In the latest installment of our Natural Hair Diary series, Afrobella.com’s Patrice Grell Yursik profiles Freda Obeng-Apofo, a 25-year-old Ghana native with an irresistibly chic, coily ‘fro.
Natural Woman: Freda Obeng-Ampofo
City: Washington, DC
Occupation: Program Associate, Africa (Futures Group)
Natural Hair Journey: At home in Ghana, Freda got her first relaxer at 7 years old. “In Ghana, everyone wanted relaxed hair. I went to a British private school. To have straight hair was a privilege, a way to blend in with the rest of the kids.” Freda first began noticing gorgeous, unprocessed hair while studying in South Africa. “I started seriously considering it…but I wasn’t sure it would look good on me.”
It wasn’t until 2008, when she moved to Washington DC for an internship, that the natural hair bug truly bit her. “My supervisor had natural hair, and she introduced me to her friend Maame, who also had a natural and was Ghananian. It looked so great on her!”
A year later, Freda did the big chop. “On the morning of March 5, 2009, as I was taking out my braids, I noticed that the line between my roots and relaxed hair was so knotty,” she remembers. “So, I grabbed the scissors and cut off all my relaxed hair. I loved the new me!” At first Freda maintained her short fro with regular shape-ups, but now she’s letting it grow. “Natural hair is so easy, I don’t have to think much. I wake up, take a shower, decide where I want my part, use bobby pins and just go!”
Products: “I make my own conditioner with avocado and coconut oil at home,” says Freda, who styles her strands with unrefined shea butter and water.
Hair icons: India Arie, Lauryn Hill, and friends Maame Ewusi-Mensah and Monet Cooper
Advice to aspiring naturals: “It’s all about the inside; the outside is just the icing. Love what’s within. Also natural hair is not for everybody…rock whatever suits you.”