When Are You Going to Relax Your Hair?

Didi of AdventuresofaKinkyCurly writes:


Reflections of a Natural Head...

When are you going to relax your hair?

This is a question I have heard frequently in the last month. I have been interning at a prominent law firm in Nigeria this summer and when people find out where I'm working, they are shocked that they allow me to rock my natural hair because it is seen as 'unprofessional'. Usually when someone asks me if I am going to relax my hair, I laugh and say that I prefer my hair this way. They normally look at me like I'm crazy and say that I should do something with it... do something to it. I have tried my best not to get offended, but after hearing negative comments from three people in one day, I was through!

I know that many Nigerian women prefer to wear weaves, wigs, and braids, but I'm not in that boat right now. Don't get me wrong, I think women can do whatever they want to their hair. Before my Big Chop, I was rocking weaves and braids regularly. Heck, if my scalp didn't severely scab up every time I applied a relaxer, I would probably still be hooked on the creamy crack! With that said, I get really annoyed and a little disappointed that I must defend my hair more in Africa than in America. A lot of the women I have run into do not embrace their natural hair and they try to make me feel uncomfortable about my own hair. Whenever they ask me why I don't do something with my hair, I always fight the urge to say, "Why don't you wear a weave that matches your hair texture or your hair color?" I never say that, but I don't understand why a woman wearing European hair is better than me wearing the hair that God gave me.

Not everyone is against my natural hair, many people actually like it, especially people my age or younger. They usually tell me I am brave to keep my hair natural. Often many girls tell me they have tried and failed to go natural because they don't have 'good hair' like mine. I try to explain that there is no such thing as good hair. All hair is different and what may work for one woman may not work for another. I just wish people in Nigeria, especially women, had a more positive image of natural hair.

Didi
http://adventuresofakinkycurly.blogspot.com/


Has anyone ever asked you, 'what are you gonna do with your hair?' or 'when are you gonna relax?' How did you respond... how would you respond in this situation?

75 Weigh in!:
Butterfly73 said...

When I am asked, I just reply I won't relax my hair ever again. *shrug* and give them the *straight face*...usually that works. LOL

Carlotta said...

I experienced something like this while home in NY recently. A man I knew from my childhood, who is from Barbados and never let his daughters get perms or a press, a man who once told us regarding pierced ears,'If God wanted you to have holes in your ears He would've put them there', asked me what was going on with my hair. At the time I was wearing a twist out. I asked him what was wrong with it and he say's it looks nappy. I replied, 'Oh good, so I did it the right way. It's suppossed to look like that'. (You see, I've only been natural for 4 months now) Then he says, 'Oh so you're going back to your natural roots?' I said, 'Yes sir' and he shakes his head at me with a smile and continues working on his project. I was totally shocked to hear this from this man in particular because of the way I remember him being toward his daughter's when we were coming up. Nevertheless, I rocked my nappy looking twist out with my head up high that day.

~Tootles!

Anonymous said...

Hi Didi!

Lol as a "fellow" Nigerian, I can imagine what it must be like! A lot of people also think I'm crazy (the number is greatly minimized cos Im not on FB! Lmao) for cutting my super long hair and dealing with my bushy fro! Everytime I get the question "when are you going to relax ur hair", I answer and say "for now I dont intend to...EVER!" lol! that usually shocks them into silence! Enjoy "Las Gidi" ma..

Cheers

Anonymous said...

I'm also Nigerian and totally feel u. I get that question whenever i'm around nigerians, they keep suggesting i perm it, telling me how long my hair would be if i permed it (i don't recall asking for suggestions). Recently i was rocking a bantu knot twist and a Nigerian lady kept staring at me, not knowing i could sense she's wondering abt my hair. She then asked "wat's that in ur hair? dreads? y does it look like that? is that your real hair?" of course you're not suppose to disrespect your elders so i bit my tongue and hoped it wouldn't start bleeding. It's sad that they quickly succumb to European hair styles (nothin wrong with that now) but when it looks like shredded colored glad trash bag on ur head bc u refused to get something similar to ur real texture is where i have a problem. I always ask myself, wat would happen if relaxer didn't exist? i'm sure everyone would be rocking fro's.

Anonymous said...

This is tough! I think all (or most) of us who used to relax, perm hair and turned to natural faced this situations :(. The first months of my journey, my whole family (I used to live with them at that time) made negative comments about my hair. So, I couldn't resist and applied relaxers 3 times. After the last time, I was so regretful that I finally decided to stick to my natural hair. Nowadays, I know how to take the best of my hair (at least for me), but my mom still says that I ruined my it and that I don't take care for it anymore LOL, LOL.

At work, I only had problems when I couldn't make it defined. Once, a coworker dared to emailed me a picture and asked if there wasn't a way I could make my hair similar to that :-O. Shame, shame. I only replied her that it was impossible.

My major problem is with men. As my hair is still short (neck), I feel as if I was invisible to men. Once I used a longer and wavy wig and the approach changed dramatically :-(.

I still don't have answers, but I try not to think too much about negative comments because I don't want to relax my hair anymore. BTW, I live in Brazil.

Kandeezie said...

Your hair is beautiful!!

kenya said...

I have a friend who is relentlessly asking me 2 let her straighten my hair .. When i first started wearing my hair out she was one of the first 2 see it and she replied "....Oh....its so...curly" -_-
However she asked my in front of a group of our friends recently when i was gonna go back to my "normal hair" aka relaxed hair (mind you ive been fully natural for about 3months now). I simply told her this is my normal hair , its the way it grows out my scalp and then i turned away from her .

Notthecoolmom said...

