LMK: Tell us where you're from?
STORM: I'm from Altadena, CA...born n' raised.
LMK: How long have you been wearing your hair natural?
STORM: I'd say late 2000 is when I started letting my hair grow. Seeing other people with cornrows and admiring it initiated me to stop cutting my hair off. At first I kept in a wild Afro. I always loved seeing the artist N'Dambi wear her Afro out beautifully and that also inspired me. I started twisting it as soon as it was long enough to twist. As it grew, I started experimenting with styles like cornrows and kept it braided. I felt proud. It signifies strength, unity, identity, and I can finally understand how Brotha's and Sistah's back in the 60's and 70's must have felt.
LMK:What types of reactions do you get from the ladies in regards to your natural hair?
STORM: Different. Before the natural hair boom most Sistah's would be like 'Ever think about cutting it off?' or 'I bet you'll look handsome clean cut'. Now, I get more compliments then anything. I get a lot of suggestions from both male and females that I should loc it up. I get a lot of attention rockin' my fro and twists more now then ever, more people seem to take notice. I just keep it universal instead of it being one way all the time. If I loc my hair it can only be one way. Being a model I can wear a fro hawk, Bantu Knots, Afro puffs, braids, twists...me and my hair are one. Once you loc its a wrap!
LMK: How do you feel about natural hair embracing being described as a "movement"?
STORM: I think its great! Since slavery we have never really gotten over being ashamed over our nappy hair other than a brief period in the late 60's and mid 70's. Now we have major public figures like Erykah Badu, India Arie, Jill Scott in the early part of her career, Rakim, Musiqsoulchild when he first came out, Raheem DeVaughn was loc'd at first, Dwele, and Quest Love from the Roots who to me is one of the most consistent Afro wearers in the industry. I don't love my hair just cause there are celebrities who rock theirs natural. I love it because I love me. I encourage everyone who wants to grow natural hair to do it for self not because they feel everyone else is doing it. But if they do, most of them will end up loving it for themselves anyway. Seeing a celebrity with it is just what gets them interested in the beginning.
STORM: Women are more conscientious about their outer beauty then men, speaking in general. Not to forget everything begins with the woman. Once you guys are aware and conscious, it helps us accept it in y'all. I want women to understand their hair Ether. Your Ether is your connection from the inner cosmos to the outer. Our hair plays a big part of you being #9 which is the number of completion. Ether connects us to the Most High. We cannot call ourselves free until we accept our true selves. I think women should get the spot light.
LMK: Tell us some of the issues you have encountered wearing your natural hair?
STORM: First of all men are just as concerned about what women will say or think as women are about us. Brotha's talk about it too. Wondering if a woman will accept them with a nappy Afro too. I am going to love me first and foremost. I am created in the image of the Most High. So as far as a woman goes she will HAVE to love my hair as much as I do if not more than I do!... [he chuckles].
LMK: As a fashion model have you had any resistence from agencies or finding work because of your natural hair?
STORM: I feel like Sampson when it comes to my hair. I realize a "Delilah" doesnt have to necessarily be a woman. It can be a metaphor for mainstream America, or coporate America's ideals of what beauty means and them not accepting what I stand for. I represent RBG (red, black, and green). The Al Sharptons', Snoop Doggs', Ron O'Neals', and DJ Quiks', that's not me (refering to the straight permed/flatironed hair). Since the launch of my modeling career I have only had one gig where I was asked by my runway coach to straighten my hair. He kept tryin' to convince me it wouldn't be feminine and he could still keep me looking mascluline. Long story short, I declined. Instead I compromised with what I was comfortable in seeing myself in and wore a blow out. We must always be aware of the images we put out into the world. Hollywood can turn a person into who "they" want them to be. The image "they" indentify as being beautiful, but we as a people have full control over the images being put out there.
LMK: How does your family feel about you wearing your hair natural? STORM: Well you kow my Mom, may God rest her soul, at first was like 'Boy you need to cut your hair!' But once she start seeing it styled in cornrows, Afro nice and groomed, looking at the pictures from my photo shoots, she really liked it. My Sisters don't really have anything to say. They like it 'cause its who I am.
LMK: Share your regimen, how do you keep your kynxx lookin' so fly?
STORM: Wash once a week with conditioner or black soap. I also have a leave in conditioner I use of water conditioner and some oils. I put coconut oil in my hair and shea butter after I wash it. I'm learning more about how to care for it and getting advice on how to grow my hair. I keep it braided when I can. My next style I want will be Bantu knots again soon.
LMK: So where can readers of LuvMyKynxx find you?
STORM: Facebook, Brotha Storm and I also have a Facebook Fan Page under the same name I'm still working on and developing so stop by and "like". Follow my tweets @StormDaBrotha. You can find me here at http://www.sankofasword.com/founder.html were I list upcoming spoken word events. I'll be featured in an upcoming natural hair magazine out of Atlanta called Me Magazine so look forward to that as well. I've also been featured in Natural Roots Magazine which is another Atlanta based publication.
LMK: In closing, what insight do you want to leave us with that will help us understand more about the journey from a male perspective?
STORM: That it's NOT just for women and it's NOT feminine! It's royalty. When I rock my braids, bantu knots and twists this is my crown. To me image is everything. I have to dictate the images I put out into the world. I love this, this is me. Before doing photo shoots this was me. I want to say to all the men out there, if you are working in corporate America and fear losing your job behind rockin' your nappy Afro...it's not the job for you. If you are concerned that a Sistah won't give you the time of day, she's not the woman for you. We are made in the image of the Most High. This is my journey and my way of rockin' natural hair.
All copywritten photographs posted with the approval of Brotha Storm. Do not copy/re-post without permission of LMK.
If you would like to be featured as a Naturalisto! and share your journey from a male perspective send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org