What is your name?
Where do you live?
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
What is your occupation?
Instructional Coach, Peel District School Board; Founder of Empower & Equip, an organization that provides resources to support parents in their journey to raise passionate, empowered children
What is your educational background?
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education, Redeemer University College.
How long have you been natural?
Why did you decide to “go” natural?
When my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a family, I started to think about the impact that chemical relaxers could have on a baby. I had no scientific research to back anything up – it was just a decision that I felt was right for me and more safe for my baby.
What is your go-to natural hairstyle?
TWIST OUT, 110%!!
Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?
Well, when I went natural, I just jumped right in with a big chop! No transitioning, I just ripped the band-aid off and went for it. I Kept it short for a long time – my barber was my bestie! As is began to grow, I felt that I needed to flat iron regularly to feel comfortable around my colleagues. Now, to be clear, no one ever said “straight is great, and fro is no”; it was something that I just felt and never questioned. Over time I began to realize that I was the one who needed to be comfortable with my Blackness and stand in the truth that my hair is a huge part of who I am, and I need to own my right to wear it 100% natural—with confidence. Sooooo, enter big chop #2! I started fresh, and as it grew, I embraced it, and I have not straightened it in 7 years.
What do you love most about your natural hair?
EVERYTHANG!! The shape, the versatility, the sheen, the curls… LISTEN!! There is nothing like a fresh twist-out that is 100% behaving itself!
What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?
Sometimes Wash Day can be tiresome (maybe that’s why it is Wash DAY). I also have two daughters so Wash Day x3 can be a bit much. But I have a system, and I am slowly teaching my girls how to wash their own hair.
How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?
Well, contrary to what some think, I do not spend hours twisting my hair every night. My routine is manageable and I don’t feel like my hair is “in the way”. I do have to strategically plan when I wash, twist, rock a puff…but all of these things are probably the story of every natural out there.
What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?
IF you are wearing your hair straight because of external pressures or perceptions, whether real or imagined), that is a form of colonization that you deserve to be free from. Black women are crushing the European standard of beauty, and we will continue to do so. If we want the world to accept us for who we are, we first need to accept our beauty and wear our skin and hair with confidence. IF, however, you choose to rock your relaxer, weave, wig, locs, braids, twist-out, fro because it is what YOU choose, I say to you, “Go, on girl! Do your thing!” Once YOU have made that choice, walk with the beauty and grace of a beautiful Black queen.
Follow Mrs. Racquel Brown on
Instagram: @mrsracquelbrown / @empowerandequip
Facebook: @Racquel Brown / @Empower & Equip