And they where like that's not an Afro and that's when I realized. People just want to have me. People just want to have people just want to have my hair as like some type of show, some type of topic of conversation, some type of like, how are you going to tell me that my hair needs to be an Afro because I'm black?
Welcome to another episode of ChatAholic, today. I am speaking to my niece, my other niece called Bami, and it is going to be about her hair journey. And the reason I wanted to do this is loads of reasons. But one reason is don't know if everyone remembers in August, 2020, the singer Adele faced some backlash for having her hair in Bantu knots. And there was a lot of criticism on social media, mixed opinions, and when I read into it, she said she did it because she wanted to honour the Notting Hill Carnival being cancelled because obv it was cancelled because of the pandemic. And then when I was asking people, some people's attitude were like, well, no, you can't just be taking go hairstyles. And I kind of got that. However, I see it from both sides because one of my friends said, which I agree with. She was actually honouring black culture because she grew up in Tottenham, which is in north London, where they're actually more black people than any other ethnic minority group. I haven't done a survey but but I would assume, regardless of your ethnicity, being able to say your hometown is where Adele grew up is something that people should be proud of. On the other side, I also understand that black people have been conforming to Western culture of what beautiful hair looks like since slavery. Back then those with softer textured hair were treated better. So in my opinion, having someone such as Adele who grew up in a black area amongst black people honoring black culture, I think personally that's slightly changing the narrative. Anyway, the point is I wanted it just made me think about. My hair journey and other people I know, and their different hair journey. Okay. So Bami, can you please introduce yourself and tell me a bit about you, whatever you are comfortable sharing.
Okay. So my name is Bami Kuteyi I'm a new Auntie soon to be second time around. I'm a fearless queen. I am a content creator. I am a fearless entrepreneur. I'm a DI consultant. And I think above all of that, I am just myself. And I love that for me.
Okay, because your ethos in life is everyone should just be themselves. Right, and happy. They're happy selfs?
I don't know about happy because happy such a fleeting emotion, right. But they should just be whatever makes them feel good. And then waking up and just feeling like, okay, I got this. I'm feeling good with myself. That's it? Not necessarily happy because I don't feel happy every day. Just feeling, feeling good, confident in yourself.
Okay. I feel like I wanted to ask the question, but then that's me just going off. That's just me going off on a tangent
To be natural flow of the podcast. This is all, this is all a natural flowing conversation. This is actually like an heirloom. I was thinking about that. Just like the party dress. My mom posted a party dress in the group chat, and this can be an heirloom, a digital heriloom.
Okay, fine. Fine. Okay, Bami, I'm going to ask you my first question. So I remember as a kid going swimming at school. And when I used to get out of the pool, other girls would say to me, oh what happened to your hair? And then I used to have to explain that, when you go swimming or you have a bath, your hair automatically reverts to its natural. I don't even know natural condition, natural texture.
You can say natural form.
Okay. Fine. We'll go with natural form. When did you first realize that outside of your family, people actually had an opinion on your hair?
I think the first time I realized that was what I went to. I must've been like 10, there was a girl from dance school, I went to that dance school in Edgware and she was having a wig party and they were like, oh, Bami. You know, we want to see you with an Afro, but obviously my mum had striaghtened straight into my hair. Like chemically with perm. So I was never going to have an afro, so we did our best to blow dry out. My mom was not going to let me have a wig.
Really quickly. I don't know how now. Years later now I'm an adult. I don't really know how I feel about the fact that I don't know. It's just me. I have a thing about chemicals in kids hair.
It's very dangerous putting bleach. It's like bleaching a kids hair it would chemically burn my scalp. I didn't have a head back for many, many, many years. Yeah, so the party, I didn't have an afro my mum wouldn't let me wear a wig. I didn't have an afro. So I literally just went with like, imagine like just relaxed, natural textured hair, relaxed and blow dried out. It's big and it's thick, but it's not even really that curly. It's more like just straight and thick and out there. And they where like that's not an Afro and that's when I realized. People just want to have me. People just want to have people just want to have my hair as like some type of show, some type of topic of conversation, some type of like, how are you going to tell me that my hair needs to be an Afro because I'm black? What if I wanted to wear a pink straight wig or a blue street wig or a blonde straight wig? That's when I first realized that my hair is a topic of conversation, because before it never really was as much. I mean, it was for sure. People always trying to touch it and oh, I wish I had your hair. It just sticks up. Just stays where it is. And it's like, Hmm, that's actually a microaggression. But like a backhanded compliment. That's what I see it as.
