Creator of Kinky Curly Cookie Company bakes Black girl magic: 'There was such a need to affirm each

By Megan Sims


Nadia Williams created a brand new piping technique to mimic Black women's natural hair textures. (Photo: Nadia Williams)


Nadia Williams is here to shake up the baking industry — with her unique cookies representing Black women, and an innovative piping technique that gets those natural curls “popping.” “When I started doing it, I didn’t know how rare it was,” Williams, owner of the Kinky Curly Cookie Company in Rockland County, NY, as well as a bilingual Spanish teaching assistant, tells Yahoo Life. “When I started to look for other tutorials and examples, I realized that no one was going to teach me how to do this. I had to figure it out on my own.”

In addition to Williams’ cookie creations featuring the faces of Black women with natural hair, some also depict baby hairs, Afrocentric head wraps and earring. Other designs include afro pics and the African continent painted red, black and green. Baking has been this entrepreneur’s hobby for years, but she turned it into a business in the summer of 2019, after she found that frequently gifting her cookies became a financial drain. “I was getting lots of requests from friends and family, and I’m somebody that always shows up to events with some food, but people were willing to pay,” she recalls. “I always joke around and tell my friends [and] family, who have been sticking with me since the beginning, that ‘you guys will always get the first slot because you were willing to buy my butt-ugly cookies when I started out.’” Williams adds that when coming up with the name of her business, it was important that she took into account her lived experience as a Black woman.

“I grew up having the best of both worlds. My parents moved us to the suburbs, but all of our family was in the inner city. So I was constantly exposed to the disparities that exists in our world,” she says. “So it was important to me that as I was defining my brand identity and what I wanted to be known for in this baking world, which is not very diverse.”

Before getting to the stage of decorating her confections, Williams solicits the help of women-owned cookie-cutter companies to help bring her concepts to life. That’s because, to her, the shapes symbolize something bigger than baking, and are her way of addressing internalized racism in the Black community.

“As a Black girl growing up, I was fortunate to have had affirmation from family members and people in my village, but as I got older and was in high school and college I encountered [Black] people from lots of different backgrounds... and I realized there was such a need to affirm each other because society is not going to do it,” she says. “There is no reason we should look in the mirror and not recognize the beauty that’s there.”

She also recalled that when she was showcasing her cookies during a Juneteenth event in 2019, Black women were thrilled to see cookies that looked like them, further proving to her how much of a need there is for representation of kinks, curls, full lips, broad noses and a range of skin tones. Still, she faced a setback, along with everyone, when the pandemic hit New York City hard earlier this year. Due to quarantine restrictions, Williams says she was stuck with dozens of St. Patrick’s Day cookies that she thought she was not going to be able to sell; eventually, she was able to sell every last one to members of her church.

Then, in addition to the stalling of her business, Williams says she contracted COVID-19, but luckily experienced minor symptoms. “For two and a half months, I didn’t really sell anything at all. I got sick early on, and so I quarantined for twice the suggested time because I didn’t want to take any chances,” she says. “After that, no one was really having celebrations.”

Once restrictions began to lift in the city in June, Williams says business finally began to pick up again. And with the Black Lives Matter movement becoming more mainstream, many companies participated in the #AmplifyMelanatedVoices social-media campaign, which aimed to spotlight BIPOC voices for social justice. How to Cake It, a woman-operated media company that creates cooking and baking tutorials, shared Williams’ cookies during this initiative, and the post received thousands of likes. After growing demand, How to Cake It decided to recruit Williams — who plans on adding merch and more classes to her lineup soon — to teach her unique natural hair piping technique in a live tutorial on Wednesday, so far attracting over 600 people to sign up. “This tells me,” she says, “that we have to see the value in what we bring to the table and know that, if we put it out there and it’s good stuff, people will come for it.”


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