BH in HSU's The LumberJack by Skylar Gaven
Love ya’ self queen
BY SKYLAR GAVEN ON FEBRUARY 20, 2019
Black Humboldt hosted a self love workshop on Feb. 16
Black Humboldt founders Dionna Fletcher and Mo Desir provided a safe space for women of color to join and have fun with each other. “Love Ya’ Self Queen” was an event that allowed guests to enjoy themselves as they took part in yoga practices, dancing lessons, hair care tips, essential oils, music and laughs Saturday night, Feb. 16.
Sangria, chocolate and other treats displayed on a table for guests to have. Feb.16. | Photo by Skylar Gaven.
The night started off with a short yoga practice instructed by Fletcher. Yoga mats were placed in a small circle, inviting all the guests to come together and share the space. Fletcher is an instructor-in-training, with a focus in teaching Afrocentric-based yoga. She led the session beautifully; taking deep breaths and loosening up the muscles proved to be an excellent way to begin the event.
After relaxed guests finished one more deep breath, a workshop with essential oils was next on the list. The air quickly smelled of citrus and peppermint as Rosemary Grady, longtime friend of both Fletcher and Desir, shared the benefits of natural medicines and oils in a short workshop. Grady has had an interest in essential oils for a while. After discovering what different smells can do to a person’s sensory memory, she dove in deeper with her research.
Essential oils scattered around the room for all guests to see and smell the different scents. Feb. 16. | Photo by Skylar Gaven.
Grady said citrus reminds her of the times she would visit the orange trees with her family in Riverside. She also mentioned that lavender has helped her many times with anxiety and stress. Natural resources also help benefit your health, instead of using products that contain harmful chemicals that can affect your body.
Rosemary Grady leading a workshop with essential oils and other natural medicines. Feb. 16. | Photo by Skylar Gaven.
Later, after a choreographed dance lesson uplifted the room with many smiles, Desir and Fletcher shared helpful tips for those struggling with different hair types such as thick, curly hair. As participants created hair masks, they suggested using coconut oil in your hair last rather than first, because it blocks out other products from entering your hair, and, for curls, it’s best to wash it once a week to prevent it from getting dry and brittle.
Desir presented an easy recipe for a hair mask consisting of Mayonnaise (vegan mayonnaise is an option), honey, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. An avocado or banana can be added to make it thicker. Everybody was given a sample to use at home along with a homemade sugar scrub.
Ingredients being used to create a homemade hair mask. Feb. 16. | Photo by Skylar Gaven.
After that, the circle opened up about their experiences with their hair and other difficulties that they’ve gone through being women of color.
“I straightened my hair for a really long time throughout middle school and high school,” Grady said. “It wasn’t until I went to college… it was actually black women telling me what to use for my hair; it wasn’t until I lived in that environment where I was supported by women of color, I started to embrace myself and love myself a lot more.”
With an entire county that lacks in diversity, Fletcher and Desir wanted to establish reliable and entertaining spaces for people of color to express themselves without having to feel restricted because of an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment.
“Every month we try to find new themes and innovative ways to be together,” Fletcher said.
Body High Pole Dance studio sign. “Love Ya’ Self Queen” was held at a POC local owned business. Feb. 16. | Photo by Skylar Gaven.
Black Humboldt normally holds events in black-owned businesses, to promote and give the black community a variety of places to visit and so people of color can explore new spaces and find more diversity in this county. “Love Ya’ Self Queen” was held at the Body High Pole Dance Studio, owned by Naomi Leitu and Natalie Abeja, both women of color.
“We specifically chose this space because it is black-owned,” Fletcher said.
Desir said that they hold events in black-owned businesses to support and display a positive place for people of color to attend.
“This is a POC owned facility,” Desir said. “I think a big emphasis we are trying to do is to create that safe space.”
Mo Desir and other women taking a break in between workshops. Feb. 16. | Photo by Skylar Gaven.
Fletcher and Desir both knew that having a group that works toward building a strong black community in a largely white population would be great for Humboldt. They want to share inviting environments as well as values and support for local people of color.
“We are hoping to create a strong black community, create black economic empowerment for black businesses the most that we can,” Desir said.
Look for more events from Black Humboldt by checking out their official website.