Sometimes Hair is Just Hair... a Follow-Up

Hair Confessions

by West of Confessions of a Blog Vixen



Remember the article Sometimes Hair is Just HAIR?....Well, meet Kevin!


Name: Kevin

Age: 25

Geographical Location: Washington, DC

Educational Background: Masters


I heard you had a status on Facebook that started a great discussion. What was that status? What was the catalyst behind it?

FB Status: Perming for "straight" hair is the number one self hatred action still going on by Black People today. It needs to stop. If you are going to relax your hair, you might as well get a nose job, slim down your thick lips and bleach your skin and get the full effect of trying to look or have Caucasian and/or Asian features.

Catalyst: I was browsing through Facebook and saw an old friend's fb status that said: "Can someone explain to me why I can't get a perm just b/c I'm pregnant? What, I'm supposed to walk around nappy?" Needless to say, I was upset about the social implications of her resistance to "nappiness". I have actually felt this way for quite sometime and have had numerous conversations about it, but after reading her status I decided to address the issue on Facebook.

How important is hair to overall attractiveness? Specifically, which styles (down vs. ponytail vs. bun) and lengths?

Bottom line, I'm not interested if I'm not physically attracted to you. Preferred styles are natural styles. Dreads, 'fros, braids, twists, etc.. You can do a lot with fro lol.. The world has told us that black women are the lowest on the beauty scale, straightening your hair only confirms that. I really like the confidence a 'natural' hairstyle exudes...

Do you feel there is a ‘Natural Hair Movement’ currently occurring? Why do you think so many women are going natural (i.e. Do you think most women want to make a statement or to just stop relaxing)?

There are many black women who understand that 'being themselves' is most attractive. Of course there are those who simply want to be trendy, but I think after their 'big chop' they begin to see themselves for the beautiful individuals that they are. This 'Natural Hair Movement' should have started a long time ago. I think there are many black women who have come to realize that a preference of straightened hair over their natural hair is a form of social oppression (Could write a dissertation...), but again, there will always be those who lack substance and are just following the crowd which is fine.

Would you support your significant other if she decided to become natural?


Is this a trick question? Of course.

Are you able to tell the difference in textures of hair? If your significant other were to go natural, would the texture of her hair affect your opinions on whether she should remain natural or not?


No it wouldn't. To me, those with the 'nappiest' hair should go natural as well. I'm aware that some hair is a lot more 'coiled' than others but at the end of the day 'good hair' is a facade. If you embrace your own beauty, others will fall in line

Do you like or dislike when your significant other changes her hair style often (i.e. wigs, weaves, braids, flat ironed, wash & go)?


I appreciate new styles, although I really don't like weaves. I also like to be able to touch her hair.

Does the amount of time your significant other spends on her hair prove to be problematic?

Not really. I understand the need to want/need to feel beautiful. I just hate when a woman lacks self confidence.

How do you feel about the amount of money your significant other spends on her hair? Is there a point where the amount of money is a source of conflict? Is it acceptable for her to spend as much as she chooses as long as she looks fly?


The amount of money is not an issue. However, I will never understand hundreds of dollars spent on weaves or wigs.

Do you think your significant other should consider your opinion when making decisions about her hair?

Most definitely. Not considering my opinion would lead to think she was trying to impress someone else.

Why do you think women care about a man’s opinion when it relates to hair?


Women say they do everything for 'themselves', but ultimately, we're who they're trying to attract, so of course they should care.

How do you view women that wear weaves? Can you tell the difference between natural hair and a weave?


I hate weaves. I haven't been fooled in a while.

How do you feel about satin sleeping bonnets or any type of hair scarf?

Hair scarfs are cool. Gotta withhold that moisture some way.

Does it matter to you whether your significant other’s hair is relaxed or not?


Yes it matters. Relaxers reinforce the fact that black women are perceived as 'ugly' compared to other races. When black women are no longer concerned when we choose a woman of a different race once we (black men) 'make it', then it will no longer be an issue. As it stands, relaxed hair is more acceptable in most platforms than a natural hair style, which is a huge problem. The only way to fix it? Embrace your natural hair.