I'm not Nigerian, but my co-worker (who is) told me she liked my hair, but hers would never do what mine does. I told her it may not be exactly like mine but she could go natural. She also relaxers her daughters hair, because she said she just can't comb through it without it. I suggested that she just try combing through it wet and with conditioner only. She said no she'd tried it once and it didn't work. Now I don't think this had anything to do with her being Nigerian or having a different texture hair from mine. I think she just didn't want to give it a try. I mean how many other things do you say oh it didn't work once so nope it'll never work??

I love your hair in the pic, btw.

dammie said...

Hi Didi, understand you gurl.
am a fellow Nigerian, live in Abuja. People literally offer to get me relaxers, it crazie.
Am always defending the question; wat are you going to do to your hair?
I have been wear wigs to work 4 d past 3 months. i love my natural hair but haven't found the right styles 4 d work place. dat wouldn't attract the "look".

aubin said...

Even though I've been natural for years now, I still get the "what are you gonna do with your hair" question from family and sometimes from other random people. I usually answer by saying what style I have planned for the next day ("I think I'll twist it tonight"), then I turn the question back on them: What are you gonna do with *your* hair?

beautywithcurls said...

Yay Didi I Love Your Hair, Keep Doing What You're Doing :~D

I Guess I'm The Disrespectful Rebel Here, LOL I've Had Someone Say I Have Pretty "Indian Like" Hair, Just Curly Then She Will I Ever Wear It Straighten Permanently, I Told Her Did I Ask You When You're Going To Stop Perming Your Hair And Wear It "African Like"!! When I Want My Hair Straighten I'll Get It Straighten For The Day Or Week,I Don't Have To Permanently Alter My Hair To Have It Straight. No Matter The Age I Tell People They Will Respect Me If They Want To Continue Receiving Respect. They Don't Realize They Are Being Disrespectful, They Just Think Its Right, I Don't Play That,LOL


The Lady From Brazil Don't Worry About It, The Men Will Come Around :~D

Linda said...

I used to find it very offensive and in the beginining of my journey it bothered me. Now I just realize that there are ppl who live inside this box and they expect everyone else to be just like them (clones). Now I can confidently say, "I plan to never relax my hair again and maybe you should consider the same."

Stephanie said...

It's not like that all over Africa, unfortunately Nigerians are obssessed with more Europeans standards of beauty. Pretty sad. Just look at how much time they spend bleaching their skin and not just to clear acne marks or a couple dark hormonal spots to get them back to their natural skin tone. Face be white as snow and hands dark as I dont know what. Just sickening.

SweetT said...

Girl you and your hair are absolutely beautiful! I can't remember someone straight up asking me when I was going to relax, but I do hear "Do you know how long your hair would be if you straightened it?" and "Are you planning to keep your hair that way?" with the implication that it shouldn't be natural. I typically ignore those comments altogether!

Reinna said...

I work in a hospital and I was one of the first women to ever go "natural" and I have been asked why am I trying so hard to be black. (I am a lighter skin black person). I have been asked by men why iin the world would I choose that I had such pretty hair. One lady told me it was ok for the weekends but not everyday?(huh? how can one be natural on the weekends only?) And it infuriates me as well, but I know I am beautiful and just the way God made me so they can kick rocks!!

Brown Babe said...

I must agree, your hair is fly - walk in the confidence of knowing that, regardless of what others may think!

I actually get the most comments from my younger family members - young teens that are still of the mind set that straight and long = beauty. I've had my 14 y/o sister ask ... so does this mean you're never going to get your hair done again? to which i responded, I do my hair everyday! she says no, I mean straight. I smh @ her.

I've also had a close friend comment after seeing my hair toward the end of my 13 month transition...OMG, your hair is so long, imagine if you permed it! Would that not totally defeat the last year of my life!!!

I just laugh and keep it moving - hoping to lead by positive example.

Anonymous said...

When I first bd’ed one of my friends had the nerve to ask me “are you going through something” and proceeded to say “so when are you going to get a perm” and when I told her NEVER she said “so what are you going to do with it” I just ignored her because I knew she was ignorant and honestly I can remember thinking the same thing before I decided to stop lying to myself. Now when someone asks me the what are you going to do with it question I say “wear it down just like when I had a perm”! lol!! I figure wearing my natural hair “out” is no different than wearing my permed hair down. Your hair is beautiful just the way it is! :)

CurlyIvy08 said...

I'm stunned but not surprised to hear that the European standard of beauty plagues African nations as well. Now that gives some insight into why a lot of (dark skinned) African women that I've noticed wear some type of hair extension.

The irony is one of my co-workers who is Nigerian commended me on going natural and we talked about why more women aren't natural. I did ask him why a lot of African women seem to wear braids, etc, but he didn't give the same explanation. He even said that he thought African men actually liked natural hair more than African American men. So now to read this leaves me feeling that his view may be an exception to the status quo.

When will people of color all over the world dispel this insidious ideal of living up to the European standard of beauty and embrace the beauty within their own culture.

gigihaitiancurly said...

That actually happened to me this week. I was at the funeral of a family member and my mother's cousin who is a hair dresser in Haiti came to me and told me: the color in you'r hair is not bad but it would be so pretty if you'r hair was straighter. When I asked her what she meant by straighter she said well if it wasn't so nappy the light would reflect in the color more and make it pop. And she went on in touching my hair making it even more frizzy than it was already in the 85 degree weather.
You would think Caribbean woman who are okay with braids and perming hair after puberty would be okay with a grown woman wearing her hair natural. You are wrong. I had to justify my hair so much that day that when I left I felt kinda relieved. Thank God I don't take things into offence otherwise I would have made a couple of people unhappy. I just shrug things off and go about my life. And who cares if people think its wrong or inappropriate or whatever excuse they come up with. As long as you do you and you are happy with who you are. Hair is not supposed to define you. Hair is just supposed to finish the whole image as an added bonus.
Be you and be happy. That's what counts.

modest-goddess (thelady) said...

