“Is That All Yours?!”: Why I’ve Never Worn a Wig

Edited by Madeline Gunawan 

I’m wearing a bonnet. I don’t think there’s a sexy kind of bonnet. I don’t think there’s even a bonnet that’s “fashionable,” or one socially acceptable to wear out in public without getting weird looks from people. They just don’t understand, and it shows. They can get away with not wearing a bonnet because their seemingly undamaged fine hair falls down on their shoulders, rather than pointing away from their head like a black womans would. Anyway, I’m sitting here with a bonnet on, tucked in bed, hoping my white boyfriend doesn’t FaceTime me. We’re not at the stage yet where I introduce him to my hair care tool and all its purple, satin glory.

What I’m getting at here is: Black women’s hair is a socially taboo subject. From fine hair people literally not knowing what coarse hair feels like and not keeping their hands to themselves, to our hairstyles being demonized and banned in school dress codes, it’s apparent that Black women’s hair isn’t normalized in America. Don’t get me wrong, most of my Black friends know what the deal is from the durag to the cherished bonnet. And while some things are kept close in these circles in the name of culture, maybe a certain degree of openness can create a sense of normalcy.

For context, I was born in 2000. By 2006, I was socialized to look down on people who wore synthetic hair. Shows, songs, and micro-aggressive language towards Black women were seething in hatred and all other things Black. Of course the self loathing Black woman was given a voice too but not because she’s valuable, because she’s confirming society’s disgusting bias.

“Well if she’s black and she’s saying this, I mean, it must be true, right?” Wrong.

The stigma behind specifically, wigs, was never a classy or articulate one. The women depicted in wigs in media were the rambunctious, “ratchet” ones and the women with the pretty, long, natural hair (uncoincidentally light skinned) were the pretty ones, the ones to admire, the ones who had men all over them. So I decided to be like those girls. By the time I was 8, I had a long ponytail to the mid-low part of my back when it was straightened and a father who would tell me to never cut my hair. To say the least I was proud it was “all mine”. Looking back there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in what your body is capable of, but an 8 year old looking down on someone else based off of a screwed up Eurocentric standard of beauty is disturbing. But I know as Black women, we’ve been there at one point or another. Making it through the self love journey is a Black woman’s rite of passage, despite the fact society shouldn’t make it that way. There’s a reason when you google “professional hairstyles” 4c or even 2c hair doesn’t come up: there’s a stereotype about the people to which hair is attached. I didn’t want to be mistyped as a girl who didn’t have “enough” hair on her own or the girl who was ghetto. I ran the opposite way of those stereotypes (naively thinking my black skin didn’t already put me in that category in other peoples’ minds). This line of thinking carried all throughout middle school.

The rise of white Hollywood being more open about the use of extensions and other forms of weave is when the floodgates opened to the normalcy of “fake hair”. White people have given themselves monopoly over all things normal so it’s not unnatural (no pun intended) that society would embrace tracks, clip ins and wigs with open arms when it’s on Kylie Jenner, who claims to have “started wigs”, or on Katy Perry. Now that wigs have white women endorsement after primarily being a tool for black women, it’s acceptable to wear wigs. I’m disappointed to admit their endorsement is when my perception of wigs changed too. 

However, not unlike most trends or practices, the perception of the practice depends on who’s doing the practicing. There’s still a clear delineation between the idea of a white woman sporting a wig and a Black woman sporting a wig. There’s still that assumption that white women like Jenner “don’t need” the hair even though her natural hair is shoulder length, and women like Niki Minaj “do need” the hair even though her natural hair is down her back. There’s still that rift in the perception. It’s a rift that I fear will never be fixed. The rift that says I’m dramatic when I’m passionate, I’m bossy when I’m correct, I’m just angry when I’m rightfully upset, and I’m ghetto when I use Ebonics that, ironically enough, are found comical on TikTok when being done by nonblack people.

The divide is so clearly racially based, yet I’ve heard few people call out the absurdity of this form of blatant racism which I once internalized.