144 Weigh in!:
vonnie said...

that was a great read. I like how...passionate he is about it :) Whining about not being able to perm your hair and endanger your baby while pregnant would have me on a rant too, lol. I can see where he's coming from on all points

Vonnie
http://www.socialitedreams.com/

LaMaraVilla said...

:rolleyes: I understand this is a blog for women with natural hair, but this is some ignorant bull. Perming does not automatically equal self hatred. And this is from someone who "went natural" before it was this huge "movement" that it is today. This interview is a poor response/rebuttal to the previous post.

Cenita said...

OMG Can I marry him? LOL joking, I'm happily engaged.... However, I SO appreciate the fact that a black man has the wherewithall to accept and appreciate a woman's REAL hair. We need more Black men like him.

Anonymous said...

i disagree with the statement that men are who women are trying attract, hence the need to style their hair. some black women are lesbians and others don't want a SO; those generalizations are not necessarily true

Clara said...

I can dig it. Kevin, I'm in DC...just throwing that out there. ;)

And, I do disagree to a point. Do I think that having a relaxer automatically indicates self-hatred? No. Do I get the point he is working toward? Yes. To me, Kevin makes sense. His quotes seem a bit hyperbolic but ultimately the idea is that he prefers women to embrace their natural beauty. And that's what we're all here for, no?

Anonymous said...

Although I understand his rant about the pregnant lady, and though this guy may be educated, he still has a long way to go...

He addresses the fact that society has essentially brain washed us to want to look Caucasian or European, but he too is guilty of putting all of us in the same mold. Relaxers are not synonymous with self-hate. There are many reasons why women or a parent has chosen to perm her or her child's hair for generations. Whether it's because you choose to do something different with your hair, or because back in the day your parent didn't have the right resource to take care of your curly kinky mane properly...

As stated in the original post, straight hair is not exclusive to Caucasian and European women. I'd advice that he, in fact, do his dissertation on natural hair, perhaps it’ll lead to a clearer more accurate assessment.

Angela

Anonymous said...

I am someone that is currently transitioning, but no because I had a sudden revelation that I dont want to look white anymore by having a perm. I cant stand when people say perms represent self-hatred or trying to look white. ITS JUST A HAIRSTYLE. so does that mean everytime someone wears a wig or some one with straight hair curls their hair its because they hate themselves. NO. some people worry about what other people do to their hair way to much.

Stacy said...

1st let me start by satying perming ur hair while preggers does not a dang thing to the baby; 2nd Perming ur hair doesn't equal self hatred most women started getting perms b4 they even knew what self hatred was, so c'mon get a grip it's really not that serious. People should be proud of however they choose to wear their hair, it really is after all just hair.

casseebelle23 said...

Why is it OK for a man to prefer a woman who is a certain height, size, complexion, etc., but when he prefers a certain hair type, it becomes a big issue? I have heard so many ignorant statements referring to natural black hair as "nappy" ("She needs a perm", "Her hair is thru", "Her kitchen is f'ed up", "What is she going to do with her head?"), but when someone has a negative opinion concerning chemically straightened hair and expresses it with less than a quarter of the ignorance that goes into the statements mentioned above, it marks the very end of days.

Anonymous said...

@ Kevin

thank you for loving us as we are and encouraging us to embrace our true selves.

Anonymous said...

These questions did not hit the issue of his statement. I wanted him to expand on HIS comment. I am natural but trust when I relaxed, it is not because of any form of self hatred or an attempt to be Caucasian or Asian.

Anonymous said...

simply put... a man after my own heart

casseebelle23 said...

...And I will add that, while I appreciate his love for natural hair, when I was relaxing my hair, my intentions were never to look white, but to be able to wake up, take off my scarf and brush out my wrap in 4 minutes flat and get to where I needed to go.

Anonymous said...

ummmm stacy, relaxers arent safe for pregnant woman, the chemicals can get into the bloodstream and affect the babu...so yes "perming ur hair while preggers" can do "a dang thing to the baby"


i liked the interview even though some of his views were extreme, atleast he appreciates all types of natural hair :)

Anonymous said...

DIBS! LOL He can touch my hair anytime he wants!! :)

Anonymous said...

*baby

Dolores said...