Okay. I, okay. I don't really get it, but okay. I can get the story. No, I don't get how. What do you mean? It just stays. I wish I had your hair because it just stays in place. I don't even really know what that means, so.
Okay. So I remember one time there was a girl in school, she was Caucasian. She had a ponytail and I had a ponytail when I took out my rubber band from my ponytail. It don't move. The ponytail is still there when she would take out her head from a ponytail. Suddenly her has her lots of flop flip-flopping around and shedding on the ground, but mine is still in place, strong and firm. And she's saying, oh, I wish my head did that. But why do you wish that? Why do you truly wish it, or do you just fetishizing over my head in this current moment in time? It was just, yeah, very, very strange. Even at a very young age, I found that very, very strange. And it's like, why do you care? I never cared to talk about their head and never, but they always wanted to talk about mine, but I never cared to talk about that. Cause I can see what it does. It's there it's limp.
Oh, I don't know. I definitely feel like I wish my hair was I don't know, I definitely a hundred percent had I did.
Yeah. So, but that's, but that's different than that's different than asking questions. I never asked them questions about their hair or told them that I wish that I had their hair. I never did that.
I have a question.
Say you're moving on from that
No. It's not actually still around that topic of people judging or don't know. Is it judging? Is it being interested?
No, I don't think it's because of that. I just think it's the fact that. We're not respected widely. And you just have to be honest about that. And you have to really truthfully say that with your chest, that truly in a majority of cultures that are not familiar with, you know, that are not familiar with, or that do not have a lot of maybe black people in their community. A lot of people, they are going to not truly respect. That race and then we'll start moving mad because of that, because they would never say that to, I can't even give an example, but they would never say it to someone who they saw as, you know, respected and like looked above. If that makes sense. They would never. It's because they don't respect us truthfully. And then it's like, you're the angry one. You are the you're the angry one. You are the aggressive one. You're the aggressor, like even saying these words now I'm getting like, my body feels like it's getting flashbacks of like my career aggressions at work, especially, you know, working out Google and being a young, like, confident, like sexy, like I'm a I have a big personality. Okay. I'm not just your regular corporate girl. So for me to go and work at Google and have like the hair that I did, like, it was just, yeah. I just think it was just a lot, like, just so many comments and little things and words like, oh, you're so passionate or don't be too, we get it that you're very passionate about this, but, and it's just like, yo just accept me for who I am. Like I'm free and I'm wild and I'm different and it's okay.
I think I was lucky working in the environment I worked in because I wasn't the only black person in the village. So I was lucky my managing director was he my managing director or I don't know, but he was a black man and the lady above him whose job I do not know. Was a black woman. I was very lucky. I was so lucky that I saw people who looked like me in really good jobs.
Yeah. It makes a huge difference. It makes a huge difference.
It does because I could be as passionate as I wanted it makes a difference where you work and the people, I guess the people who were in that industry, it makes a difference. It does. And I know Selina would say the same about when she worked in PR fact it makes difference. Okay. Fine with being judged by Caucasian people, but were you also judged by black people?
Yeah, but in a different way where it's like, oh, you have, or like your Nigeria, no, you're this. Or you have long hair for a black girl, or you have a lot of hair, like you have a lot of hair. I am fair enough. Yes, I do have, oh, sorry.
It makes me laugh. Just because the fact of the matter is there is a whole lot of hair going you know, I'm your family. I had my mum who that was a whole lot of hair going on. And my mums my sister, and there was a whole, lots of hair going on. I just, I'm very aware that there was a whole lot of hair going on.
So I don't know. Is that offensive? People say
No, but I feel because why are you saying that caveat for a black girl? Oh, you're Nigerian. Like you have a lot of hair for a Nigeria, or you're hair is long, but it's like. Well, you don't have to say that part. You can just say, I like your hair. You have nice long hair. And I can say thank you. Instead of you have this, for that, to say that you like my hair thanks.
