and for that reason my main focal point for the future when creating more videos and writing more poems will be to relate to the roots and the hearts of the viewers as much as possible.
What do you want men & women to take from the poem?
There are a lot of things that are not openly discussed or talked about within the black community and I believe that talking about our hair comfortably and from a more serious angle is one of them. If we can identify that there is a light skin over dark skin superiority complex among us and talk about it openly, we should be able to do the same when it comes to why nappy hair has been and still is viewed as unattractive on such a massive level within our community. I want people’s minds to really open up and to start looking at black women and our hair from all side of the spectrum and not just from one angle that lacks knowledge, effort, love and patience. I have also heard a lot of men ask why black women don’t wear their hair natural so I really wanted this poem to provide them with another perspective as well.
Some people are criticizing the poem, calling it racist or not representative of what’s really going on. How do you respond to these comments?
Truthfully, I don’t typically respond or focus on the negative comments because the positive ones are the ones I live for. However, I will say that not everyone is going to be ready to look at themselves as critically as I have because that would then more then likely force them to make a change as well and a lot of people are uncomfortable with change regardless if it is positive or negative. It took me 21 years to understand the importance of loving myself naturally, despite the pressure from society to conform into something I am not naturally. I believe that if someone doesn’t have the ability to watch my poem and find any strength or beauty in it that they are just not ready to be receptive to such an empowering message about self love, beauty and freedom.
What is your advice to women that are thinking about going natural?
I believe that women need to be completely honest with themselves about why they feel it is important to go natural, whether that is because of the history, cost, health or style. It is important to have a strong grasp of why we/you choose to do it because we live in a society that hasn’t put black women with natural hair on the same type of pedestal as black women with straight silky hair or silky hair in general for that matter. Embark on this journey knowing that it is a learning experience that has ups and downs, but with the right mindset and a desire to love ourselves naturally we can reach all of our natural hair goals.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I recently had a Caucasian woman from New Zealand reach out to me after watching “A Beautiful Disaster” and she expressed that although she is unfamiliar with the direct struggles that many black women face with loving their coarse hair, she can relate it to the struggle that the Maori and Pacifica Native women of New Zealand have with their hair texture because of the old social expectations of the white colonizers and then the new expectations of beauty forced upon them by modern day society there. She said that weaves aren’t very popular there but that a lot of these native women straighten the tight curls out of their hair. As I continue on this journey I realize more and more that so many women internationally could benefit from some inspiration when it comes to loving their natural hair and I strongly believe that together we can continue to change many women’s lives one strand at a time.
Where can people catch you on the web?
I recently started my own blog entitled RevealingTheRoots.com a space where black women can come to see pictures of other beautiful natural black women as well as read short articles we right about our experiences along the journey. My YouTube channel is a collaboration of tutorial videos, inspirational videos and funny skits all in one, so check it out at Youtube.com/klaenigma. You can also connect with me on either Facebook.com/Klaenigma or on twitter @klaenigma. I hope to be hearing from you soon!