To dovetail on Stacy's point, I think it should be emphasized that for many women relaxing their hair is a habit that is based on a choice that was made for them when they were very young. As a result, I don't think that relaxing = self hatred in most instances. I am also perplexed by the idea that relaxing your hair while pregnant will affect the baby. I do, however, appreciate his passion and appreciation for natural hair though.

Anonymous said...

Interesting views expressed in this article. Kevin appears to think that as black women, we are overly concerned with when black men decide to date/marry other races of women when "they make it". This is an age old argument in the black community and serves to continue deep animus and division. With higher numbers of black women getting college and advanced degrees than black men AND with more men (of all races) appreciating the beauty and strength of black women (physical, intellectual and emotional), he need not worry about our options in this regard. Times are changing, indeed.

Juceefroot said...

i feel bad for not reading all of the other comments. I just want to say that i think that it's cool that he stepped out and voiced his opinion despite the controversy.

I dont think that black women are trying to look like white women when they relax their hair... (after years of being a cheerleader and being teased, i was.. but) i dont think that all black women are trying to do that. Many women are just keeping up what was given to them as a child.

I didnt HAVE a choice of natural vs. relaxed when i was a child. my hair was relaxed at the age of like 4 or 5. i remember being told that my hair was too thick and too hard to manage.

anyway... just stopping by to share my OWN opinion and give kudos to him for sharing his.

it's nice to know that there are men out there who appreciate natural hair.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this guy. Anybody who is willing to slap some chemicals so harsh that you can't use while pregnant on their heads either has some serious "self-dislike" issues or is so unconscious that they'll accept anything that is handed to them.

I'm around little girls often and they all say they don't like their hair and want long straight hair. Why do you think Sesame Street had that song? To brag? No. To instill some self-love and self esteem.

Granted, I do have friends who relax and it is "just a style" but if you ask them if they'll ever go natural they'll say "naw girl, my hair is too nappy."

Miss Dee said...

While I don't think of perming as a form of self-hate, I know perming for ME was a result of me not knowing my options or realizing what I could do with my own hair in it's natural state. Perms were my trusty fall back hairstyle.

Some of his statements seemed a tad extreme, but I totally appreciate his point of view and passion....refreshing to see that :)

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with everything he said, but it's always interesting to hear people's thoughts on the natural hair scene.

Anonymous said...

I know plenty of women who are natural and wear their hair straight without assistance from chemicals. I understand where he is coming from... His feelings and arguments support his beliefs. Those chemicals are not good for your OWN body. Why would you expose your unborn to it? I didn't- I wouldn't.

One day some real studies will be published on relaxing, the impact of the chemicals on those who receive and apply them. They actually have been done by the way and it's not positive. People get riled up over what equates or doesn't equate self-hate. No one wants it to be them but they also don't try to look back into traditions like relaxing to see why people began doing it- women and men in their own families. Very few women I know got a relaxer when they were an adult and next to none did any research into the implications, damage, etc. If inundating your body with harmful chemicals without consideration/research (just to have straight, easy hair) is not a form of self-hate- I don't know what is. But it sure doesn't sound like self-love.

shamigreen said...

I have heard plenty of men say that they're cool with a woman going natural as long as it's not "too nappy" SMH... Kudos to Kevin for his willingness to accept a woman for who she is (nappy, curly & every texture in between).

@ Kevin: If only I lived closer to DC (SIGHS)...LOL

Rayna said...

My hair has always been long and thick before and after I started getting my hair relaxed as a child. My mother made the decision to start relaxing my hair, and I just kept it up as an adult, because I had been getting relaxers most of my life. I did experience breakage from time to time throughout the years, but my hair always recovered. I decided to start wearing my hair natural after experiencing excessive breakage coupled with damage to my scalp during my last relaxer application, and that was with a mild relaxer that didn't even burn. Honestly, if I didn't have that last experience, I probably would not have considered going natural; however, I do disagree with Kevin's statement that by straightening our hair we're trying to look "Caucasian and/or Asian." I don't like the negativity that is associated with one's decision to wear her hair in it's natural state, but I do believe that we should be free to decide how we want to wear our hair without getting ridiculed.

Califabulous said...

