Let me start by pointing the finger at myself because your girl loves a healthy intelligent argument with a splash of history, a little bit of drama and some honest emotion. We must admit that natural hair and everything that surrounds it is all of that and much more depending on what Facebook group or website you hit up and on what day.
We had a pretty eventful week last week, as a matter of fact if something doesn’t jump off this week, I would personally be very surprised, after all there is still a lot to debate right? “What defines natural hair”, “Can she give me advice when she has a texturizer”, “White girls do not have the same struggle”, “4C girls make less money on YouTube”, “3A girls get more likes on Facebook” and the list goes on and on.
When I started my journey, like many of us I wanted information about how to take care of my hair while it was in its natural state and how to keep it healthy. As the years flew by I realized that I learned so much about the science of hair and how it behaved that even if I was to relax I could still meet my goals this time around.
You see the problem was not that we did not have the information, granted we have much more now along with easier access, but it was the fact that we did not take the time to really figure this thing out for ourselves.
Our culture got in the way of serious education, because while YouTube was not around when I was growing up, we learned a little about hair and hair’s structure in biology class. We all had a huge set of encyclopedia’s that our parents bought for us so that we could do endless research on any topic our teacher threw at us, and if we did not have that, we had the library.
Nowadays we are lucky because we have information at our fingertips with tablets, iPads, iPhones, Google, YouTube and Wikipedia and even more awareness about how products work, what ingredients are better for our healthy strands and just how our hair ticks. However it seems sometimes that we bypass all the information that has to do with caring for our hair to focus more on the emotions behind the movement.
For instance have you ever just thrown out a question about taking care of a specific problem with your hair and somehow the people you are talking to end up in a full blow argument that has nothing to do with your conditioner or your single strand knots?
Maybe if you had just popped the knot out and kept it moving you wouldn’t be in the middle of this 3 hour controversy. (Don’t pop the knot out though, it was just an example 😉 )
Wow, excellent post! I think many of us are well over the natural vs. relaxed vs. wigs debates. My email has been flooded with blog posts dealing with those issues. Don’t get me wrong. The discussion is enlightening and brings necessary awareness, but I would love to see more innovative articles and videos focusing on how to keep hair healthy. Learning the science and history of black hair care may possibly interest most readers.
I really appreciate your article. A little over a year ago, I heat damaged my hair using an over the counter keratin product. Even though I went to a salon and had to get it cut, I continued my destructive hair behavior of flat ironing and blowing drying until even touching or washing my hair made it break. Nine months ago I found this site and I have grown my hair from neck length to the top of my back currently by using the information found on this site. I have relaxed hair, but I read all of the articles and sucked in all of the knowledge. I also became aware of this debate over relaxed vs. natural. I had no idea it even existed to be quite honest. I don’t consider myself trying to fit any kind of image, I just like my hair relatively straight. When I see black women wearing whatever style of hair, relaxed, natural, weave, braids, I just think of it as choice in style and nothing else. I wanted healthy hair and I have managed to achieve that in a relatively short amount of time. Now I am focusing on length retention. This site gave me the knowledge to be able to do that.
Pamela Smith says
I really didn’t understand all the fuss in the first place. Hair is hair….period. If a caucasian woman thinks she can learn something by going on a black hair care site then more power to her. This reminds me of when an actor does something really bad and everyone has to blow it up by talking about it. If we don’t give it wings, it can’t fly. If white women want to ‘infiltrate’ our hair sites, don’t pay them any mind. Don’t read what they say, don’t go on their blogs and don’t view their videos. Eventually, they will go away when they realize that they don’t matter. Some of them NEED our hair care sites because of their hair types but if we stop the nonsense, they will see that they won’t get under our skin and maybe, just maybe, they will start other hair care sites for themselves and just leave is alone. I truly believe that we need to just take a chill pill and calm down. They will NEVER understand our struggles…period, plain and simple. But we can’t teach them if they don’t want to learn. Let’s stop making it about them and go back to making it about us.
You know I have seen too many heated conversations about black women’s hair and how to wear it. I also noticed that most comments posted come from level headed people who can care less about how other black woman choose to wear their hair. Makes me wonder… Where are these negative ideas about black women’s hair really coming from?
The answer is plain and simple Extremist its the people who have a negative
attitude. Instead of standing on common ground they feel that their way is the only way forgetting that there is always anotherway to get where u wanna go.
Adeola Ogunsanya says
My thing is this, though im natural but why does everyone feel that they have to go natural and do the same style as everyone else? I personally believe in more versatile looks such as straight hair, wavy or etc…instead of always doing the same thing like curly hair and afros….just saying
Ni-Ni Henderson says
Of course! This is one of the many irrelevant things we “go so hard for” that will keep us divided, and yield NOTHING in the form of progress in the end.
I, for one, am well & truly TIRED of all this hair drams about what’s natural & what isn’t. In my daily life I don’t hear this mess ! Women just wear their hair the way they want to & that’s that. No arguments,no hassles, no drama. But on the internet it’s a whole different matter. All these “much ado about nothing” & “sweating the small stuff” type arguments, much of which are childish & show the insecurity & latent self hate still stuck in some folks’ minds. I first went natural in the late 60s thru 1981 , before getting curly perms. Back then there was definite hair pride in wearing our huge afros. In fact some girls with loose curls were trying to get kinks to get that look. Even white kids with curly hair grew them. Some folks criticized others for not growing or wearing an afro but by & large the afro days were very upbeat & prideful with no petty arguments even tho we had few products besides grease & water. Here I am natural again, doing the BC in 2009 & there’s all this hassle about hair. IT NEEDS TO STOP !!!
Asha Lewis says
Yes like this one^^ Smh. Let’s just all be happy about rocking our natural hair. Hey be happy if you are relaxed to. I mean hey We are not our hair #IndiaArie. Let’s just be glad we got some. We are blessed for that already.