It can be hard trying to figure out how to manage and care for differently textured hair. Tamekia is the hero assisting transracial parents with the same.
For a woman, her hair is a pride and her personality, especially for black women, as they gain strength from the authenticity of their curls and hair textures. Black women embrace their hair to a whole new level, making it a part of their identity, but caring for the same is a tedious yet self-loving process. Unfortunately, for parents who are not well accustomed to the intricacies of caring for textured hair, it can be a nightmare. It happens more among transracial parents who have black adoptive kids and are not well-versed in their specific hair care. As reported by TODAY, Tamekia Swint is changing that, becoming the icon for such parents.
Swint is a hair stylist who understands the significance hair holds in the lives of black people. She said that they “express” themselves through their hair. She also added, “It is deeply entrenched in our culture and our history. And it connects us to one another. Our hair is a huge part of our identity.” Swint understood how challenging it can be for transracial parents to learn and do their adaptive kids’ hair. That is why, in 2011, she opened a non-profit salon called Styled4Kidz dedicated to transracial parents with black adoptive kids. Right from washing, braiding and more, she is glad to offer services for black textured hair. Swint’s journey to help adoptive parents began when a friend referred her to a parent named Mary, who needed help with her child. The white mom who had 2 black daughters had no clue how to manage and maintain their hair.
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Swint recalled “bursting into tears” on seeing the tangled condition of the two girls’ hair. “I didn’t want to cry because I didn’t want Mary to feel bad, but it was awful. At that point, I had no idea this was a national problem,” Swint mentioned. She then took in the two girls as her first clients and said they felt transformed. “You should have seen their faces when they looked in the mirror after I was finished. It completely transformed not only how they looked but how they felt about themselves,” she added. When Swint realized that many parents like Mary had similar troubles, she went ahead with Style4Kidz’s creation. Swint now helps several parents even before they can adopt black kids so they’re prepared in advance.
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“By the time they have their child, they know all about the products and how to use them. They’re going into the situation fully prepared,” Swint said. She also pointed out that the primary aim was to ensure parents didn’t have to struggle like Mary did. Bridgett Alexander, a hair specialist for textured hair, explained that many parents are under the impression that long hair is beautiful but fail to understand that maintenance is equally tough, especially for textured hair. “Having white hair was the standard of beauty for too long,” she said. She further elaborated, “Black hair can be seen as a burden. You want to avoid sighing and saying things like, 'This is going to take hours.’ You want these kids to have a good experience when they’re getting their hair done. Make it bonding time. Let’s disrupt the generational trauma of our hair being a burden.”