I believe it to be hard task for a woman to admit straightening hair is tied to self-hatred. Esp when the fear of not being accepted comes into play. I do believe that most women, not all, have self-hate regarding their beauty. Some women honestly wear weave, perm, afro, lock, twist ect for fashion and glam sake. Some women transition in and out from straight to nappy to curly to kinky, afro to whatever easily without thought. When you don't feel comfortable, beautiful, intelligent, sexy, etc because of your hair-then you must question why. Seriously, it is a difficult task. A task that not many have asked us to consider-so we don't. we say it's our choice and it doesn't matter why. But it does matter why. We are everything! Can it be said that the woman who has naturally straight hair and wears a curly style is practicing self-hate? HMMMM. RIght? Think about the origins of the issue. It will not easily be addressed in one or two posts. it is deep seeded and rooted. For myself, I know that I purposely where my hair natural when I would normally prefer it straightend (I straighten with a flat iron) as to change my thought process about beauty and take me out of that learned comfort zone. All I am suggesting is be honest with yourself because your story could help someone else.

Juceefroot said...

oh, and nikki. I did a post... a link to your blog. Thanks for the post and your dedication to natural hair.

http://juceefroot.onsugar.com/1-Gentlemans-View-Natural-Hair-12365660

Sharmer said...

I wish someone, would tell kevin that women change their hair about as much as they change clothes and no one cares if he doesnt understand "why black women buy wigs and weaves" occasionally. Hair has a way of turning us into chameleons, and what woman doesnt want to change it up every now and then? He needs to know that every does not have the patience or knowledge to go natural, and some dont feel like out represents where they are in life. I relaxed my hair for so long because its what I KNEW. My mother had my aunt relax my hair when I was 4 or 5 years old. I did not hate myself, I dont think I even knew that new growth was actually my natural texture coming out of my head! Now I have knowledge and my journey has now begun. Militants always throw that "self-hate" phrase around si easily and I can't stand that.

Kimmy said...

I agree with Kevin to extent. I don't think relaxing is a form of self hate. As someone has said, that choice was made for us from childhood, and we continued the practice into adulthood. I hate admitting this, but I remember saying to myself when I was about 16 "why can't I just have naturally straight hair". My thought fits into exactly what Kevin is ranting about. I didn't think being who I was naturally was attractive :( I'm completely natural now, but it took a long time mentally to get here. Now that i'm here, i've never felt more beautiful in my life.

Sharmer said...

But, the comment his pregnant friend made was just ignorant

DMB said...

This was definitely a good read especially because it was from a male point of view. I disagreed and agreed with some comments, overall I was intrigued by what Kevin had to say.

BrownEmber said...

DC represent ;) Loved this interview.

BrownLady said...

I cannot believe so many of us are acting as if what Kevin has suggested isn't true. I permed for as long as I can remember. Do I call it self hatred? NO, but it definitely was more than wanting "something different". It was all I knew, and the thought of being comfortable w/ my natural tresses never entered my mind prior to going natural. Sadly, most little black girls that I grew up with wanted long fairly strait hair. The man is not lying... Get over yourselves. It's really not our fault that we have been conditioned to think the way we think.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of hearing that "black women are on the lowest rung of the beauty ladder and its up to us to change it" - especially when one of us is saying it. It seems that we like to believe and express this fact moreso than anyone else.

Sadly, I have received more sincere compliments/requests for dates and honest to goodness positivity from Non-black men and women than blacks since I became natural over ten yrs ago. It happened when my hair was a very teeny TWA, and now that I am totally frolicious.

Sometimes, I dont even know what to think about it, other than the fact that it is truly sad.

Pecancurls said...

Interesting read on his opinions and thoughts (from one male perspective). There are usually problems when we make blanket statements. My perm had nothing to do with self hatred ---- just ease of styling. Also, nothing wrong with a woman switching up her style every and then to keep things interesting. :)My new transition is primarily because I have started working out regularly and perms don't fit into that lifestyle for me.

Judith said...

