Blog | Degrassi
- Posted on 09/24/2010 by Mary
TWO WEEKS 'TIL NEW DEGRASSI!! Eeeeeee!
Which means it's time to gear up and get in a Degrassi frame of mind. How 'bout a cast interview?
During Degrassi: The Boiling Point this summer, I did a post about Chantay. And in the comments, people said some really nasty things about her hair -- and some positive things! But the negative things upset me, 'cause I had recently watched the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair, about the pressure African American women feel to straighten their hair, and the expensive, painful hassle they go through to do so.
So I wanted to talk to Jajube Mandiela (who plays Chantay) about why she likes her hair just the way it is. Here's our interview:
OK, so, what's your personal hair history?
Basically, since I was 4, my mom started dreadlocking my hair. So my hair has been in dreadlocks 'til last December . It was pretty long; in all previous seasons that I was in Degrassi, those were dreadlocks, those were all my real hair. 'Cause some people think those were extensions but that's all me!
And then I had it for so long, I was like, 'wait, if I don't ever change... if I don't do it now, while I'm still young, if I wait 'til I'm older I might be too scared to change!' I was curious what my hair was like un-dreadlocked, so I decided to cut it. And I cut it myself! One by one, which was awkward, but fun! And then I was left with all of my natural hair, very short. And since then, I'm just growing it out to see what that's like to do!
...More than anything, I love the lower maintenance of this hair. Because the dreadlocks are awesome, but I would be kind of finicky and I always wanted them to look really good, so I would put a lot of maintenance into them and be like "oh, I'm so tired now!"
That's awesome that your mom dreaded your hair from a really young age... so you never had pressure to relax it?
Yeah, I actually don't know what that would be like! I think I would probably freak out like, "What are you doing? Why is this happening?"
Because my understanding is that it's a painful and expensive process, but that women go through it because it's just the norm -- in America especially.
Yeah... because a lot of people feel like when they have natural hair, that they look weird. Since it's not part of the beauty aesthetic of North America, it just makes them stick out. And I think a lot of people don't like to stick out, they like to just blend in.
[My friends who do relax their hair], they're like "it's a hassle..." but then still, they're afraid to NOT do it. It's like their comfort.
Which then becomes a cycle, because people aren't used to seeing unprocessed hair... so then it becomes 'not the norm.'
Exactly. Which makes me so sad! Because actually, when I was considering cutting my hair, I was spending a lot of time watching TV and looking at different ads, because I need to know as an actor what I can do with my hair. And I wanted to see if anyone already has natural hair -- especially short hair. And I was so disappointed! Not only actors but like singers, dancers, everyone processes their hair -- even if it was short it was still processed.
I even went even more in depth because at first I was only watching people of African descent's hair. But then I started watching everybody and I was like 'Oh my God, even Caucasian girls -- if they have curly hair, it's straightened.' Like Nina Dobrev, her hair is so curly and so beautiful, but it's constantly straightened on Vampire Diaries. I realized just in general, curly hair is straightened on everyone.
It really disappointed me that all media were promoting to get rid of your curl, and if you did have a curl for it to be super, super controlled.
Have you ever gotten any pushback from agents or casting people -- has anyone encouraged you to do anything different with it?
No, not really. I've been really lucky and people just haven't commented.
I haven't seen any Internet comments because I try to refrain -- I think I'd go crazy. I would have expected more bad comments [back when I had] the dreadlocks, because I know people have negative associations with it.
I think some of the comments were just coming from people who don't understand African hair. They were just saying things like "why doesn't her hair look like Beyoncé's?" and stuff like that.
No way! That's so funny... that makes me totally happy that I can help the dialogue start, for them to realize that it's because this is my hair, and that's her fake hair -- that she loves! But that it's not real hair. That makes me really happy that I'm able to challenge people's perception of what black people's hair is, and for them to actually even realize... this happened actually with a friend of mine a few months ago. I was talking to her about my hair and she realized, 'so you mean black people, they can never have straight hair naturally?' And I was like 'No!' And I realized so many people don't know that it's always processed when it's straight, unless they're mixed with other backgrounds, obviously.
