A popular YouTube personality, who has been chronicling her very successful relaxed healthy hair journey for about three years online, recently announced her decision to transition. So needless to say, her announcement sparked a lot of discussion and interesting reactions among the online hair community. One comment I see repeatedly from both naturals and relaxed women alike is the question of whether or not natural hair is a trend.
Some relaxed women feel people are going natural just because it is trendy, some people wonder if natural hair will still be this popular in ten or more years, and some state they feel pressure to transition just because it is so trendy right now. I can’t count the number of naturals who state with an air of superiority that they were natural before it became a trend. I’m thinking to myself: So?! Does that make you MORE natural or MORE committed? I don’t get it.
My question is – why do we speak of a “natural hair trend” as if that is a negative thing? Haven’t all hairstyles been trends? Nobody questioned whether the afro was a trend in the ‘70s, the jherri curl of the ‘80s, or the mushroom and asymmetrical cuts of the ‘90s. When they came on the scene strong and we jumped on the bandwagon, whether we had the style or just appreciated the look, we never felt the need to defend that AFROS OR JHERRI CURLS ARE HERE TO STAY! There were no t-shirts that read: Its not a movement or a trend, the juice will live on forever! When one trend faded and a new one emerged, it was accepted as a natural part of the beauty industry – that is what looks do, they change!
So if I decide to transition from my healthy relaxed hair to my lovely kinky virgin hair solely because I want to join in on what’s hot right now, why is that a problem? Do I have to have a deep philosophical reason? Do I have to have had a bad experience with or a negative view of relaxers? Must I feel that natural hair is more beautiful? Or can I just decide that I want a change and want to be trendy? And if I state that as my reason, why would I (most likely) receive a bunch of criticism for that being my main reason?
Why do relaxed women feel disappointment when another online hair vlogger or blogger decides to transition and act as if someone has died? I can understand wanting to see women with healthy, long relaxed hair because it serves as inspiration and lets you know that it is possible – but if a woman has achieved that and decides to change, why do some relaxed women go into mourning? And vice versa regarding the feelings of natural women when long time naturals decide to relax? I shudder to think what the reaction would be amongst the natural hair community if one of the big YouTube personalities pops up with freshly relaxed hair. Honestly, I may fear for her safety! (funny, but a tiny bit true!)
Natural hair may or may not be a trend. In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter – it is beautiful to see. I just appreciate that more women are deciding to rock their natural textures. However, if in a decade, natural hair is not as popular, that would be okay with me too. Because just like with any “trend” once a new one emerges, there are always some women who stick to the old one. There are women who still get “curls” and some who have worn an afro since the 70s. So even if it is a trend, the presence of natural hair will never fade completely away regardless of whether or not it is as popular as it is right now. And that, ladies, is a wonderful thing, trend or not.