When I realized I’m a Black woman who’s viewed in the same light as every damaging caricature in the media and there’s absolutely nothing I could do about it, I allowed myself to get familiar with the idea of being lumped into a group. I had learned to dislike Black women so much I had forgotten I’m also a Black woman. I also had to realize the damaging stereotypes aren’t true about any of the other Black women I knew. I had taken a stereotype and wrongfully gave it the dignity of calling it the truth. Admittedly, the problem goes deeper than wigs but it’s weave that made me learn so much about myself and the women around me. 

In short, my way of thinking changed from disdain to adoration. I can spend hours on my Instagram explore page watching wig installations because not only are they satisfyingly transformative, but it’s a very advanced cosmetic art form. From the hair grade, to making the wig, to choosing the lace, plucking, dying, installing, customizing, blending in that powder concealer and styling, it’s an entire process. The process results in something beautiful and unique to black culture. I still haven’t worn a wig due to this intricate process. Honestly, I’m scared to get a wig and have my hairline look like a clown thinned it out. I’m intimidated by the process.

After watching installation tutorials with my boyfriend, (needless to say he was in awe of the insane transformations and invisibility of lace) he looked at me dead in the face and said “Oh you could definitely do that!!” Maybe I can do it wonderfully. Who knows! But I know I’m glad the only thing stopping me this time isn’t being afraid of who people will think I am, but respect for the craft. 

June 9 Election: Poll Worker Recap

I, like many others, saw a myriad of posts on social media about Fulton County needing 250 poll workers the week before election day. Considering I’ve been furloughed from work due to COVID-19, I decided to sign up since I would be available all day.

Notice I saw on IG. Corrected email was jessica.corbitt@fultoncountyga.gov

I sent an email to the contact listed on June 6th but did not hear anything back so I assumed they had gotten all of the people they needed.

I received an email from the outside staffing agency on Monday afternoon, June 8th, asking me to complete payroll paperwork, etc so that I could be on-boarded and assigned a poll precinct.

The registration link I was provided initially did not work but once I realized it was just due to a typo in what he sent me, I was able to log in and complete the employment application. Once that was done, I was sent my poll location and a link for Fulton County’s online election training – I was to watch the videos that night and be ready to roll the next morning. This was at 8:30 pm. I sent an email asking what my shift hours were/what time should I arrive. I got no answer until 10:30 pm when I sent a text message to the person who had been emailing me.

The 4 hr training consisted of 5 videos and an exam – I finished all of this at about 2 am. Then laid down to get up at 6 and report for duty at 7 am.

When I arrived, the line was already wrapped around the library and the doors had not opened. I went inside to see the poll workers (PW) milling around, most not knowing what to do or what needed to be done. The machines were not working. No one knew where the provisional ballots were. And only one young lady seemed to be familiar with the provisional process, anyway. (There wasn’t anything mentioned in the training videos about how to process provisional ballots, by-the-way.) There was one (1) IT person on site at the time and she was on the phone with her resources trying to figure out what the problem was with the machines not acting right. It’s now about 7:15 am and our doors are still not open for voters.

The line when I pulled up at 6:50 am.

The line is now wrapped around the entire building and we started taking chairs out to some of the elderly and disabled people we could identify in line. (I was never told that seniors could be moved to the front of the line and it was not mentioned in the training. I was told if I saw “anyone with a cane,” they could come inside.)

When I came back inside, the poll manager and IT specialist had brought in the first voter in line to “test” the machines. She was aware of what was going on and agreed to the trial run. The poll pads were working fine so they processed her with no problem but I think they still had issues with her card being read on the BMD. They let in another gentlemen to test another machine and he seemed to make it through the whole process without issue. FINALLY, we were making some progress.

