Like most teens, sisters Zakia (15) and Alanna (14) Tookes, wanted part-time jobs to earn extra cash while on summer break. Their father, a real estate investor, entrepreneur, and published author, challenged them to find a more enriching work opportunity outside of working at their neighborhood fast food restaurant. Mr. Tookes wanted them to learn how to turn their pain points with & passion for hair into an experience that could make them money and also teach them basic entrepreneurial and professional skills. Zakia and Alanna accepted the challenge and co-authored their first book, ‘Do I Like What I See?’ a book that helps women and young girls of color embrace their natural hair by following the hair journeys of more than 30 women/young women of color.
Their inspiration for the book stems from their love of hair, their own personal challenges with their hair, and from their desire to help other women and young ladies who struggle with caring for, loving, and accepting their natural crowns. “Our book will help women connect with their hair. There aren’t any hair journey books like ours; it holds history, facts, quotes, our opinions, and solutions” boasts Zakia.
When one interviewee in her late teens was asked if she felt that society forces African American women into a box about how they should wear their hair, her answer was “the media or society portrays that straight hair and straight blonde hair is what is cute. That made me want my hair like that. I never realized how ‘good’ my hair was until I got to high school.”
Although writing a book is not an easy task, in less than two months the teen sisters managed to interview over 30 women and young girls, including Civil Rights Leader and Broadcasting Executive Xernona Clayton. During Mrs. Clayton’s interview, the sisters asked her what her most memorable hair experience was. Mrs. Clayton responded, “When a boyfriend said that he would prefer that I had short hair. Short hair was very popular at the time. He wanted me to look like most women. Of course, he didn’t last long. I’m not going to have a man tell me what to do.”
Zakia and Alanna are spending the rest of the summer promoting ‘Do I Like What I See?’ “I feel like people will want to buy our book because we are young teens who had a goal and accomplished it,” explains Alanna. “Although there are other books about hair, our book includes multiple experiences and perspectives and is very relatable,” says Zakia. They will be hosting a launch party & premier on July 9th to celebrate the journey African American women and young girls and to promote their book.
Zakia & Alanna are using ‘Do I Like What I See?’ to create a movement for mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts to change their mindset, their hair story, and then their answer to ‘Yes, I like what I see!” Support these teen entrepreneurs by attending their book launch & premier, following them on social media @doilikewhatisee, and https://www.facebook.com/doilikewhatisee/ and purchasing a copy of their book.