i'm back..and with a strategy idea about PPD (long)
Posted by Anne Beltestad on June 8, 2002 at 21:26:19:Hi everyone,
I'm feeling better...and decided I couldn't stay away from this forum
much longer. The good is just too good to be affected by the bad!
Have been doing some lovely work on repeat clients of Kenzi, my mom,
Today on the way to watch the World Cup I rode through Brooklyn's gay
Pride, and was horrified to see PPD pushers. However, I am learning
to be diplomatic so i sat and watched one of them work. I remained
friendly, asked her which pics were hers (they were mostly copies of
Loretta Roome) and (cleverly) waited until the client had left to talk
about the toxic crap. Here was my approach:
me: Hi! (smiling) Nice work.
her: thanks! (she still hadn't seen the lovely dark Indian piece on
my left hand, as i was holding my bike)
me: hey, I wanted to talk to you about the stuff you're using.
her: i got it from my friend Kathleen (who i think is the PPD pusher
i saw in Brooklyn last year). I was using this stuff called "Bigen"
but found out it's bad, so i switched to this stuff. It doesn't stain
black, just dark brown. (It was obviously PPD)
me: so what's in it?
her: it's hair dye, but it's not Bigen, so it's OK. There's only a
little of the dye in it.
me: well, actually, it's the same thing, and it's still very bad for you.
We went around and around like this, until finally (for the first time
EVER!) i seem to have convinced her that what she's using is actually
harmful both to her and to others. She said she was working in Santa
Monica and using "the red" but went to Miami and people "didn't want
it" so she switched to black.
throughout i remained friendly, cheerful, and relaxed, telling her
over and over in many different ways that despite what she'd been told
no, it isn't harmless. She mentioned that her entire hand puffed up
after applying it one time, and I told her about sensitization, that
it was indeed accumulating in her system, etc etc.
Eventually she saw my hand and told me she'd never been able to get
"the red" that dark, and I told her the secret was freshness, which
she could get from my partner Kenzi.
Surprisingly, she seemed open and concerned, more sincerely so than
anyone else I've met.
She did ask "what about black people" - she was white - and I
explained to her that it's not about skin color, but about chemistry,
that I myself (dark blonde hair and fair, pinkish skin) don't stain
well off the hands and feet, though beautifully on those parts, but
that the women I hennaed this morning (as white as me but freckled)
stain beautifully, and for weeks, on their upper arms. She seemed
smart and understanding.
I kicked myself for not carrying chemical information with me at all
times. This week I PROMISE to print out Catherine's info (now that I
have a printer) and laminate it, and just keep it with me in my
messenger bag. Anyone have a good PPD flyer?
So here's the strategy part: what if we all made an effort to contact
festival organizers in our cities/counties/states with packets about
this? if artists who are near each other can cooperate, this should
cut down on cost and effort. I truly thought we had won the battle
against this crap, but I see now it's just the beginning.
The only way we are going to fight the "does it come in different
colors"/fake tattoo/I don't want it if it's not black crowd is to keep
educating people and showing them what henna, real traditional henna,
can do. If people can appreciate it for what it is, what it has been
for thousands of years, they can learn to love it as we do. Forcing
henna to be what it isn't just leads to toxic crap being put on
So, hopefully I reached someone today and made a difference.
If others have ideas about communicating with festival organizers,
please let me know. This seems to be key to stopping the "black plague"!
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