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KINK: the book empowering black women

13 Jan 2017

KINK: the book of empowerment we’ve all been waiting for.  A poignant collection of crisp and natural photography, paired with relatable and uplifting poetry, KINK takes a moment to honour under-represented black women and girls to put them at the forefront of the natural hair scene. KINK was created and fully self-published by Curltureuk’s founders Jay-Ann and Patrina, as a response to the growing concern about the direction the natural hair scene is headed in.  I spoke to them at their sell out Book Launch and Party for KINK in Shoreditch, about the ideas and inspiration behind the KINK and Curlture legacy.

Reaching nearly 40k followers on Instagram, Curlture is bringing people together to show different types of beauty. “With Curlture we really try to be bloggers of substance, there’s more to just taking selfies and posting pictures, it’s about having discussions, sparking interest and supporting your audience by giving them advice when they need it.” One of their goals being to get the book stocked in schools to make it available for young girls to read.

‘KINK’ image via Curlture UK

“Clap your hands, if you believe in Black Magic” is the opening line of KINK. Jay and Tri, I applaud you. Before the reader gets deep into the book, we already become aware of the celebration and joy this book gives, giving an open invitation to anyone who wishes to travel the pages of KINK to witness natural black beauty in its purest form.  Whilst speaking with Jay and Tri, we discussed how nearly three years of blogging for Curlture has brought them to the launch of their book and what they set out to do throughout these years. “Our mission is to empower black women and to empower black people in general. We specifically  focus on black women as we are black women ourselves, and that’s why we have come out with KINK, so that we can contrast some of the discrimination that is in the natural scene. We want to make sure it stays about the black women.”

You need only flick through the captivating photography of this book to see how their mission plays out; black women are connecting, embracing and displaying their bare skin and natural hair in these images; uncensored, unashamed and unquestionable beauty. From dreadlocks, to buzz cut to Afro, you are bound to see yourself in one of the images of these powerful women.

“Teach her that she matters.” This is how you inspire potential.  A simple, yet profound message which will always be relevant, this one liner does not say “tell”, it says “teach.” Lessons learnt from a young age stay with you into your womanhood. Having this as her mantra to life could be the foundation on which she builds her empire. Tri tells me, “we wanted to create something that is memorable and something that will last forever; something to pass on to your children even. There needed to be some longevity into what we are putting out there and that’s why we came up with the idea of the book.”

‘KINK’ image via Curlture UK

“Forgive me I miss you, remind me to never un-kink you again.” A love letter and an apology combined. Allowing you to forgive yourself for past misconceptions and to trust the pace of your journey to which you are discovering self love.  Jay and Tri told me about their journey through self-awareness. “Throughout our adolescent years, we both went through the stage of straightening our hair and that was our standard of beauty for ourselves. Curlture as a blog helped us with our transition. As it grew, we grew with it. Curlture has been a mindset journey, as well as how we view ourselves and how we view others.”

“Little did you know, the magic in black girl magic was created by you“, you command everything about your existence.  Reading this moving sentence to a daughter, wife, mother or even to yourself has the power to pull you out of the depths of insecurity and self doubt and into ownership of your actions, thoughts and character. Jay touched on this subject during the interview. “In the black community, we need to work on undoing and unlearning the detrimental programming we’ve been instilled with. Eventually, you’ll know your self worth and confidence once you start to view yourself differently.”

“The elevation of my spine rises to reach new heights. No more ceilings”, for a lot of women like myself reading this line, we can recall a time in our lives when we stopped living based on the opinion of others, and searched our soul to find what we truly want from life. The liberating and educative poetry of KINK says we must not limit ourselves, even if the world wants us to doubt our abilities, we must rise to the challenge, always. That’s what this book says to me. Using poetry and photography, it reminds you, of you.  A guideline to becoming and staying the best version of your own woman hood. Knowing that even if you flail in the wind your blackness is deep enough to always keep you rooted. KINK is your companion through your journey to your inner goddess.