Q&A WITH AMENA
What do you do?
I am a poet, performing artist, and podcast host.
How would you describe your hair?
4b, tight coils that twist and shout
How did you collaborate with Tracee and PATTERN?
LET'S TALK HAIR
Describe your hair in 3 words:
My hair in 3 words: beautiful, bold, fantastic.
Describe your hair story in 10 words or less:
My curls taught me to take up space, unapologetically.
Who do you call to talk hair?
I talk hair with every black woman I know! And even black women I don’t know! I talk with my black women friends about style tips, products they love, how stress affects our hair. I talk hair with black women in airports, in the natural hair product section of the store, at parties, and in work settings. I love that we can bond over our hair no matter where we are.
What your first memory of your hair?
I had a childhood friend who I spent a lot time with, and on the weekends her mom cornrowed her and her sister’s hair. When I was at their house one weekend, she cornrowed my hair too. She did these elaborate parts and designs. I never knew my hair could do that, and I loved it.
Who taught you how to do/style your hair?
My grandma and great-grandma taught me how to press and curl my hair. My mom taught me how to braid my hair. My stepmother taught me how to have a shampoo/conditioner hair regimen. When I went natural, my hairstylist Giselle taught me what products to use and how to do a twist out.
Do you think your hair defines you? If so, how?
I wouldn’t say my hair defines me because I believe a black woman can and should wear her hair any way she wants. I do see my hair as an extension of me, as a part of me. When I care for my hair, I’m caring for myself. The more I learn to love and embrace my hair, the more I learn to love and embrace myself.
What do you think of when you hear the word pattern?
Coils. Curls. Design. Creativity. Beauty. Originality.
Do you change your hair with your mood?
I change my hair color with my mood. I’ve been in a bold, bright mood lately, so I’ve been rocking my hair in a shade of magenta.
What’s your favorite thing about your hair?
I love that my hair is so versatile. It can be twisted, braided, in an Afro, in a puff. It can be large and take up space and tighten close to my scalp. I love all the things it can do!
What was it like to work with Tracee?
Working with Tracee was wonderful and inspiring! I have so much respect for the way she brings creativity, comedy, and generosity to her work. Working with Tracee and crafting some of the language around PATTERN was a lot of fun because I was able to combine my love for natural hair and my love for poetic language.
What excites you most about PATTERN?
Not only is the look, sound and feel of the PATTERN brand gorgeous and soulful, but the mission of encouraging those with curly and coily hair to love and care for their curls and coils every day is important and necessary. So many people with hair like mine have been made to feel like their hair isn’t beautiful, like it needs to be tamed or changed to be acceptable. I love that PATTERN is taking those negative perceptions and encouraging us to embrace our texture, our kink, our frizz, and our pattern.
Amena Brown is a poet and artist based in Atlanta. You can follow her @amenabee and at https://www.amenabrown.com.