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Bold. 

Straight-Shooter.

Joyful.

King of the Jungle. Strong. 

Smart. 

Leader. 

Determined.

Hard Worker.

Full of Faith.

What is your name?

       Baba

what do you do for work?

       I am a full-time caregiver.

Are you married?

       Yes of course, I am married.

Do you have children?

       Yes, I have five daughters

When did you notice your first gray hair?

       Gray hair in our family is inherited. I got it pretty young. It was just gray streaks at first, but now there is much more, as you can see.

Did you ever color your hair?

       Yes, I tried it once, but coloring does not work on my hair. I've tried other hair products, but they didn't work on my hair either. Now I only use shampoo and conditioner. The hair dye spoiled and ruined my hair plus I've saved so much money by not coloring it.

"The hair dye spoiled and ruined

my hair, plus I've saved so much money

by not coloring it."

 

Did you have any concerns about going gray, were you nervous? 

       No not at all, because in our society today ladies go to the hair salon to beautify themselves, and to get the salt and pepper look, but my salt and pepper comes in natural with no money spent.

What did you think about gray haired people before you were Gray?

       I thought it was pretty cool because they looked different from most people who have black or brown hair. They really stand out.

Do you have any have myths or superstitions around gray hair?

       what do you mean?

Like some people pull out their gray hair, or say they are gray because of stress.

       No, I've never heard that before, that sounds pretty weird. For me it was a very natural thing, because growing up, I saw my uncle and my dad go gray. My hair is from my dad's side of the family. Seeing them go gray, in my little mind at the time, I thought it looked different and cool. So now, when I see myself, I can see their pictures in my mind, and it's not so strange. I knew it was from my dad, and it would happen to me. I knew it was hereditary from the beginning. I didn't ever hear anything about stress until just now. I'm just keeping it real.

"For me it was a very natural thing, because growing up, I saw

my uncle and my dad go gray."

 

 

Do you have any advice for other women who are growing out their hair?

       I would like to say, just to leave it as it is. If you continue to want to beautify yourself then you can do whatever you want, ultimately it is your choice. But my advice is to do exactly what I'm doing, and just let it be. I've been getting a lot of positive responses. I just say, "Thank you, God." At first I had wanted to color it, but when I thought about seeing it growing up on my dad's side, I thought it was so cool because it was different. Now I would say just leave it alone, even for young kids. I see people making it salt and pepper and even white, it is like an in thing right now. My Friend and I just reconnected last week, when she messaged me on Facebook. She said she couldn't get over how beautiful my white hair is.

Do you think that appearance influences opportunity?

       No not really, if we have to stick to the subject of gray hair, I think it adds more to who you are just to look natural. I really don't know if I would be able to distinguish someone with natural gray hair, and someone who went to the salon to get the salt and pepper look. Especially now with hair color products, everything looks so real you can't tell what's real or fake.

What age do you consider to be old?

       Well, just remember that life begins at 40, so you can do the math. I don't think that I am old, at least I don't feel old. I feel young. I feel very young at heart. My older brother says, "Age is only a number, and every single year the number goes higher and higher." Yes, I agree with him. We just connected recently, and he gave me a compliment on my hair. We were on a video call, and he said my hair looks very nice. I'm not going to lie, I have had many positive responses about how pretty my hair is. It is an honor for me to get such positive responses, because my hair is just natural. It's amazing to see who God is, and how your hair can change from black, and then slowly you see little streaks popping up, and now it's very silver.

"It's amazing to see who God is,

and how your hair can change"

What are some things you're most proud of in your life?

       Do you mean overall? I'm proud of any good achievement. It does not matter what it is. Any achievement that anyone can accomplish. Anyone who has been elevated in any respect, I am very proud of that. It makes me happy to see somebody being elevated in that matter. It makes me feel happy to see the kind of changes that inspire other people.

What are some words that would be used to describe you?

       Well, I am a straight shooter. I am known in my family for that. Friends who have known me for a while, think of me like that. I don't even realize it about myself, but I will say anything. My girls say, "My mom is so loud, and so bold, and so obnoxious, but that is just mom." I have no control over it. I try to be polite, but I end up just saying anything. If something needs to be discussed, I will say it. I am a straight shooter. I think it has to do with being a Leo. The lion who has a big mane of hair, and is the king of the jungle. I have always been like this, even when we have a family meeting, or in church, or anywhere. It is very hard for me to be suppressed. I will stand up like a leader sometimes.

