The Natural Hair Movement: A Historical Perspective

natural hair movementThe natural hair movement is focused on encouraging women with African ancestry to celebrate and enjoy the natural characteristics of their kinky, curly, hair texture. The natural hair movement is represented by a group of African women that provide encouragement, advice, product reviews, hairstyle tutorials and much more to other women that are interested in leaving the creamy crack and going natural.

It’s important to note that the natural hair movement expands beyond the United States in other countries with women of African ethnicities.Curl Centric defines natural hair as relaxer-free hair, meaning that the individual isn’t using creamy crack. It’s important to note that we consider “chemical-free” hair impracticable since water is considered a chemical substance. People of African ancestry generally have natural hair types that can be worn natural, coiled, or curly.

The Term Nappy is Often Considered a Pejorative

“Nappy” is a term that’s been used to describe natural hair since the days of slave trading. When used to emphasize the difference between natural hair and European hair, it took on a derogatory meaning. Today many African American women are reclaiming the word.

There are some women who identify themselves proudly as “nappy girls” and have given up relaxers and other extreme treatments in favor of growing their hair out in its natural state. The potential hairstyles available to naturals range from the very simple TWA to more sophisticated styles like bantu knots. Braids, hair twists and dreadlocks are also common styles.

As you can see opting for natural hair doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning cute hairstyles or even flat ironing your hair. There is no hard-and-fast rule about which products and styling habits are “natural” and which aren’t natural.

nappy hairHistorical Perspective on Natural Hair

It’s useful to examine the complex relationship between women of African heritage and their hair in a retrospective way, working in reverse chronological order.

2005 saw the promotion of an underground, independent documentary titled “My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage” The film won many awards on the independent film circuit and played widely at colleges.

The documentary used years of research to uncover the deeper meaning of the term “nappy.” Covering more than 400 years of history, My Nappy Roots culled the highlights from 200 hours of footage to paint a realistic portrait of Afro hair culture and its journey from Africa to the Americas via the slave trade.

The film’s thorough and unflinching look at the way black hair was manipulated (both literally and metaphorically) made it the definitive work on the subject.

According to tradition, the source of the word “nappy” is tied intimately to the production of cotton on slave plantations. The tuft of cotton which forms on the plant prior to harvesting is called a nap. The term was adapted to described textured hair because of the supposed similarity to the tuft of cotton.

Due to the power disparity between the slave’s culture and that of their masters, straight “white” hair was cast as desirable while natural hair was demeaned. This labeling of “good” and “bad” hair grew particularly divisive as mixed-race children became more common. Natural “nappy” hair was firmly cast as unacceptable.

My Nappy Roots, despite its underground popularity, was never released commercially. The introduction of film on a similar topic (Chris Rock’s 2009 release “Good Hair”) sparked a very well-known lawsuit and finally brought the debate about nappy hair and chemical straighteners into the public spotlight.

Once My Nappy Roots was finally released to wider audiences, the term “nappy” began to spread across national and cultural borders. Now Black women in the US, the UK, France, Africa, and countless other regions were starting to see the beauty inherent in nappy hair.

This emerging cultural shift is challenging the association of nappy hair with ugliness that has been deeply ingrained in many mixed-race cultures, especially within the United States. This has led more women to give up the artificially-imposed mandate that hair has to be straight to be beautiful.

This new enthusiasm for natural hair comes at the same time as a major rise in organic products for hair care. It’s become common knowledge that hair relaxers cause serious damage, including itching, inflammation, broken hairs, burns, and even hair loss.

Although, the natural hair movement still has a long way to go. It is estimated that more than 90% of African American women have had their hair straightened at least once. Relaxers still make-up a significant percentage of cosmetic purchases by African American women.

In earlier decades (1980s), the Jheri Curl became a popular style in the African American community. Celebrities like Michael Jackson and Ice Cube sported the style, popularizing it in the mainstream media.

Ice Cube Jheri Curl Hairstyle
Ice Cube’s year book picture with him rocking a Jheri curl hairstyle.

These were also the years that saw the rise of dreadlocks, which were popularized by Rastarianism and reggae music culture.

Back in the 60s and 70s, racial relations in the United States were tense and strictly segregated. This time of political upheaval and African-American activism saw the rise of more natural hairstyles as a form of political awareness.

Angela Davis, a prominent member of the Black Panther movement and a human rights crusader, sported a famous Afro. The Afro, which was soon adopted by singers and other celebrities, came to symbolize cultural independence for African Americans.

The previous century, stretching back to the end of the Civil War, had been extremely challenging for Black Americans. The thought that straight hair was beautiful hair was increasing gaining steam, leading many individuals to straighten their hair in order to be accepted. In many cases, employment was contingent on treating natural hair to change its appearance.
Erykah Badu

[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Natural Hair Movement Today

As with earlier trends in textured hair, the natural hair movement has gained momentum today thanks to its adoption by some notable celebrities. Examples include Erykah Badu, Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monáe, Solange Knowles, Tracee Ellis-Ross and Viola Davis.

Now that “going natural” has turned into a popular trend, manufacturers, and retailers of hair products are seeing sales of harsh hair-straightening chemicals (i.e. relaxers) rapidly decline.

From an all-time high of more than $750 million in sales, the amount of hair relaxers sold has dropped by more than 25 percent in the last five years.

Some future projections estimate that sales will be only 45 percent of their historic high by 2019. Though this particular type of product has fallen out of favor, women who prefer natural hair are spending more on hair care than ever before.

Suppliers and marketers have certainly not let this fact escape their marketing plans. Consumers with natural hair make up a lucrative market for hair products. Well-known companies and brands are eager to reposition themselves to cater to customers with a goal of going natural.

Relaxer production is being scaled back, and many manufacturers are introducing or promoting products which suit a more natural look instead. The impact of social media on the purchasing decisions of black consumers who go natural cannot be ignored.

YouTube video tutorials are especially important, as novice “naturals” rely on these videos for hairstyle tutorials, recommendations, and product reviews.

The Controversial Side of the Natural Hair Movement

Natural hair has often been controversial, and black women who choose to express their hair’s natural beauty still face unfair treatment today.

There can be significant pushback against naturally curly, protective, and other non-straight hairstyle choices.

Natural hairstyles are sometimes considered “unprofessional,” and it has even been turned into a fireable (or expellable) offense in some venues.


  • Um, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Well, maybe, for you it was “just hair”, but to many of us it is a mental process of no longer perming hair anymore. I’ve hated relaxers my entire life because they burned and never really straightened my hair, but I thought that that was the only way I could manage my extremely(and I do mean extreme) coarse hair. But I mean I got fed up with the images being displayed straight silky even blonde hair on African American women. I mean, to each his own, people can relax their hair if they want, but for me, I choose not to, it was harmful to my hair, scalp, and mind. I thought that i needed the creamy crack, this transition I’m doing to natural is a transitioning of my mind also. I used to think that women with fros looked ridiculous, but now all I can say is ‘Rock on, sista!”. I now embrace my natural kinky, coily, curly hair in its full thickness. But that’s just me.

    • Natural hairs is beautiful so is premed, and weaved hair

      Due to work, school, family, and home responsibly- I currently were my hair in braids with extensions and I don’t judge others who do not were the same things.

      In saying this, I believe the pursuit to a healthier, happier you should not be utilized as tools to degrade or objectify others who have not made the same choices. Let me clarify a few things on my journey with my hair 1981 –(un- straight enable) to 1990( UN- permeable) to 2001(gorgeous )to present “I Wish had that type of hair.”)

      I agree with the original post, from the point of a women who has been through a lot with her hai ir from natural to premed , to weaved: for the pursue of the optimal hair style and I understand the power of hair and how it impacts me on a daily bases from self-esteem to confirmation, to acceptance. Having a sister who has been stricken with a sickness and her ability to run her fingers thru a main weather natural, premed or weaved has been taken awake and she has no decision in the matter… My thoughts, and feelings are “Do you” I think your beautiful no matter what condition your hairs is in
      Again, I agree with the post when did Natural are get this dang serious I applauded those who have taken the necessary step to be what they consider to be free, from the hair stereotypes however to those who have not lets not make this another method for disvaluing their choices…

      • You are all wrong. Natural hair is a part of black culture, everyone’s hair was curly when they were younger, you don’t all of a sudden come out with straight permed hair. So, when African american women have their hair straightened, OK. So what! The natural hair movement is to embrace other African Americans women to embrace and love the curls, they didn’t make it serious you did, the people with the ignorant comments. A perm damages our hair, now too other people, the perm might find their hair suitable to work with. And Miss. Natural hair guest community, if you knew what natural hair movement meant the situation wouldn’t have to be discussed and the reason majority of y’all hair looked wiped out is because of the damage devil the perm, so as I must say right on keiunna Thompson, cause the truth must speak. So in the case, natural hair is a part of culture, and it is not none of y’all say so to tell another African american natural hair woman what she can and cannot stand up for and if you don’t like it then keep your thoughts in your mind, because natural hair is my beauty and if I want to embrace young girls and teens and women to love their curls then that’s my business. And plus think before you speak

        • What exactly is “black culture”? As an AA woman I’d really like to know. You seem to be very knowledgeable about the subject. You also need follow your own advice and think before you speak.
          Also, what exactly are you trying to say here:

          ” And Miss. Natural hair guest community, if you knew what natural hair movement meant the situation wouldn’t have to be discussed and the reason majority of y’all hair looked wiped out is because of the damage devil the perm, so as I must say right on keiunna Thompson, cause the truth must speak. ”

          Everyone who has damaged hair isn’t due to a perm. It could be heat damage or color damage or just damage from neglect. Perms disrupt the molecular structure of the hair yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s damaged.
          Why is it when AA women or women of color wear their hair as God intended, it is called a movement?
          I don’t see any other race calling their natural self a movement.
          Maybe you address it as such because you jumped on a bandwagon and chose to be in your natural state?… I don’t know.
          I am a natural haired woman and although I love the shit out of my hair, I don’t consider it a movement. It’s just the hair I was born with.
          Kudos to everyone who has decided to forgo the creamy crack and be your natural beautiful self.

          P.S. I still do not know what “black culture” is. What ‘things’ constitute “black culture”? Rap music, saggy pants, rims on a ride, natural curly hair?
          These things aren’t just limited to “blacks” Other cultures have natural curly hair, likes rims, wear saggy pants (which I find disgusting), and create and listen to rap.
          Black is not a race by the way.

          • To Liame there is such a thing as black culture. Do NOT confuse Hip Hop culture with black culture. I’ll agree that the only thing that truly divides the human race are blood types and not color. However, there are differences between people from certain regions and backgrounds due to ancestry. But back to the point black culture is not the same as Hip Hop culture. Hip Hip derives from AA people so it is common that they are often pieced together but they are not the only ones allowed to participate in it. No one culture is exclusive but not everyone can experience it. Black culture is not the same as Hispanic culture which you can agree does exist. The excuse that it doesn’t count because they did not originate in the U.S. is unacceptable because neither did Black Americans. Black women embracing their natural hair today is indeed a movement. There are young girls being suspended because their curls are a distraction, women perpetuating self hate because of being picked on for their hair as a child or even an adult. Most children do not choose to have permed hair but it is given to them to be more manageable when their mothers need to do their hair. Nowadays, more black women are embracing their natural hair and throwing out the eurocentric ideas that long, straight and blond are the perceptions of beauty. As someone said above you must understand the movement before you choose to speak on it. I love all types of hair: natural, permed, colored, weaves, braids, etc. Natural hair is a way for black women to conform the ideas of what beauty is. If you’ve been rocking the natural before it became popular kudos to you for loving your hair. But if someone downplays the movement of black women embracing their natural selves then it doesn’t matter if you did it first or don’t like their hairstyles. You just put yourself in the category of pushing negativity toward the black, female community whether you’re natural or not.

    • I so agree with all of the above. I think depending on how your brought up has a lot to do with it ..My mother was a pioneer if you will she always defied hot combs / relaxers. My sister &I were taught to love ourselves for better because that’s what God gave us. Being an only child for six year’s I longed to be accepted by my peers. That was most important, now …it is not. But We must realize for some it’s more than “just hair. ” I celebrate the hair movement, why because many of Our people were enslaved to the hot combs /relaxers through no choice of their own! They didn’t have a parent lovenly speak positive over their their hair. Be happy for those who’ve been set free! I ‘m happy for them. Celebrate their new found awareness, love for their natural beauty. Love those that still perm, weave or wig! I’ve done them myself except weave. You really cannot walk a person’s miles unless you’ve been in they’re shoes.

      • I whole heartedly agree with you Susie especially where you comment about not all people having “a parent lovingly speak positively over their hair”. My mum was always very proud of our hairitage and braided my hair and wore hers styled, albeit naturally; however my mum died when I was very young and living in a very white environment I no longer had an ‘afro hair role model’ for me to learn from. As such I had perms, weaves and relaxers (I was actually permanently scarred from relaxer).

        On reaching my late 20’s and having moved to an area where there is a black community, I began to see a wider variety of afro hair styles and in fact I did feel liberated! I was able to learn to channel the natural styles my mum did and rid myself of the influences I had grown up trying to emulate.