Okay, fine. I see your point. I'd like you to tell me now about your also, can I just add in quickly before I forget this, but also because I literally know your family of Aunty Shola, who is Bami's mum used to say all the time. Your hair is your crowning beauty or is it, is it glory? Is it, was it glory? All your hair is your beauty crowning, beauty. I can't remember.
I think glory, basically she put a big emphasis on how your hair is. That's why she always wanted to have like my hair done when I was younger. That's why she permed it because she always wanted my hair done. Like me and my mom would fight with my hair cause I have too much hair, we would fight. And we still fight to this day. She still gives back handed comments about my head because I'm a bald baddie now. And I've never felt like more beautiful or more like a work of art, but she struggles to accept that. And that's okay. That's her own cross to bear. That's her own burden to bear, it not mine
okay. So on that note what's the difference when one of us says when someone going to do Noa's hair, that was hair. So what's, what is the difference then? Why, why do we believe someone needs to be doing Noa's hair.
Why do we feel that someone needs just because for health, to be honest on, otherwise, cut it off. You know, like otherwise you just cut off the hair, cut it low. If you're not going to upkeep it, it's not about beauty standards. It's just about the health of the head, the hygiene side of things.
I wonder, does she still have sand in her hair
yes, I did more because when her shoe came out, she flipped her shoe on her head, what was it you sand? So.
Yeah, I didn't think too, but no, I did think to myself. Oh yeah. Shit. I forgot to tell Yemi. Yemi. Can you, I'm just making sure there's no sand in it.
It doesn't have to be a great designer or anything. It doesn't even have to be the baby braids for a baby. It could just be a little ponytail, but at least make sure it's moisturized and because it's not growing at the back. So it means that moisture. Yeah. So that's all, that's the only reason
Okay. You've mentioned a little bit about different hairstyles you've had, do you feel your different hairstyles have represented different stages of your life? Like where you are in your, in your journey.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I do. For sure. It's funny though, because every hairstyle, so I move around a lot. So every city I'm in is a new chapter and every hairstyle is even bigger. New chapter. Would you like me to share a darling? You ready for a ride? Grab a cup of tea, grab your glass of perseco So we're starting from the most relevant ages. So we'll start with, Bami. And I guess just before university, Bami was due to natural hair, high school. She was a natural hair. She was always seen with really cute, straight, relaxed, natural hair, maybe a little side bang with clipping extensions, but always super natural looking. Even if it was a weave, it would always be leave out. I'd always have some of my natural hair out to make it look as natural, as natural as possible. And then that may started to go into braids a little bit to start to travel, going some vacations decided to get herself some box braids, but mainly she was sticking to the u part to wig all the way up until university when she started to make her own wigs to be a bit more frugal, u parts, still looking cute, but as I travel around a lot and living in different places, so, but this is also Canada. This is all Toronto me with straight hair. And then I transitioned to a bit of curly when I started to work at the bank and that hair. It was still me trying to fit in, obviously like it was still me trying to obviously have a more easy head style, but also trying to fit in with that corporate look, because at that time I wanted to be an investment banker. So I was just, yeah. Trying to be a corporate baddie, but then I got the interview for Google. I got the job for Google, so I didn't really have to stick with that anymore, but I decided that, you know what, I still want to keep it a bit more low key. So I just literally did weave. Good hair has always middle part. With a closure now because I'm getting paid more money. So I can invest in these closures that were very expensive at the time. And yeah, so that was me really still trying to fit in as much as possible, straight ahead, keep everything under the radar. And then in 2018, 19 from 181/9. Google moved to London and there were no more rules anymore. Oh, sorry. Before that big, big point. Before I moved to London, I knew I was going to quit my job. So I took out my hair and I just let my whole Afro out one day to the next. I just decided in 24 hours and I just went natural, just took my hair out, big afro. And I just started going to work because I knew I was going to quit anyway. So I just fully embraced being natural and my natural hair journey. How can I describe where I was in my life? Like I was in a point where I just didn't give an F bro.
