Tag: Lisa Bonet

Singer Amel Larrieux Launches Natural Hair Product Line “Beautiful Us”

Red Star Sounds Volume 1/Soul Searching
Amel Larrieux (Source: Scott Gries / Getty)

Songstress Amel Larrieux is probably as well-known for her gorgeous flowing natural hair as she is for her signature voice.  She’s been performing for nearly 20 years and asked the same question since she hit the scene in 1995, “What do you use in your hair?”

Larrieux finally decided to develop an elixir for all hair types, the Night Before Conditioner manufactured by her natural hair brand, Beautiful Us. Larrieux spoke to HelloBeautiful exclusively about her road to creating her natural product line.

“For a while, I was confused by people’s interest in my hair,” she explained. “Like it was always a conversation. I was always like ‘Well I’m here to sing and to write” and I was realizing that just the same way that I was inspired by people like Lisa Bonet and Cree Summer who would wear their hair natural in the 80s when it wasn’t as popular.”

“I had been wearing it natural for so long, I had been doing the whole braid out, oil your scalp, do a certain kind of spray, make your own little cocktail to put on your hair for so,so many years that I could just spout it off and kind of have this recipe for my natural hair routine and we just talked about it so often in so many interviews that my husband and I started realizing that it would make sense to actually offer it to our public because people are always asking me. ”

The process of developing the product took over three years. Larrieux created the product and immediately began testing on her family and friends with very positive feedback.

Despite the fact that the natural hair industry is packed with competitors like Miss Jessie’s, Shea Moisture and the list goes on, Larriuex is confident that all brands can co-exist.

“Honestly, I feel that we can all kind of co-exist together. I mean, I think that we’re all special in our own right. I respect what Shea Moisture does, I respect what all of these other companies do. It’s really about what each individual is finding that works for their hair and hair type.”

“Sometimes, with a lot of hair you have to be able to go back and forth with a lot of different products and have more than one because sometimes one stops working if you overuse it so I think it’s about all of us kind of being in cahoots together and being this arsenal of natural products that women who want to wear their hair natural can always go to and can all exist in your bathroom cabinet.”

Night Before Moisurizer

Larriuex is most proud of the product’s versatility; the Night Before Conditioner isn’t just for hair, it can also be used all over the body.

” ‘Night Before’ is a base with delicious oils with Monoi being a really important one. It’s one of those things where honestly, what freaked me out is that you can use this product all over your body. There’s the coconut oil, there’s the shea, the olive, it’s the carrot extract. It’s so interesting because I can honestly use it the night before and literally the next morning use it again. It’s truly so versatile, it’s kind of shocking. It’s got one of those amazing smells that you just kind of want to bite the person who’s wearing it because it smells so delicious.”

“The Night Before Conditioner” by Beautiful Us is available now and can be purchased here.

article by Veronica Hilbring via hellobeautiful.com

EDITORIAL: Rediscovering and Celebrating Black History Month in Unexpected Ways

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At Good Black News, February is an especially invigorating time. When Black History Month rolls around, people have more interest than normal in African-American history, music and culture, and GBN inevitably benefits from the heightened exposure.  We make an extra effort to provide a wide variety of information and stories (historical and current) during this time, and point to events and programming we find to be educational as well as entertaining.

Even so, we are a small operation with limited (albeit growing) reach, and we know a lot of black folks feel skeptical about BHM — it always seems like the same old, same old — Martin, Malcolm, Rosa, and the black movie, tv show or person du jour get celebrated in the national news, and then everybody forgets (or tries to forget) about African-American history until next year.

Last night, however, as I was flipping through cable before going to bed, I noticed there was not only an increased amount of black programming (and not just on BET or TV One or PBS), it was more varied than ever.  So much so, I wasn’t even sure what to watch: “Angel Heart” with Lisa Bonet and Mickey Rourke, a horror thriller set in New Orleans and the world of voodoo (which reminded me of a time where the media considered Bonet the controversial one from “The Cosby Show”), “School Daze”, the Spike Lee movie set at an all-black college in the South, or “Iceberg Slim: Portait of a Pimp”, a 2012 documentary  produced by Ice T, primarily chronicling the author’s experiences in Chicago and Los Angeles.

