Posted on 10-Jul-2017
A question many girls of this generation are asking themselves. The natural hair movement has taken the world by storm. Black and mixed women around the world are making the decision to transition from relaxed hair to natural or to simply just cut it all off. Celebrities including Yvonne Nelson, Yemi Alade, Chimamanda Adichie to Gabrielle Union and Solange have gone natural supporting this new trend to embrace the beauty they were born with. But why the sudden change? Some say women are simply just realising that the chemicals in relaxers are damaging their hairs, while some believe its just a trend like in the 70s.
Lets take it back to the 1960s, when the Black Power Movement gave way to black people saying ‘Fuck this!’ after years of conforming to the idea of European beauty standards. Afros were worn proudly by both male and female black political activists such as Angela Davies and Chaka Khan, which gave way to natural hair standing for black beauty, empowerment, and pride. What began as a political movement soon became a fashion trend.
Now women turn to youtube vloggers to learn how to take care of their natural hair. Whether its bantu knots, twist outs, or wash and go - I think its fair to say they've revolutionised the natural hair game. They've created a safe environment for women who want to wear their hair in its most natural state. Natural hair is big and it’s beautiful and you have to respect the long processes these women go through everyday to maintain their locs. But this trend seems to have given birth to something new: the judgmental naturalista. Women with natural hair tend to look down on women who continue to choose to relax their hair. I can’t tell you the amount of conversations I've had with women that begin with “Oh…you still relax your hair…” while they squeeze their faces and stare judgmentally at my hair (insert eye roll here). Judging women with a kind of ‘blacker-than-thou’ attitude, as if choosing to continue relaxing your hair makes you any less proud of your heritage.
Everyone has their own reason for their hair choices; everyone has taken their own journey. Not all of us are trying to fit in with the European beauty standards, despite appearing to. Some of us are just used to relaxing. We were exposed to the world of relaxers as children; for many of us, our natural curls are a mystery because straight hair is all we’ve ever known. Don’t get me wrong - Ive tried the natural thing with bantu knots twisted all over my head. But either because of my busy schedule or out of pure laziness, I always give up after a few months and go back to relaxers just because it’s the easier route. But if I ever choose to really go natural let it be my personal decision, not because you’ve shamed me into submission. We respect your choice, now respect ours.
So ladies, if you want to be natural, relaxed, bald, whatever…go the fuck ahead. It doesn't matter what people think, do whatever feels most comfortable to you and keep your unwanted opinions to yourself.