Before beauticians introduced their fingers to our childhood scalps, our mothers, grandmothers, older sisters or aunties tended to our tresses by greasing our scalp. Nowadays its all about oils, curl puddings and butters, but back then, Murray’s or Blue Magic was the choice for Black women. We’d find a seat on the floor between their legs and their growing fingers would christen our hair.
For Star Danielle — who went viral after a video of her grandmother Cester (who goes by @GrammyCDubb on social media), greasing her scalp made its way to TheShadeRoom — those moments are common. Star’s grandmother has Parkinson’s disease — a nervous system disorder that causes tremors, stiffness and unbalances in individuals who have it. The disease hasn’t stopped her from carrying on their tradition they started when she was just a little girl.
“My grandmother is basically my best friend,” she told us in a candid chat. “It’s kind of complicated — by blood, she is my great, great aunt. She adopted my mom and later became my legal guardian. She is my great, great aunt, grandmother, and mother.”
But they got even closer in the last two years when she got diagnosed with cancer on top of Parkinson’s, which Star says she’s had since she can remember.
“It doesn’t stop her from doing her daily needs as far as shower, eating and cooking. Her greasing my hair is good for her — it keeps her hands active and moving.”
Star says her grandmother taught her about haircare and was the gardener who keeps her hair fertilized and healthy with her growing hand. She laughs recalling the time her hair broke off when she went to live with her biological mother. “I was so upset.”
Cester also raised other children who weren’t her own. She has four adopted daughters.”You wouldn’t even know because of the bond we all have.”
In many Black families, the grandmother is the matriarch of the family, leading the rest with her wise tongue, scripture for every situation and caring nature. Like Cester, who has raised over “100 children,” she is the head of a big village. We praise all our grandmother’s. They’re gems.