        I am now in my 30’s and have been chemical free for 8 years having said that I only stopped using GHD’s 6 months ago. While I am of the opinion that you should rock what works for you – natural or not, I personally feel really empowered by embracing my natural hair as it is an extension of me and part of my hairitage that I had previously kept under warps. One love ladies.
        JMS – London

      • Your mother was not a pioneer. Black women…nothing you do with your hair makes you a pioneer or special.

        It’s too bad. If as many of you black women got of your butts and voted instead of attacking each other over your stupid hair, this conversation would never have to be had.

        You people know who your true enemy is: white religious conservative bigots (well, ok, as a white person may I should note there are religious bigots of all races – Herman Cain, Ben Carson? Does anyone think these men are really black? Can we get security on the premesis? I want paternity tests on those men!) who control just enough of one party to make your life a living heck.

        Yet you guys spend most of your time whining, complaining ,talking about hair, whining about how black lives matter… but then don’t turn out and do a damn thing you need to change the world for the better.

        So, yes, black ladies, lets all just whine whine whine. You’re all victims victims victims until the end. And if you are black, remember, the black community prides loyalty above reality at every turn. No individuals. Content of character? Admit it. The women commenting on here…you are all so f-ing clueless and a shame that instead of carrying on MLK’s dream, you gave up.

        Black lives Matters protesters showing up at DEMOCRATIC debates. The one party that has supported black people for generations and black people are showing up to heckle…Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? Sickening. Disgusting. Black people protesting the people who are out there champening your causes?

        Heck, Hillary even MET with the PROTESTORS and talked to them. She agreed with everything they said but she said one thing that angered them…she told them now that they know what they don’t want and what they don’t like, they need to come up with a solution, ideas on how to make it better…make suggestions.

        See, what Hillary was saying is the same thing she should be saying to every one of us. Americans have become lazy, whiny BRATS. If you don’t like the way something is, FIX IT. Stop running your damn mouths. Yes, I know that is one thing a black women can do better than any other race/gender combination but the time for talking NS has ended and the time for you to step up and actually do some of the work of turning things around.

        Sorry ladies, no more “wah wah wah, my hair…wah wah wah.”

        your black. You don’t age nearly the way we white people do and I have no doubt slavery gave American blacks an inner fight and strength few on this planet could understand. I am sure part of that strength is having to go through the hatred you all face. I don’t know.

        What I do know is that when black protestors get mad at a politician for putting extra time aside, just to hear their concerns and to promise to champion their cause of reforming the way police do their job as well as the way judges do theirs when sentencing young black people. However changing things takes more than just a little protesting and screaming at one politician who agrees with you.

        Do you people have any real skills to show us or when Hillary asks you next time if you have any ideas on how to make race relations better, are you black people going to get mad at her again? How dare she ask your opinion right? Or do you think those black people were just so surprised that a powerful white person actually wanted to listen to them. Either way, black lives matters has been doing a big disservice to the black community regarding the way it is attacking the one party that lost the entire south fighting the civil rights movement.

        And few of you women ever think about that. You spend more time worrying about your stupid hair.

        • And you believed commenting on a thread about natural hair was the best way for you to communicate the idea that black people as a race are doing nothing to help their own people? That we have no power and must rely on white people in power for help? My biggest issue isn’t on your attack but that you never mention exactly what it is that you are doing for our community. Do you have the belief that because you’re white this isn’t your fight? That we won’t allow you to help? My biggest pet peeve with people of all races is when they comment on a situation offering all types of advice, especially those oozing racism, privilege, and ignorance. Aaron, unless you have a master plan, truly helpful suggestions, or any intention in joining the many blacks in the U.S. who have been suffering from all types of injustice for decades through education, employment, police brutality, the prison system, etc., get off your high horse and let us black women discuss the issues we face concerning our hair. Because there was a time, and it still happens today, when a white man or woman would criticize and dehumanize black woman not for their skin alone but also because of the texture of their hair. And it’s a slap in the face to see certain hairstyles deriving from African American culture appropriated by the same people who thought less of us and give no credit where it’s due. Do your research! And have yourself a blessed day. I look forward to searching for a man named Aaron who is contributing to the Black Lives Matter Movement and fighting for racial equality all across the board.

        • That stung. You have no real way of knowing if these particular women were voters or not.
          But the real reason it stung, is because I could have typed it myself. About these women. And about the Hispanic community and now the White female community.
          I wish your wake up call had worked some kind of magic bullet. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

    • I agree with this 100%! I became natural because I want healthy, thick hair again. It works for me. I love being natural, however, what is with all of these Nazi Naturals? I can’t do this or that? Relaxed sisters don’t love themselves? Wigs/ Weaves indicate that we want to be more like Euorpeans? Please!! Stop finding reasons to tear each other down. Why can’t we as a race just support one another? Just because you are natural does not make you better than another sister. And some of you long term naturals are just as bad, you are mad because it became a movement! That nasty term “angry black woman” seems to really be prevalent in this relaxed/ natural debate.

    • I Luv All The Different Dialogue & Person Journey With Our Beautiful Natural Hair. My Motto iz If U Can’t Eat it Don’t Put It On Ya Hair & Scalp Ouch :) Let Me Ask U A Question Would U Eat Lye? No Right So Why Would U Feed it 2 Ya Skin aka Scalp & Hair Which Ya Precious Brain iz Underneath & Why Would & Feed Lye 2 Ya Any Part of Ya Body. This Relaxed or Natural Debate iz Not A Debate it Should be a Crusade 2 Make Sure Our Beautiful Black Sistah’s Learn That The Hair Creamy Crack iz Wack & It Does The Body Bad Bcuz U Feed’n Ya Body Harsh Chemicals & Toxic Glues Which U Wouldn’t Eat I am Study Anatomy & Physiology 4 My Board Certified Master Herbalist & I Am On The Integumentary System which iz Hair Skin & Nails & Did U Know Our Hair Produce Keratin So why iz There a Kertain so Called Natural Relaxer That U Have 2 Wear A Mask When Apply’n 2 The Client’s Hair Turn off The Air Conditioner & Open All The Doors Now Where iz That Natural? & Did U Know That The Sebaceous R Very Important & They Secrete Oil 2 The Hair Follicle They Release the Secretion which keeps the Skin Moist & Lubricated which iz Sebum. They help keep U from or Protect U from Bacterial Infection From Invaders & They May Offer Communication Thru These Sebaceous gland prime example: When There iz a Bunch of Women n da House & They R On Their Period @ The Same Time That iz The Communication Communicated From The Sebaceous Gland U Black Woman R Fry’n & Feed’n Glue 2 This Very Important Gland on Our Hair This iz Not A Debate Now This Becomes A Health Risk & Concern. Did U Know That The Slaves Were Forced The Same Lye Black Women Put On Their Hair 4 Beauty The Lye Was Put On The Slaves 2 Clean Them They Would Be Put’n The Lye on Their Hair & Scalp & The Slaves Would Scream & Holler Bcuz it Was Burn’n Their Scalp Then They Would Shave Their Head Bald. Here iz da Link: No Other Race of Women Compromise Their Health 2 Look Like Their Off Springs The Black Women iz The Mother of Civilization & It’s Time She Recognize & It’s Up 2 Us 2 Educate The Black Women That Don’t Know Their Hair iz Regal Their Crown & Glory & Ya Crown Chakras Should Not B Fried Dyed & Laid 2 The Side With Any Harmful Harsh Chemical So Why Lye 2 Ya Hair & Scalp When U Can Feed it The Truth Peace & Natural Hair Grease Much Luv & Light Alright :)) “EACH ONE TEACH ONE EACH ONE REACH ONE ASHE’ :))

    • A mental process???? Wow.

      That’s what she is talking about. That is why she is right. You’re (as in the ones seriously thinking it is a mental process) so focused on hair you’re not paying attention to what’s under the skull.

  • Wow. I guess I never really thought about it. I mean really thought about it as far as, it is just hair. I see the authors point of view as well as the two others who have commented. I too feel that it was a transition of not only my hair but my life. I was/am no longer captive to regulated hair appointments or the like. It is kind of like when I stopped wearing acrylic nails…when my kids were younger my nails were long and healthy, to the point the nurse cut them when I had my son because she felt I would scratch him. Then I went acrylic for a weddng and didn’t go back for several long years. I decided to make a transition to my natural nails after figuring out how much I was spending on fills and having to regulate myself to a biweekly process. It was freedom and liberating, and just like with my natural hair journey it was a process.

    So I said all of that to say this. To each his own. God made us all in His image. It is up to us to embrace that and appreciate it. I struggle now, a little, with my TWA, not the hair itself, but how I think it looks to others…and that is the problem that alot of us have, worrying about others.So….my hubby said it the best and I try to rewind his words when I am not feeling particulary “pretty”…you are beautiful just they way you are…however you are….whenever you are….only if you believe it!

  • I understand both sides of the issue; for some, it is ‘just hair’. If you never had those kinds of hair issues, I commend you in your self and social security. But for others, it’s breaking free from the chains of mental slavery. Historically and up to this very day, there are MANY who think kinky/nappy/wooly hair is ugly and undesirable. No, natural hair is not a new thing. But for later generations, it’s a big leap to take, in many more ways than one. My parents are from MS, and their experience with dark vs light, nappy vs straight, big nose vs small nose, etc. was something they were immersed in, aware and unaware. It took my mom a couple of years to lay off me to ‘go do something to my head’. There will always be ‘rogues’ in every group. Those naturalistas who think if you aren’t natural, then you must be self-hating. My opinion is that they are so drunk off of the joy and exuberance of ‘being free’, they want everyone else to share in that feeling. I don’t have that kind of time to care about why someone does or doesn’t go natural. I respect a person’s choice to do what they think is best for them. I went natural because the damage from relaxers and curling irons would not let my hair be great! I will be the first to say it wasn’t easy. I had to deal with texture I was never familiar with. And it took time and patience. My alternative was to go back to the ways of the past, but that was never an option for me.

    I guess I’d just like to say, if someone is so joyous about their hair freedom, why try to steal their joy? And if someone is happy to continue to ‘lay it bone straight’, then let them be.

    • “They are so drunk off of the joy and exuberance of ‘being free’, they want everyone else to share in that feeling.” —- Yep. I was like that at first. I was trying to make my sister see, like: “Don’t you see? It’s soooo freeing and you can go running when you want. Sweat out your hair when you want. Don’t have to be on a schedule. But now I don’t care. I am just happy to be free again.

      • This is soo funny to me. I agree w the author. Its just hair no matter how u look at it. Women do the most in the nh community. Just bc u change ur hair doesnt mean all of the sudden u become enlightened. Im so over it! Ladies get over yourrselves seriously get over yourself. Some of these comments are soo dramatic and ridiculous. Umm so because u wear ur hair natural you dont have mental issues from slavery… Lol thats funny.

        • Yvonne, I agree… Im a dude with dreds and majority of females think I have to date a female with the natural look… really? Im not Sampson so cutting my hair is not a problem. I have friends that think hair is apart of your mental resolution, NOT!… Its just hair, and its dead anyway so why cry over it… SMH at the movement… read a book people!

        • I agree about the nh community and the comments some are very ridiculous it almost start to sound cultish to me, I decided to relax recently because I want a change and the nh community has become a turn off for me. I love my hair like I said I want a change but I have more to worry about than being free because of a hair style, Im more concerned with being free when I see we are recognized for our intelligence instead of big hair.

  • While I understand that “it’s just hair” I wonder if your really understanding the deeper “roots” of African American hair obsession. I mean where did you grow up? Women of color have always been pushed to where their hair permed, straight, whatever. For a women to wear her hair naturally makes a strong statement about self acceptance. Although, it wasn’t a big deal for YOU please don’t be little the myriad of complex reasons why a women decides to go natural. Division within the natural and non-natural hair communities is an overblown issues and another way for people to make something out of nothing. We KNOW that hair is a big thing for many African American women and acting like it not, don’t make it so. What I think your trying to say is that we all need to accept each other as we are. Well take your own advice and accept that for SOME of us it’s more than just hair. Peace.

    • “We KNOW that hair is a big thing for many African American women…” — not true. In my family it wasn’t. My father wouldn’t let us go to the salons, but all my friends went but it didn’t make me less popular. I started going to the salons once I got out of high school and hated how it ruled my life. I wanted my old way of life back. I felt so free when I didn’t have that to worry about.

      Some of us need to worry about health and weight the way we do about our hair.

      • For most of us it was a big deal. I remember when allowing your new growth to show was practically a sin to some.

      • Ok, so I’m 2 years late, but exactly what you said. My Daddy has always wanted his girls to be natural. I cut my hair off and he congratulated me on it, but going natural has become less about hair to me and more about health. I’m more aware of what I put on and in my body now.

  • This is exactly WHY I DID IT!!! And I had got a relaxer two weeks before too!! I was just fed up because I love running and I would put if off it I just got a touch-up and I hated it.