A guy I was dating asked when I was going to relax my nappy hair. I went off on him and he tried to play it off like he was joking. Never saw that fool again.

Anonymous said...

I just love your hair - just beautiful!

I am a nursing student, one of 5 black women in my class. I stand out like a sore thumb with my natural 4b, and I don't care anymore.

I have been relaxed for nearly 30 years, until I BC'd in 2009. I endured thinning hair on my temples and crown, scraggly see-through ends and bad hair days, but it all wasn't enuf until the alopecia struck. Two bald spots that started out pea-sized and spread to more than two inches in diameter on the back and side of my scalp. I stopped the relaxers and began transitioning.

My natural hair has made others uncomfortable- I perceive that many people can't deal with the appearance of natural textured African hair. A classmate got microbraids because she didn't want to incur more bias than necessary. I don't let it bother me though. I naturally excel in my nursing classes and clinicals, and exude confidence as I walk down the halls.

My hair is not a political statement, but it is there, and it's in their face. They will have to deal with it because this is how it's going to be. This is the hair God blessed me with, and He's making them take notice of Another Black Woman...

Anonymous said...

Your hair is beautiful and never think different. I think the women might be jealous that they don't know how to take care of their natural hair and expect you to live by their standard. Take the high road and be the Diva on the catwalk. Let your confidence show from the inside out and hold your beautiful head of hair high.
In my experience, the women are truly concerned the men are going to be loving the confident you with the beautiful natural hair. I now embrace the look while I strut my stuff, because my confidence is key and my hair's beautiful just the way God made me. Rock the beautiful hair and don't sweat the haters. Live, Love, Peace. ~ Sweetsop

Krystal said...

I just came from the local BSS. While there, one of the ladies asked, "So you went natural...why?" I politely explained to her the reason was because relaxers damaged my hair. I did not question why she wore what appeared to be finger waves and a french roll in 2010. The nerve of some people!

Anonymous said...

She's beautiful..she doesnt need to do that at all!!

Tia_UK said...

Hi Didi,
GIRL I AM FEELING WHATCHU SAYIN!!!!
i live in UK and have had such negative responses from BLACK people about my natural hair. I live in a small town with a large white majority so most people at home think my hair is pretty cool, but I am originally from zambia
Anway i had a university interview at this bigger town, and when I got there decided to brush up in the toilets. When I got to the mirrors I found a black woman from Nigeria who immediately passed me a comb and said I need to brush my hair *my hair was in an updo* so i said no thanks this is fine. She exclaimed in surprise saying back home in Nigeria she would never walk around with her hair looking like that!!so I said ok but I choose to be natural, I like the hair that God gave me. SShe said yea thats fine but still they would have their hair combed atleast! for the record my hair was pulled back in 2 twists and bunned at the back. So that was a great confidence booster for my interview..NOT! Still i looked in the mirror smiled and managed to ace my interview:)
Another instance was just today when me and mum went out for some dinner, I was wearing a twist out styled with some bobby pins feeling fly!!
My mum all of a sudden looks at me and says...you would never walk around with your hair in Zambia like that would you? people would think you are mad coming from the UK looking like that.
This didn't really shock me, I have been thinking about what I'm gonna do with my hair when I next go back to Zambia, I used to tell myself I wont go back until my hair is full APL but hair shrinks, I LOVE SHRUNKEN HAIR!!! i love nappy hair, I love my big round football face seeking familiar faces.
So when my mum said this all I could see was- well I'm not gonna relax my hair, I dont wear extensions so I guess its just gonna have to be me.
What is soo wrong with being me? so what that my hair doesnt fall on my shoulders and frame my face? my hair is amazing-it oppossess gravity and makes love to water.
Whats wrong with that?

Stay smiling natural beauties,
Metiya

Anonymous said...

I recently moved to the Washington DC area from California, and I have been thoroughly impressed with the number of naturals here. I mentioned this to a sales associate at a makeup store here and he said, "Women here are not natural by choice. They are going natural because the stylists here don't know how to do hair and broke all their hair off." I just thought I'd share yet another of the ignorant statements people make about our hair.

Channyboo23 said...

I remember my granny asking me "when are you going to put those pretty braids back in your hair?" or "when are you going to straighten your hair?" It takes everything in my power not to say somethin smart back, but I'll admit it does throughly piss me off when people act like there's something wrong with my hair the way it is. I mean lets be real no one says a word when other races dye, fry, and do whatever to their hair. But when we embrace the hair God gave us all hell breaks loose. Smh

Anonymous said...

It is almost like people would rather see a sista needing a relaxer (which can sometimes look not so good) rather than a sista with natural healthy pretty hair. Shame on society.

darkbeautytt said...

girl please dopnt let this get to you, i'm nigerian born and raise but i live here in the USA, but one thing i do know is that, based ont he culture they will always have issue with whsat u do, but be yourself, different and unique thats how God created us, as long as u accept that then they would too. eventually they would stop talking and start copying you.

Anonymous said...

Oh my grandma said this to me this weekend:" OMG, you used to be so beautiful....what happened to you?....you could have washed it at least....".

We are Haitian.
But I was like, listen grandma, that's how i like it.

judik said...