I really love, I listen, I loved every stage, but you're the first person. Actually you and this other girl that I used to work with Carla, oh my God. Carla her with her natural hair. You two are the only people I've actually known known who I thought. Wow. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd really be trying to live this natural hair look, because I actually had hair envy. I'd never had hair envy over natural hair before, but I actually did have hair envy
It was so much hair like I have a lot of hair like that hair was so long and it was so, so thick, but it got to a point where it was too much, so natual your head, whatever, leaving it out, but I didn't really know what to do with it, but just let it be free. Then I started to put in some baids to make it easier. I started to associate my branding Bam-Bam boogie, which I haven't mentioned if you're not following Bam-Bam boogie twerk after work, get in there.
Bam-Bam Boogie is actually genuinely such a big part of who you are, but not just that. It's actually quite big now I look at your, when you send me videos of your classes and I can see how many people you used to have to, how many people you are bringing in now. So really honestly, plug Bam Bam boogie because you should, you should be so proud of it. And I even have friends bearing in mind. My friends are. 10 years older than you who have said to me, oh, I tried to get classes, but oh, it's all fully booked. Oh. And then she was doing a joint with someone who I do not know who these people are, because I'm definitely not even hip at all. Is hip even a word that young people use? I don't even know, nor do I care.
And I love thank you, auntie. And I love that you still call it Bam-Bam boogie because that's how I know that you're an O G because it's still good on the internet. If you Google Bam-Bam boogie, you still find me. But I say to twerk after work is really getting its own brand now, which is even more cool.
I'm sorry, sorry for my OG, but technically not even technically I am an OG anyway.
Oh, are an OG, you have the original merchandise hoodie.
I love that, hoodie. Thank you so much for leaving a here.
Yeah. I need to do more. But yeah, I love it. I love it. Love it. Love it. Okay. So should we go back to my hair journey
Please continue with your hair journey.
Cause we're almost there almost where I am now. we are almost at present day present day so, yeah, I did for Bam-Bam boogie. I really wanted the pink, the pink hombre. I just think it looked really sick and it really served me at the time because I would like try and match my outfits to it. And just, it was just very, very cute. Anyhoo then the pandemic happened. That's actually what happened. And my hair was outgrowing. You know, that part where the braid attaches to your natural hair and the frizz just grows out and out. And there was at one point, I said, Bami, you can't fake this anymore. Take out those damn braids. And I couldn't go and get my braids done in the pandemic. So I just went back to natural natural hair. And then in 2020, my friend taught me how to do my own hair faux locks. And those looked stunning. Like if you can actually go on my Instagram at B A M I K U T E Y I and scroll all the way down. If you're dedicated to 2020 summer 2020, and I had these beautiful little long faux locks looking like a water goddess. Okay. But I moved to Mexico and I decided to shave my hair because I had a lot of goals and I wanted freedom. I wanted to ease. I wanted to rebirth. So then I shaved off. This long, incredible hair. That for my whole life, everyone had told me, I love your hair. I have hair envy. I wish I had you have beautiful hair. I just said fuck everyone else's opinions of me. I define myself and my beauty and I shaved off my hair. And now I'm finally stepping into it fully before it was just shaved. And I was dying in all different colors last year, blue purple blonde. But. Ginger, but this year, I just really want to be a blank canvas to showcase my beauty fully from within.
This idea to shave your head. How did that feel for you? Not, not on your head, obviously. How did it feel? Because I remember when you, when you told your family, you, it was emotional for you. So how, why, why was it just to explain that?
Why was it emotional for me? Or why was that? I was emotional due to their reaction less than cause I had already come to terms with the decision that I made. It was more that reaction that was upsetting me. Not that I had shaved my hair that I didn't find as emotional, but sorry, what do you mean?
No, know it's because when I spoke to you that you were you were quite emotional and it's not very often that I see you, you don't, I don't really see the emotional side of you that often, but you were in my, you were emotional about it. And that's what I, so I'm just trying to understand what was behind that emotion. Was it, if it was because you were worried about what everyone in the family would say, then that actually makes me quite sad inside.
Well, no, I was emotional because my mom took a piece. She was not being nice about, it at all, she was horrified pretty much like disgusted by the fact that I shaved my head and didn't consult her and blah, blah, blah, as a, she was ownership of my. hair DNA or something.
As I said, It's your hair, which was on your head. So you can do whatever you want to do it. It's no one else's business. And quite frankly, really, if you hadn't even have told us until we saw you cool. And like your brother said, when I spoke to him, he said, I don't understand. What's the big deal.