    I am referring to this:

    “I had a relaxer touch up two weeks before I cut it all off. My reason was simple I was working out and was tired of making my exercise schedule conform with my hair needs. I decided my body was more important.”

  • The overall article is understandable but i guess i only disagree with certain parts.
    Hair is not just hair. To women in general (not just black women) hair is the one thing you’re going to make sure looks right, even if the rest of you looks crazy. I wouldn’t belittle someone elses journey, just because I was in disagreement with how others are deciding to find their natural hair. Just because you’re transition was one of convienience, does NOT mean that it can’t mean more or stand for more to other women. I know personally my hair was only the physical representation of my personal, mental, and emotional “transition” at the time to care more about what was going in and on my body… and I don’t feel that just because my transition was a way for me to get to know me, that it should be viewed as unneccesary because the timeframe falls under some sort of world wide movement. i guess I still don’t understand how the behavior of some can cause you to say you hate the movement as a whole. Im amazed that something so seemingly miniscule as hair has brought so many of us together…and yet pulled so many of us apart from each other… i do agree that the divisiveness is just ridiculous, but at the same time, I understand the overall meaning that the “hair community” stands for.

  • I, myself, have been natural way before this recent natural movement came about (1999), but when i went natural there was no googling or you tube to help me understand and embrance what GOD gave me. I was flying blind, but I am so happy, especially for my younger sisters who are embracing their true natural beauty. The younger generation has encouraged me to embrace my hair and I have learned so much. I see it like this. GOD said in his word’ the first shall be last, and the last shall be first’. Black women have been last for such a long time (in the category of hair), only WE know the struggles and frustrations of others portraying and viewing our hair as negative, but for the FIRST TIME we are embracing it, and to me we are embracing each other, and can finally look at each other not in hate or competition but a sense of “Go ahead Girl with it!” I agree with ‘to each their own’ if you wanna do a perm do it! If you don’t, don’t! But let the movement be and let GOD take it where it wants to go. We need encouragement, not discouragement. This IS a big deal, because its a personal journey, and it is more than just hair…it’s SELF-LOVE!

  • It all boils down to the very one thing each of you (above, including the author) have said in one way or the other in your responses, it’s a matter of choice, lifestyle, and wanting a change. When did being “Natural” become a movement? Short of back in the 60s/70s when having a Afro was the “in” thing, I think we’ve all at one point or another transition between being natural. Usually that happens when we’re in between relaxers or deciiding on our next hair style choice, so we either braided for a while, or just not relax for a bit. Wouldn’t you agree ladies? For me, my decision to not use the relaxer anymore was a combination of getting older-my hair thinning out; also thinning out because of too much relaxer; my trying to decide how I wanted to wear my hair and LOVE it and because I work out quite often – running being my main way to exercise. Then I was seeing other women with their hair natural; then suddently it became a “movement” because the news/entertainment/lifestyle television people decided that was what it was – as if it was a phase! But for us, we have each been doing it one way or another for a long time now. So getting offended at this “movement” is understandable but possibly wasteful energy. We should enjoy seeing anyone rock their hair any way they want to. Because we know that having a great hairstyle that suits us, is one of the best thing EVER!

  • I will have to say that this blog post alone made me join this sight. I understand what you are really trying to say. I did not really take offense to it as much as some may have. I love going on different sites and soaking up all of the tips and advise being offered. When I decided to do my big chop almost 3 weeks ago, I just wanted some tips on products, styles, care, etc. I actually did a big chop 12 years ago but quickly grew my hair back out and started to relax again because I did not know what do to with my hair. I hated every thing about my relaxed hair, the chemical burns, the “touch ups” every 6 to 8 weeks, and only looking good for one week after dropping $60-$80 to get my hair done. This time I wanted to see what other sisters were doing with natural hair. Some of the information is completely overwhelming and yes, a tad bit serious, so I can see where the author of this blog was coming from. That being said, I love all of the information out here. I take what I can use and tailor it to myself. When it comes to hair, I want simple and free, nothing complicated.

  • My opinion on the “controversy” as there in fact is definitely one, is that African-Americans have fallen for the bologna. As folks now concern themselves with a “natural” hair movement the multi-billion dollar hair care industry is revving up on the “natural” products.

    Folks are blogging, and trying anything by anyone to tame, “naturally relax”, condition, revitalize, soften, texturize……their new “natural” hair.

    I have been “natural for nearly 9 years, and I must say that one’s time could be better spent on creating non-profit organizations to feed the poor, the homeless, the nations of color that are suffering and being supported primarily by white owned non-profit organizations. This is, but yet another distractor, and people of color accross the globe are suffering as we watch our hair.

    The Bible says that without a vision the people perish. Our hair looks great, but our socio-economic condition looks lousy, and does not afford us to fixate on hair. The vision needs focus and expansion, from hair to sustainable global development. Our time and talents can be put to better use. In the mighty name of Jesus, I wish every woman of color, the Lord’s blessings, and encourage them to begin blogging about how we can each make a difference in the social fabric of Afirican-American and overall human existence.

    • Really? Some of us pray, and others pray and then take action. You can’t start non-profit without money. And it all starts locally with natural hair products. That’s the first step. The top 10 most used natural hair products were started in some black womans kitchen. (Oyin, Carols Daughter, Miss Jessies, Kinky Kurly, Shea Moisture etc.)

      I don’t think people really realize exactly how much money that little raggedy Korean beauty supply store is making down the street. Pray in that general direction. One can only imagine if we were able to not only retain but invest that kind of wealth back into our communities, how much better off we would all be. If we could just stop finger-pointing and hating, and start collaborating, maybe we’d get somewhere.

  • I think it’s a beautiful movent and it’s really you’re choice I don’t look down on my sisters no matter what they decide to do. But I myself have found freedom in no longer weaving braiding and everything else that we do. I personally love my hair locked and wished my mom never relaxed my hair not only did it give me freedom but a better sense of self. I eat differently I think differently I care more about my health I find myself more confident and this is just my personal experience I don’t want to knock down anyones choices but fr me it was the best decision in my life which led me to a better and wiser self. And really shouldn’t seperate us as a community but bring us closer as a people.

  • Wow, before you criticize these “evil natural hair natzi’s” for being on high horses, you may want to think about getting off your own. The author mentioned that she had to “learn to love” her natural hair. Well, that’s what all of us are doing, and that’s what “the movement” is all about. It’s a shame that because she feels she’s farther down the road than the rest of us, that she can negate the whole “natural hair movement” as BS.

    People’s insecurities get the best of them all the time, and one when one woman says “Natural Hair Rules!” another hears “shame on you, stop weaving/relaxing.” Sure, there are those that can get a little overzealous/obnoxious in our self-love, and even come off as arrogant. To our community I say check yourselves: natural hair ISN’T the gospel, and you’re not trying to convert the sinners.

    Honestly I think it’s a generational issue. Folks that have had the luxury of seeing their natural hair as a child, not getting a perm until high school or have been natural since all the way back in the 70’s either are proud of what is going on now or are like whatever…its just hair. For the younger generation that grew up with kiddie perms since ’91, and everyone in their family with a lace-front or relaxer, dealing with bullet proof quick-weave video chicks, and the whole natural hair=masculine baggage issues – its a whole different emotional ball-game.

    I couldn’t even imagine going to elementary/middle school with other black children today and having the stress of having natural hair with all the pressure of little girls wanting weaves/braids and relaxers. Back when I was growing up, it was the hot-comb, or the cornrows… those were the options. People that don’t empathize with those who take “the journey” a little more to heart are just being short sighted.

    • i think she meant the article for people who are looking down on others now that they are natural..not because they are embracing their hair. she is saying hair is hair. it doesnt define who we as a people are and that we should be able to do what the hell we want to do with it and not have other within the our race act like we are selling out or whatever…she isnt attcking the movement as she said in the article. just trying to bridge the new gap thats being formed.

  • I haven’t experienced the elitist attitude that you speak of in the natural hair community. I am almost 1 year natural, and some of the nicest people I have encountered have been in the natural hair community. I love the comraderie and their willingness to share knowledge concerning how to maintain and take of natural hair. It hasn’t been easy, but I thank God for the natural hair community, because their wealth of knowledge has helped me a great deal in my natural hair journey. It’s unfortunate that you’re so critical of a movement so influencial in a lot people’s lives including my own. I was one of those people who thought about going natural for a whole year before actually doing so. Maybe it was as simple as a thought for you, but for some of us, it wasn’t so cut and dry and that’s understandable. The majority of us spent most of lives including the better part of childhood with only one way of rocking hair and that’s relaxed, so you can imagine that going natural is a step in unknown territory that can be quite unnerving. At any rate, I eventually made the decision, and I’m glad that I did. And yes, going natural meant more to me than just the hair (What’s wrong with that??). It forced me to face my personal self-image minus any straight hair to hide behind and see myself in a different light that I would eventually think is beautiful. Maybe it was just about hair to you, but that doesn’t mean you should belittle someone else’s experience. Your experience is just that, YOUR experience.

  • I totally understand your point and can relate. When I went natural there were not as many people talking about natural hair like it is now. I had almost every natural hair book that had been published. When I first bc’ed, I actually was ashamed to wear my natural hair to work (2001) for fear of what others would say…and that was in the ATL. But I am so way over that now. I consider myself a veteran! :)

    I learned to love and accept my hair as it is and I do believe that when it is all said and done, it is just hair. We can change it any day of the week. I BC’ed, locked, then BC’ed again and I had no problems switching up. I told myself, it’s hair and it will grow back. Now I focus more on maintaining healthy hair. I am not a part of any movement. Well, maybe the healthy (mind, body and spirit) movement. :)

    A nice young lady on YouTube (Locumentaries) did a video entitled “Natural Hair Porn Addiction.” She makes valid points. I thought of this video as I was typing my comment.

    Great points and good read!

    Take care,

    Evelyn P.

  • Wow! when I wrote this I knew it would incite emotions and I was correct. Everyone seems to miss the fact that I am not belittling anyone’s journey but speaking on the movement as a whole. I love the information that was not around 15 years ago when I let go of my relaxer. I am concerned with the superiority that comes with natural hair now. My stance remains the same. Everyone makes a choice about their hair and no one should be treated differently because of the choice of hairstyle.
    Once again to every women that chooses natural hair I am happy, to every woman that relaxes her hair you are beautiful, to every woman with a wig or a weave work it girl. At the end of the day it is up to you to love the look you choose because that is all it is a look.
    You are more than the few inches above on the top of your being. You are spirit, intelligence and love and that is more important than some hair.

    • But Ms. Louise, don’t you see that each individual journey and all resources that out there for naturals now make up a way bigger part of “The Movement” than the MINORITY of naturals walking around with superiority complexes? The thousands of women who have been and continue to be in many ways ‘delivered’ from the conk have been able to use this ‘movement’ as encouragement to take that step for themselves. If anything naturals are still largely a minority at least in the states, and many feel like they have to constantly justify their hair choices because everyone from family and friends to the television and magazines tell us (and have been telling us forever) that our natural hair is wrong, unkept, unprofessional, and outright ugly. For many of us new naturals, having a community of like-minded individuals (even if it’s digital) is invaluable to helping us gain the confidence in resolve to continue on our journey. And if we can influence others great, but I believe that old saying about catching flies better with honey than with vinegar, and in my opinion the natural hair ‘movement’ is wayyyy sweeter than you think it is.

  • The thing is i’ve been natural 90% of my life (relaxer was like 3rd grade but by 5th i was natural) and all those ladies that had relaxed hair would tease me from middle school to high school. They would say I was nappy and Now look at them joining the movement. Now that everyone is deciding to make a “life style choice”, they are joining the band wagon. Well i’m glad they making a healthy choice but they should not scorn other women for choosing to stay relaxed or wear weaves. We will see how long this trend lasts… Just like how all fashions come back around… here we have the fro’s coming back around. We’ll see how long it lasts. . .

  • Intersting veiwpoints from all sides. It’s great that we have all these resources to pull from online that keep us encouraged and give us tools and information to help us in our natural hair lifestyle! I also feel that even though I choose to wear my hair natural, I have no right to look down upon someone who does not. Besides, I used to relax so who am I to tell someone that they are “wrong”. I think we need to stick together and support each other no matter what we decide to do with our hair. Let’s not be divided over this hair thing!

  • The entire issue with this debate is that we continue to group ourselves together so much just because we share the same skin color. To be honest that’s where the line for me stops. We have this “group, “we,” “crab-in-barrel” mentality that forces people to force their experience on others. I belong to the “it’s just hair” school but I recognize that for others it is more. But the key is really just accepting who you are and accepting everyone else’s struggle, but not trying to force one school of thought on to the other.

  • This article is the story of my hair!! Changing to natural was one of the most serious decisions that I’ve ever made because of my thoughts on how I would be percieved by the public. The day when I decided to go natural , I couldn’t even walk down the street without the people looking at me strangely! I even had people coming up to me and asking me “What happened to your hair?” “Are you sick?” I have to admit that made me feel really bad until I saw this sister on CNN that runs a Natural hair salon in Atlanta GA . She was saying that we need to be proud of our beauty! She was also trying to tell White people why we go thur what we as natural sisters go thur!! I tell you my life changed after that day and now I’m holding my head up high as I walk down the street!! Yes I am!!