When I was in Nigeria in 2008 everyone thought my hair was a weave. People would look at it and be shocked when I told them it was my own. The funny thing is I love getting weaves done in Nigeria and couldn't wait to get something sewn in, but my aunt was trying to convince me to wear my afro blown out because it was so big and different. So I guess for as many negative comments you'll always have a few supporters and even more silent supporters...
'Your hair looks great!!

Anonymous said...

All of you comments sound so familiar. The one thing I hate the most is having negative comments from ppl who are the same color as I am who would have the same kinky coily hair as mine if they were natural. They have the nerve to make negative comments about my hair when there hair looks like trash themselves... whats up with that. Another thing that I find is weird is that my co-workers who are white, indian, or Filipino like my hair and thinks it is cute. In fact I had a co-worker once who is white and mexican mixed tell me she doesn't understand why black people relax or straighten their hair because its so pretty natural. So my biggest question is why do most black people feel they have to have the straight hair when its not even a big deal or even an issue with other races? Are we trying to prove something to them or to ourselves? Are we trying to look a certain way around white people so that we wont appear unkept and unprofessional?? I have never ever experienced a negative comment from a person outside of my race (at least not to my face), only from the people who share the same color skin as me. Its so sad that we as a ppl cannot accept ourselves as a complete package when years ago we were fighting for our lives because we were black; to prove we belong and that we have just as much of a right to be on this earth as white ppl. And now we can't even accept each other because the natural texture of our hair??

Its sad but its true and although I hate it I already know Im going to feel it from somebody when I walk out the door in the morning, wether its just a look or a random comment or the oh so dreaded suggestion lol.

I always feel that for every one person who looks at my hair as a negative aspect of my appearance, there are 10 people who love my natural hair :)

Your hair is beatiful, just like you :). Keep shining and know that your hair will never be a down fall and it will never hold you back from reaching your potential greatness in life!!!!!!!!

Au naturelle said...

Wow. I hear you ladies! I am often asked by my male friends "when are you going to relax your hair?". Considering I have recently started wearing my hair natural after relaxing it for 16 years! Flaming cheek! No one asked me when I was going to change my hair when it was relaxed...!

Didi - you look gorgeous, don't let anyone tell you any different!

Tia UK - I think it's time to organise a Curly Meet Up in the UK. Are you anywhere near London at all?

Aishah said...

Didi you are GORGEOUS! And your hair is BEAUTIFUL!

I kind of expected to get some backlash from co-workers or strangers when I went natural (which I don't get much of). The thing that hurt me most are the comments I get from a few of my family members. I would NEVER dream of making a negative comment on the appearance of any of my friends or family members. But a few of them have voiced their negative opinions of my hair (luckily these comments are few and far between because they realize that I couldn't possibly care less about what they think on the matter). And it's just crazy to me because I accept ya'll with all of your addictions, vices, and shortcomings yet somehow my HAIR is a topic for discussion?

Anonymous said...

@July 5 7:03 -- I am in DC too and the salesperson you talked to was absolutely wrong! There is a large contingent of nappies in the DMV (DC, MD, VA) and the bulk of us are natural by choice. There are great hairstylists in this area. Mine was one of the best, IMO. But I couldn't reconcile telling my daughter her hair is beautiful when I'm running to the shop every 2 weeks to get mine done.

Plus, it's great to be in an area where there are so many people embracing natural hair -- to see all of the different styles and get tips and compare routines/products. I can't count the times early on when I was thinking about straightening my hair and would meet someone randomly and get the support/encouragement to continue my natural hair journey.

HOWEVER, this weekend at my cousin's cookout, my BROTHER called me nappy-headed (and not in the complimentary way). I looked around the yard full of folks with some form or another of natural hair and I was absolutely unfazed...little brothers are a PITA!

Kathleen said...

I'm not even completely natural and I have gotten comments. four that I remember distinctly...

last year I made a vow to myself that I would take care of my hair and grow it out. I went from just at SL to APL and I was sooo proud of myself. But my last 2 or three relaxers weren't the best. I got burnt like never before but I though hey its a perm thats what they do. My last relaxer was April 2009. I told my dad's gf that I wasn't gonna get relaxers anymore.(She used to apply my relaxers). She said "Your roots are gonna get too thick and your hair will break" that comment made me really contemplate whether or not I was gonna go natural. I went ahead and started my transition.

I was at walmart with my brother and for some reason we know a lot of people who work there lol. So we were walking out and we saw a lady we know so I stopped and said hi and the first thing she says is "What happened to your hair? your dad dont pay for you to get perms anymore?" i said "No, I didn't want them anymore. My dad has nothing to do with it" then she replied "hmm okay"..in a judging tone! I just thought I barely ever see you and you just judge me like that?!

I was sitting in my driveway on the phone. A lady in a car pulled up. She was there to bring something for my dad. She gets out of the car and says "what did you do to your hair?!" I said "Oh, I stopped getting perms" she replies "It looks ugly!" I was shocked at that! I replied with, "I like it, I think it looks nice"...keep in mind that I had just come from school and i don't put much thought into hairstyles like I used to but most people love my hair when I do things to it or just in a bun. Well this day it was in a bun and she continues to look at me, "Turn around" she says. I do a cute turn as to make my hair look more appealing or something haha. "I don't like it". After that i just responded with a "Okay" because I'm a person that was taught to be respectful until you cross the line completely. Her comments made me so upset! I went as far as to vent to my brother. But he assured me that she didn't know better..she used to be a hairdresser and that's all she knows. Either way she was plain rude.

yesterday I was moisturizing my hair right before I went to bed. My dad walked by the bathroom and said "your always wetting your hair! Don't you know you hair used to be long!" (he was refering to the time my hair was APL) i said "I've cut my hair and you know its curly so it looks shorter. I'm sure that if I were to straighten my hair I would be just as long or longer" he just walked away. When I first told him I wanted to stop relaxers he didn't care. In fact I think he was happy that he was saving money lol, but he's comment made me upset and it made me want to prove to him that I can get to APL unstretched and that I know what I'm doing!

