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Posted under: Beauty Interviews Life Style

We talked to 'CRWN Magazine' about telling your hairstory

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CRWN Mag's mission is to diversify the natural hair narrative by beautifully illustrating the idiosyncrasies of black women's experiences with their hair. We had the pleasure  to sit down with the President and EIC of CRWN Magazine, Lindsey Day, to talk more about natural 'hairstories,' black beauty, and the need for black publications. Peep the interview below.

BLAVITY: Can you tell us more about the impetus behind creating CRWN Mag

Lindsey Day: We created CRWN because we saw a ton of conversation online and in our personal/professional networks surrounding natural hair lifestyle; but we saw a void in the marketplace when it came to publications that are immortalizing our hairstory in print. In addition to conveying a beautiful aesthetic and authentically representing the diversity of black women, we want 'CRWN' to serve as a model for creating sustainable, for-profit businesses that serve our people. We see CRWN as a platform through which makers, creatives, professionals, stylists, influencers, etc. can speak directly to their target audience and catalyze real, substantial business opportunities.

B: What are your thoughts on the pressing need to challenge beauty norms? 

LD: The skewed, unrealistic beauty norms present in mainstream media are exactly why CRWN exists. We’re sick of seeing two or three 'types' of black women represented in publications and onscreen. We’re sick of hearing about “good hair” versus “bad hair” and light skin versus dark skin. We don’t think that our subjects should be contoured and airbrushed beyond recognition. Quite the contrary: We’re here to celebrate and edify black women in their natural state. Black women are so diverse and a huge segment of our sisters are consistently ignored and/or misrepresented. CRWN serves all types of black women, and our goal is that every woman who flips through our pages will be able to see themselves represented in some way. From Harlem to Compton, from London to Johannesburg – CRWN is showcasing the natural beauty of our community and redefining existing norms for good.
CRWN magazine
CRWN magazine
Photo: CRWN magazine

B: Describe your personal experience with embracing your natural hair and beauty, and CRWNMAG's relationship to that experience.  

LD: Every black woman in the US (and beyond) has a hairstory – or several! Growing up as a bi-racial girl in California (with a black mother from Illinois and a white father from Boston) made me aware early on that I was "different.” I didn’t see many people who looked like me in the media, I struggled to find products that tamed my thick, frizzy hair; and getting my hair done was typically a traumatic experience. I noticed that the products in the 'ethnic' aisle were geared toward straightening or smoothing black hair, and the other products were overly drying or way too thin to effectively define my curls. I noticed that so many of my friends who rocked presses or perms in high school and college made the transition, too. My mother transitioned after being diagnosed with breast cancer and decided against putting unnecessary chemicals into her scalp. I’ve seen her and so many of my friends truly come into their own through their transition to natural hair, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t been a challenging process! Sadly, so many women have been taught from birth that they don’t have “wash-and-wear” hair and that the only option is to wear it straight. Working on CRWN has been like therapy in a way. It’s so easy to put up walls and mental blocks based on perceived differences. But when I started speaking to sisters about CRWN, I realized that so many of us have felt alienated because of our hair, background or upbringing. Whether I’m speaking to an East-African American woman who’s been told she doesn’t have "normal" black hair or features, someone who’s biracial, a young lady with kinky hair but light skin and eyes or someone who’s dark-skinned but “talks white,” according to her peers – it’s evident that there are so many norms and assumptions placed on what it means to be black in America. And when you don’t see yourself accurately represented in media, it’s very easy to feel like you’re abnormal. However, the reality is that we’re more interconnected and diverse than ever before – and that’s something to celebrate!
There is power in sisterhood, authenticity, knowledge of self and self-love. There’s power in taking ownership of our stories and instilling new norms and values in future generations. Those truths are exactly what 'CRWN' stands for.
CRWN isn’t about my hairstory or my mom’s hairstory or my friend’s hairstory, it’s about our collective hairstory.
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Photo: CRWN magazine

B: How much of the natural hair movement do you think is associated with a shift toward holistic health and healthier lifestyles as a form of resistance?

LD: This is actually a subject we’re discussing in Issue One of CRWN Mag, from a sociological perspective. A large segment of our readership – and many of our brand partners and advertisers – are deeply committed to holistic, natural lifestyles. We view this as a very important and impactful discussion that doesn’t receive enough attention. However, we also realize that the 'natural hair movement,' so to speak, is as diverse as the individuals who are a part of it. Those who pursue wholly natural lifestyles are at one end of the spectrum, and those who rock the “natural aesthetic” via extensions and protective styles are at another. There are still others who wear their natural hair textures, but might be open to using products with chemicals and dyeing their hair. The nuances and variations are endless, and we strive to portray as much of the culture as possible in future issues. We believe that adults should be empowered to make the style choices they prefer, and as a platform, CRWN seeks to document it all. Our mission is to push for a more open, constructive dialogue around what it means to go natural in America, and that calls for openness and appreciation of the shift that’s happening aesthetically, culturally, socio-politically and economically.
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Photo: CRWN magazine

B: Can you talk about your creative experience behind crafting this publication? Any advice for black creatives looking to pursue similar projects? 

LD: A business is only as strong as the people involved, and as such we strive to work with the best writers and creatives possible. We’re constantly seeking to identify the best talent so that we can partner and share our platform with them. My business partner, Nkrumah, is our creative director (a.k.a. creative genius!) and oversees casting of talent, design and all of the beautiful visuals that you see on our digital platforms and in our print products. He’s also extremely strategic, so we’re in constant communication; iterating our business model and adapting to new opportunities/challenges on a daily basis. I focus on business development, written content and many of the administrative aspects of the business. We work remotely – Nkrumah in L.A. and myself in NYC – so there are lots of calls, texts and Google Hangouts involved. This summer, we’re also excited to welcome four young ladies to the team in NYC as editorial interns! In terms of advice, it’s important to be honest with yourself, your partner(s) and stakeholders. To do that, you have to be tuned into your unique contributions to the team and stay in your lane. Know what you don’t know, and find others who have the skills that you may lack. It’s also crucial to observe culture in order to identify and serve a unique void. Most problems aren’t new, per se, but you can still find fresh, creative ways to address them. Just be sure that your solution is monetizable and scalable (unless you’re happy with it being a hobby). Don’t burn bridges. Ever. Don’t make business personal – you never know when an old contact might become a partner, investor or advocate. Nkrumah and I were colleagues for almost a decade before we became business partners. Finally, nobody will give you permission to be an entrepreneur. If you have a great business idea, just do it! Nobody has all of the answers – remain flexible and willing to learn.
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Photo: CRWN Magazine

CS: What has kept you motivated to stay dedicated to the mission of CRWN and all of its potential impact on black women worldwide? 

LD: Every time I see a reader interact with our printed zines or speak to a young woman at an event or when we receive notes thanking us for creating CRWN,; I’m reminded exactly why the mag needs to exist. This publication is so much larger than myself or my fears or challenges – Nkrumah and I created CRWN for the love of our people and our culture. We want to see our (future) daughters come up in an age when they can be openly proud of their natural, healthy hair. We want to see a generation with fewer doubts about their beauty and, in turn, fewer doubts about the value they bring into this world. Through CRWN, we’re documenting a shift in culture, and it’s exciting and humbling to see our readers take ownership of advancing a mission that’s so important to us. Black women shape and influence so much of our dominant culture, and we’re excited about the implications this shift will have on the world as we know it!  
crwn mag
crwn mag
Photo: CRWN mag

Order the first issue of CRWN Magazine here. 


On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here. Use code blavityfam.


 

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