  • I haven’t had any perm in my hair in over five years; I had been using perm since around the fourth grade and it was finally beginning to thin my hair and had changed the texture. (I was in my late 40’s). I’ve had thick, coarse hair always; it was great and held a curl and style…I decided to stop using perm, and instead found a great beautician who can press THE mess out of my hair; it still had the look of a perm and was growing healthy and great and in summer because I sweat, I would put it into fabulous kinky twists that looked great. A recent illness caused my hair to really thin and fall out; I’ve been trying more natural looking styles as I have no hair to to press and I am really loving it. How you wear your hair is a personal choice and I think people should do as they like without judging others’.

  • Thank you for this wonderful post! I also experienced disgust and antagonism back in the 90’s when I decided to let my hair go natural (and mind you it was for religious reasons). It’s funny now, many of the same women who looked at me with disgust then, are all for natural hair now. I’ve noticed something too, back in the 60’s and 70’s it was popular for black women to be natural. The 80’s came and then the girls who were natural, became women with perms, and exposed their daughters to the the perm, resetting it as a standard of beauty (remember the lye back in the 50’s?). Now the daughters have grown into women, and now they don’t want the perm. And in this whole process there is always one girl permed/natural (or weaved or wigged) who didn’t follow the elitist trend and was always left out. This needs to stop. Whatever a black woman does to her hair to make herself feel free and beautiful is her business. What’s most important is keeping the hair healthy. Everyone at every level needs to stop the elitism (whether pro-weave; pro-perm; or pro-natural), and admire the fact that as group we are really blessed to have as many hair options and styles to choose from to reflect our diverse beauty.

  • The issue is not as serious with naturals, relaxers, weaves in the U.K. as it is now in America as we are still raving about lace front wigs and the small minority are exploring our natural textures . For me personally the decision was an accident due to relaxers taking out my hair when I was 12 and throughout secondary school life I was teased and bullied because my hair didn’t look good, regardless whether it was relaxed or natural. Now at 18 finally stumbling on this ‘movement’ has saved me hiding my hair under hats for the rest of my life, I have learned to really love the diversity of our hair and move onto higher things in life. Even if hair is a main focus for many people we should have other things going for us in our own life. An example of what the original poster mentioned of her exercise regime getting in the way of her hair maintenance. Having hair looking good is a bonus if your lifestyle is up to par, and that applies to all whether relaxed or natural.
    I see this ‘movement’ as an extra bonus for a black girl or women in this sick world to accentuate there beauty and bring us one step closer together whether it be spiritually or physically.

  • Hello all. I have been down every road with my hair. Natural, relaxed, jeri curl (my hair dresser used the bigger rollers so it resembled naturally curly hair), braids w/ and without extensions,full sewn on weaves, partial weaves, wigs, ponytail pieces, and just about every other style except locks(not brave enough for locks yet). Right now I am tex-laxed. To be honest I get bored easily so it all works for me. My hair did grow longer when I was natural about 4 inches past my neck but it was a horror to keep up with. I would wear afros, single braids, cornrows, and braid outs. I couldnt do twists of any kind no matter who did it they would always come loose. With braids my hair would frizz after like 2 days even using a satin scarf and keeping it moisturized. I respect everyone no matter how they want to wear they’re hair as long as they keep it up. To me seeing someone with natural hair thats grungy and not well kept is like seeing someone with relaxed hair (not transitioning) that hasn’t touched up or washed it. Even a person with a weave thats been in for weeks or months. Trust me I know natural hair gets frizzy and can look like it has not been tended to the untrained eye but I can tell. As of now I have been texlaxed for about 6 months and I like it so far. My hair is about 2 inches past my shoulders because I did not trim when I was natural I cut a couple inches off. I was natural for 7 years I embraced it but it didn’t give me that feeling of freedom everyone is talking about. So I don’t think its about becoming natural or embracing what you have naturally its about what makes YOU happy. If your thing is fake nails weaves false eyelashes and a ton of make up then go for it if it truly makes you feel good. We all do things to enhance our beauty make-up, shaving, earrings ect. That doesn’t mean we forget who we are or where we come from. We drive cars and use man made deodorant. Happy expHAIRimenting everyone. :)

  • I cant even tell you how surprised I was to find there were so many other ladies going natural. I just wanted to know how to braid when I went on YouTube to learn how. I was so excited to see not only could I learn how to braid after 33 Years, I could get tips on how to care for and manage my hair. It is, JUST HAIR, “BUT IT’S OUR, and we are learning and sharing about it together. Most of us don’t know our native language but we can always talk hair in any tongue. Most of all I feel supported in my decision to wear the hair that God gave me naturally. I have love for all my sista’s whatever their hair choices, our hair is so versatile we can do it all. For me wearing my hair straight is a style not a chemical change. It’s stronger, shiner, thicker, softer and so much more. I LOVE it!!

  • I agree. I think when anything is turned into a cliche it’s bad. My hair isn’t permed, I cut the perm off last year but I simply wasn’t keeping my perms up, my hair was breaking off and I honestly wanted to do something new. I did pray about it but I pray before I do much of anything so I wasn’t trying to be deep for no reason, praying is just what I do lol. Anyway, I somewhat admire women that can keep their perms up! I couldn’t do it! I’ve had plethora of hairstyles and keeping it short works for me. Right now I’m letting it grow out so I’m wearing wigs, braids n all that good stuff but I’ve come to the conclusion of you do what works for you not what the movement calls for. I don’t going natural is some kind of black pride, black rebirth thing, nor do I think it should be. I feel like it’s turning into a religion. What actually bothers me more to no end is the “my baby’s got good hair” look. It seems like a lot of black people are going to great lengths to get their child’s hair to be curly or appear curly. It’s the most annoying thing. Every black celebrity that has a child has the child walk around with a mop top. I have a curly wig that I absolutely love but this whole curly haired baby thing is tired. I know a lot of children have soft, curly hair textures but not every child.

  • Yep. I feel the same way myself. Natural since 1990 or 1991 (I can’t remember. It’s not like I wrote it down), when my hair started to break off because I put a Jheri curl over a relaxer. Cut it off. Discovered that conditioner made my short fro curl. Learned about adding gel soon after and the rest is history. I’m tickled by the comments these days: “Do you like Jill Scott?” “When did you decide to go natural” — around the time you were born, baby girl… etc.

    I do look at the relaxed chicks and shake my head, but just cause I NEVER want to go there again: way to many sores on my scalp from relaxer in the past!! But, I don’t get the pseudo-religious aspects about this.

    Like you said: it’s just hair.

  • I have been natural for a year. Im not going to sit here and bash females with perm hair. Just because your perm burnt your scalp off, it doesnt mean it did it to everyone else. I had very LONG, SILKY, SOFT HAIR when I had my perm! To be honest with u I loved getting my little 7 dollar box perm every other month and had my hair in the wind! Absolutely loved it! But for 2011 I said I was going to make a change. I wanted to become a better, healthier, and stronger person. I wanted to change from my head down to my feet! I started off on Jan 7th … I shaved all my hair off. To be honest with u I didnt really research on natural hair. I didnt even know what it meant to be natural… Until my hair started growing back curly. Wanna talk about ignorant huh? But its ture! I love my hair now. But I wont say I wont never put a perm in my hair ever again. I just wanted a change! ITS JUST HAIR! get over it! Everyone ALWAYS want to put people in different groups and then have the nerves to look down on somebody. Hair doesn’t make u no better than the person beside u or a million miles away! Now shake your head to that.

    Oh n still happily rock my weave and wigs. I feel GREAT about myself. Weave, Wigs, Relax or Natural hair! I am God child! And dag on I’m BEAUTIFUL and I KNOW IT.

    Love and light <3

  • I cant speak for other Black women but I LOVE my natural hair. Ever since I went natural Ive been getting alot more attention and compliments from men telling me how beautiful my hair looks and Ive been getting more respect from people in general because of the confidence I have within myself and not trying to hide who you are behind fake horse hair weaves and nasty, stinky relaxers. I hate relaxers because they burn your scalp off and can cause permanant hair damage that hinder hair growth. I chose to stop hiding behind that everyday Halloween costume of trying to look White and just accepted who I am. Now I can go swimming and play in rain puddles and not have to worry about my hair getting wet. :) LOL

  • Hair is beautiful. Natural hair, processed hair, weaved hair, etc. And yes, I’ve done it all.
    I’ve been processed since I was five (YES FIVE). It was a choice of convenience that my mother made as a way to handle my tender-head with long, thick hair. In college I tried the natural look as a way of a convenient and budget friendly option. And now I proudly wear a weave – again, out of convenience. It’s disconcerting to me how finger pointers quickly accuse others who exercise their options as not being proud of their natural selves (and trying to look white) all the while, they manipulate the natural state of their hair with regimens of oils, creams, waxes, blow dryers, flat irons, rubber bands, etc. to create styles that are more appealing to them. But wait, what happened to that pride in ones self? While locs are beautiful, that’s not the natural state of hair and to exercise a different option requires wearers to cut them off. So be proud of your natural hair, as I have been of my relaxer, my natural hair, AND my weave. We all make choices based on just that…our choices. I am excited that my choice allows me to dance in the rain, workout, swim, dance and anything else I want to do with little thought of how it will look afterwards if I need to go to a professional or after five event afterwards. So for those who feel excited or liberated, congratulations, I’m excited with you. But when your excitement for self leads you to judge others and degrade them by liking their hair to horses and accuse them of self hatred I really have to wonder if it’s a false sense of positivity and consciousness that doesn’t extend to others who don’t think like you. As the author pointed out, with all the things in society that divide us, why use something as trivial as the choices a person a person makes about their hair as a cause for more division?

  • I agree with the author as far as this movement not being so serious to me. Yes I LOVE being natural, but it wasn’t such a mental transition for me. I’ve had relaxed hair for years…then I’d let it grow out and cut the relaxed hair off and on for years. For me it was simple…I got a bad perm that almost took ALL of my then bsl hair out. I made the decision not to relax. If relaxed hair works for you and its kept healthy…great, if its weaves you like (I like them too) awesome! I do love the freedom of not having to run from the weather or humidity. Not being afraid to go out in the rain…but never will I look down on those who still chemically process their tresses with that “elitest” attitude. It took me longer to do my big chop because I was MBL and VERY much attached to my long hair…I wasn’t doing alot of soulsearching, I wasn’t looking to change my mindset…I just wanted MY hair to be at its healthiest state…and for me that’s without chemicals. I say live and let live…

  • As one of those of the “younger generation” (I’m 21 and not even done with school yet >.<) I have to say, no, it's not "just hair". I grew up surrounded by white people with beautiful, long, silky straight hair. When I needed a touch up, my few black friends would call me "nappy headed" and laugh. I was blessed with hair that was able to grow no matter what I did to it, but I still suffered people insinuating that I was either mixed, or trying to be white or just play in need of a comb with my RELAXED hair. Once I broke out my heat straighteners, I was pretty much done for until I sort of stumbled upon a personal website belonging to a woman who'd gone natural. If she hadn't made a big deal out of her process, I never would have started mine. I HATED my new growth, hated it to the point that I'd straighten my damp roots with a flatiron- the sizzle only made me shrug. When I saw this lady exulting over her beautiful- and I do mean beautiful- natural curls, I was blown away. I'd never thought to love my hair like that. I'm barely into my transition, and while I don't hate on girls who'd never go natural, I certainly do wish we could all feel the amazing confidence boost and life changing freedom that comes from simply loving yourself as you are. I've started taking care of not just my hair, but my body too, and my mind. Loving m y natural hair made me want to start loving all of me- and that's why it's not "just hair"- not to me anyway.

    • I agree with you, and I can definetely see where the author is coming from. She brought up some very good points, but I agree to disagree. I like the natural hair movement, because there is so much information out there to help inform people that using chemicals or hiding you hair under weaves and wigs are not your only options. Personally, I am 15, and my mom refused to give me a relaxer, because of her terrible experience with them. Although for pretty much half of my life I hated my hair for not being silky straight like white and asian girls, I was recently able to turn that around due to all of the wonderfult tutorials, and advice from natural youtubers. Like you mentioned, I was awestruck by how seriously they took their hair, which in turn made me take my hair more seriously(not too serious though lol I would never stress over my hair or anything). While I still have long way to go(the right side of my head is noticably thinner than the left, which is nice and thick), I feel like I have gained more confidence in myself and my hair. Even if some people may think its a stupid thing to take hair seriously, I’d rather take my hair seriously and reinvent the way I see myself in the mirror, than do what I did before, which was hide it under a wig because it wasn’t “presentable enough.” Also, contrary to the “dividing” of the black hair commnity, I like the togetherness of the natural hair community. Now, this does not mean that I enjoy seeing natural nazi’s bash those who are relaxed, but I do like having a small niche that I know is there to support me. Again, this is coming from a girl who has hated every ounce of her hair and everything about being black, and so I have never had people that would sincerly tell me “you look really pretty,” or “I love your hair.” Instead I often bared witness to my white and mixed friends recieving all of the complements, while I sat on the sidelines.

