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Reality TV star Mushiya Tshikuka: We have to change the image of the Black woman on TV

I don’t know what it was but I was instantly drawn to her. I pulled up a chair to have dinner with the heads of Sheen Magazine when they visited The Bahamas recently because I was doing some freelance work for them. They sat me right across the table from a gorgeous dark skinned woman with a wild afro, wearing a red dress and confidence over her shoulders like a scarf. Being a strong, no-nonsense woman myself, I’m instantly attracted to women of the same characteristics and identify them right away. I could see in her face that she was sassy, well spoken, classy and edgy…and I liked it! We didn’t speak much at first, other than exchanging pleasantries. But I soon got to chatting with the guy sitting next to me and he told me that she’s a reality TV star out of Atlanta.

Now, I’m a reality TV junkie and was perplexed that I didn’t know her. I then learned that she’s the star of WETV’s Cutting It: In the ATL. The show follows four glamorous and headstrong salon owners as they compete to bring in the most business and dominate the Atlanta hair game. Mushiya is the naturalista in the group and owns the natural hair salon, The Damn Salon, with locations in Atlanta and Charlotte. With her soothing raspy voice laced with her Congolese accent and queen-like stature, I knew we had to have a conversation! After dinner and a fashion show we complimented each other on our amazing outfits and in no time I found myself sitting in the lobby of a hotel talking to Mushiya about reality TV, the black woman, being a natural hair stylist and juggling it all.

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MT: You don’t really have to necessarily put your whole life out there. I don’t watch TV, and the reason I don’t watch TV and reality shows is because the black woman is f*cking crazy on reality TV. So when the industry approached me I said I would never do this. I thought about it again, and I said I would never do this because editing makes black women look crazy. But then again, I said maybe the black women are giving them content to make them look crazy. So rather than say no to it, I said let me become the change that I wish to see. So as I’m recording, every single time I always keep in mind what it is that I hate so much about reality TV and what it is that women do to make themselves look that way. I stay true to who I am, I stay classy and stay a black woman that other black women would be proud of.

IS: What has been the hardest part about being in the spotlight now? Is it nerve-wrecking?

MT: There’s nothing really nerve-wrecking about it because I’ve been on stage all my life, since I was a child, whether it was singing, or speaking, or performing, whatever it was, so that part is not nerve-wrecking. The difference is having to deal with other women who have to do a lot for the cameras, which means that you have to check them and check them in a classy fashion.

IS: Do you watch other reality TV shows?

MT: Absolutely not! I don’t like them. I have to watch my own because it’s like homework, I have no choice. But if I didn’t have to watch it, I wouldn’t. I don’t watch TV at all. I read a lot, I work a lot, I have three children; a small, medium and large who are 4, 6 and 10 years old so I’m busy, I’m married, so I’m cooking and cleaning and washing floors and then creating business development plans for the business. So, it’s like, who has time to watch what the hell some girl on the Housewives thinks about her shoes?

IS: So, what’s it like being a hairstylist in the ATL?

MT: It’s wonderful being a hairstylist period because as a hairstylist, you’re not just a hairstylist; you’re actually a psychologist, you’re a teacher, you’re a doctor. As a hairstylist you come into contact with a lot of women who put every bit of trust in you and the beautiful part about it is that we have a platform to instil in women whatever we want to instil and I choose to instil confidence, self love, self worth and loving one’s natural hair.

IS: What can we expect from season 2 of Cutting It: In the ATL?

MT: Second season is like the first season, which is a bunch of women in the hair industry dealing with each other, how we deal with each other and what their business is like. It will be like the first season, but a little bit more intense.

Check out the season 1 trailer below!

And of course having a renowned hair stylist right at my finger tips, I had to ask for some hair tips. Mushiya says she loved my short, dark pixie cut but would love to see me go natural…of course! Soon after, Mushiya, her husband Lou and my boyfriend and me headed out to Arawak Cay for some good ole conch salad and cracked conch…Bahamas style!

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Season 2 of Cutting It: In the ATL premieres in 2016!

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1 Response
  • Designer Cardell
    December 11, 2015

    If only I was a fly on that way. Great hair. Great write up – flawless ladies!