Like many Black Americans of African descent, I grew up removed from my heritage. Whenever my family and I visited Kenya, I’d become even more painfully aware of how far away I was from my culture—and with that, a huge part of my identity. I didn’t speak the language, my American accent always caused a laugh riot, and I didn’t know a lot of the music my family listened to. I felt disconnected from my family and myself, and was consumed with the things that made me different. For a while, I didn’t feel like I had the right to claim my Kenyanness.
As I got older and fell in love with beauty, I realized that the techniques and rituals I used to care for my hair and skin were saturated in Kenyan culture. Slathering oils on my scalp before styling, rubbing shea butter on my eczema flare-ups, wearing