  • I respectfully disagree. If it is only hair then why take the time to blog about it? You realize the issue is not about hair, but more specifically, conformity and assimilation. I choose to be natural and I support other naturals. I’m not clear on why you don’t see this “movement” as a vehicle to bring us closer together? Why be shocked that we are coming together? Why not just embrace it?

  • I want to disagree with the “it’s just hair” statement. I don’t think there is anything wrong with flat ironing or pressing your hair every once in a while. BUT I know that for me from 7th-11th grade I wouldnt leave my house with what I considered to be nappy hair(not flat ironed/pressed). My grandmother taught us(my mothers & my generation of woman) wearing our hair natural was ugly. And I believed that for years. My mother would tell me I should wear my hair naturally because I had “soft hair” from my dad which is another conversation all together. Bottom line the natural hair movement is needed because we don’t just want to wear our hair straight every now and then there are woman who like I did, think that the way their hair grows from their scalp is ugly. When and if I do have daughters(I’m only 22) I don’t want them to ever think that. Hatered for natural hair is a form of internalized racism in my opinion, from black woman & men. Do I think the elitist Attitude is necessary? No, that’s divide & conquer entering our community another way we don’t need. Do I encourage other black woman to leave the creamy crack alone? YES! It’s time that we stop worshiping the blonde hair blue eyed image of ugly and embrace the deepest darkest depths of our natural beauty.

  • First let me applaud April for writing this blog, although I disagree in part with the casual attitude ‘It’s hair people! You cut it. It grows’. Hair does grow when it’s cut, but it affects everyone differently. When I was younger I felt similar, but now I feel more self-conscious with a shorter cut; my problem I know.

    I’m from the UK (London) where there aren’t many ‘naturals’ who have ‘coily/kinky hair’. I haven’t really heard any negativity from anyone about going natural, except a few family members initial reaction, but they were so used to me always ‘doing stuff’ to my hair including bleaching in the 80’s, they accepted it. I (unknowingly) transitioned in the early 90’s and was natural for several years. I then had a curly perm as I found the length of my natural hair difficult to manage. I then shaved it all off, but relaxed it when it grew a few inches as it was easier for me to manage. I have chemically altered my hair for years, but hated the process & ‘touched up’ when I felt like it, usually about 3/4 months. This year I had enough of being a slave to the relaxers & decided to cut it off & stay natural. Now my hair is apx 4 inches, but I wear a pony (I’m faking it until I make it). I love my hair, but not its length; it’s a personal thing.

    I don’t care for those who wish to belittle others who have different views, or ideas about how they wear their hair chemically treated or not. It is ‘just hair’, but it’s their hair, so why care? I’m not natural to be a part of any movement, but I welcome why it’s here. I don’t hate the movement only the negative opinion pushers that triad on its ideals & make others feel bad because they for not meeting their own standards, natural or not. Twitter is full of this attitude which I find so sad.

  • I think that just because wearing her hair naturally wasn’t a journey for her doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be for other Black women. If it was, “just hair” we would’ve never tampered with it chemically in the first place but as we can all see; that was not the case. So FACT- hair means more than just something that covers your head. Going natural should be a big deal because well, it is. If it isn’t to you; then you just don’t know and shouldn’t be belittling those who do. If we want to celebrate, ask questions and start online communities-more power to us. I plan on maintaining natural hairstyles for all of my children so there won’t be any transitioning for them but i’ll still teach them what it means and not deny that it does hold meaning.

  • To be blunt, your article misses a key point. Black people’s hair, religion, speech, and etc are cultural elements. The problem with Black people is that who we are culturally is not from an unbroken chain of our forebears providing thier children with their culture.
    For every single Black person descended from enslaved Black people, at some point in our families history, a forebear wasnt raised by a biological parent, but by a white man, women or people.
    this is the key fact that we ignore in our discussion of this. The people on the bottom of the boat: were not christian[ most were certainly not ethiopian], did not straighten their hair, did not see themselves wearing European style clothes, did not speak english or french or spanish.
    I know you know this, we all know this. But, we dont admit it. Our culture is something we pass to our children and in all earnest, our people went through a generation of people who didnt get a chance to pass their culture to their children.
    Today, we can’t undo the enslavement of the past or the pain and anger many of us feel when the constance of injustice in relation to whites seems to be immortal. But we can teach our children to have a Black culture proudful and unashamed. Not a white culture, not a “universal” culture, but a Black culture.
    This is something we would have if it wasnt for the events of the past. I ask you to understand the greater purpose of the cultural nationalism within our community. We insult our forebears by teaching a culture of nonchalance to the next gens and amongst each other.

    • Completely agree with the above comment. There is so much more cultural and symbolic history behind Black Hair.

      Division and judgement in the Natural hair community should be discouraged. But lets encourage our own race to be who we want to be.. No skin bleaching, hair perming…etc

  • Now this was food for thought! I agree it is just hair… I don’t knock anybody for wanting to relax, weave it, or wig it … The majority of my 16 month transition was through the use of weaves, bottom line is its your head, your hair, your journey. What ever you choose to do is your business people can be so judgmental, I change my look up according to how I feel at the moment. I wouldn’t go back to relaxing but I will rock a weave, or wig in a minute! It really is not that deep when you see another sistah altering her look it could just be time for a change, I think too often naturals assume if your not natural you must hate your hair, ect. That is simply not the case….

  • . im a natural beautiful women.. but i believe people should do whatever they want with they hair. we can change that.. natural is beautiful but some people can do the natural thing.. but i did try to relaxer once and i realize it’s not for me.. i say let people be..

  • I think it’s wrong to assume that going natural shouldn’t be a complicated decision. For me it was one of the hardest decisions. I think it is for many women who grew up in my generation. I can only speak for myself, but it was ingrained in my head that my hair in it’s natural state wasn’t something to be desired. I had my first relaxer at 8 years old. The stylists I went to to get my relaxer hated my hair because I had so much of it and it was so thick. I grew up hating my hair and feeling ugly because of my hair. I grew up in a white neighborhood and went to predominantly white schools. I was teased relentlessly. Not only did they not understand my hair, but neither did I. Not everyone grows up in an environment that allows them to feel beautiful and accepting of how they look. So yes, for some of us, it’s a hard decision, one that is freeing when you can finally say that your hair is beautiful. For some of us, it’s not just hair.

  • i do NOT hate the natural hair “movement” (i actually like it a lot) BUT i do NOT judge other women and their hair choices b cuz that’s not my business and how someone else styles her hair is very unimportant to me

    ive done it all (weave, wigs, relaxer, haircolor, dreadlocks for 3 years, short afro) b cuz i always enjoyed variety & trying many different looks (hairstyles)

    this is my 4th time “goin natural” and now my hair has been natural for 8 months

    i am 34 years old & as long as my hair is healthy i am happy and my hair cannot be healthy if i destroy it with damaging chemicals that’s just a universal fact

    i think that loving your own real natural hair & God-made features as a person is great b cuz if you only feel beautiful and sexy with fake hair that’s sad b cuz that’s not really you

    my motto overall is “do you” so i dont have a problem with women who continue to relax their hair and/or wear wigs & weave

  • I agree 1000% with this article. She expressed everything I feel since going natural. It’s hair!! My mom is natural after years of having a curl. She is the “best”natural I know, she went natural not to start a revolution or follow a trend, she wanted to do what was easier for her. No maintenance. It’s just that simple. She doesn’t seek attention, join groups or make big deals out of products. It’s just her hair and she’s doing what’s best for her. She never looked down on us for having relaxers, never tried to persuade us….she just knew relaxers and “doing” hair where not for her. She likes to get up and go….I wish I could find more people like that. I love the article again and am ashamed that “hair” has divided women….

  • I think she is going a little too deep with it women hate because they have not changed their nature it has been going on forever natural hair is just an excuse to do so there seems to be a disconnect concerning that with a lot of people

  • I put it like this if you love yourself it would’t matter if you was natural or have a relaxers people who talk about people is hurting them self you have to bigger and stronger than that so rear your the you feel just do you!!!!!!!

  • Really, sisters. Y’all act like you invented the natural hair movement. Those of us who were around in the 60’s and 70’s remember the dawn of the natural hair movement the difference?. We were not so friggin’ self righteous about it. It was just a CHOICE. Nobody was looked down upon for having relaxed or pressed hair. Almost everybody had an Afro, anyway. Yup, me too. At least for a time.

    Been there. Done that. Fashion and times will change. Some of you will keep your hair natural. Many will not. Stop taking it so seriously. You’re just co-opting it.

  • The freedom has always been and will always be in the choice. If that is lost, so too is purpose. Beauty has to do with how you feel, not how you look. If these two things happen to intersect, then acknowledge this. Remember that as black women–or women of color, we live at the intersections of race and gender. Thus, we must appreciate ourselves as African American people and remove those scarlet letters. But we must also represent, recreate, and redefine womanhood for ourselves against the controlling images and stereotypes. The work must start from within to truly be revolutionary as opposed to being “resolutionary.” We need each other and we need to accept each other in order to create positive change. The cover of the book can never reveal the true depth of the narrative. Focus energy on penning self-reflections and self-truths onto your pages before painting your cover.

  • I’m goin to make this short and simple. I don’t know about all the other naturals in the world but i honestly could care less how other ladies decide to wear their hair. I am not the natural hair spokes person I most certainly do not have beef with anyone who decides to wear perms or weave. My hair was healthy before going natural and its healthy now. I think its only a division when ppl such as yourself make it a division. I do think using more natural products is better for the hair just like making healthier food choice is better for your body,if you eat sugar everyday at some point it will show . So choosing to go the natural route is a personal choice I’m just happy to see more beautiful black ladies doing it.


    Be Blessed

  • I’ll have to disagree. I was raised in a large, complete Latin-American family, and was born one of the few who had kinky hair. In my immediate family, I am the ONLY one with kinky hair. I’ve been perming hair since I was ten because there simply was no other known way. Wearing kinky hair naturally was just not done in my family OR in my community. Even after having to shave off my hair because of heat damage I still continued to relax it. I knew no other way.

    When I finally made the decision to stop getting my hair relaxed I was at a complete loss. I didn’t know what the heck to do. I spent nearly two months keeping my hair pulled back in a bun and wondering if I was going to spend the rest of my life with it like that. It’s only when I finally decided to hit the Internet and google “natural black hair styles” that I discovered the sheer amount of opportunities women with kinky hair have for their hair! I found countless vlogs and blogs and communities, discovered some really remarkable women, and it was only that that gave me the courage to start my transitioning journey. Ten months later I got so fed up with my permed ends that I just cut all of it off! I NEVER would have done such a thing had I not had the encouragement I needed from friend fellow natural friends and communities. I would have gone back to relaxing within the year, most likely, instead of learning to embrace my hair in it’s natural state and change my initial aversion of kinky hair.

    I think this natural hair movement is important because too many men and women today feel that their kinky hair is something to be ashamed of. Something to hide behind weaves and wigs, something to burn into obedience. Something inferior. And it’s NOT.

    Do you honestly believe that so many women would be walking around with their natural hair if not for this movement? Before 2010 I NEVER saw women with kinky hair wear their hair natural. It was a complete rarity. Now? Now I’m seeing them everywhere, women of all colors and hair types and styles rockin’ their hair in all it’s kinky glory. It’s so amazing to be surrounded by people who don’t judge you because of your hair, or try to make discrete hints about getting a relaxer, or look at you like you’ve gone insane. It’s wonderful having so many sites and communities dedicated to helping people achieve their natural hair goals.

    In a few years time I’d like the natural hair movement to die down. I want it to be something that people no longer have to think about. I’d like a gal or guy to walk down the street with a 12 inch afro and no one even bat an eyelash. I want kinky-haired women to be able to wear their natural hair just as easily as anyone else would. Until that time, though, we NEED this movement, because right now? Too many people don’t even think natural hair is an option, let alone are willing to do it. And that needs to seriously change.

  • This was interesting and I can see both sides of all the comments…. however my last relaxer was march of 2011 and chopped 10/15/11. I never intended on going natural –it wasn’t appealing to me nor was my hair breaking off —it was actually growing quit well because I knew how to take care of it…but I got tired of doing so much work for something that wasn’t in its natural state…lol

    Im 27 years old and it really wasn’t anything too deep for me… I was tired of relaxers and I wanted to work with my hair in its natural state. I realize that it could be much deeper for other people and there’s nothing wrong with that, just fine; I don’t really care what people’s reasons are for going natural or staying relaxed—more power to ya; we just need to be supportive of each other in whatever decision is made and quit being so argumentative about everything.

    oh yeah, and I love my natural hair :D …but i will rock a wig, braids, fro or anything else if i need a break from doing my hair just like i would do with relaxed. Shoot I have wig on right now ;)

  • I forgot ;) I do use google and youtube for inspiration and ideas…but i also take the time to learn what works for me and my hair—I’m just lovin the experience so far!