I had been thinking about “School Daze” earlier that day, so I took it as a sign and flipped to that.  It was the scene where the light-skinned sorority girls (lead by Tisha Campbell-Martin and Jasmine Guy) bump into the dark-skinned girls (lead by Kyme and Joie Lee) and go into a full-on musical fantasy where they square off as they sing “Good and Bad Hair.”

My jaw about dropped — I saw this movie in the theatre when I was in college, but I’d forgotten how provocative the lyrics and the visuals were.  I mean, this movie was released in 1988 and had black women going hard for each other over hair, calling each other “high-yellow” and “jigaboo,” holding up fans with images of Hattie McDaniel as Mammy and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett to taunt one another!  Up until Chris Rock‘s 2009 documentary “Good Hair,” when had this subject matter ever received exposure in mainstream entertainment?

I’d also forgotten how talented the actors and dancers were/are, blending traditional and historical dancing styles and choreography with contemporary steps, and how creative and original Lee was to even imagine doing a number like this in what was then only his second motion picture.

The next scene was a frat hazing scene where pledges where being paddled and this all-too-real violence (as well as the abhorrent misogyny that would soon be coming down the pipe) made me realize the film was deeper and pointed to more problems and issues in the black community than I’d recalled.  “School Daze” received its share of flak (at the time and over the years) for being the hodgepodge of styles that it is, but it’s an important, innovative part of Lee’s work as well as black cinema, as relevant as “Dear White People” is in 2015, and fully worth a re-watch and discussion with the new generation of young people and college students.

Jazzed from this rediscovery, I flipped over to the Iceberg Slim documentary.  Although I’ve known about Iceberg Slim for decades, I’ve never read his work, dismissing it based on its categorization as “gangsta” literature.  Having matured since my 20s however (at least I think I have), I realized I really didn’t know anything about Iceberg Slim other than my perception, so perhaps I should learn more.  I’m so glad I did.  Not only was the documentary particularly well-executed (creative visuals, innovative music, interesting talking heads and dynamic footage of old Slim interviews), I learned what an intelligent man (Robert Beck) lay behind the Iceberg Slim persona, and how he wrote books such as “Pimp” and “Trick Baby” as cautionary tales rather than celebrations of street life.  Even though I don’t (neither does he in his later years) condone or excuse his repulsive criminal behavior and abuse of women, I do recognize he artfully captured and described a very real part of the black experience in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

I also had no idea “Trick Baby” was made into a motion picture by Universal, which helped spur the burgeoning “Blaxploitation” film boom in the 1970s, or that he lived for years only ten blocks away from my grandparents in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles/Inglewood.  It was equally fascinating to learn Birdman of Cash Money Entertainment acquired the rights to “Pimp” and Slim’s other works to keep them alive on the Cash Money Content imprint via Simon & Schuster.  And now I want to read those books and get that movie.

All in all, these late-night viewings made me even more excited and energized about Black History Month.  And when I looked at my DVR this morning, I saw a variety of options casually waiting for me there, too:  the latest episodes of the “Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Empire”, “Black-ish” and what I hear via Twitter was an incredible performance by D’Angelo on “Saturday Night Live” last night.  If that wasn’t enough, I started writing this piece while watching NFL QB Russell Wilson attempt to lead the Seattle Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl wins, which, if he does, will be a first for an African-American quarterback.  (And btw, what an unexpected treat to see Missy Elliott featured in the halftime show with Katy Perry — Missy was fire!)

We all have the ability, even casually, to celebrate and discover (or re-discover) our history, music, literature and culture and I invite all GBN followers to comment, tweet, email or share any unexpected, positive BHM experiences you have.  I’m going to continue to chronicle mine alongside more formally-presented stories and articles — looking forward to hearing yours as well!

Onward and upward!

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder/Editor-In-Chief
Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder/Editor-In-Chief