For the brothers who read this blog

Here’s something from Francis in Brazil:


We Black people always want a hairstyle that is attractive, easily, economically and quickly maintained, that involves no chemical treatments or heating, and that allows us to participate in water sports without turning into a pumpkin. We discussed this earlier in an article entitled, “Free Your African Hair.”

Now, a compliment from teenage Black blogger Phil Pierre-Paul on my new “braids” has prompted me to explain how you, too, can get these Brazilian cornrow braids in just thirty minutes, for as little as five dollars.

My hair is not really “braided.” Until two weeks ago, I wore my head completely shaved clean. Then, after it had grown to the level you see here, instead of shaving it again I asked the barber to shave some cornrows into my head with a flat razor, to make it look like my hair is braided. (I took this idea from a Brazilian magazine called RacaBrasil.Com.BR, which offers many other haircare, style and cultural and political ideas from Brasil.)

Children and teens love this hairstyle.
They stop me on the street to compliment me.

The barber cut my hair with the “Number 1” (smallest) gate; used a straight-razor to design these rows, and voil??! I dabbed my head with the barber’s alcohol to avoid irritation and my “braids” were ready for showing, in less than thirty minutes.

For me, the advantages over “braided braids” are tremendous. Although I’ve tried, I have never had the patience to wait for my hair to grow long enough to be braided. That much hair is hot in summer and hard to maintain, and I’m used to the free-headed feeling of shaving my head completely. And I don’t like combing, cutting and shampooing an Afro all the time while waiting for my hair to become long enough for braids. I simply haven’t the patience for that.

If you get this haircut here in Bahia, Brazil, you’ll pay as little as five dollars USD (compared to fifty dollars for “braided braids”. In the United States, you can get a haircut like this for probably twenty dollars, compared an estimated eighty dollars or more for “braided” cornrow braids.

If your head is sensitive at the lower back and subject to irritation, this is a style you can use without shaving that area entirely, resulting in far less risk of irritation and bumps.

The above hairstyle is one that I can obtain in two weeks, starting from being completely clean-shaven and going to the look you see above.


Since the hair on my head is less dense than if it were braided, I feel fresher and freer in the hot sun. I tried to let my hair grow long enough for braids, but

This new look allows me to get “braids” with only a two week wait for my hair to grow long enough, and I only have to sit in the barber’s chair for twenty minutes instead of four hours.

But here are a couple of notes of caution: Go to a barber who has some experience cutting styles with a razor, e.g. a barber popular with the young set. When a barber uses a razor, always make sure that it is one with disposable Gillette blades, and that s/he has changed the blade in front of you. Always pass alcohol on your head afterward to avoid irritation.

If you’re subject to dandruff and/or seborrhea, the cheapest and most effective solution is Therapeutic T + Plus Gel Shampoo with Solubilized Coal Tar Extract, available at Walgreens for 7.99 for 16ounce bottle, or at CVS, for $7.13 for a 16-ounce bottle. The key ingredient is the coal tar. Use it all the time instead of those expensive brand name shampoos, and your dandruff will be gone for good.

Here in Brazil, this shampoo is much more expensive, for some reason. A good alternative is coco soap, made from coconuts. It costs less than a dollar for a large bar. This and hot water washes away seborrhea, leaving behind a pleasant cocoa butter smell and sheen.

If you try these braidless braids above, I hope you’ll be just as happy and free with them as I am!

Author’s Note: Also read “Free Your African Hair!”

Film Night in London – Sisters in Law

African Film and Meditation Evening

You are warmly invited to attend this free introductory meditation event for the African Caribbean community. This is an excellent opportunity to learn one of the meditation practices we offer, for calming and focusing your mind and opening your heart. Beginners are welcome, as are those with more experience who enjoy practising amongst others. Led by Zhana, who has many years of experience in Buddhist meditation.

Film Night: Sisters in Law

We will be screening the film Sisters in Law, a documentary about women judges in Cameroon who are ringing the changes in their own community.
on: Saturday 12th January 2008

time: 7:00-10:00 p.m.

at: London Buddhist Centre, 51 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 0HU

Free of charge – donations welcome.

Light refreshments will be served.

Black Europe: Exploring Dimensions of Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations. June 15th-26th 2008

Visit the website,

This course is a collaboration between the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the VU University Amsterdam and NiNsee, the National institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy.