Become a Fulton County Poll Worker

While that was going on, I was across the room trying to understand the provisional ballot process – which is when I finally spoke up and asked aloud if we had provisional ballots on site because the poll manager had been “looking” for them for the past 20 mins and none were surfacing. Flustered by everything that was going on, the poll manager (PM) finally went out to his car to see if he had left a box during unload- hoping to find the missing ballots – but when he came back with nothing, they called the warehouse. Whoever answered the phone looked around and saw our precincts box sitting right there on the warehouse floor. (The PM maintained that the warehouse had loaded up his car when he went to pick everything up so he didn’t know that he didn’t have all that he was supposed to receive.) The warehouse was “sending them right over”. It is now 7:25 am.

After all of this, I asked the young lady who was briefing me on the provisional process if they had been able to complete any of the first 2 voters because they were both still standing around. She indicated that the man had successfully completed his vote but the lady was still having issues. I hadn’t seen him scan his ballot and I remembered from the training that that was the final step before leaving. I mentioned this to her and she went and whispered to one of the assistant PMs who then went over and asked the man a question. He then reached in his pocket and pulled out his printed ballot. (Deep sigh) She walked over to the scanner and attempted to insert it but… the scanner was offline and had never been set up. Big surprise.

I went over to try to assess the machine (not trying to play savior but I worked at FedEx Office in grad school so I can usually clear a paper jam or something…) It was beeping and kept asking for a key so the PM sorted through the keys on his lanyard but the machine didnt seem to have a slot for an actual key anywhere. He eventually handed me a 2 page document, asked me to see if I could figure it out and walked off. [In the meantime, they have begun moving voters through the line and we were depositing their print-offs into the emergency ballot slot.]

I read through the document and after looking at the assistant PMs lanyard, realized that the missing key was actually a flat, magnetic button-like “key” that the PM and Asst PM had the whole time. It just had to be held down over the matching button-like receiver on the machine in order to complete set up. I got the machine running and we were finally fully up and running. It was 8 am.

Also, we had no air conditioning until about 8:30. So we were all frustrated and HOT.

Beyond the morning’s issues, the rest of the day ran relatively smooth with a steady stream of voters all day. I’ll just list out the rest of what I saw – nobody wants to keep reading of my commentary.

  • Social Distancing – I lied, I got more commentary.
    • Machines: At one point, I was managing the flow of voters to open machines and in charge of wiping them down after use. I tried to space voters out as the machines were side by side. I expressed what I was doing to voters and all were understanding of my process and many thanked me for making the effort. The PM disagreed with me holding people if there were open machines and said to fill all machines. He said to me on the side that the panel doors served as “dividers” and were sufficient for social distancing. I don’t know if this was true policy/practice or not but that is the instruction I was given.
    • Lines: Outside there was little to no social distancing in the lines and and I spent 3 hours managing the flow at the door of the library lobby to keep down overcrowding inside.
    • PPE: I spent 5 hours on the emergency meeting/call Thurs, June 11th, where the elections director’s May Operations report indicated that they acquired a large allotment of PPE from the state in addition to what Fulton County had purchased for voters. This was surprising to me because I never saw any PPE available to voters and what I saw available to poll workers was minimal. I brought my own masks and gloves from home and used them but don’t think there was enough to last all of us the whole day.
  • Drop Boxes
    • I talked to several people who never knew that drop boxes were even available around the county. (And these are active, involved voters.)
    • The box at the precinct I worked was HARD to find and not visible from the street.
  • Non-partisan Ballots
    • I had several people ask me why they hadn’t been allowed to vote for president or congress and what we realized is that they had selected non-partisan ballots so they didn’t to see ANY of the candidates since they are partisan. I had at least 4 people cancel their ballots to select a partisan version to be able to have vote. We started notifying anyone who asked for a non-partisan ballot that they would not have these choices to help cut down on canceling/reissuing ballots.
  • Extended Poll Hours
    • Notification: My PM said he first learned of the time extension via word-of-mouth. He eventually got an official call but he did not have any details, specifics about how to proceed. If the MANAGERS are barely getting information, imagine how much info voters got…
    • Policy – Machine vs Provisional Ballot: I was told that the court order to extend the hours meant that all ballots after 7 would have to cast on provisional ballots. I plan research if this is true.