As a 18 year old dealing with such rude people; I have become a lot stronger.Those four incidents will forever be in my mind. None of them have derailed me from my goals; they empower me! The only person that truly agrees with my decision is my aunt. She wants to go natural, but I'm not sure she would be able to handle it. I have transitioned for 1 year and about 3 months now and I'm excited for the next 9 months will bring. Sorry for rambling... I just wanted people to know my story. This has really inspired me to start a blog... i just might.

Xhalted1 said...

Oh my goodness yes. It amazes me how people are offended by me wearing the hair that God actually gave me. I've had co-workers look at me as if I have set black people back into slavery based on my hair. It's done, it's cut into a style, it's neat, it's just natural. And it's not just strangers, I get the most grief about my hair from family. I had a cousin approach me about my hair at our uncle's funeral, and I had to respectfully let her know that for someone who hasn't seen nor heard from her real hair in over twenty years (yes 2..0), she couldn't advise me about mine. CHILE!!!

peju Adeniran said...

Hey Didi-kins....
No mind dem jo!
Im a fellow Nigerian, raised here, and loving my natural hair since 11 years.
Nine years ago, when i got into medical school, I decided to start to lock my hair, before then, i was rocking a TWA and feeling so fly and different.
As the locks grew, so did the comments.
My mum begged me, bribed me, bought me all kinds of relaxers and potions to make me change my mind. In school, my professors gave me a hard time, when i told them that i was born a "dada" and that if i cut the locks, i would die, go blind, or fail their course, they promptly left me alone. (lol!).
Then, i started to work as a doctor. Many people did not see why they should consult with a doctor who had dreadlocks, but I could not give in to that kind of discrimination. I wore my hair nice and neat, my manners professional, and allowed you to make a (good or bad ) decision yourself.
I cut the locks a couple of years ago, just because i felt it was time, and have been rocking a full out afro. Its two years since by third big-chop, and im loving it.
I still work in a prestigious hospital, have my own publishing business, and i'm as bad as i want to be....
I have expensive tastes, but over a thousand for another person's curly or wavy textures hair, when i can grow my own is a problem ( I have staff to pay with that cash, and sweets to buy with the change).
Besides, My hair is too beautiful not to be shown.
In time, people have learnt to stop asking me the relaxer question. (i have a signature side-eye that can cook a stone......i promise you)
Love your hair, and yourself. you look great!

Anonymous said...

Mary in Md.
This is actually hilarious. I once had a woman who I consider a friend ask me if I didn't want to straighten my hair out to see how long it was. She may have really meant what she said. But, I think she partly was trying to tell me in a nice, roundabout manner that I ought to straighten my hair. I simply smiled and said "Sometimes perhaps I might. Right now I really like it like this." Then, I walked away. I am loving this because it is giving me a form of independence I'm not sure I truly enjoyed before now. I truly don't feel the need for other people's approval. I nothing to apologize for nor anything to be ashamed of and I'm loving every minute of it.

Didi said...

Thank you for all the words of encouragement ladies, I really appreciate it! I was having a really bad day when I got the relaxer comments and I had to rant about it to people who understand what I am going through. I love being natural and would not change it for the world. Since by BC, my confidence about my natural hair has soared and I grow in my appreciation of the hair that God gave me daily. It is very comforting to know that other people have faced the same challenges that I have and still keep on the natural path! Thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to offer another view.

I am also Nigerian. I was born in the states and both of my parents are Ibo, so all my life I've had a unique perspective on both African and African-American culture. IMO, Nigerians (and probably other Africans as well) have always strived for European standards of beauty, culture, education, etc. It's automatic conditioning- afterall they were colonized by European countries. But I've never gotten the sense that African men dislike natural hair, or that African women prefer weaves/straight hair to natural. I really do think its about personal preference.

My own mother forbade me to relax my hair (although she never told me why- that would have been helpful ma lol), until I snuck and did it anyway at the age of 13. Worst decision of my life. I BC'd on 5/31/10, 18 years later, and she and my dad have been very supportive.

Just my 2 cents.

Anyaposh said...

@Stephanie, like everywhere else in the world, one country does not have a collective consciousness. Issues like skin bleaching & aspiring to European standards of beauty are only practiced by a small percentage of the population. Not all Nigerians are "obsessed" with these things. That is a misconception. A lot of the Nigerians I know love weaves and hair attachments (extensions) for entirely different reasons completely unrelated to attaining a European standard of beauty.

I grew up in Nigeria before I moved to Canada over 15 years ago and now I am natural. When I went back there a few months ago, a lot of people enjoyed the novelty of my natural hair. Many of them asked the same question that Didi experienced: "when are you going to relax your?" But as soon as you assert your preference for natural hair, they would leave you alone to mind your business.

NaNa Love said...

Omg! I feel Didi! I'm also Nigerian and I've gotten ALOT of backlash from the females (mainly aunts) in my family. When I first BC'd my hair was VERY short. Before that I've always had long hair (shoulder length to bra strap length). Ive had comments from "When are you relaxing your hair" to "What is wrong with your hair" to "Your hair was so LONG before you cut it. Why did you CUT it?!" (let I mind you my hair was a hot mess after my last relaxer. It was thinning and I had a few scabs on my scalp smh). I really wish the mentality will change in Nigeria about our hair because I think its worse there than here. And relaxers are really not safe for scalp.

