First Natural Hair Diary was over at and then I brought the series over to to save it. And then…I did what I always do, which is get overwhelmed and drop the ball. Which is a shame because I love the feedback I get from featuring your Natural Hair Diaries. These posts may not draw a ton of comments, but I know you bellas reading out there are inspired, and I get lovely e mails from you!

In the interest of continuing the series and giving it fresh life, I’ve brought on a contributor to help me every month. Chuck Olu-Alabi is one of my favorite photographers in Chicago, and he’ll be capturing women around their city who rock their natural hair with style!

Chuck Olu-Alabi’s first Natural Hair Photo Diary — Kenya McGuire Johnson.

Kenya McGuire Johnson is a musician originally from Denver, CO who now lives in the Chicagoland area. She is a licensed physical therapist and educator; however, only practices clinically on an as needed basis in order to further develop her artistry as a musician. She is married with two sons ages 9 and 5. Her interests include songwriting, traveling, exercising, spending time with her family and friends, body/spirit/mind balance activities, and simply enjoying the treasures of life’s journey.

I’ve been natural for 12 years. I LOVE my natural hair! It’s the best decision I made for my hair. While I love my natural hair, I am not radical in my thinking and I believe every woman should consider what works best for their lifestyle and what allows them to feel authentic. My natural hair truly allows me to feel comfortable in my skin. My best advice is that you must fully understand that transitioning to being natural is a process and a sort of rebirth of self. It’s 99% psychological and you have to grow into who you will become as a woman with natural hair. If you are merely seeking a trend, you will become quite frustrated and disappointed. Similarly, if you do it only for superficial reasons, you will struggle immensely. Take time to make the decision and take each day one day at a time as you learn to embrace an unfamiliar beauty…but one you will ultimately fall completely in love with!

Kenya’s favorite products are Organic Root Stimulator’s Olive Oil Moisturizer, Moroccan Oil shampoo & conditioner, and Hair Rules products.

Chuck Olu-Alabi is a freelance photographer based in Chicago. He was born and raised in Nigeria till he was nine years old. Photography has been his passion for most of his life — inspired by his dad’s love of photography, Chuck started shooting with his dad’s film camera at a young age and the rest was history. Chuck believes that there’s beauty in everything and being able to capture that beauty makes him feel honored. For more of his work check out his website, or follow him on Twitter @Chuckstr.


Marlena says:
April 2, 2012, 11:11 am
I love her cut and color! :D Thanks for sharing
Kenya says:
April 2, 2012, 11:34 am
Thanks so much, Marlena! And thanks Afrobella and Chuck for posting my story. Love that you're doing this segment/blog. I will definitely get the word out and share with others. Marlena- cut and color are some of my favorite aspects of being natural;-) Gives my look another "pow"!
Becca says:
April 2, 2012, 7:39 pm
Absolutely beautiful!! Kenya makes it look so easy! Wonderful photos Chuck!
Edris says:
April 3, 2012, 10:35 am
I totally agree with you about natural hair being a lifestyle choice. It is definitely a process getting to know you natural locks but I have found it to be most rewarding! Of course there are still hiccups and bumps along the way but I have been on the journey for 15 years and there is no turning back.
Edris says:
April 3, 2012, 10:37 am
That should say "your" natural locks. I meant to add that you hair and your are beautiful.
Hair Tips says:
April 11, 2012, 11:31 am
Wow such a cute hair photo dairy. Marlena- cut and color are some of my favorite aspects of being natural;-) Gives my look another “pow”!
Carla says:
April 12, 2012, 10:39 am
Beautiful Kenya! And yes I agree it is 99% psychological. There are still places & situations where I don't feel comfortable rocking my natural hair out. I'll choose to pull it back or blow it out straight. Thanks to inspirational women like you, Becca, & Michelle, I get a little more courageous each day.
Sheri says:
June 15, 2012, 12:25 am
Beautiful hair! Inspiring! She reminds me of a fellow P.T. Buddy that I knew in Wash D.C. Same name!
Hair Women says:
September 17, 2012, 7:44 am
Simply beautiful hair! Thanks for this share :)