Jamila Rowser: Making Creative Space for Black Women's Hair

Hi Jamila!

Congratulations on the huge success you’ve had with your comic, “Wash Day”.

You targeted this very specific niche that didn’t have a lot of content to relate to in the comic book industry. What pushed you to take such a leap in providing this content and your own comic book about women of color?

As a comics reader, I had a deep desire to read more stories by and for women who looked like me. That is what really sparked my interest in writing comics. I wanted to create comics that I wanted to read.

What is your next goal? What do you want to achieve next now that you have opened the doors to including a more diverse group of people in the comic book industry?

Wash Day isn’t a one and done for me. I want to continue writing comics that feature experiences that women of color can relate and connect to.

“Wash Day” is (obviously) about the ritual that women of color go through when it comes to taking care of their precious locks. What are some of your long-term must-have hair products that you use? Do you ever change it up and try new products? Which ones?

I have a few “tried and true” products, but I’m always curious to find the next best thing, especially when it comes to conditioners and moisturizers. The products that I love and always keep in stock are DevaCurl Wash Day Wonder Pre‑Cleanse Slip Detangler, DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser, DevaCurl One Conditioner, Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle,  Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner and As I Am Curling Jelly.

Can you tell me what this natural-hair movement is all about?

I think the natural hair movement can mean different things to different people, but the common thread is that Black, natural hair is beautiful. A large part of the movement is the journey that some women experience when they reclaim their hair. There are many women who went their whole lives not knowing their natural hair texture because of perms/relaxers. Because our racist society told us that straight hair was beautiful, and curly and kinky hair was not. So it’s a very powerful experience when they stop perming their hair and they discover their natural hair texture for the first time.

Everyone has a favorite hair brush that they are protective over (at least I do). What hair brush can’t you live without and why?

My curls love my denman brush. It helps detangle and define my curls.

If you could give your younger self advice about beauty and taking care of your locks, what would you say?

Stop using so much heat! I used to get blow outs and flat iron my hair so much, it really damaged my hair and took a long time to grow out.

What do you do on a bad hair day?

I love wearing headwraps! I have a whole drawer stuffed with beautiful African Wax Print fabrics that I use to wrap my hair.

Who is someone in the beauty space that you feel inspired by and why?

There’s so much beauty in our hair and I really love the way Solange has used her hair as art in a lot of her performances. I find it deeply powerful and moving.

Do you think the beauty industry, particularly big consumer brands, are becoming more inclusive of women of color? What changes would you like to see in the industry moving forward?

I think big brands are featuring more Black women in their ads and adding products tailored to our hair because they see Black women as an important demographic to serve. Unfortunately, I think it has to do with brands wanting to make money off us more than it has to do with them wanting to be inclusive because it’s the right thing to do. There are a lot of Black women creating their own hair and beauty businesses which I love. I would like to see this continue in the space and hope that these smaller businesses grow and flourish.

Thanks so much for speaking with us Jamila!

Check out her insta @jamilarowser