       For me personally, it's always been hard to describe who I am, if you want to know who I really am, you should go ask my friends. It's too hard to describe who you are. Should I just brag about myself? My friends will tell you the real story about who I am. I have been told that I am strong, and smart. I am a leader, I have those leadership qualities. When it comes to determination that defines who I am. I am very determined if I really want something. I've always seen, that after an achievement when I look back, I can see what I did. I will do what I need to do, to make sure the goal is obtained, no matter what is in my way.

"When it comes to determination

that defines who I am.

I am very determined 

if I really want something." 

What have you overcome?

       I've overcome a lot of things, and a lot of fear in different areas. When you overcome fear you become stronger. I remember when I was growing up, and my mom was a nurse, I would be so happy when she would have a day off. It was like Christmas, when we got to be together. But I also had fear, because I did not want my mom to leave. I hated to see her go back to work. It was a big fear in my small mind. I would wish that she could just stay home with us, but she had to do what she had to do. That is where my first fears came from. The fear of losing your parent, and the absentee parent. I've overcome that, because I came to realize that your parents have to go. Even though I wished I was able to spend more time with them, both of my parents had a career. I was never able to share these feelings with them. I never really explained my fear to them because I never even understand it myself half of the time.

       So, I make sure that same thing is not going to affect my children. I make sure that I catch up with them from the last time that I saw them. Ever since the kids were young, I made sure to give them responsibilities while I'm gone, and by the time I get back home they will report back to me. Sometimes, I would tell them which movies to watch, or little things to look out for. I made it like a game between us. Even now that they are grown, we still make time to get together. My girls have continued to do what I have started. They have created a texting thread among the five sisters, plus another one with me and my husband, so we all keep in touch that way. We continue to keep in touch, because in society today, if you're not careful, you could lose them to a lot of influences in the world. Everyone is so busy.

"Even now that they are grown,

we still make time to get together.

My girls have continued to do

what I have started."

Do you have any questions for me? 

       Yes, what was the drive that got you to do this. This is such a rare topic, and it makes a very unique project. Especially after you approached me and asked me about my hair, it sounded like a very rare program to me. I think it speaks highly to the significance of gray hair when you approached me about mine. When I went back home, I realized that no one has ever asked me about my hair like that before. I realized that there is a significance to gray hair, but not everybody can see it.

Yes, exactly. When I started growing out my own hair, I got a lot of negative reactions, and I started feeling like I was being treated differently. I realized that I was experiencing ageism. The more I studied it, I can see that people are afraid of their own aging, and  they  are afraid of dying. I started out asking questions about gray hair, but it has led to deeper issues about how people see gray hair as a symbol for ageing. I think that is why we treat youth as the most important thing. Asking questions about hair color opened up questions for other issues as well, like the beauty standard, and it's significance.

       Yes, remember how I shared with you about how my brother spoke to me about my hair? Well the first time he saw the beginning of the gray he said, "Aren't you going to color your hair?" I remember thinking, why would he care what I am going to do to my own hair. And this time when we spoke he had a very clear video picture of me, and he said, "Oh my goodness, I thought you would have colored your hair by now, but I really like it, you look so nice." He reacted very positively, but he was also very shocked. 

"I remember thinking,

why would he care

what I am going to do

to my own hair."

What would you would like to celebrate in your life?

       Something that I always look forward to, is when my kids are all over at my house, and we all sit down together. Being together is what I love. When it comes to special holidays or occasions like Christmas, we focus on being there. It is something that we all look forward to. I have always told my husband how important it is to maintain these relationships and traditions because the kids will carry it forward when they have their own families. 

       Recently the girls came up with the idea of taking a family photo every year at our family Christmas because for sure we are all together at the same time. This is where photography becomes very special. The family portrait that we took this year means a lot to me.  No matter what, you can be busy the whole year, you can do this and you can do that, you could be living somewhere else, but always make sure that you save this time for the family. When we get together we play games, and it's a big crazy full house. One of the nights my husband and I babysit, and all the sisters and their spouses go out together, and when they come back, you can hear them laughing the whole night long. When it comes to celebrations, we always emphasize being together. Our sons have been god-given. Now, when they have a quarrel with our daughters, we will sometimes take the son's side. We call them like they are our own sons. 

       I have shown my husband, that this is what family is all about. I grew up with both of my parents, but my husband didn't have that experience, so this is something that has been very important to us both. My husband had an emptiness that he never got filled from his own family, and now he has created a beautiful family with me. 

"When it comes to celebrations,

we always emphasize being together."