And so I love that I can make awareness about that -- that yes, this is how most black people's hair looks. It's all different [from person to person], the textures. But it's not dead straight.
- Posted on 09/21/2010 by Mary
You can get your iTunes Season Pass for the upcoming season of Degrassi now, if you are the kind of person who is super on top of their game and finishes papers before they're even due and stuff like that.
More importantly, there's also a sneak peek there to check out. Click on this guy right here to check it all out.
- Posted on 08/27/2010 by Mary
Mr. Simpson said he trusts Sav and Holly J to make sure the Night in Vegas dance is 100% problem-free. What could possibly go wrong?
If the look on Mrs. Torres' face is any indication... pretty much everything.
Because after tomorrow night... Degrassi will never be the same again.
Hello fellow Degrassi fans... I think I'm gonna hop on the ol' TeenNick twitterator tonight around 8:30 and live-tweet the Boiling Point finale. Care to join me?
I figure 8:30 gives us all a chance to watch Clare and Eli make out again, plus get more amped than is cardiovascularly healthy before the big finale at 9.
You can follow TeenNick's twitter feed here. And if you live-tweet with us, try to mark your tweets with @TeenNick -- I'll be a couple hundred times more likely to see them (and therefore possibly retweet them) that way.
MMkay. See you tonight.
"OMG" does not even begin to cover it. Let's attempt to break things down...
IS Degrassi out of hand?? Do you think Simpson is right to be completely at his wits' end after tonight? Do the students of Degrassi need a totally different environment? Or are they just another high school? (It's funny... there's sort of a perpetual debate in the message boards about whether Degrassi is tamer than a real high school, or completely off-the-wall bonkers. Which side do you fall on?)
Eli and Clare. OK. First of all, thank GOD he's alive. Second of all... what do you think the future holds for these two? Do you think Eli really learned his lesson tonight... or is he going to be even more angry and vengeful about being put through that?
Drew and Alli: Opinions on whether Drew is a good guy or a bad guy seem mixed... what's yours? (Mine is that he's neither good nor bad... he's a human teenager who makes super, super-dumb choices sometimes.) Also: that whole thing between Alli and Mrs. Torres... I have known sooo many moms of teenagers who are like that. They think their kid can do no wrong, so their friends take the fallout when everyone gets in trouble together. Sucks.
Holly J and Sav: Daaaag, girl! I have to say: Charlotte Arnold is probably my favorite young actress in the world. The subtle stuff happening on her face in that scene... she is one talented lady. And she looked really pretty tonight, and I dig her and Sav together. You?
- Posted on 08/25/2010 by Mary
I'd say Eli got an A+ on that there French exam, yes? Please, feel free to watch Eli kiss Clare again. And perhaps again. And I suppose you could watch it again after that. Forty times would be weird though.
...But not that weird.
I had started to wonder if we would ever see the day that Riley Stavros would kiss his boyfriend in full view of other students and just not care what anyone thought.
Especially after that heart-wrenching scene of him searching the "history" (what little there is of it) of openly gay athletes. Seriously, never has an web-search scene made me so verklempt.
Anyway, Riley is free at last. Let's celebrate by watching him celebrate again; click here.
Only two nights of Degrassi: The Boiling Point left... I'm starting to get scared of how my body's going to react to the withdrawal. What if I can't handle it? What if I die?
Anyway. The next two nights... things are going to get a little insane. 'Cause you know, up 'til now things at Degrassi have been so boring.
I leave you with the following three images from tomorrow night's television program. While they cannot possibly give you a complete picture of the events about to ensue, I hope they at least impart to you the DIRE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR WATCHING. ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A THING FOR ELI AND WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SOME NICE DREAMS TOMORROW NIGHT. I hope I am being sufficiently clear.
It's hard to be mad at Adam for his behavior a) after everything he's gone through and b) after he got literally thrown like a rag doll by his tormentors at Degrassi, including Fitz. But if there's anything we know well from watching Degrassi, it's that violence doesn't solve anything.
But Eli has shown himself to be from that "fight fire with fire" camp. Which raises the question... what would you have done in Eli's shoes?