I heart Kevin! C'mon, a man that feels that strongly about natural hair is refreshing--whether we agree 100% or not. Also, I think we can give it to him that relaxing does come from a history of oppression. Does it mean that people consciously choose to relax because we are oppressed? Nope. But, there is a history behind it that we cannot deny and it's kinda beautiful reclaiming our glory. I feel where he's coming from, and of course it doesn't have to be so black or white and isn't for many--but I appreciate the love all the same.

Kristina Desiree said...

oh boy...like the title said it is just hair....i am glad that he loves a woman with natural hair rather than a relaxer and wants women to embrace their natural beauty; however, i dont agree with the fact that relaxing or wearing a wig or weave is an example of self hatred or trying to be white...whats wrong with changing your look every once-in-a-while???

Anonymous said...

I appreciate his conviction, but do not agree with all his views.

Perms, weaves and relaxers are not self-hatred. Every black woman on the planet does not have to be natural...although that is not a bad idea.

What about people with medical conditions and they have to wear wigs or weaves?

But, I must admit it is refreshing to hear a man...with some education...express his love for natual hair.

So, I heart Kevin too. :-)

Califabulous said...

I don't think self-hate starts the day you are born. It IS passed down from generation to generation. Like racism. it is learned. You don't realize it b/c it is what you know. Many people get offended by this topic because they don't hate themselves as a whole and can't understand why others would suggest that they do because of a hairstyle. Hate is serious and hair...isn't? It is said that straightening is a product of self-hate. one characteristic. a hint if you will, that you prefer an unnatural look over a natural look. And I agree many ppl (not just women) never thought it to be a problem until someone criticized them for having permed hair (WRONG. delivery is key). My issue is that when our hair won't straighten magically, or we spend more money on hair than on our retirement funds, college education funds, or tithes (if you are Christian) then- wow. It's time to take a look at ourselves and why we make such choices. otherwise...if you like I love it. But don't throw shade at the sis who is getting attention at the club while she's rocking a kinky twist out and your wearing the very best virgin remy (idk!lol) money can buy. You can do it to. This is for those women ( who probably aren't even on this site). they just need to take a look in the mirror and see more than just hair. Same goes for said folk who are on the other side of the spectrum-only dealing with natural -haired folk. Just because your hair is natural does not make you a good, true or honest person who loves themselves! gee wiz i've brought up too many points. thanks CN!!!!

Anonymous said...

This entire conversation is a bunch of bull...

It divides us more than anything. No other race of people is more critical than we are of each other. In the white community, tanning is addressed as a health issue. In the black community, getting a relaxer is a self hate issue (mind you the author said nothing about pressing...)

Relaxers, weaves and wigs are not a sin so why are we worried about what makes other people happy. What we should be concerned about is the way we categorize people and treat them because they don't share the same views we do.

Saying people who get relaxers want to be white is like saying naturals with coils and kinks that use curl defining creams want to be biracial...

All of this to say, if we stop ranting on to people about their hair decisions and start engaging in conversation with them we just might make a difference in what actually matters.

Lilith_Eve said...

Well said BrownLady!

While I understand why so many women are getting bent out of shape over his comments about "self hatred" I know that that was true for me. My entire elementary school career was spent being one of three black girls in the Advanced Placement classes. I wanted nothing more than to have straight hair down to my butt like my white female classmates. Then when I got to middle school where I was suddenly thrust into classes with more black students (most of them from the "ghetto" side of town), I was actually teased and humiliated for having natural hair (among other things). It was with much pleading that finally at 12 years old my mother allowed me to relax my hair. It as like magic how quickly the teasing by my black female classmates stopped (although once I hit highschool I was bullied again for simply not being ghetto *shrugs*).

Now I'm 26 years old and 9 months natural and I'm loving it. I hate that it took me so many years not to give a d*mn about anyone's opinions but my own. I honestly feel more complete than I have in a while. Despite the fact that when I was relaxed my hair was relatively healthy and BSL.

My sister is 22 years old and is in the process of transitioning. She was allowed to get a relaxer for her 5th grade graduation and all her beautiful fine hair has been breaking off ever since. My brother started the process for dreads months ago and now his are touching his shoulders.

It's NOT just hair, there's so much more behind the hair and I simply don't buy some women's seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards it.

Anonymous said...

You can't drink alcohol while you are pregant either. Does that mean that you hate yourself if you drink it when you are not pregnant?