Eniola Olatidoye said...

@peju adeniran....loool
I thought I was the only one with this problem..been natural for 7 months&it has been like hell on earth.Every Nigerian I know hates my hair..but my white friends&professors can't wait to play with my coils.
A Nigerian lady in church once told me my hair looked irritating..I just smiled&walked away.
I have received so many terrible comments but I've taken my stance&intend to stay natural.
I don't care if they like it or not.

Anonymous said...

I met my college buddy who is a african american male. I haven't seen him in years. He never saw me with my natural hair. When we first met I had braid extensions but my hair was natural. ANyway, we went for lunch and he asked WHEN I WAS GOING TO PUT MY BRAID EXTENSIONS BACK IN? first I said, you like the braids, huh? and i stayed calm even though I was really annoyed.
Then i said, "I am tired of braid extensions."
he just nodded, said okay and he moved on. Well, there's a reason why he's dating a puerto rican. West Indian Black men and other races have always been more accepting of my natual hair then african american males. My dad is Jamaican and he loves my natural hair.

Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone. I just did the big chop on 08/14/2010 and boy was it a liberating experience. I had my sister, who has locs down to her buttocks, to cut off my relaxed hair and now I'm sporting a short, 3 inch afro. Both my parents and my grandmother was in attendance, and I didn't get the reaction that I had in mind. While my mother has locs also, she asked me twice if I was going to straighten my hair, and my father asked me why did I cut it all off. My grandmother, who has a relaxer, didn't comment at all. I must say, it hurt my feelings. I felt disappointed. My sister was all smiles and my fiance, who is my biggest supporter, cut the first loc of relaxed hair off. But my mom......wow. I get the feeling that she thinks I look better with straight hair, just as long as it's not relaxed. I big chopped because I was tired of being a slave to my hair. I want to swim, dance in the rain, save money by doing my own hair and not spend 100.00 per month at the salon. I wanted FREEDOM. I have that freedom now, and my hair and I are currently dating and getting to know one another on a personal level. LOL! To all my sisters out here, you guys make me so proud to be a black woman. I love you all, and continue to make yourselves happy. We are all beautiful in our own skin, and with our own hair. Much love and happiness.

Arianna said...

alright to offer another side as well im a brown puerto rican/african-american with 4a,4b hair
and as soon as i went curly and rocked it like i wanted to rock it i got a lot of comments from guys, a lot stare, and when i look at them they smile or tell me they love my hair ( i like to shake my curls out so the coils spring out everywhere when this happens :) let'm kno i appriciate it)
sometimes i'll where it blown out and when i let it curly again, my guy friends and just guys in my class will tel me how much they missed it
"your hairs really curly now!it looks nice straight to but i really like the curls and how its just all over the place" i get lots of comments like that :) so im very happy to report our curly hair efforts are making changes! i mean we're all working to change society standards here!
im from northern cali (san fran,oakland,berkely,richmond area
and i get cat calls from just about everyone around here with my curly hair! mexican,american,european,african american, afircan, asian just the other day a korean man told me how beautiful my hair is :)
and to tell the truth i never expected so much support,i planned that when i wore it my own way ppl would really make neg comments and guys would be so put off i wouldn't hear anything
which was fine b/c it was exactly what i was planning, i day dreamed about telling imaginary ppl off cause there was no way in hell that i was gonna fry my ends anymore
when i was frightened i would say "universe i put this in your hands, im happy therefore my curls will be beautiful... for me alone!"
lo and behold i got a totally diff approach,
its not like i never get neg comments they're just few and far between and from ppl i know to be either ridiculously ignorant or just ignorant so i can usually brush them off as stupid, that and my hair ego is sooo big it hardly touches my GIANT hair ego bubble cause i just love makin it love me! and gawd does it love me back :)
btw i love ur hairstyle!! when i cut mine down im gonna try to style mine like this ,gotta make note of your earings too cause those add a nice touch...
its really the best having curly hair, i mean its like exploring this whole new realm with clothes, colors, weather( i love not having to freak out when theirs fog)
i hate to say that others are jealous of others but i know when african-american women comment on natural hair negatively, underneath they are so jealous and afraid to find out how healthy or what kind of adventure would it be like in life to let their hair be, i know b/c i also used to be really jealous of shiny beautiful curls too :)

Kelli ! said...

LOL!!
'Where weave that matches your hair texture of color' funny stuff!

But yes i completely understand. I just have come to the conclusion that people are just HATERS!

NATURAL HAIR :)
NATURALLY NAPPY!

Anonymous said...

Love your hair

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am an African American married to Nigerian man. He loves my hair and my style. I had locks for five years and was harrassed by in laws (all women). Stating that in Nigeria "people with locks are mentally ill."
I visitd Nigeria 2 years ago and I ws surprised by all the weaves and wigs. But the younger women appear to be embracng more of a natural style. I am natural now. I am natural and a lot of the Nigerian women I know make negative comments but it does not matter to me because I love me. I have asked them why will you wear a wave that looks like natural hair "afro puff" but will not grow your hair into an afro puff.

It really hurt me when I cared for my neice. Her mom is Nigerian. When she came to me at age 5 her hair was damaged from a perm. I cut it off and braided and nurtured it. It grew healthy and full for 2 yeas. When she went back to her mother's care she permed it again and it all fell out and now she has long fake braids in her hair. My neice told me that her mom said she did not like the two strand twist in her hair because it made her look crazy. I felt sad for my neice because she said Auntie I loved when you did my hair and took care of it.

