Sherri Newson
Naturally Glam is baaaaaack with a new twist! In addition to chatting it up about our fav topic-HAIR- we’re diving in a little deeper, finding out more about the beautiful baddies that make up CurlyNikki! Up next we have Sherri, originally from North Carolina, currently residing in San Jose, CA. What makes this mama naturally glam is a combination of beauty and her work in the mental health field. Listen in as we chat about her gorgeous mane, as well as advice on what we can do if we find ourselves going through a mental struggle.

How long have you been natural
I have been natural since my big chop in May of 2014. After hearing Curly Nikki on the Morning Show, talking about being “natural” my first reaction was “Aint nobody got time for that” lol. I quickly devoured everything that was on and decided that weekend that I was done with the chemicals.

Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
I use Cantu Shea butter for my family and I, as well as few Mielle Organics products.

What's the best part about wearing your hair natural?
I love the fact that once I decided to go natural-I never had one thought to return back to the creamy crack. I was the only one in my immediate family with relaxed hair. My mom and two sisters, never relaxed their hair; so when I went natural, I didn’t receive any negative or mixed feelings from family. Even though my hair was healthy while relaxed, it always seemed so limp to me. I love volume and doing different things with my hair. I like that I have been able to do new styles without the use of heat all the time.

How has having natural hair contributed to your life?
I would say it has helped me rid my body of unnecessary chemicals. When I was pregnant and nursing, I hated relaxing my hair. I, like most pregnant mothers, was concerned with what I was putting in and on my body. After relaxing my hair for 16+ years, it feels good not to HAVE to do it anymore.

What do you do and why do you love it?
I currently work for my county, in the Mental Health department as a Healthcare Program Analyst. I love what I do because we provide a valuable service to so many people. I think it is extremely important and courageous to seek help mentally when necessary. Issues regarding mental health should not be swept under the rug, or disregarded because of fear or lack of knowledge.

How long have you worked in mental health and why did you get in the field?

I have worked in the mental health field for 11 years. At first, it was just to get my father out of my ear, and to obtain a job after graduating college. I have switched jobs within the field a few times, and I can finally see that what I do, can and does help others. It is not an easy field to work in, and constantly giving of yourself is hard when you don’t always feel or see a tangible return. But knowing that I am helping someone is what matters most.

What are a few things we need to know about mental illness?
Mental Illness can affect anybody in many different ways. Often, people try to hide or disguise things about themselves because they are afraid of what others may think. There is no harm in seeking an outside source that is able to provide you with an unbiased opinion. If you start to notice that you are having unwelcome thoughts, or feeling down or sad most of the time- reach out. There are so many aspects of life today that can be stressful. If you do not feel comfortable with a stranger, grab your closest girlfriend and have a wine/vent date, lol. Sometimes you just need a sounding board to release your frustrations. If it is more serious, and things in your life get to the point where you need help mentally, don’t be afraid to seek help with a trained mental health specialist.

What should we do if we or a loved one needs help mentally?
If you are looking for help and do not know where to start, a good place would be to look up your county services. If you have a Medicaid plan for your state, or are uninsured, there are services and classes that you may be able to attend or obtain free-of-charge. If you have a private plan, you definitely want to call to see if you have behavioral health/mental health coverage on your plan. You may be able to seek physicians, classes, or counseling by just paying a simple co-pay. It may take some effort on your end whether the services are for yourself, or a loved one; but knowing that you have the help you need can be a life changer.

Indeed! Thanks Sherri!

If you'd like to be featured in Naturally Glam- whether you live here or abroad- submit your photos to [email protected] and answer these questions!

1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural?
2) Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
3) What do you do and why do you love it?
5) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, a job in a field you'd like to talk about, have initiatives and organizations you'd like to highlight, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
6) How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem?
7) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?

By: Maya Wright

I’m an emotional person, if that’s what you want to call it. It’s not something I apologize for (because, why should I?)—but I do feel sorry for it; that is, when I allow myself to be that kind of vulnerable with someone who simply wasn’t worth my trust.

I had a pretty rough week last week, and I let myself cry in front of a friend on three different occasions. After the first time, they assured me that I could confide in them and that I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. It was comforting and I felt honesty in their admission; so a couple of days later, I cried in front of them again and then once more the next day. I thought everything was cool and confidential until we were watching a movie with a group of friends (who I have never cried in front of) and the friend I had trusted suggested to everyone that I was emotional. Everyone got a good laugh out of it and I played it off, but I was pretty hurt. It caught me off guard that they would betray my trust like that and I vowed to never cry in front of them again.

But it caused me to really consider: Where did this notion originate, of not wanting to cry in front of other people?


And it’s not really crying itself, but crying openly—publicly—just feels like a major no-no. In other words, it’s okay to cry as long as no one else sees it. And growing up, my mom never let me cry in public. While those tears were usually associated with something I’d done wrong, it ingrained in me a discomfort with public displays of vulnerability. My mom was a soldier and a single mother of 4; I didn’t see her cry until I was a teenager. She was hard on the exterior—hard to relate to, hard to understand, but I knew she loved me. And now, in my adulthood, I understand her plight. Being a woman in the army, she was forbidden the freedom of crying, so it was only natural that she instinctively taught us the same behavior.

