Najah Monique Todd, 29
I was born to a very young mother, with no father around. They broke up before I was born. Like a lot of young women in the 80s my mom got into drugs around ‘86. Thank the stars I had my grandparents whom my mother sent me to live with. It was probably the best thing she could have done for me, although at such a young age I didn’t quite understand. Life with my grandparents was great.They definitely gave me a lot of love,took me under their wings and tried to heal the hurt and abandonment I felt from my mother. I was put into ballet, majorettes, modeling, 4-H, gymnastics and cello lessons. School was hard, and I didn’t really spend my childhood finding out who I was. So without a full sense of self I was made fun of for being “too white”, an Oreo. I was also very confused living in South Carolina after having moved from California. And with my grandmother being black and my Grandfather white, being so young I didn’t really understand the stigma. There was no defending myself because I didn’t know who I was. We later moved to a small town called Lawtey Florida where I enrolled in my final year of middle school and stayed until my sophomore year of high school.
In those 3½ years I experienced some great things: church, amazing friends and my very first love. I also experienced some horrible things, having moved deeper into the south. We endured heavy prejudice and my family’s dynamic didn’t help at all. And when I say heavy I mean KKK. There was aimless shooting and other atrocities. I then moved to Washington with my aunt. My grandparents thought it better to not add to the stresses of being a teenager with having to be a black teenager in a blatantly racist area. Living in Washington was a blessing in disguise. Without all the blatant racism I had a great time discovering alternative music. I actually remember the first time I watched MTV. I saw a Green Day concert and it was all down hill from there….I loved rock n’ roll and couldn’t get enough of it. My family pretty much branded me the "white girl" of the family and so did all the black teens at my school. Somehow I held steadfast to what I loved. It wasn’t a question of rebellion or even finding myself. This was who I was. I loved boys with tattoos, crazy hair and guitars. I loved rock music, and through all the turmoil and the loneliness I felt and the obstacles I had to overcome just to enjoy the music and lifestyle, I still made it.
Now I am a rocking hairstylist for many of Washington’s hottest local bands and I work for a promotions company that sets up tours for bands. I love doing hair….the art and precision it takes to look at someone’s face, consider their lifestyle, and what their hopes are for their style. I love giving them what they want.
My Best friend Del Brown is a girl who had a very similar journey to mine. When I met her I knew she was my soulmate, a punk rock diva just like me and also a woman who has given me balance in loving the music and lifestyle I’m into as well as owning and loving my culture, and I am a better person for it. Music also defines who I am. Del and I are working on a project called “Kalling All Kars”, an indie rock electro clash trip hop band. I’m also the front woman for a hard rock/funk infused band called Modern Union. I would eventually like to be a stylist for some trendsetting stars and musicians, and have a staff spot on a sitcom as a hairstylist. As far as music I really would like to grow as an artist. My band is getting ready to record so I am really looking within myself and looking to other great women such as Lisa Kekura from The Bell Rays to see the deepness and emotion that goes into leading a good rock band. I am starting to modify and design some plus size rock gear and I want to get deeper into that. Most of all I just want to be happy and surround myself with amazing and interesting people. I feel like I am off to a great start.