Yeah. My brother had he's very nonchalant anyway. Okay. He was like, nice. He's like, you had shorter than mine now, but he doesn't give a heck. He's living his own little life over there. He's not bothered about me. And I had the length of my head and I felt the most confident, the most successful, the most rich, the most beautiful, the most fearless, the most free that's a big, big one free the most free with this hair, with the shortcut, because hair takes a lot of brain capacity. What hair style am I going to have, you know, when am I going to have to wash it? How am I going to pay for this, all these different things. But when you don't really have that much hair, you know, your hairstyle, it's the same every day. It's not really changing. So it's, it's really, it's a beautiful thing. I love it. I love it. Love it. Love it. Love it, darling.
It's a lot the whole day.
Exactly. I found that article I sent you about the, Olympics in 2021. I don't understand how, how do we live in a world where they were allowed to actually ban a cap for Afro and other natural styles? I still don't understand how the governing body actually decided that athletes don't need caps for this size and configuration and this was just allowed to happen.
They're not serious,
But anyway, I'll move on to more positive news. I don't even know if this is just in the United Kingdom, but in the United Kingdom, the hair and beauty industry announced The National Occupation Standard has been updated to mean that all hairdressers will be required to have knowledge of Afro Caribbean hair. So would you go to a non Afro Caribbean hairdresser for your hair?
No. I just walked out of a salon the other day a barber because he was Portuguese. And I said, you know what? Don't worry about it. Because I saw, he was, I was like, oh, can you show me some pictures of, you know, Afro head that you've caught before he was scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. There was like one young boy. I said, you know what? It's okay. Don't worry about it. Just because my hair. Yes, I am black, but there's different levels of hair textures. It goes all the way to 4C I'm all the way at 4C. If there was a 4C plus, that would be my hair. Like my hair is thick. It is coarse it's curly. So if you don't even know Afro hair like that, you really can't be touching my hair. Even if you've done a course who made that course?
The thing is you say that, but I'm gonna have to say I've also been to, I've definitely been to Afro, Caribbean hairdressers before, and I've walked out.
Yeah. But it's the same thing. Same thing with it doesn't matter the colour. If you get the vibe that is off, it's off.
This is what I guess the beauty standards industry is moving towards. They're moving towards. Regardless of your race, you can go into any hair salon. And still have an option to get your hair done there. I think that's a good thing.
Like, are they going to have Afro hair? dolls, like, you know how sometimes you use doll like in cosmetology courses you use adult practice on, are they going to get proper? Cause this texture, I don't know where they're going to get that texture from, to put on at all this, like, my hair is big, bro is curly like it's a lot.
In response to. Bami's question, which to be fair was also something that I thought about. Who are they going to be testing on it? And actually they will be testing on real life models. And it is a move to hopefully. I guess just gave people who don't have caucasian hair. Just more options of where they can go to because if you're a minority or really, if you have Afro Caribbean hair, you are pushed to find places to go to. And when you find someone to go to. Most of the time, those places are. Extortionately expensive because they have the monopoly. So Bami now you have a baby niece. Do you think things will be different for her?
Of course it will. Of course it will be a different experience. She's a completely new generation, alpha generation, a generation alpha she's part of. Though. She. She will have her. She will definitely have her own challenges still. There's definitely gonna be some I non idealistic styles that will be very popular that, you know, won't be necessarily great for her hair. Like, for example, when we would relax and straighten our hair, there's always going to be another version of that. Right now. It is frontals and wigs and glue. So because so many young people are putting the glue. On the head here to get those really? I don't know if you've seen these really nice, like nice wigs that have like, baby hairs like on
Yes. Yes, I have. I have
That's achieved by putting glue a lot of glue and sticking it on. But obviously once that comes up, you're going to lose some hair. It's like glue is not meant to be right here consistently. So she'll probably have some. Some type of something that she wants to do that may make her hair not as strong, but you know what, at the end of the day, it's Noa, while she's going to do what makes her happy. And as long as she feels confident in what she's doing, then I'm going to be happy for her. And I hope that society will be happy for black girls doing what they want with that hair and really just come out of our business more. That's what I'd like to see, come out of our business,
okay, cool. Thank you so much.
Thank you for listening