I worked a 12 hour shift on about 4 hours of sleep (with one 20 min lunch break) and while I was dog tired, I was so glad I was there. To witness it, to learn, to help, to get fired up about doing more. I say all of this to say that the Georgia voting system is BROKEN – but we knew this – and I worry about the August election (that many are overlooking) and the Big Cahuna in November being no different.

One thing I think we can control is getting some younger people out to work the polls. Please, if you’re reading this, sign up to work the polls in your county. We are digital natives and – like me who only got the info the night before – will be able to navigate the system and its issues a lot easier than the older crowd who is just not as technologically saavy. Also, more people means you’ll get more than a 20 minute lunch break…

Become a Fulton County Poll Worker

I say we do what we can because Elections Director Richard Barron does not seem to have a plan to ensure this does not happen again. Neither the Elections Director or Board seem to know what powers they do and don’t have when it comes to making changes to improve or adjust the process. I hope they take community organizers up on their offers to help staff the polls this time.

Email Elections Director Richard Barron to demand he take all the help he can get for August and November.

A lot also sounds like he is also at the mercy of the state and the Secretary of State. Director Barron said he requested 8-10 high speed scanners and initially only received 3 machines, and then a few more – still only totaling 6, and none of which were the high-speed, high-capacity version he says he requested.

Email Brad Raffensperger to demand he give Fulton County the equipment and support they need to be successful.

There’s so much more that I want to say from that Board of Registration and Elections meeting but I think I’ll save it for a separate post. Stay tuned for that.

Did you have a crazy voting experience? Have you ever signed up as a poll worker? Will you be signing up for the next election? Let me know in the comments.

A List: Black-Owned ATL

I’ve seen so many lists that people are generously compiling to help us all support Black-owned businesses in Atlanta. So many that is hard to remember who shared what where so I’m going to try to compile them as a I come across them here. Feel free to share any you come across or know of.


courtesy @bigdavescheesesteak
As seen at @onajeh (black art gallery owner, btw)

100+ Black-owned Restaurants – curated by @FreeFoodAtlanta

10 Delicious Black Women-Owned Restaurants in Atlanta – atlantaeats.com

50 Outstanding Black-Owned Restaurants in Atlanta – atlantaeats.com

Subway – 3730 CarMia Dr, Camp Creek Marketplace

muStard: Serve others

As I continue my MUSTARD mission of creating impact in 2020 and beyond, I wanted to start digging into the tactics now that the strategy is laid out. [Impact is the mission, MUSTARD is the strategy.]

When it comes to tactics, I’ve really been thinking about what goes into serving others. My first thought was “How can I serve others more?” Then it was “How can I serve others BEST?” I think quality over quantity is what’s most important here. [This also leads into the A in mustArd – be Authentic.]

I’ve spent years in the quantity lane — joining multiple community service organizations, serving on committees and boards, etc. All of it was good and necessary work but now I want to go deep; be even more targeted and intentional with my time and talents.

With tomorrow being the day that we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Pastor Mo brilliantly incorporated his voice, message and mission into today’s sermon on “Creating a Culture of Valuing Others.” Here are some key things that spoke to me from both his sermon and from Dr. King’s Drum Major Instinct sermon he preached just a few months before his assassination:

Link to full sermon is up top. Here’s a great shortened clip, as well.

So this brings me back to “How can I serve others BEST?” I’m taking my time and looking for direction. I don’t think it benefits anyone for me to decide or dictate how I can help so… You tell me. How can I help you?

Whether it’s answering marketing or event related questions, recommendations about things in Atlanta, or just a listening ear and partner in something you’re praying for or about, let me know how I can join with you and serve with the talents I possess.

If you see something in me that I didn’t mention or don’t even see in myself, by all means, please float it my way as well.