  • I have definitely experienced the kind of elitism you talk about in the Natural Hair movement. Thanks for sharing! I think others should note that the author does not disagree with the movement itself- rather the attitude some people have taken towards natural hair. Guess what? My hair does not define me. My skin does not define me. The shape of my face or my nose or my eyes does not define me. Hair should not become so important to us that we’re willing to persecute others for not being natural, or for not using all-natural products. Guess what? The shampoos and conditioners that work best for me are the ones that I used when I was relaxed. My hair does not respond well to oils. And if I choose to relax my hair again, that’s my choice: I’m still beautiful no matter what. Hair is supposed to be fun and most of all, an accessory! Tell me, people, when did we allow ourselves to feel so persecuted?

  • I am honestly not gonna lie, i am new to this “movement”, like 6 months new. I was natural up until age 12 or so, my mother had ALWAYS done my hair, she washed it, trimmed it everything. But then when she took ill it was either “chop it all off or relax it”, i didn’t know what harm a relaxer could potentially do without proper care until i was much older. I didn’t get relaxers often at all maybe every 4 months or so, sometimes longer than that, i have gone without a relaxer for up to a year so i haven’t been relaxed for the entirety of the past 13 years.

    I started working at this South African clothing store and i had a blast with the ladies i worked with, two of the young ladies i worked with had recently began their transition (1 did the big chop, the other was a religious wig/ half wig wearer, they were cute on her) but i really had to wonder because one of the ladies was still actively damaging her hair by using a chi flat iron every other day(on high heat), which blew my mind, but i didn’t say anything, i mean who am i to say “you’re damaging your hair” when i was still getting relaxers and flat ironing at least once a week every week, without using any sort of protection for my own hair.

    When i left that company and began working at the hospital again, i said “Enough is enough, i’m going natural!” Regardless! I decided shortly after a good friends wedding that i was no longer going to relax my hair and that i was going natural.

    I don’t have the support i want in my home life, but i have gotten ample support from my co-workers and my african american friends, which they have no idea how much i appreciate it, i just can’t show my appreciation enough at this point! 6 months out i’m getting that lovely curl halo and i’m still getting support from co-workers and friends, which at home i get the “are you really going out like that today” looks and comments.

    I love my hair, always have, but i’m learning to love it more, no matter how it is, so long as it is healthy. Even though i’m not ready for the big chop, i’m ready for my healthy hair relationship. It’s horrible that it took me this long to realize what really matters is the health of my hair rather than the texture of it. But i’m glad i’ve come across this realization now rather than 40 years down the line, regardless i’m glad i’m not living my hair life for anyone else except me now.

  • @Article. The Guest Writer admits that she’s been natural since the 90s. This plays a role in her current mentality towards Naturals of 2000. In the 90s black women were rockin’ all types of hair styles! And everyone (white red copper yellow) wanted to copy it to the letter! Urban style was so popular and the music furthered it. But once the ‘good times’ stopped rollin’, in came the criticism. And it became much more expected and socially correct for women, especially Black women or naturally curly women of any color, to perm or straighten their hair by any means.

    I think the 2000 era hindered a lot of girls into continually relax their hair, rather then embrace their natural growth. You got mothers coming from the 90s, who permed the hair of their little girls, because “straight hair” was in and curly was out. The article hits on the exact points when wearing your hair Natural started to make a return, and heading into 2011 and 2012 it doesn’t seem to be slowing down! I for one am glad to see a “return of the Naturals”, and the age gap has lowered from women in their 30s to teenagers!

    What I can understand from the article is that snobby / malicious forms of elitism can really scare and push people away. But then you have the oldbies who can give good advice and tips to the newbies. The newbie being me.

    You also have the fact that the internet increased the convince of connecting with others who like the same things/lifestyle. So of course this is where the “hair forums” come into play. It is a dice roll on whether they benefit or divide.

  • The “it’s just hair” statement is certainly very debatable. While some women do have that mindset, others don’t treat their hair as “just hair” because, for a lot of women, it is part of their identity. I did hair for almost 4 years and it’s amazing to see how some women (even me) can simply cut off all their hair without thinking twice about it while other with hair down the middle of their back have a fit when 1/4 inch of hair is cut off their head.

    Times are certainly changing with this “natural hair movement” and I’m definitely a “victim” of the movement (going natural in 2010). I say, just let the good times roll. Better that natural hair is bringing the natural hair community together rather than weaves, and relaxers.

  • I agree with 100 %. It is just hair and it is also dead body parts. If you iron it, comb it with hot combs, roller set it will NOT affect your health. Your health Will affect what is growing out of your head. But after that it is dead materia and can no longer be improved by your physically health. Howerver, if you ve ever known anybody with cancer, you Will understand the statement, it is just hair. If it isthere or not is secondary to health and life.

    It is à trend that is for sure. For those of you who are Young i can just agree with the above, afro was very hot during the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s. In the 90’s rasta braids and dreads were very hot. You blame your older relatives but it was actually those who were teenagers and in threir 20’s that were part of the trend in the 90’s with the flat iron and sleek hair.

    Many of you “natural hair blessed” will see that you are part of s society where trends are fooling us to think that we have got new insight when the reality is that we are part of à capitalistic society. If there is something these natural hair blogs have in common, is the enormous amount of products that is exposed. These natural ladies use more products that i have ever used in My hair relaxed or natural. And they are living ads for multi national companies that are part in this new natural “enlightment”.

    I apologize if i sound harsh, it is not My mening, but take à walk down the memory lane and check out Jackson 5, Rebecka flack, Diana Ross, laryn Hill, tracy Chapman, the carpenters, lisa bonet, the dynasti and you Will see that afro and natural haitstyles has been in fashion before, but back then it was the white people that had to perm their hair.

    New styles and new trends Will come. The older you get the easier it Will be to stick to your own style and not be fooled to think that à new natural oil or no lye Will make you happy and healthy.

  • In response as to why this is now a…Natural Hair “MOVEMENT”… ECONOMICS. That what the MOVEMENT ought to be about, not whether or not how you choose to wear your hair. We have no control over the one thing that is closest to us as the hair on our heads. BILLIONS are being harvested from our communities because of how we think ourselves and our hair. Look at the bigger picture…my rude awakening was when I saw the movie “GOOD HAIR”, it took “Chris Rock” to wake me up to the beauty of Natural hair, danger of the chemicals, the industry at-large, others cultures are being exploited as well to keep the esupply and demand for weave, etc. etc. It was a real eye opener and fun to watch.

  • @Renee: You are so right! But the ironic thing is that I believe that the “natural hair” people spend as much money on products as the one with permed hair. When I read the natural hair blogs they are all about products and stuf to put in your hair. As a matter of fact, many of them are more or less promoting or “testing” new products.

    I firmly believe that there are strong commerisial powers behind the natural hair movement.

  • I wish with all my heart that I could say “it’s just hair” — but I know it is so much more. The whole thing is a reemergence of a discussion my Mom had with her peers in the 1970’s. Basically — who ARE modern African-American women and what role do we wish to play going forward vs the role we feel we are actually playing vs the role the country-at-large sees us as playing.

    We may style our hair by a complete personal choice; but we have frames of societal reference that play varying degrees in our choosing. These days, even white girls with curls or waves who acquire any sort of public acclaim find themselves blonde and bone straight in a couple years. Kelly Clarkson, Nicole Kidman, Taylor Swift… Etc. In our case, hi-fashion mags have natural hair; but in paid advertising. Often even that is some sort of ‘natural’ styled weave that cascades and meanders as if shrinkage applies to an apple instead of hair.

    Men watch porn videos and see the long hair — and grow up equating a woman’s beauty on the length of the hair. We see almost every race of woman on the PLANET except ours with types 1-3a hair and pretend that the natural exclusion doesn’t hurt, somewhat.

    As such, we tend to cling to one extreme, or the other; evangelizing for the conformity or evangelizing equally as hard for the uniqueness. All the while, corporate America has caught on and decided that either way we go, they are going to ride our insecurities about the way we look and the way we may/ may not be perceived, all the way to the bank.

    Sadly, we don’t see the ways in which we are/ have been led and begin to do what ladies tend to do best these days — fight like we are on some elimination-round reality show — about who among us is right or wrong; or staging elaborate ‘meet-ups’ for the sake of beauty. It fades, you know.

    I believe that we need to look at ourselves as proud of whatever way our hair is styled; but more critically as beings with importance and stature. Lots of us protect the coif; but are we protecting the Earth? Have we helped anyone else eat? Sleep? Learn? Feel good about themselves? Smile? Have we paid anything forward lately?

    It’s not just hair — it’s part of ME. The question is — Who AM I; whether my hair hits the top of my ass or if I lose every strand?

  • The point of the article seems more like an “I did it first and didn’t have a problem with it, so where’s my credit?” take. It’s completely unfeeling to other naturals to put a piece like this out because it invalidates our emotions and what we’ve fought so hard to overcome, this prevailing ingrained nasty thought that we have to physically harm ourselves in order to be beautiful.

    Ma’am, you may not have had opposition or others severely hurting you without let-up, but trust me, others definitely have. And it’s a movement for a reason, otherwise there would not be such a big controversy or problem surrounding it. Hair has been around and growing for some time, sure, but people’s minds have not, and that’s why we support each other on this. This is US, here. Don’t hate us, embrace us.

    • As the writer of the article clearly the title stuck in your mind. I am not looking for applause, my choice for my hair was just that a choice. Just as your is. I just want us Black sistahs to stop letting the superficial divide us. We are beautiful in all shapes, colors, sizes and hairstyles.

  • I 100% agree with the writer. If one’s natural hair journey is about some higher, more spiritual or cultural purpose, then that’s THEIR journey and I respect it; it just doesn’t concern me though. I think we’ve always had trouble as a community grasping the fact that we’re not monolithic; we’re all individuals with difference thoughts, experiences, and backgrounds. We don’t speak with one voice, and we don’t think with one brain. I made a decision to go natural simply because my stylist suggested it and I was also concerned about the carcinogens in relaxers. I didn’t chop my hair off; I continued to get blowouts in order to “match up” the new growth and relaxed hair, and unless someone asked, only the people I’d told knew I was going natural. I only mention my hair’s natural when people ask me about my hair regimen or why my hair seems to grow so fast, and I explain the benefits I’ve personally experienced from being chemical-free. I don’t act like some natural hair spokesperson because again, everybody’s different and they have their own decisions to make about how they wear their hair. What’s very interesting is that when I mention I’m natural to other naturals, I sense skepticism or even judgement, and I have to assume it’s because I choose to wear my hair blown out and straight — no braids, twists, or other “acceptable” natural styles. I can’t tell you how many “natural hair nazis” ask me why I wear my hair straight. Now I could go into some long drawn-out explanation about the fact that I have 2 textures of hair and my hair in the front barely curls, while my hair in the back is S-curls, but I don’t bother because it’s my hair and I don’t have to answer to anybody about why I do what I do with it. Instead, I answer that ridiculous question with another question: Why do you wear your hair the way YOU do? And I already know the answer — it’s called “choice,” and we all have it.

    To spend the amount of time we spend discussing hair is just baffling to me. And please don’t give me a lesson in hair politics; I understand all of that, but like one poster said, when you look at all of the issues confronting our people today, choosing to spend hours on end discussing hair and hair products seems so pointless.

    • Cant help of thinking about the amount of money spent on hair butter, hair protein, pree poo and all the other products. When you think about that hair actually is dead material and when i think that tyre are too many alive children that not enough people are preparerd to spend money to ensure they have fresh water, it makes me very deillusioned for the furture. Hair is dead! Babies are alive. Americans spend 8billions on cosmetics, 7 billion would be enough to make sure every body on this earth had fresh water.

  • This article hit home. As a new natural (for 1 1/2 yrs now) I’m guilty of having turned up my nose at anyone with a perm – not to say that I go out of my way to be rude or condescending, but I always take note of the state of their hair and feel slightly smug that I’m a ‘naturalista’. I’m not proud to admit this because I can see how stupid and egotistical that is – especially since I used to be that girl with the perm. But, after reading this post it really shed a light on what I’ve been doing and put me in my place just a little bit.

    I’ll definitely be sure to get off of my high natural horse and remember where I came from – which used to be perm, perm and more perm. Thanks for the reality check and for keeping it 100%. It was much needed.

  • Is this really an issue. I have been weaved up, permed up, and know I am kinky. Not because of some need to be “real” but because thats what I feel like doing. The “movement” is totally giving me a headache. It is JUST HAIR. If I am blessed to have it them good but if it is taken away tomorrow, I am still me. Find something else to talk about. I love my hair( the store brought ones too) and it is my hair not matter what state it is in. Lets get over our selves. Next someone will tell me that women that dye their hair are still natural…..OOPS did I step on your toes!

    • Amen and amen again! I’ve been “natural” on and off again since 2004. But to me it’s just because i hate perm n need low maintenance do’s. I hate the movement for what it’s become. People are treating it like a trend rather than what it actually is. Just hair. I hate the “hair dos and don’ts “, natural nazis and people telling me that what I should and shouldn’t do/ use on my own hair.