Now I have friends who are african American and say do you know how pretty your would be if it were permed? I love me and I don't really care what others think. When they stare I just look at them and smile.

Anonymous said...

This conversation is so upsetting. Why do people care so much about how OTHERS wear their hair?! I do make a point to tell fellow curlies that I love their hair. You know, sometimes you want to say it but you choose not to? Well, I make a conscious effort to do so hoping to thwart some of those negative ridiculous comments!

Colette said...

I just have to say, that wow you're so beautiful! Also, goodness. You're a great woman, and I pray that you can endure those comments of women still being programmed to hate themselves. Going natural I think is about throwing out some of those scripts that tell us a woman isn't good enough the way she was born. People are speaking out about your hair because it reflects the inner issues in themselves. So I hope that helps you stay balanced. And also, your hair is gorgeous. I love it! You have an amazing face too.

esthermaria said...

As a Nigerian in Nigeria, I can say that the only girls I see with natural heads of hair are of primary school or religious zealots. For the first 18 years of my life, I was natural and livin in the UK. I had no pressure to relax my hair and even identified with other natural heads like me. Then I moved to Nigeria, and was confronted with a multitude of badly relaxed, weaved up and braided do's but no youthful natural heads. The pressure was so intense that when I started Uni, I succummed and relaxed my tresses. I liked it for all of one year, had a bad relaxer session and hated it ever since. 18months ago I took the plunge and transitioned to my natural hair and moved to Jos. Whilst I am my own natural inspiration (for lack of others to identify with in my environment), I feel confident with my hair and have received no negative comments so far.
Its just so ironic that Nigerians so rigidly reject the hair that is naturally theirs

BadMamaJama said...

I've had natural hair for almost ten years. Luckily my family isn't pressuring me to straighten it anymore. I had women many African look at my hair like it's a problem, the African men usually love it. Some people hate that there are people who won't follow the masses and accept what is thrown at them.

Y said...

My mother, oh gosh,yes. I hear it so much, that I'm not even bothered by it anymore. Before I used to stomp and growl. I just learn to ignore it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a nigerian living in canada.I used to be the 'queen; of weaves and lace-fronts a.k.a brazilian and indian hairs.. Let's just say my friends are beyond shocked on my natural hair that i've been prepping them for through my blackberry status pics. At first i heard snide comments that i was broke which is why i can't afford weaves.
I almost caved in to pressure, had them send me extensions, took pics with it and loosened it the next day( it just felt so fake to me!). Now i'm pretty much left alone with my hair. That i'm not on facebook probably helps with avoiding the negative comments i'm certain i would have received.
There is a natural hair movement in nigeria alright. No girl i'm friends with on any girl who considers herself chic would let herself be caught with anything that isn't 100% human hair (read indian, brazilian and other 'good' hairs).
I can't wait to get home next summer and stand out from the crowd with my massive hair. Whoever asks me when i'm getting a relaxer will a response customized just for them, after i judge the intent behind the question/comments.
I don't care what people do with their hair, to each their own. After all, it took me 23 years to wake up one morning and BC but if someone tries to talk me down about my hair, i'll save the next natural locks sister they see some grief with my catty comebacks! LOL
Nikki

Anonymous said...

I get this all the time, I am not a couple weeks shy of being 4 months post relaxer. My hair is almost apl and very thick, my sister who has neck length hair is very angry that i am getting ready to cut it all off in a few months a start fresh. Everytime she sees me doing my hair she begs me to get a relaxer. I dont pay her too much mind because she 16 and really doesnt know any better im doing my best to teach her... btw didi not only is your hair gorgeous your gorgeous as well.

Anonymous said...

I think people ask "what are you going to do with it" because they really don't know. I had no idea how to manage or style natural hair, especially without using heat. I didn't know it was even possible for it to not be anything other than a hug puff ball styled in its natural form and with no heat. I was natural majority of my life but my mother did my hair in ponytails. Once I turned 14 I got it relaxed because not only did I not know what to do with it, my mother didn't either and ponytails were not the ish for high school. I relaxed until I was 19 and transitioned and was fully natural by 20... I didn't style my hair without heat until just a few months ago and I'm 22. "What are you going to do with your hair?" is a very valid question when a person genuinely doesn't know. Now a person that is obviously being rude or suggesting that a person is wrong for wearing their hair natural can get the smooth cuss out *shrugs*

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

the same thing happened to me in nigeria when i took my braids out. they said, "oyinbo, what do you do with your hair when it's not in braids?"
when i said, "oh. i just wear it out, they looked at me like that. like i was crazy.
this one guy said that a woman wears her hair like that when she's about to kill her husband.

Anonymous said...

You should say, "God made my hair...do you know who made that?" (and refer to their weave/wig). Your hair is more perfect on your worst hair day than theirs on their best new remi weave day because it's yours! They have no right to frown on your natural tresses.

Anonymous said...

Girl I feel you. I had the same issue when i first decided to go even more natural with my hair and stop blow frying and pressing it. I don't think that you should let anyone let you what you should do with your hair. if your happy with it than that is all that matters. Now when people comment on my hair I just tell them that God spent a little more time on me. Embrace your curls.

SDL said...

I had mid-back length hair and didn't transition. I just cut it off. Some people assumed I would allow it to grow long again and get a perm. Umm...Why? Is there a need for me to do so? Some days I don't comb it. I allow it to do what it wants to do. I've had mostly good comments about my hair but some bad. I listen to the bad comments and give a *BLANK STARE*. I have no need to explain or justify what I've done. I didn't want to transition and don't want to perm. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

one girl asked me that question and i was like... 0_o! my hair looked better than hers XD

Anonymous said...