My ears are open to hear and heart is open to receive. Looking forward to hearing from you!

What is MUSTARD?


As we head into 2020, I’ve really been spending a lot of time reflecting and praying about what I was going to take with me into the new year.

I’ve always been super involved in community enriching organizations like the Urban League of Greater Atlanta (Young Professionals and Guild) and Junior League of Atlanta. After 5 or 6 years of consecutive involvement, I found myself feeling burnt out so I took the year off to rest and focus of growing my own business interests. I did rest… I had a lot of fun. If you personally now me or have been following, you know.

But play time is over and it’s time to get back to it. One of my greatest wishes for my life is to be able to say that I lived an impactful life so as I started to ask myself, “What can I do to create impact?”

I spent a lot of time mulling over that question. My church is based on 4 pillars that guide everything they do: building families, transforming communities, reconciling cultures and impacting nations.

Building Families, Transforming Communities, Reconciling Cultures, Impacting Nations

Victory World Church

I’d heard and seen these statements over and over – they even have them displayed during very service – but as my ears became more tuned into my purpose, that last pillar – impacting nations – jumped out at me and confirmed I was at least on the right path.

Just when I started being really intentional about it, I met someone who recommended I read a book by Bob Burg and John David Mann called The Go-Giver(Amazon aff link) Y’all. I don’t want to give the book away (I have included a link if you want to check it out for yourself) but what I took away from it formed the base for MUSTARD.

Can I be honest with you? I’ve always felt conflicted about money. I always felt that wanting money was… selfish? Greedy? I don’t know. I wanted to be a “good” person, not a “rich” person. In my mind, they weren’t usually one in the same but The Go-Giver directly addressed my (incorrect) perception. The Law of Compensation truly opened my eyes:

“Your compensation is directly proportional to how many lives you touch.”

There it was again: impact. This book is filled with so many jewels, I was like how can I keep all of this close to me as I move forward? I couldn’t memorize the whole book – or even all of the passages I had highlighted. What I ultimately came up with to remind myself of what I read and wanted to implement into my daily life was MUSTARD.

M – mustard-seed faith

U – unapologetically YOU

S – serve others

T – trustworthy

A – authentic

R – resilient

D – disciplined

These things are required to make impact.

Again, this is my reminder to myself but I thought I would share it because I’m sure I’m not the only one it can benefit. I’ll be spending 2020 finding ways to implement MUSTARD into everything I do, every interaction with friends and strangers, alike. Apparently its a numbers game, guys. But I don’t mean that in a “go to a networking event and give every person in the room your card” kind of way. If you look at the breakdown, we’re focusing on authentic interactions and relationships. Getting out of your comfort zone to serve others. For me, being more disciplined with my finances is a big focus. By saving more, I’ll be able to give more – that’s impact.

What do you think? Will you be adding MUSTARD to your #newyearnewme list of goals? Lol. Remember, “Your income is determined by how many people you serve an how well you serve them.” – The Go-Giver

*This post contains affiliate links.

Labor Day in LA – ATL to LAX

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

That being said, after months of laboring and contributing to the strength and prosperity of this country, its time for a vacation! They’re projecting 500,000 people will be headed to ATL for the holiday weekend so I’m taking my talents to the West Coast. Realistically, the numbers probably won’t be much better in LA (if not worse) but hey, its been a year since I’ve seen my Daddy so… LA it is!

Last year, I made him take me to Compton — I was still on a Straight Outta Compton movie high… lol. We did the Long Beach Pier, Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame, Manns Chinese Theater… All the tourist-y crap. Now I’m trying to put together my to do for this go-round. So far I’ve got the LA County Fair and Santa Monica Pier. Both probably still pretty tourist-y but hey, I’m a tourist. What can I say? I also think they’ll provide pretty dope photo opportunities so, cliche or not, I’m excited. Gonna drop some of my favorite pics from my last trip down below. Let me know what are some must-see/ must-do things I should add to my list!

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