That's the feeling I get browsing through this throw back “Braids” magazine I was lucky enough to scout on Ebay. The only other place you’ll find these now are below a stack of newer, up to date Essence or Jet magazines. All of them slowly collecting dust in one of your traditional African braiding shops. We’ve since ascended into the age of technology, where inspo can be found with the click of a button.
This magazine takes me back to my mothers first shop, the name, as some of you may have already guessed, Aamakas African Braiding. My mom had the ingenious idea of adding an extra “A” to the name so that it was one of the first you saw when browsing the yellow pages. For the early 2000s, it was an amazing marketing idea. My mom was/is full of clever ideas like this.
Aamakas was located in a small old shopping strip that had one other shop next to it. Maybe a barber shop? I’m not completely sure. But for some reason I remember the abandoned gas station that sat opposite the strip. My guess is that it was burned into my memory from the long hours of staring at it from the window of my mom’s shop; probably while slumping in an uncomfortable waiting chair, waiting for my mom to finish with her client. By then I would have already flipped through all the magazines and grown bored of whatever Judge show was playing on the TV.
My only respite was my mom calling me over to help her braid down. I remember trying my best to braid down as fast as she did, watching her hands motion quickly from side to side as beautiful neat braids appeared above them/ like magic. I, on the other hand, had to focus. Gently weaving one section over the other until I had formed a braid indistinguishable from hers. She didn’t know it then but I felt bonded during those moments. Years would pass by and Aamakas African Hair braiding would change locations and even names. But I’d never forget that place and memories shared.
I’ve added a beautiful photo of my mom during that time, just outside of Aamakas but unfortunately the shop is not in view. I’ve also included some of my favorite covers from Braids Magazine.
My mom (Amaka) outside of her first salon
Do you remember any of these?