The word “nappy” never brings to mind any sort of positive connotation even when I started my healthy hair journey. I noticed some of the newborn naturals trying to reclaim the word the way another popular “n-word” was so proudly reclaimed but unfortunately I just can’t get on board with it.
I spent plenty of my formative years being told my hair was “nappy” and “bad hair” I was ashamed of it and began hiding it away in braids then relaxing it to death was my next course of action, so what it was limp? So what it was uneven? So what it broke every time I combed it? It wasn’t nappy anymore and I finally had good hair and that was the mentality I lived in until I started my healthy hair journey at the age of fifteen.
Nowadays I’ve adapted my own meaning for the word nappy, hair that is unkempt, dry, and generally the face of all that is stereotypical of afrocentric hair and I guess when I put it like that it seems like my definition isn’t much better than that of the one I was brought up with.
I find myself taking extreme offense when that incredibly negative word is attached to the description of someone’s hair; hair that is washed, groomed, and beautifully kept; just because it’s “black” hair.
Personally I prefer it be referred to as either “coily” or “kinky*”. Even though the word “kinky*” put me on the fence at first I came around to it surprisingly fast. Those words just sound way prettier than the word “nappy” and they are the first words I’ve heard to describe African American textured hair in a positive way.
Check out this video where a youtuber expresses her opinion on the word Nappy:
What about you, are you ok with using the word ‘nappy’ to describe your hair?