Smooth + Confidence Series, Ghana Edition: Nana Konamah

To Be Careful + Carefree:
Nana Konamah Boateng

 All Photos taken by  Abena Boamah  

All Photos taken by Abena Boamah 

The Smooth + Confidence series is our platform to highlight the skin, voices + stories of black women, from the Chicago, Illinois, to Accra, Ghana, through interviews + photography. It's important for our words and narratives to be captured with our pictures, for us, by us.

While her background includes work in banking, renewable energy + public health, Nana Konamah Boateng's lifelong passion is everything health + wellness. She spends her free time in the kitchen developing plant-based meals + honing her skills as a low-key beautician. She created Pure Persona, a line of simple, high-quality haircare products crafted from African-grown plant botanicals + guided by the time-honored beauty wisdom of our African foremothers, to gently nourish, enrich + protect natural hair without harsh chemicals or alteration. Nana hopes to foster a culture of self-acceptance among women of the African diaspora with Pure Persona. She's also a brand new certified Yoga Teacher, a bibliophile, hip-hop head + definitely everyone’s coolest, most stylish friend.

I met Nana on my first night in Accra, Ghana, this summer, and after a night of good food, dancing + great company we had a chance to sit down + chat about all beauty, the African diaspora, and more! From our one conversation at StarBites I could already tell that Nana embodied everything about being smooth + confident. Enjoy part of our conversation about what it means to be carefree + careful and follow Nana at @NanaKonamah on Instagram to stay up on her life. 

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Abena Boamah: Do you connect with the idea that you can be carefree + careful at the same time? How do you embody the notion of being a carefree black woman in your everyday life?

Nana Konamah: This question is super loaded, because I don't think I have ever felt like I could be totally carefree. As a black girl—as a dark-skinned black girl—I always felt unaccepted and unappreciated, even within my community. I am still learning what it means to care for myself in a way that incorporates carefreeness and ease. I'm not there yet.

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Abena BoamahWhat self-care and self-love practices do you currently engage in that relate directly to being carefree/careful or make you feel smooth + confident?

Nana Konamah: I'm learning how to respectfully say "no" to others, especially when they are in direct opposition to my mental and emotional well-being. I also love love love love love essential-oil baths :). 

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Abena Boamah"Smooth + Confident" became a tagline for Hanahana Beauty over a phone call with my friend Kenya and has now become my everyday mantra. What does the phrase smooth + confident mean to you?

Nana Konamah: Confidence comes out of my acceptance of my intrinsic value. As far as "smooth" goes, I'm learning that smooth is not necessarily about a lack of texture, as in bumps, curves, breaks, and rough patches. Life is smooth when I accept all of these rougher edges of myself as part of me. It is when I see my full self and I am not deterred from recognizing my intrinsic value. And that makes me confident! 

Thank you, Nana, for being so open + thoughtful in your responses. We appreciate you sharing your feelings + insights with us, and we can't wait to see + collaborate with you in Ghana in December! 

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Stay Smooth + Confident

- Abena Boamah