Last night, I had a dream that I was the president of the natural hair community. The constitution of the natural hair movement declares that from time to time, the President shall give to its member’s information about the state of the union. So, like any respectable president I must now address the union.
State of the “Natural Hair” Union: President Byrd’s Full Speech
President Byrd’s State of the Natural Hair Community Union Address
To the Vice President, readers of the Curl Centric blog, distinguished guests, and fellow naturals:
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the natural hair community. (Applause)
Our Progress has Been Tremendous
It’s tempting to look back on the progress of the natural hair movement and assume that the progress that we’ve made was inevitable — that the wonderful women within the natural hair movement were always destined to succeed. But when I look back at some of the things we’ve encountered over the years I’m encouraged at our progress. We’ve dealt with people making inflammatory YouTube videos or making off-topic comments simply to provoke an emotional response. I’ve heard some women refer to the group(s) of naturals who participate in these endeavors loosely as “the natural hair Nazis”.
Until recently, I had never met anyone who I would even remotely consider for this infamous label. Now I can confirm with first-hand knowledge that these naturals exist. There are literally some naturals out there who make over-the-top insults towards other naturals. This is truly the dark-side of the natural hair community, but as your President, I will work every minute of my term to build unity and eliminate bipartisan politics. So we face a big challenge, but what the individuals of the natural hair community can count on, is that their President will help them work through the differences and overcome the numbing weight of natural hair politics.
My most urgent task upon taking this office was to provide unity to the natural hair community. From the day I took office, I’ve been told that addressing this larger challenge is too ambitious; even that such an effort would be contentious. I’ve been told that things are too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for a while.
I have one simple question: How long should the natural hair community put things on hold? (Applause)
Natural ladies – it begins with you. If you have concerns about going natural, you’re definitely not alone. In this new decade, it’s time that naturals all around the world have a governing body that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. (Applause)
And tonight, I will address exactly how we can deliver on that promise.
We can’t afford to be overtaken by heat damage – a story that we heard all too often during the last two years – where flat irons and curling irons were used at high temperatures. As hard as it may be to understand, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may become, there is really no way to ensure that your hair is protected from the heat being applied. I urge you to use heat protectant and I know you will, but also ask that you only apply heat to your hair on special occasions. Consistently applying heat to your hair, you will greatly increase the chances of having heat damage. We need to make sure that current naturals and soon to-be-naturals have the information they need to make decisions about applying heat to their hair. (Applause)
In the coming year, we’ll also work to rebuild our natural’s faith in the institution of water. Many new naturals, who relaxed for many years, fear water and don’t want to get their hair wet. If you’re natural and avoiding water, this is a mistake. Our success towards accepting water will require reform and responsibility. It will also require that each natural approach water with a new level of engagement.
Of course, as I speak, stress and its affiliates continue to plan attacks against our naturals. Thanks to our intelligence agencies, we’re disrupting their plots with additional exercise and relaxation techniques. As this silent killer attempts to inspire acts of violence on our delicate natural hair, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the power of our enemy, and with the conviction that the natural hair community will prevail. (Applause)
Tonight, let each person in the natural hair community, speak with one voice – reaffirming that our community is united in support of every natural and their families. Let us serve them well, by giving them the information that they need to have a successful natural hair journey, by providing them with the care and benefits that they deserve and by enlisting our natural hair veterans in the great tasks of building the knowledge of our youth. We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us.
The hair industry is changing. And for many, that change has been very painful. I’ve seen many women complain about hair breakage and the lack of hair growth. But this shouldn’t discourage us. Naturals, the future is ours, but to get there we can’t stand still.
We must continue to inform naturals about the benefits of protective styling, proper nutrition and sleeping on satin pillow cases or wearing satin scarfs at bedtime. We can’t allow cotton sheets and pillow cases to rob our naturals of moisture leading to dry hair. Just remember — for all the negative comments that we’ve received during the last few years and for all the naysayers predicting our demise and calling this movement a fad, the natural hair movement is as large and prosperous as it’s ever been. (Applause)
Furthermore, the natural hair movement was founded for the sake of instilling confidence in natural ladies all around the world — the idea that each natural deserves the chance to shape their own destiny. That’s why over the centuries natural hair pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to join the natural hair movement.
It’s why our naturals don’t just choose products, but research them fully before applying them to their hair. Naturals, the future is ours to win. The dream of a successful natural hair journey has never been about standing pat. It has required each natural hair blogger to sacrifice, and struggle, in order to meet the demands of naturals around the world. (Applause)
We plan to do big things.
From the earliest days of our founding, Natural Hair Community has been a story of ordinary people who dare to dream. The idea of a unified natural hair community endures. Our destiny continues to be our choice. And tonight, more than two years later, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.
Thank you. God Bless You. And God Bless the United States of America Natural Hair Community.
[Look for more from President Byrd in the future. Comment if there are certain topics that you would like to hear the President address. Also, let me know if you would like to see a live (YouTube) state of the union address.]