Anonymous said...

So... A woman that relaxes her hair hates herself? Because she wants to be white or because she desires to use chemicals that could harm her??? What's the real issue because there is a difference...

Why is it that every decision we make as a race has to be compared to white people? Why can't we just do something because we like it? Clearly the author doesn't like himself because he decided to cut his hair in a way that resembles a white man's crew cut... Why not let it grow out to the natural afro it's entended to be?

Anonymous said...

Depends on how much you are drinking and how often. LOL

Anonymous said...

I think women should find a hairstyle, find a man and live their life.

And let people think what they want to think and get a life.

Whether they get a perm or whatever they do, just try to live right and get a life.

Sarah said...

I love Kevin! We neeed more men like him in the world and I love his views on natural hair! In response to all the other comments about the whole self-hate thing I think there is some truth in that. I know that myself going to an all caucasian primary and high school and living in an area where there was not many black families, I didn't my hair for never being long and flowing like all my friends, and I didn't look anything like all the 'beautiful' people I seen in magazines and on TV. From the age of about 11 I wanted a relaxer. Althugh my parents never let me get one until I was 17, as soon as i turned 17 I decided to get one.
It wasn't until I moved to go to university and met other black people (although none of them are natural) that I became self-confident and decided I wasn't going to conform to what society said was beautiful and decided to transition.(I did my BC in July).
Not saying that all people who relax their hair are doing it because they dislike their hair, some want it cos they think it's easier to manage etc, etc. However, I think a lot of women who relax their hair do so because they dislike the way their hair is especially when most of the women we see in the media have long, straight flowing hair.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how you all will react if he had said "i hate nappy hair it is ugly and unkempt, black women should stick to the creamy crack".

Anonymous said...

A lot of brothers completely shave their heads- even while developing razor bumps and keloids. Some of them are even shaving/lasering body hair on chest, under arms, back and private areas so that their nonblack girlfriends don't have to be faced with their coils. Is this considered self hate? What would Kevin say about that? I wonder.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:58 pm
Id say he has a right to feel what he feels. I dont need validation from others (by having them agree with what I think or do) to feel confidence. His opinion is interesting, but it aint gonna make or break my day (or life).

Anonymous said...

IT IS JUST HAIR!!!! I don't understand why people are making it more than that. It's hair. If I decide to relax my hair tomorrow TRUST ME it has nothing to do with self hate. To insinuate that there is self hatred that is deep rooted and I am just not in tune with it is absurd. I do agree that some people may relax their hair for the wrong reasons and for those people preach on but at the end of the day....WHY DO I CARE??? WHY DO YOU CARE??? IT'S JUST HAIR! If all my hair burned off and I had to wear a fade, would I crumble and die, NO. Honestly, initially I would shed a tear and say THIS SUCKS but then I would say, IT'S JUST HAIR....so yes it is JUST HAIR. While I appreciate Kevin for embracing natural hair, he is very narrow minded in some of his opinions. I don't want to be with ANYONE who would disregard me based on the manipulations of my hair. When my hair was relaxed, I wasn't any less intelligent, less beautiful or less ME. When I put my weave in...guess what...still ME. Hair does not change a person. So more power to him but I would rather be with someone who appreciates me!

Anonymous said...

So do white women who dye their hair hate themselves too? A lot of women color their hair to imitate other shades? What does that mean? Why does every choice we make have to be anyone's business. I agree with the earlier poster. I like the ease of relaxers. I never had one until I as a young adult. Never wanted my hair to be like any white person's, and don't think their hair is particularly pretty and it is so one-note to me. I only switched back when people who clearly did have issues started overprocessing my hair, which I had lightly relaxed but that they were insulting and trying to make bone straight.
For all of his yammering, I'd like to see what kind of woman Kevin is really with. Frequently a lot of men who talk a lot of trash about women and their hair chase the same standards themselves. So he might "encourage" women to go natural but then he'll fall back on the excuse of not being "attracted" to someone with the wrong hair texture.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:08
Amen to that. Ive seen it soooo many (too many) times that people who are publically advocating one thing (in this case, natural hair- nappy is ok too, lol) would never be caught dead with a "nappy headed" natural. Then they say, " well, I found that I had more in common with this straighthaired woman. just turned out that way."