      Truth is….my hair LOVES petroleum and mineral oil and Trader joes poo n co, Aussie, etc. It loathes Miss Jessie’s and Dark N Lovely Naturals. So now that I’ve finally embraced the face that my natural hair is ass backwards to the so called natural hair rules, my locks have been growing like weeds.

      I think no matter what you do to your hair, weave, perm, shave, BC just rock it with confidence and listen to your hair needs but most importantly, remember your hair SHOULDN’T DEFINE YOU, it should accentuate what already makes you beautiful, you soul! ;-)

  • I never join anything but you, I had to. Everything in this article was just yes! to me. I’m from the u.k. and I’m telling you the experience is so different here than in America. People never care how black people wear their hair. I was actually influenced by how African American women wore their hair(weave- thought it was their hair, I was 10) lol. I had my hair relaxed because I was raised by a white foster family; it wasn’t their fault they didn’t know how to take care of my hair. Don’t get me wrong my mum shelled out hundreds if not thousands over the years on braids and stuff to help my hair, never once complained. If she thought me and my sister’s needed it she would get it done. I never worshipped straight hair; (not to say you do but the west does have a Caucasian beauty standard) it was just the norm for me. And I had never heard of good hair till natural hair forums (and American TV). And sorry not trying to be rude but I feel like there’s this weird obsession with slicking your edges down? I knew my hair was naturally curly so that thought never occurred to me lol. I hit uni in 2011. Didn’t have an epiphany or anything. I had stopped relaxing my hair the year before. So tired of the burns but the one thing I was self-conscience about was having short hair like everyone would ridicule me. Which they didn’t everyone loved it. My white mum likes my hair so much better now, telling me how cute it looks all the time. She’s a naturally curly blonde funny enough lol. Big chop story- I was watching the good hair episode of tiara banks and all the baggage that came with it. I had also watched this light skin vs dark skin. Which I’m very sorry also kinda made no sense to me cause I have a light skin mum 2 light skin siblings and 2 dark skin ones(related family). And I’ve been complemented on my long chocolate legs and skin many times…embarrassing stories for another time. But all this to me personally i was like- this is crazy, all i want is my hair to be manageable, took out all my braids that night and cut my hair to like 2 inches without blinking. In end it was just hair. I did feel liberated for like 2 weeks. Then i found the natural hair movement when I wrote in Google does anyone know how to take care of afro hair. Here i am today approaching apl and i wondered what all the fuss was about. My sisters relaxed and she’s about the same length. A lot of people don’t realise everything black women do to their hair isn’t new. It’s a modified version of what people in Africa have done for eons. This is me Nigerian, English, (not natural though I thank the movement for all their help) Just my own hair :).
    Sorry if I offended anyone. This was just my story of confusion when it came to natural hair and black women’s appearance in general. Though the world has changed greatly in 2 years.
    It’s all so confusing, but it’s also very exciting.

  • In my opinion, I love the Natural hair movement. The reason I support it is because I have been discriminated against on my job at a major grocery chain by a few of other african americans due to my natural hair. I was so upset that I eventualy left my job because of the discrimination. The sad part was that I was one of the best workers there because I was kind to the customers and other workers there. I have nothing against black women wearing weaves and I stopped using perms due to the chemicals, it was for health reasons. I don’t think the natural hair movement is about dividing Black women, it is for young women like me who need the support of other Natural Sistahs that will tell me I am beautiful regardless of how I wear my hair. The truth is, African American hair is still judged very harshly in today’s society. It goes all the way back to slavery I think, I have to do some further research. In my opinion, I think Black women are discriminated against due to our hair because of fear. Natural hair reminds some people of slavery. Even today Black people are still in bondage because as black women are are criticized for our hair. I personally don’t judge other black women for wearing weaves because I am fond of long hair, I just prefer clip ins instead of sew in or glue ins because I think clip ins are better for my hair. A woman should feel free to wear her hair how she chooses. I am constantly praying for God to remove the demonic spirit of fear off of our black race and asking God to set black women free from the fear and bondage of trying to live up to The worlds standard of what makes a black woman beautiful. I am praying for God to give black women the confidence to wear our hair the way he intended and that is free. Free hair can be straight or curly, it is whatever makes us feel good at the time and gives us the greatest satisfaction. I want to encourage black women that there is nothing wrong with our hair. Good Hair is healthy hair, good hair is nourished hair, good hair is free hair. God Bless everyone.

    • My heart also goes out to black women who feel judged for wearing their hair straight. No body has the right to tell you how you should wear your hair. If you like it straight, then girls you rock it with joy and boldness because you are beautiful and deserve to be free!!!

  • Im so happy that i live in Europe, not US. Hair seems to be such a big issue over there. Fortunately, i can wear My hair any way i want without it having any impact on My employment. I ve worn it in Afro, in braids, flatironed, air dried, 2cm short, BSL. Never felt discriminated.

    Girls! Take care of you time and money. Dont spend your weekends Washing your hair or your money on ‘natural’ products that they say you need. I think the over consumation on beauty products is Much more dangerous to us and the environment than relaxing your hair a couple of Times’ a year.

    • Hi Lisa, I have always wanted to go to Europe, it is so beautiful over there. On PBS I like to watch Rick Stevens when he travels to Eruope, and the beauty over there just takes my breath away. You all seem so free and full of joy, I hope someday I can visit.

      • I live in Sweden. So we dont have any slave history or bad hair luggage here. You can wear your hair anyway you want, in school, at work.

        I cant help thinking it a bit strange when people talk about healthy hair, hair is not healthy it is dead. It can B clean, moisturized, shiny, but it is never the less dead materia it cant really be healthy.

  • Ironic because this website wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the “Natural Hair” movement. And just like any movement, there’s a judgemental, self-rightous, know-it-all or two who’ve joined. Life’s like that. Yes, people with natural hair side-eye those with “un-natural” hair. And vice-versa. That’s what they call human nature.
    And as someone who went natural 20+ years ago I honestly learned more in the last two years than I had before then. For useful information I thank the movement and just ignore the rest. Just like I learned to ignore years of people (black people) asking me when I was going to “do something” with my hair. After a while they got the message and stopped asking.

  • We all take anything new and just turn it into a fuss, lay claim and try to associate ourselves with the new sense of “cool”. Those who had been doing it before it became popular, give themselves a self righteous pat on the back(because that is what it is when stating how long ago when one became a “natural” and that he/she got it right before anyone else even tried)and the newly transformed feel like they are a part of something new and trendy and that they can fit into or it just coincides with ones self discovery and when one comes into age of making own choices. It all gets placed in a context of fitting in and not for the reality of what it is. Hair is just hair. A body is just a body. Everybody is born with hair. Everybody has a body. What’s new here? Nothing. Why is this all made out to be new because it actually shouldn’t. What you choose to do with it is your choice. It shouldn’t be a class that everyone needs to sign up for, it is just a choice that some are aware of and some blissfully unaware. The problem is with people buying into the molds that conforms society into certain ways of thinking. Change that and people can be free to wear what they want, look how they want and just be without feeling like they have to relate. To not be like someone or something different other than themselves. Topic of hair: Relaxer should never have been created and especially turned into a vice for a woman with non straight hair. I am for things that enhance ones beauty, I am against things that alter it, especially if it is because it is not considered beautiful in the first place- skin colours, facial and body features, hair. The beauty industry has been so damaging to the lives of men and woman around the world. Conditioning to fit in somewhere. All this in turn affecting hearts and minds. How did a minority get it right to make a majority of the world buy into a certain mold. With anything. It begins within each of us and yes how we are brought up is a strong influence, but even that can be changed in order to get back into the essence of us all being people, different and beautiful in anyway. Stop laying claim to things, none is better, just be and let be. Then we wouldn’t have any problems in the world.

  • I think people should learn to do as they wish with their hair and be done with it. I don’t see other races of women obsessing about hair as we do. I understand the history of our hair and I bought into the whole “Natural” or die phenomenon. I have a Filipino friend who relaxes her hair because she has curly hair like mine and she doesn’t beat herself up for her choice. I’ve been natural since 2003 off and on. My longest stretch being from 2010-2014. I have curly hair that suits me. I prefer it short (Halley Berry) buzz cut. The reason I recently relaxed a bit was to relax my curl and I was using more product that I needed and became frustrated that my hair wouldn’t behave. It’s short enough for me to not really commit to a relaxer, and people who know me see the subtle difference but it’s not enough for people to ask if I’m still natural or not. Honestly when I went natural I was using way too much product. I have a great curl pattern but I was missing out on a social life because of my frizz and my curls sticking out at the most inappropriate times. I had been thinking of either doing a Texturizer or some other form of relaxing for almost a year. I finally did it and I’m glad I did. The other frustrating issue I had with my natural hair is that it would look great “wet” but all hell would break loose as soon as it dried. I feel it’s every woman’s choice to do whatever they wish with their hair. I love the movement but also we have choices. I think some of us have taken the movement way too seriously and lost sight of the fact that hair grows back, its a personal prerogative on what you do with your own crown and we’ve stopped having fun with it. And yes when I first went natural I used to speak negatively of people that weren’t natural. After years of being natural and my personal experience with fighting with my own hair made me really think about who I was ultimately trying to satisfy with my decision to keep my hair natural. I found that it wasn’t my own. I was trying to be seen as a winner, to fit in. I was living by the “I don’t relax my hair therefore I’m not a bad person” type thinking. I used to think weaves were bad until I talked to a woman that needed them due to her alopecia. Then I watched Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair” and he had me feeling guilty and bad about myself about my own hair. I wasn’t wanting to relax my hair to look white. I wanted the ease of getting up in the morning and the personal choice to have my hair look the way I wanted it to look. Sorry for the long reply but ultimately we have to stop being critics on the issue and just live and then self esteem and confidence will follow with or without being natural.

    • THANK GOODNESS! I’m soo glad this was addressed! It’s really annoying the way people act about this subject. When I wanted to go natural and looked for info on it, I found that A LOT of naturals talked down on women who choose to use relaxers. I think the beauty of black women and our hair comes from being the ONLY people who can always change it up. We can be long, short, have a fro, or some braids, curly, or straight, blonde or, pink, all in one week! I think THAT is beautiful and I agree that this IS just another way for black women to be divided. JUST DO YOU! It’s all beautiful! ALL OF IT IS US! ✌✌✌

  • Thank you! it’s just hair, who cares! i have mixed girl hair which is really ambiguos, it’s half wavy half curl, too much conditioner makes it limp, too little makes it dry and frizzy, it requires a lot of experimentation to know how to get it right. So cutting hair, thinning, straightening, whatever i can do i will try it, these days i’m au naturale and going for the big and afro angela davis look. Couldn’t be prouder, but i don’t know why people get so worked up over whatever bad mistake i make with it”GASP ITS SO SHORT IT’S TERRIBLE” “ITS HAIR I GUESS ILL JUST HAVE TO TRY SOMETHING NEW WHEN IT GROWS AGAIN!” agh it will grow again and maybe it’s hard for some black women to understand that my hair grows ridiculously fast. But it isn’t a big deal, get over it.

  • well I agree with the part of naturalistas looking down on relaxed sistas like yhey worship d devil. but then we can’t say it’s “just hair”. This is because we know what led to black women relaxing thier hair in d first place. relaxing for most pple is a way of “healing” their “ugly hair” it’s different from dyeing ur hair blue or green(which is a fashion statement dat doesn’t derogate d natural colour of your hair). So , for most, going natural is not a way of changing a fashion statement bt as a way of saying no to “kinky hair=ugly hair”. The point is acceptance.

    When a time comes wen relaxing for most is just a fashion style and not an escape then it wld b a beautiful thing.

  • My black sistas notice every nation of women has long hair like chinese, white, indian, mexican, ect. Except the majority of black women. The Lord was very upset with us and here is a bible verse to show all of you beautiful black women the curse that was put on us from our disobedience. isaiah 3:12 talks about what happens when black men leave the their home and family – Isaiah 3:12 my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. 3:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Isaiah 3:17 Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. 3:24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. – we have to come back to the Laws statutes and commandments of the Most High. We were cursed from following other nations and their gods. We were the most beautiful women on the face of this earth and our hair was so long to our feet it covered our body shapes which was our secret parts. we never at that point gained weight and when we had our menstrual it smelled good and sweet but now we stink. This problem we have with our hair is deeper than what just suits us.

  • I recently relaxed my hair after being natural for 9 years. All throughout my life I had all natrual hair, relaxed hair and at times a combination of both at the same time (transitioning hair, though at the time I was not transitioning and had no clue about it). My mother kept my biracial, thick, long hair in braids. My hair drapped down my back. But guess what? I hated having long hair. I wanted so desperately for my mother to cut my hair. Eventually I wanted a relaxer as well. I never was made fun or taught to hate my hair or made to feel inferior because of my hair. I truly hated the time and effort it took for my mother to wash and style my hair every week or other week. I truly hated it! And guess what? I still hate it to this day! Like I said,I recently relaxed my hair after being natural for 9 years. I wanted a change. I love my natural hair and curls, but I am not a slave to it. I will wear my hair as I want. Right now I want EASILY managable hair, a few years down the line I may want the kinky, poofy, curly mane. I do agree that it really is a mind issue. I undrestand the empowerment and liberation that being natural brings. However, the natural movement has it negative aspects as well. Naturals judging the relaxed sistas, naturals condeming the relaxed sistas. I also agree that the natural movement is unfortunately another tool used as a divider within the African American community. Being natural is beatiful just as being relaxed is beatiful. You have to take care of both. BOTH require manipulation, products etc. To me, wearing/styling hair is no different than applying make up to the face; do you hate your natural face? BUT that is just me. FOR ME, hair is not a major thing. I can relax, cut, shave, color, (done every last one) my hair and not think twice or be adversly affected by it. Everyone is different though. We should embrace and accept eveyrone regardless of the hair on THEIR head.