I think your hair looks nice

Anonymous said...

I'm Nigerian, I have natural hair and of course whenever I'm back home, I get asked a similar question(but then again, I rarely bother to style my hair and I do wear it in a tangled 'wash and go' many times cos I'm lazy and vain enough to think I look good whatever mess I wear on my head). I however take exception to the inaccurate statement that Nigerians are obsessed with the European idea of beauty. It simply isn't true; there are few women as secure in their sense of their own peculiar attractiveness as Nigerian women are. As someone previously mentioned, only a very small proportion of the population resorts to skin lightening. Many Nigerian women are dark skinned, full figured and are proud of it. Most Nigerians (I suspect) relax their hair and wear weaves or braids for manageability and ease pf maintenance. I know that is why I got my first relaxer. As a kid I cried every time I saw a comb and in fact cut my hair many times (almost every year) to avoid the pain of combing it. As a college student I got braids because it was easy to maintain and not time consuming. I have always abhorred weaves, never found straight hair attractive for some reason. Now I'm better able to deal with my crazy hair (I always loved it and it never really liked relaxers anyways), but as I mentioned previously....I often do not comb it. Oh, what's my response to that annoying question? "This is how I love my hair, this is the way it grows out of my head,it doesn't grow out relaxed or braided and I see no reason to alter it" BTW if I lived in Nigeria, I would probably take advantage of their excellent workmanship to get flat cornrows (matting) without extensions once in a while, I love them but my scalp hates them

Njeri said...

I am from Kenya and my friends look at me every morning with such disappointment in their eyes. I get asked, "when are you going to the salon?" When i walk around town random women point out salons to me!!! I am on the verge of doing some serious bodility harm!!!

Dee G said...

I tend to get the same comment "When are you going to relax your hair?" comment from my West-Indian family members. Some of them are natural, but will only keep their hair in a TWA (won't let it grow longer).

My mom actually goes "You know, if you texturize it, it will be easier to manage." LOL.

I'm like, "When did I ever say my hair was difficult to manage?"

Keturah Johnson said...

my supervisor asked me keturah, what r u gonna do with that.... and i responded nothing what i been doing...... months later hair longer....... keturah your hair is growing, why? because i dont do anything to it how bout you try it maybe you wont have to look like a some lil kid rejected barbie's head

Nneamakaw/love said...

I am 17 and Nigerian , and I actually told my dad that I was going to cut my hair off and he actually thought it was " beautiful " . I feel as though there may be some truth to the the theory that afrrican men respect and prefer maintained natural hair . I think that because we are even now realizing that so many ethnic people are becoming more and more europeanized in what they think is beauty . The reason why they may look and feel disturbed and erked like so when they see naturals may be coming from inside . If we are able to determine their distorted thinking , then you know they know it themselves also . Maybe they are feeling horrible because they don't have the personal courage or character to pull off such a bold and out of the box hairstyle . A lot the problems in the world stem from how people feel about themselves and their superficial thoughts about how everyone else feels .

YOUR hair , YOUR scalp , YOUR strength , YOUR beauty , YOUR choice is how I feel . I do agree with the latter part of your article , too !

Nneamaka with love :D

edzodzinam said...

Q: "you should texlax your hair again?" A: "I never texlax it before it's all natural." Q: "why don't U want to relax?" A: "why are U relaxing your hair." Q:"It look easier to manage with a relaxer in." A:"U can deal with it in his natural state also." Q:"U should do a wave it'll be beautiful" A in my head: "what did she knows about weave". Only 6" of natural hair, less than one year been natural, and i have to ask to many many questions about it. Finaly i understand them, for them relaxer is what moisturiser is for me.

Anonymous said...

I am getting the same comments and vibe from one of my brothers. I get offended but I brush it off because I am happy with who I am and the texture of my hair. It is not what he says that bothers me; its the fact that he lacks the knowledge but yet he has the audacity to comment. He does not know where, what and how the creamy crack has affected me then again, he does. He should remember when I had long hair down my back but as soon as I started gettting a relaxer it all went away.I was devastated. I am glad when he usually makes these ignorant comments (I say ignorant because he is not informed of the damages one substains from having relaxed hair and because I am not his Caucasian girlfriend, no I am not racist;I LOVE the skin I am in)it is during a time we are surronded by other family members who fully support, encourage and compliment me on my hair. He will also make the comment he is not used to seeing my hair "like that" (what does he mean,"like that"...again ignorance) well I am not used to seeing him without his wife and with his new caucasian girlfriend but yet I accept it and not display the ignorance as he does.I am sure before long a part of me he does not want to see will suface and that will be the end of it.......

Pat said...

Years ago I went to an African woman to get my unpermed hair braided. She asked me when I was getting my hair permed and seemed disgusted by my natural hair. I think African women just like women around the world have been conditioned to believe that hair that is bone straight is most attractive. They like us have been bombarded by media images and messages that reinforce the message. Caucasian women with curly hair get their hair straightened. I believe that we as women need to redefine for ourselves what beautiful hair is. For me it is natural hair.

IrishPenny said...

My mother just said that to me the other day. I wanted to cry because she'd been support at first which was a lot coming from her.

denise said...

I was at work doing my job, and I heard two co workers which was a guy say to the other guy, that she needs to do something with her hair,they started laughing. I wear a short afro after transitioning fro a perm which left bald spots in places all over my head, after going natural my hair is growing back thick. So I did not care about their opinion they do not matter. I am happy and thats all that matters. I did my first roller set on my on my natural. Love it

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