-Throwin' side eye

twistedsistagurl said...

My decision to perm my hair was not my decision. it was made for me when I was young and I never thought twice about it. When the new-grow came it got touched up because that's what we did not because I didn't like my natural texture.

I went natural when my hair started falling out. I did a lot of research on hair and discovered it was due to the chemicals so I decided to be healthy and cut it off. Nothing else...

When I went natural and received negative reactions I didn't hate myself but I did crave acceptance and the attention I lost. I relaxed my hair again after being natural 5+ years. Not because I hated my hair but because everyone else did and I couldn't get a date (say what you want but I'm just being real about my situation). 6 months later I decided to do what pleased me so I BC'd without looking back. My hair journey was just that, a journey and I love where I ended up. No regrets...

Because I was once ignorant, misinformed and immature about my hair and my feelings I am not quick to judge people about their hair decisions. Instead of being hard on them for not knowing what I know I take the time to talk to them and encourage them to do what's healthy. As a result so many people around me have made the switch or are making better hair decisions for their children. I think this is the only way we can get people to change their way of thinking about their hair and themselves...

I'm just saying...

Ev`Yan said...

Loved this! Whomever is with this fellow is a lucky one. :]

beautywithcurls said...

For His Opinion On Perming Being The Number One Self Hatred Thing You Can Do, I Don't Totally Agree. Some Women Do It Is Because Some People Just Want To Experiment And See What The Fuss Is About, And After They Tried It They Cut It Off! And I See People Are Upset About His Comment But If You Kinda Think About It Relaxers Were Created Out Of Trying To Be White And Self Hatred Did Form Because Black People Were Told They Weren't Good Enough As They Were Born. Others Had NO Choice Because Their Parents Decided And Just Went Through A Routine Of Getting Touch Ups....He Just Took It To The Extreme, Some People Really Just Relax Their Hair Because Its Hair And Can Be Cut At Anytime.

I Personally Can't Find Relaxed Bone Straight Hair Beautiful Not That I Would Go Tell Anyone Grow Your Perm Out,LOL Even Though I Was The Proud Curly Girl Looking At It Like Uhhh Ok, You Permed It Bone Straight So You Can Curl It Every Day - Two Weeks Hmmmmm, Do You Boo Boo LOL

For Some Of His Other Comments I Think He Might Be My Potential Future Husband, LOL

Anonymous said...

If it were 'Just Hair', would we really dedicate as much time as we do to it? Countless hours on the blogs, hours searching for the 'right' products, hours on youtube. Many of us do not spent as much time on other things, such as our weight, volunteerism, etc. For many of us (including myself), it is more like an obsession. The question is, why? What does our hair tell us about our identity? And why are we always so threatened when it is the topic of conversation of others? Maybe some soul-searching is in order?

Anonymous said...

What he is saying has an element of truth. Where do all the natural hair extensions and hair for weaves come from, India. Remember when Chris Rock went to a shop and said to the to shop assistant would you sell black people's hair as weave and the shop assistant and the shop owner said point blank said no. When you see black women with weaves down to their back you have to question who they are trying emulate. Our hair is unique yet we do everything including straightening our hair so as not to stand out in other words it is a form of acceptance. Also, we shouldn't forget that the relaxer is a very harsh chemical. You hear about government warnings about tanning beds I believe there should be government warnings over relaxers. Whilst I believe it is a matter of choice for a grown woman to choose a relaxer I feel it is barbaric for a kid under the age of 14 to given relaxer and I believe it gives young girls a complex about their hair.

Anonymous said...

I don't think what this guy is saying is all that encouraging to naturals, to be honest. I 100% resent him feeling like he has the authority to pass that kind of judgement on women, of any color, but especially black women. To me, this is just voice telling women what they SHOULD be or NEED to be. I am not my hair, not even my natural hair, or my sometimes purple hair or my sometimes straight hair. I don't need hair to make me "look confident" because I am. I don't need hair to make me "look sexy" because I am sexy and I certainly don't need anyone to tell me how I feel about myself.

