Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Straight Chatting from the Library: I Am More Than My Hair by Alyscia Cunningham

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alyscia Cunningham will be awarding a limited edition 2019 calendar for "I Am More Than My Hair" (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

Peter's Snowy Day

What is your favorite book today?

There's so many favorites but The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah was a hard book to put down.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

It's proof that we are more than our outward appearance.

What are you reading right now?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

What books do you have on hold at the library?

All children's books for my 7-year-old

Do you have any bad book habits?

Yes. Time. A lot of time can pass before I finish reading a book. Since becoming a mom I honest haven't spent hours reading a favorite book as I did when I was younger. It's all a balancing act. Though it may take longer than planned, but eventually I finish the book.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Print. Preferably library books (saves the need for more paper). Ebooks give me a headache. Seriously it does. No matter how dim the screen.

One book at a time or multiples?

Sometimes one. Sometimes multiple. It depends on what I'm reading. Becoming is the only one at the moment and most deserving of it.

Favorite book you've read this year?

It's still Becoming. Mrs. Obama is a superb writer. She make a it feel very relatable.

When do you do most of your reading?

Late at night, when I'm up alone.

How do you keep your books organized?

In subject order.

What would make you not finish a book?

It's boring. If I call asleep every time I read it, it's not for me. A visual writing style is best suited for me.

Keep books or give them away?

I love the Free Library method. Read it, then give it away. Or just give it away.


From the time we are young, girls are pressured into a set belief of beauty standards. Hair is certainly high on the list and is often labeled as our "crown and glory." Where does this notion fit for a girl with alopecia (the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows; baldness)? This new coffee table book should bring light to the issue.

I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me, is a two-part project, documentary film and coffee table book. The newly published book features 138 portraits of 46 women and the stories of their experience with hair loss, as well as women who cut their hair in solidarity of a loved one.


Debbie, 31

My friends and family supported me

On May 24, 2011, I discovered a large mass in my left breast while I was doing my self-check. Later that day, I went to the National Cancer Prevention Institute in Lagos for a breast screening. A nurse screened both my breasts and my cervix and referred me for sonography, which was done at a local scanning center. On June 3, 2011, I had a Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology procedure at Me Cure Health Care Limited to diagnose my condition. I was told that the breast lump was benign and that the left auxiliary lymph node was negative for malignant cells. On June 11, 2011, I had my first lumpectomy at a local medical center.

Barely four months later, I discovered another lump slightly above the previous operation site and had surgery at the same hospital. But this time, I insisted on further medical investigation to know why the cancer recurred. That’s when I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. By April 2012, I was diagnosed with Stage IV carcinoma.

I had withheld the news from my dad because he was hospitalized for paralysis, but with the latest diagnosis, I couldn’t hold the news any longer. I told my dad about it on July 31, 2012 hoping he had gained enough strength to handle the news but, unfortunately for me, he passed on to glory the following day, which was my birthday, August 1, 2012.

My friends and family supported me and, before I knew what was happening, all my friends joined a campaign for me on Twitter tagged “walk against cancer, #savedebbie.” I got the exact amount of money I needed for my treatment in the United States ($55,000), but I had to start chemotherapy right away in Nigeria.

I arrived in the United States in October 2012 and started treatment at Howard University Hospital. I had chemotherapy for 10 months followed by a bilateral mastectomy in October 2013. To the glory of God, I survived Stage IV breast cancer, but I am still fighting bone and liver cancer.

Rest in peace, Debbie: August 1, 1984 – April 1, 2016.


Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker and photographer who has contributed to the Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and AOL. In September 2013 Alyscia self-published Feminine Transitions, a photography book encompassed with portraits of raw feminine beauty. Her recently published photography book and upcoming documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair, features 138 portraits of 46 females and the stories of their experience with hair loss as well as females who cut their hair in solidarity of a loved one. Alyscia creates these, and future projects, with the consideration of art for social-change.

Alyscia specializes in promoting our natural beauty because she believes the media does a good job of focusing on our insecurities by bombarding us with ads proclaiming that their appearance without enhancements is inadequate or faulty. Her portraits are unaltered by Photoshop and reveal women as they are naturally, without the fa├žade they put on for others. 
Her work has been featured on Fox5 News, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, APlus, and Proud2BMe. To learn more about Alyscia and her work, visit http://www.Alyscia.com.

Alyscia also invites you to view her video introductions to Feminine Transitions, and I Am More Than My Hair.

I Am More Than My Hair book is now available on Amazon and at these retailers: 
Bluestockings Bookstore (New York, NY)
BookWoman (Austin, TX)
East City Bookshop (Washington, DC)
Politics and Prose (Washington, DC)
Sandy Spring Museum (Ashton, MD)
Vroman's Bookstores (Pasadena, CA)
Women's Museum of California (San Diego, CA)

Social media pages:

Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/alyscia_c
Instagram - http://www.instagram.com/Alyscia Cunningham
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AlysciaCunninghamImages/
and @I Am More Than My Hair.


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