Course Description

A multitude of discourses have emerged relative to the internationalism of Blacks worldwide and particularly in the Americas, but the prominence and impact of the Black presence in Europe has not been adequately explored. This seminar will examine the multiple constructions of the term Black Europe and the social, economic and political implications within. We will look specifically at anti-discrimination laws as they have arisen in various European countries; comparing the history of regulation and management of race and ethnic relations and the discourse surrounding the concept of Blackness and self-identification.

The seminar will begin with a historical overview of social and civil conflict in Europe leading to the formation of laws and antidiscrimination legislation within the EU. We will trace the chain of events following social and civil conflicts that prompted these policies and analyze the legislative and intellectual discourse produced in the aftermath.

We will also explore the notions of blackness as; a categorization, employed in Britain to demark all non-natives; as a social construction, employed by natives to indicate (non) belonging; as a Diaspora living within Europe; and as a contestation of the dominant (White) paradigm. We will focus on the historical and colonial legacies of European countries to discuss the origins of Black Europe and investigate the impact of these legacies on policies and legislation.

This course will also seek to address the dimensions of race and ethnic relations that are unique to Europe; examining the ways in which conceptions of the ???other??? are institutionalized and reproduced; the rise of xenophobia in various EU countries; the legal definitions and discourse surrounding the conceptualized ???other???; and examining the ways in which each country has dealt with issues of race and national identity.

Following the program, students are welcome to participate in a two-day conference in Paris on Global Anti-Black Racism as part of the annual conference series (2006-2009) at the Maison des Science de l’Homme (MSH) organized by Lewis Gordon, Ramon Grosfoguel and Eric Mielants on “New and Old Racial/Ethnic Configurations before and after 9/11”

Instructors for 2008

??? Dr. Dienke Hondius, VU University Amsterdam
??? Dr. Stephen Small, University of California, Berkeley
??? Dr. Kwame Nimako, Universiteit van Amsterdam
??? Dr. Philomena Essed, Antioch University
??? Dr. David T. Goldberg, Director, University of California Humanities Research Institute
??? Dr. Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
??? Dr. Glenn Willemsen, National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy
??? Dr. Thomas Spijkerboer, VU University Amsterdam

The Summer School on Black Europe is open to advanced undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students. Preference will be given to students based on the following criteria:

??? Undergraduate and graduate students with a background in the fields of sociology, anthropology, political science, economics and/or the humanities;

??? Post-graduate students who have begun a research project in the field;
??? Professionals with an MA Degree and who are working or want to work in a field related to the topic of the Summer School.

Students are accepted on the basis of i) their previous qualifications, ii) the level of knowledge of English, and iii) an essay on their motivation. The Admissions Committee will take account of coherence, feasibility or relevance of the student???s career objectives and proposed program of study, as well as excellence in prior academic accomplishment, especially in coursework and experience related to the Summer School on Black Europe.


The regular tuition is ??? 1350. The tuition for students who wish to receive course credit is ??? 1550. Students may reserve accommodation through the Unverisiteit van Amsterdam for a cost of ??? 350. Student housing is available from June 14th -June 29th.

The Women of the African Diaspora website is All About You!

The Women of the African Diaspora website will launch new features early next year and is looking for submissions from sisters around the world for the following categories:

Are you a sister with a business? We want to highlight you. Send the following information to info(at) with Marketplace in the subject line:
1. name of buinsess/service and description
2. logo
3. link to your website
4. your headshot
5. your bio
6. indicate if you are willing to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur
7. details of your affiliate marketing program (if you have one)

Are you a sister running a non-profit or charitable organization? We want to help spread the word. Send the following information to info(at) with For The Greater Good in the subject line:
1. name of organization and description
2. logo
3. link to your website
4. your headshot
5. your bio
6. how we can help

Very, very soon you will be able to advertise on the Women of the African Diaspora Website and social network, for one price! Details will be published on the site soon, but it you have an offer that is too good to keep to yourself, send an email to info@aesn.ue with Advertising in the subject line and we’ll get the details to you!

For two months we have been featuring sisters who are making music. If you would like to be included, please send us your details to with Musicians in the subject line:
1. your photo
2. your stage name or band name
3. link to your website
4. info on where your music can be purchased
5. bio