So I learned how to keep my feelings to myself and that if a person was crying in public, they had failed to do exactly that. Even now that I know better, I would still say that sometimes seeing a stranger cry in public feels strangely invasive. It’s like I’m seeing a part of them that I shouldn’t, because vulnerability has a way of making you feel stripped, open.

Especially in black culture, crying just gets a bad rep. It is considered to be the very manifestation of weakness. Whereas strength conjures up images of physicality, determination, and often aggression, weakness presents itself as being emotional, crying, and showing physical incapability. But this attitude towards crying is nothing more than a societal-inflicted impression that is actually 100% false. In fact, tears show that the person is mentally strong, in control of their feelings and unafraid of societal expectations. PsychCentral.comsays, “tears signal a need for help and comfort, help relieve stress, and may bring us back into emotional equilibrium.”

Which is good because I cry a lot. I cry when I pray, when I’m angry, sad, anxious, worried, or venting. I cry when I’m really grateful about something or just reflecting on how blessed I am. I cry while watching TV or a movie. I cry when I feel lonely, left out, confused. When I try not to cry, I just don’t feel “free.” I need to cry sometimes and there’s no point in risking a headache when I can quite easily just let myself fall apart for a few minutes and be done with it.

Still, crying is something I only choose to do privately—alone, or with someone I trust. When I get to know a person and they cause me to feel comfortable enough to think I can allow them to see that part of me, I almost always get let down. They either suggest that I need to ‘suck it up,’ call me ‘weak,’ tell someone, or bring it up randomly in public conversation. These days, the comfort of confidentiality and respect is a rare find, but still worth searching for.

What some people fail to realize is that even though they are sometimes listed as synonyms, ‘weak’ and ‘vulnerable’ are not the same. Something or someone that is weak is lacking in power or strength; easily damaged or influenced.  Vulnerability is choosing to let your guard down, despite the consequences.

Vulnerability is a choice, and if someone is willing to let you see them cry—which is probably the rawest expression of emotion that exists—be worth their time. Don’t make them feel like crap. See the beauty that is present in their tears and be there for them.

Because vulnerability is a gift—not a handicap.

By Winnie Gaturu

In the black community, mental health is not an issue that’s commonly discussed. It is either treated as something that doesn’t exist or as white people problems. The result is that many black people suffer in silence or aren't aware that they have mental health issues, which can lead them to believe that they're making a big deal out of nothing. That’s what I used to tell myself too, a few years back. Now, I can see that what I was going through was not normal.

I was always tired, but couldn't sleep, and I'd spend most nights crying in an unfinished building next to our house. Other times, I'd spend the whole day indoors, hating to talk to people. However, I attributed these feelings to pregnancy, and what I believed all pregnant women went through.
I was wrong. Data from the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Healthy shows that an estimated 20% of the African American population is more likely to suffer from mental health conditions than the white population. It also shows that African American teens are more likely to attempt suicide than their white counterparts. Some of the major triggers of mental health conditions include homelessness, racism, economic disparities and prejudice. Common mental health conditions in the black community include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide, major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. As a community, there are several things we can do to address mental health conditions. Here are 3.

 Speak Up About It
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), many people in the African American community don’t talk about mental health conditions. This stems from a common misunderstanding that relates mental health with personal weakness, or punishment from God.

Jennifer Lewis: "The elevator to success is broken. Take the stairs:"

Black celebrities are speaking up, among them Jennifer Lewis, Alicia Keys and Michelle Williams. Jennifer Lewis has undergone 10 years of medication and 17 years of therapy to help her manage bipolar disorder. She was diagnosed in 1990 although she says she knew something was extremely wrong even before then. Alicia Keys struggled with depression, acknowledging that she felt sad all the time and couldn’t shake off that feeling. Keys attributes her recovery to learning how to let go. Michelle Williams also opened up about her depression and suicidal thoughts when she was a member of Destiny’s Child, and has made it her goal to normalize the discussions about mental health.

Know Where To Find Mental Health Treatment
The good news is, there are many places you can seek help for mental health conditions. Since we all have access to the internet, you can start with a quick Google search to find a treatment center near you. The National Alliance On Mental Health (NAMI) is a great resource to finding treatment in your area, and you can also talk to your doctor. Although treatment can be expensive, the Affordable Care Act has made insurance coverage easier and more affordable. Joining a support group is also helpful so that you can surround yourself with people who understand what you're going through. 

Support Those Suffering From Mental Health Conditions
There’s a lot we can do to support loved ones when they are suffering from a mental health condition. Some of the things that hold us back from doing so include the person refusing help, being too afraid to approach them, not having a better understanding of the condition and feeling that we can’t offer enough support. Although these may be valid concerns, there are simple things you can do to offer your support. Simply listen, ask your loved one what you can do to help them and support their healthy behaviors such as sleeping, exercising and eating healthy. You should also ask whether they are receiving help. If they aren’t, assist them in finding a mental health professional or support group they can visit. Knowing that there’s someone who cares will go a long way in helping them recover.

Are you open to talking about your mental health issues?
Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on