By Terez Howard
Some of you might have seen my Youtube video outlining how I retighten my Sisterlocks. After it had been up for a week, I received an e-mail from Sisterlocks Training Supervisor (STS, for short) regarding my video.
Here’s what she said: “It has been discovered that you have placed a video on line showing how to re-tighten Sisterlocks. This video is a direct violation of the Sisterlocks Trademark Agreement that you had to have signed when you took the re-tightening class. By signing this agreement you agreed not to divulge “how-to” information about Sisterlocks to anyone. Please remove this video from the internet. You are currently in jeopardy of not being able to purchase anymore Sisterlocks tools based on this violation of the trademark agreement.”
She was referring to this statement in the agreement: “This instruction does not authorize me to train others, or to offer any Sisterlocks services to clients.”
I am obviously not offering services, and I honestly didn’t think of the video as training. I thought it acceptable to share what I do with my hair. But I was wrong.
STS wrote back, “Observers of this video, would be able to do their hair, based on your demonstration, because you are training in the video.”
Isn’t it amazing what people can learn from a less than 3-minute video by a complete amateur (me)? I really was duped out of $250 for a class if I could have learned what I do in a 3-minute Youtube video! In all seriousness, though, I take full responsibility for my own ignorance. Nervous of being in front of a camera, I created what I thought was a hodgepodge of a video. Yet, I guess I’m better at teaching than I thought because I managed to squeeze in the following, according to STS:
- Saying and describing the pattern, including giving the points of entry by name
- Showing how to use the tool to re-tighten the hair
- Giving definite information on how to have the hair lay in a certain direction
- How to use the clip tool to avoid snagging
- Detailed audio and video of the pattern, where you start and stop
- Encouraging viewers to contact you with “How To” questions regarding your re-tightening practices. This indicates you are qualified to teach this technique. Only Consultants and Trainers who are R-Certified are legally able to teach Sisterlocks classes
- Having close-up video coverage of you actually using the tool with audio descriptions of what you’re doing.
I removed the video and plan on creating a video that does not violate the agreement. I love my hair because of Dr. Cornwell’s skills, and I want to respect her system. But…
What can I say?
I asked STS a series of questions about the trademarked micro locs to see what I am allowed to talk about.
Can I say what my pattern is without showing how to do it? (I’ve read about the names of patterns on several blogs, consultants, trainees, and Sisterlocks wearers alike). Saying you have a #3 pattern is OK but telling the pattern sequence, is not OK.
Can I talk about how I position my clips? We teach the exact positioning of the clips that you are demonstrating in your video. That is a Sisterlocks technique. Again, it sounds like would best to be trained as a Consultant and graduate to obtaining an R-certification so you can teach re-tightening classes, legally.
Can I talk about the order I use to retighten my hair? …Can I say that? No, you may not. This is exactly what we teach in our re-tightening class.
Can I say how I keep the tool from sliding off my scraggly ends? …Is that a violation? Again, this information is taught in the re-tightening class.
Can I share any information that I learned from becoming a DIYer, as long as I don’t use the Sisterlocks name? Terez, you are not a DIYer, you have taken the re-tightening class. That means you have learned technique and signed an agreement. None of the skills you have were obtained without taking the official Sisterlocks re-tightening class. In order to maintain your rights to order tools and remain on the registry you must comply with the Trademark Agreement.
Talking About Micro Locs
That last answer is the one I take offense to. Can I share any information that I learned from becoming a DIYer, as long as I don’t use the Sisterlocks name? Believe it or not, I actually have skills that were not obtained from the retightening class. STS probably didn’t realize this from my video, and in her defense, she didn’t really understand the question. For instance, I’ve learned how to deal with thinning scalp issues, and I gleaned information from fellow Youtubers in my post on removing product build-up. I even came up with a Bantu knot hair style all by myself.
While I love my locs, I don’t love the mystery surrounding Sisterlocks. Mizsamone removes all of the mystery in her video. I’m very curious to see the techniques available through Nappylocs, like Gagurl8 so thoroughly showed. Her tips are VERY similar to what’s taught in the retightening class. I also wonder how my hair would respond to things Youtubers, like Narlystar, came up with.
Veering from the Sisterlocks method, in my opinion, would mean that I don’t have Sisterlocks. So, to avoid any further pother, I will call my hair micro locs. I’ll probably be told that it is against the law to call them that, too. Isn’t that oxymoronic? That’s what they are – micro locs. And I have a lot more to say about them.