Braids, haircuts and conditioning: Black organization house owners in Yellowknife converse about their journeys

CBC Trailbreaker is broadcasting stay Friday early morning from LJJ Barber Shop in Yellowknife. To listen to the segment marking Black Historical past Month, go to the CBC Listen app or pay a visit to CBC Hear on the internet. 

When Diana Lubansa will get all set to braid hair, she’s considering about the seasons, the temperature, the temper — all factors that aspect in to what variety of braid she chooses.

It is winter season, which signifies right now most individuals want one braids, the type that will final.

“The weather conditions [is] extremely dry and harsh for our type of hair … and no matter what you utilize, it breaks,” Lubansa mentioned.

“Most females like to have on protective hairstyles to protect their hair. Solitary braids is a actually superior just one that girls just like to do because they can preserve it for up to 4 months or much more.”

Lubansa is the only particular person in Yellowknife who delivers experienced hair-braiding, anything that has excellent significance to the Black local community.

She works with her partner, Jonel Louis-Jean, who owns LJJ Barber Store, which welcomes all customers but has a focus on styling Black hair.

The barbershop is just one company being highlighted on The Trailbreaker Friday morning to mark Black Record Month.

Trailbreaker host Marc Winkler with Jonel Louis-Jean at LJJ Barber in Yellowknife. (Marc Winkler/CBC)

Louis-Jean opened LJJ Barber Shop in January 2022 with Lubansa and two other barbers. Apart from braiding hair, Lubansa also handles the administrative facet of the business enterprise.

Lubansa realized how to braid hair when she was expanding up, and has worn most of the hairstyles she specializes in herself.

“It was portion of the society — everyone did it,” she said.

Braiding dates again 1000’s of decades, she pointed out, introducing she not too long ago identified out that in North The usa, when Black persons were being enslaved, some would use unique patterns of corn rows to map their escape routes.

“The slavemaster had no strategy what that was — they imagined it was just a type, a rather model that anyone came up with,” she discussed.

“So braiding is a thing that is deeply, deeply rooted in Black tradition.”

De-stigmatizing Black bodies

Inemesit Graham, a personal trainer and health and fitness instructor in Yellowknife who owns Mummy Conditioning, operates out of the Yellowknife Racquet Club.

Her journey to turning out to be a business proprietor specializing in health started right after her second pregnancy, when she discovered her body didn’t “snap back again” from childbirth the way other individuals appeared to.

“I started to consider there was something improper with my body,” she reported — a worry that had been with her all her life.

Smiling Black woman in pink.
Inemesit Graham is the owner of Mummy Fitness and a private trainer at the Racquet Club in Yellowknife. (Meaghan Brackenbury/CBC)

Born in Nigeria, Graham moved to England when she was 5. There, as the only Black kid in her class through elementary and center school, she was bullied for hernias she had.

At 6 several years of age, she had medical procedures to shut the hernia, but it wasn’t profitable.

“I feel like I have gone by way of an existence where my body has generally been othered, and I [was] produced to truly feel like my human body failed to in good shape the dominant narrative about bodies,” she stated.

“Encountering that, postpartum, and becoming taught once again that I wanted surgical treatment so my system could meet the expectations that other folks imagined it really should meet up with was incredibly triggering to me.”

Strength education started as a way to drive again against the plan that medical procedures was the only alternative to “correct” her overall body. As she bought more powerful, she discovered herself performing things individuals told her she couldn’t do.

“I was currently being taught I could not carry significant weights with hernias, but I was,” she said.

She also has diastasis, which involves the belly muscular tissues becoming divided for the duration of pregnancy.

“I was informed that wanted to be closed and returned to its pre-being pregnant point out for my body to be purposeful. 10 years later … I am capable to do much more athletically than a great deal of persons can,” she stated.

She realized significantly of the health and fitness details that exists now comes from reports that didn’t involve Black or feminine bodies. On leading of that, she famous, Black bodies have been stigmatized as a result of the slave trade, colonization and generations of men and women being instructed that Black people ended up significantly less than human.

“My tagline, what I put on my internet site, is, ‘Your aesthetics you should not decide your athletics.’ Though it commenced as a journey to discover liberation in just my system, I’ve uncovered that our liberty is tied — no person can be free of charge right up until everybody is cost-free,” she claimed.

“By sharing messages about my overall body, and by decolonizing my worldview about my physique, and by sharing a unique narrative all over my system, I find that people’s bodies that you should not in good shape the dominant narrative come to feel seen, heard and provided.”

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