  • This article spoke to me. I can relate. I’ve been natural off and on since 2003. I recall all the YouTube videos I’ve seen from the beginning. I remember the time when there were no natural hair products on the market. The one thing that always frustrated me about the movement is when I’ve watched a natural hair journey, and the person doing the video looks depressed while their hair is short. But jump to 2 or 3 years later and the long hair they have now achieved has somehow miraculously changed their reason for living. I don’t know how many YouTuber weddings I’ve watched over the years, and it’s always after they’ve grown their hair out. It almost gives new naturals a false sense, like saying “If you grow your hair long, you too will get married, get awards and have a great life!” I think this can warp some naturals thinking and reasons for going natural. I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing what you want to do with your hair, if it’s relaxing, weaving, chopping, whatever. I think embracing your natural hair is also beautiful. But I think we’ve taken it a bit far. I think the natural community is telling black women to love their hair and embrace it (that’s all well and good). But I also think the natural community is making a lot of women feel that if their not growing their hair long, then they have failed somehow. I don’t think the natural hair community realizes the ramifications this can have on ones self esteem. I don’t think they realize how much time a new natural obsesses when her hair fails to meet a required standard she sees on YouTube. I don’t think they realize the money spent because they are pushing products. Also the hair worship on YouTube has gone too far. If someone on YouTube is biracial and a non biracial woman thinks her hair will be that way, this becomes another issue. No ones hair is better or worse but YouTube and the movement has warped it all. Also I have only seen a few women on YouTube who are opting to keep their natural hair short. I find this a little disturbing that everyone wants long hair. Currently I’m natural and I’m opting to keep my hair short. But whatever you do with your hair just chill. It’s just hair…I had to learn that the hard way.

  • The only thing I appreciate about the “hair movement” is it brought attention to black natural hair, which in turn means more products available to help care for our hair. That was never available before. I have been natural just about all my life. I had a few relaxers in my 20’s, but that was it for relaxers. I have worn a wig a few times as well. I mention that, not because I think I am superior, but to show that natural hair has always been a way of life for me. Natural hair is not this new mysterious thing. I agree everyone should have a choice and accepted for how one chooses to wear their hair. On the other hand we have always been taught that black hair is not “good hair” nor beautiful. Many of our women have fallen victim today. I do feel that women who can never wear their hair natural because they feel they are not beautiful do truly hate themselves. I feel sorry for them. I am tired of seeing all the long weaves, especially when the weave determines a woman’s feeling of self esteem and confidence. Ladies please stop listening to the messages of white America, media and television. Some of us have been brain washed and are too far gone. We are beautiful just as we are. We do not and should not look like another race in any way, if it is not natural. Sure if you want to do a weave, do it and take it off. Do not make it a staple.

  • “I hate the natural hair movement.”? I grew up seeing commercials that would say- do you want your hair long and silky , shiny. In stores all I saw on hair care products were faces and hair that did not look like mine. I went to a school that was predominantly white. Every day I had question what’s wrong with your hair was it look question what’s wrong with your hair. I had a hidden complex. I’ve been natural for a year. Gosh I love it, I had no clue what I was missing. I commend the bloggers , bloggers – and I “love” all the hype. Perhaps the youth will love their hair from the start . There’s a difference in choosing to perm your hair- then doing it because you hate your hair. My daughter is 30 we have decided to transition to natural. I also love all the passion in the people who commented on this post. Why not talk about our hair. A year ago I went into a store to buy some hair supplies. Not one product for my hair, I asked an employee at the store would they be getting any.. Of the product She said with hesitation “sorry we probably won’t carry those brands” so if it’s just hair…. I though in my mind really “still” so to all you bloggers & bloggers keep talking about your “our ” hair! I love it! It makes this old lady proud. That the younger generations will only choose to change thier hair- because they want to.

  • I’ve read most of the comments which I found enlightening. My main reason for going natural is that I’m lazy and frugal. When I came to America eighteen years ago I was rocking a perm but I was appalled at the cost to maintain it here as opposed to where I’m from. I also had a longer commute for work and school and thought no way I would have the time to keep up with hair styling. Result? I spend ten dollars at the barber shop every few months and have saved a considerable sum which I’ve put towards real estate and my passion for working out. I never realized until recently that “going natural” had become a movement, which surprisingly had its pitfalls as texture and thickness is now a big issue. Oh well.

  • I have read so many articles onn the topic of the blogger loverrs however this article is in fact
    a pleasant post, keep it up.

  • Mmmmm. My natural hair story/movement began in 1971. My brother encouraged me to create an Afro with my hair that was processed with a straightening chemical….he back combed it into an Afro style! After a few more attempts I was able to achieve an authentic Afro allowing my hair to grow out of the chemical process into its natural being. That only last a couple of years and then I went back to varies methods of straightening until I went on my first European tour where I decided NOT to bring all the electronic stuff to create the look I was use to but to try the braided style of 1983. Which was a big hit to many Europeans who had limited exposure to AA people (aka Black culture). A year later in 1984 after 2 different but combined hairstyles lead me to revolt against the AA/Black culture tone regarding my “good” hair. I , too darned to cut it down to a 1/2 inch and started my “natural hair movement” of cutting my hair every 7 years and never used the chemical method of straightening my hair again. Ten years later in 1994, I have a daughter with sensitive dermis issues. Which has lead her to NEVER have her hair chemically straighten but not limited her creative means of various hairstyles with her natural hair. Primarily through finding a GREAT hairstylist at Riverside Community College Cosmetology school in 1999, Ms. Kim H. and my daughter’s Afrocentric pride in herself and community (via her mother teachings). She and I have developed a healthy method of caring for our hair.
    I have also learned from my years in a non-denominational churchs’ Bible studies a women’s hair is her crown of glory and my gray hair is valued. As discussed here –
    As for AA culture aka Black culture you might want to regard Dr. Cornel West’s studies/research/works.

  • My hair has been natural since 2009 and this is my 5th time letting my hair return to its natural state. I have tried many different hairstyles. At different times in my life I have happily rocked weave, wigs, relaxed hair, locs for 3 years and a TWA because I like variety. I have dyed my hair nearly every color possible at different times in my life also.

    Currently I wear my natural hair in a huge afro. My hair is super thick and is “Type 4” so I have A LOT of hair, LOL. It grows in coils and kinky curls. I love my natural hair because it is very soft, very thick, beautiful, and healthy. To me, healthy hair = “good hair”

    I think that people should rock their own, real hair OR fake hair (wigs/weave) any way that they want to. Natural hair rocks in my opinion but ALL hairstyles are great and a reflection of one’s individuality and unique self-expression. Natural hair is not superior. It’s just a personal choice for whatever reasons you choose to let your hair stay natural.

    I never saw my natural hair as a bold move or a revolutionary “movement” just like I don’t see my natural brown skin, large nose, dark eyes, and full lips as a movement. It’s just me, being me, how God created me. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s just easy and simple to be myself. I don’t have the energy, time, and desire to try to look like anyone other than……my self. And yes, it took me more than 30 years to reach this point mentally and spiritually. Self-love and self-acceptance is really all that my natural hair represents for me.

  • After reading the article and some of the comments, I have a few questions:
    (1) Is it possible for a person with a perm and/or weave to NOT have self hatred and to NOT wear their hair this way to try to fit into “White American” standards of beauty?
    (2) Does having natural hair mean that you have no self hatred?
    (3) Do people with permed/weaved hair have a right to look down upon and/or judge those with natural hair? And vice versa do people with natural hair have a right to look down upon and/or judge those with permed/weaved hair?
    Overall my opinion is that black women are beautiful regardless of how they choose to wear their hair. We are diverse and different and yet we can relate to each other like no other group can. Also, one thing that the natural hair movement does is cause for more products for black hair to made available.

  • To the author, I’m not sure when it became so *dang* serious! I hear ya!

    For me, hair is (has always been) just an accessory. It always grows back. Mine has been dyed from platinum to eggplant (anyone remember cellophanes?); cut from super short to as long as my shoulder blades; natural to relaxed; braids, TWA (teeny weeny afro) to 6″ ‘fro.

    These days, I’m all about doing what’s easiest. That means trying to find how I’d best like my white/gray to come in. For now, I’m bleaching it all to match the whitest of the white and wearing it super, super short. I love the look. When I get bored (which I will), I’ll find another look.

  • One think i dont understand is why people wear so much wigs, especially naturals. When you have Hair i mean. I understand that if you, due to medical reasons have lost your hair you want to wear a wig but why do people with natural, beautiful African hair wear a wig made of Indian hair?

    • it’s just about wearing in a protective style so you don’t have to maintain it every day, basically. I can’t speak for everyone else, but my natural hair MUST be maintain every single day. I HAVE to moisturize it, I HAVE to set it. It’s just a lot. Hence, I take a break with either a wig or a weave. It relieves my hair from the everyday stress. It also lets me experiment with looks.

  • I too have always been natural and I’ve seen the natural hair movement grow with the advent of YouTube from the early 2000s. My mother never believed in “good hair” but she did take note that some textures can be more difficult to manage than others. There are women who take the hair texture of their future husbands’ into consideration with it comes to their children’s hair. My mom was one of them. I pretty much have a similar upbringing as the poster regarding hair being hair.

    However, where our stories diverge is my awareness of the historical importance of natural hair and other parts of our bodies that have been (and continue to be) dehumanized by white-supremacy. People that criticize the natural hair movement have several things in common:
     They like to single out a few fanatics that have a cult-like zeal for the natural hair movement and use such fanatics as a pretext to malign the movement as a whole.
     They play dumb as to why embracing natural hair matters to black people and black consciousness; why embracing black beauty matters to collective healing as a race.
     Engage in belittling tactics such as framing natural hair as trivial compared to more “proactive” activities such as health, fitness or community involvement.

    Who says we have to choose one or the other when we can do both? White supremacy/occult elite/Illuminati doesn’t focus on one thing at a time. They handle multiple objectives simultaneously: glorify whiteness/white beauty in every medium available, personally participate in nefarious activities such as human hunting, sodomy, satanic rituals, orgies; keep up personal hygiene, maintain health & fitness to keep in shape; fund biological warfare projects through the WHO (race-specific and general), sustain MKUltra/Project Monarch trauma based mind control, supervise the “network” of child abductions, satanic ritual abuse, electroshock etc. Make sure politicians play their roles to perfection in elections: Hillary as the thesis, Donald Trump as the bigot antithesis. Do anything. Get Hilary in the White House by any means necessary (synthesis)…and so on and so forth. You get the point. (Don’t vote ya’ll!)

    As you can see many of these activities are contradictory but that doesn’t stop Satanists from pursuing multiple avenues and goals to reach their agenda. If white supremacy can multi-task for evil then conscious black people can multi-task for good and the upliftment of the race. And that starts personally. If you don’t see yourself as beautiful you won’t see yourself as worthwhile. White supremacy refuses to show authentic black beauty for a reason. Our hair clearly isn’t ‘just hair’ to them. Which is why Beyonce sports blonde weave; as does Mary J. Blige and now even Jill Scott has sold out (to the elite) and the first indication was the change in her hair; which is now straight, among other things.

    Don’t act brand new as to why this movement matters. You “hate” the natural hair movement? HATE??! Really? If hair is no “big deal” then why even write a post about a movement you dislike so much? What’s it to you? If you truly wanted to ‘live and let live’ then you wouldn’t have written this post in the first place. This has nothing to do with accepting however black women wear their hair. This has nothing to do with celebrating all kinds of beauty. No. That is just a ruse to camouflage your hostility toward a positive movement that has nothing negative about it unless you choose to make it such. Instead, this has everything to do with your confusion of black people displaying unapologetic pride in their blackness, hair, skin and all. And that BOTHERS you.

    The only “elitist” fanatic I see here…
    …is you.

    • @Tiffany (from Nov.4) THANK YOU! It’s always amazing to me how some people are so quick to diss the natural hair movement. They see a handful of overzealous people and take that as a cue to dismiss everyone who is natural.
      And you are so spot on about the mental gymnastics. They’ll talk down to you, willfully miss your point, and erase history, as if hundreds of years of prejudice haven’t shaped our culture.
      They know it’s not just hair but for some reason don’t want to deal with the culture baggage we tend to carry as Black people. Some of these other comments are clear indications of that: using their own experiences to shut down anyone who has a different opinion as if they speak for everyone.
      Sad, sad, sad.

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