I really hate that black women are judged so harshly for experimenting with their hair like other races of women do. The white woman who has fried her dark lock blonde or destroyed her curly coils straight by over processing, does not get beat over the head by the "self-hatred" brigade Can't I have the freedom to destroy my hair, like everyone else if I damn well please without someone attacking me? People like him assume that black means this one thing, which is even more narrow minded and backward than the supposed self-hating people he attacks. I'm with the original response to his statement. Sometimes hair is just hair.

I am so glad my siggy isn't crazy!

Bri said...

I love the article and know that in DC there is a big respresentation of natural hair. Personally I permed my hair and do things in my life because well.....I LIKE IT and as with anything in the longer run I have to please me, not anyone else.

I respect his perception and opinion but have to disagree to alot of points. I am fully natural for over a year and wear weaves in the winter. Not because I hate anything about me but because I can afford ir, rely on no one to pay for it and hell its mines.

Jena said...

*sigh* I am a former transitioner (I relaxed two weeks ago.), who still loves to come to this site on Thursdays for the self-concept posts.

I chose to relax again not because I have an inferiority complex, DSM-IV diagnosis, or hate myself. On the contrary, I LOVE me-and the versatility of having African American hair! In the last six months, I've had braids, a fro-like sew-in, bob cut, and highlights. I loved every single moment of "trying on a new me." However, I FEEL (key word "I") most fierce with my short, Nia Long/Halle Berry cut, which I'm rocking now.

My point is, OMG, it's hair! And however one chooses to wear (or not wear) their's is not necessarily indicative of some deep, dark psychological issue.

What I find most interesting is that several sisters cite "not conforming to societal standards" as their reasoning for no longer relaxing. But isn't dogging out relaxed sisters for not being natural imposing some kind of standard as well? YES! It's imposing the "You're less than me, don't like who you truly are, and I'm Blacker and more socially aware than you" standard. I love my sisters (and brothers), but really y'all, this hair thing is starting to divide us!

Celebrating Blackness and living authentically goes WAAAAAAY deeper than hair. So, do you! Relax. Don't relax. Whatever! Just don't knock someone else for doing them.

Be Blessed!
Jena

Anonymous said...

I am confused about Chris Rock. His wife is totally and forever weaved out, yet he says he made this film for his daughters (who dont appear to have weaves or a relaxer). He fills the films with black women actresses who sport weaves and makes fun of the weave market and the fact that no one wants to buy 'nappy' hair. There was esactly ONE natural in the film, who was talked about by her group of friends for being natural and how it could imapct her employment opportunities.
This film, IMHO, reflected selfhate and personal choice confusion on Chris' part. I'm not hating, just stating what it seemed like to me. Not every black woman wants a weave or thinks she needs one to look good.

Ummm. I would think that the BEST and most appropriate way to give your daughters positive self-worth as a female would be to have it reflected in the behavior and thoughts of their mother (his wife).
Jus sayin.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an awesome post and I appreciate Kevin's honesty and views. I love the fact that he feels so passionate about natural hair and loving oneself. To those who commented above about Kevin's references to perms and self-hate: I don't think his intention was to bash women w/ perms. The truth is that during times of slavery, black women were told that their hair was ugly and unruly. There were advertisements and products that were sold telling them that if they used those products, they'd be accepted. This carried on through the Civil Rights era, where the black generation of women straightened their hair b/c that was the only way they believed they could get any type of respect, job, education, etc. during such an unfair time. I say all of this to say that maybe Kevin's 'self-hate' comment re perms is not an insult to women who get them. Maybe it's one of those strong statements meant to grab attention and really help women think about the real reasons they get perms. I don't think there's anything wrong w/ changing hairstyles, (straightening (i.e., flat iron), coloring, etc.), but to use harsh chemicals at the expense of one's health just to have straight hair is extreme (and yes, I was one who was addicted to the creamy crack years ago for this reason). I think we just need to think more about the decisions we make - not just for our hair, but for our overall well being. Some may not get perms to look like another race. Some may get perms at a young age before they have the chance to make the decision for themselves. But why? Is it to look like what we see/believe based on media images? Is it b/c loved ones will talk about us? Is it b/c we don't want to be different? I believe that whatever one chooses for his/her self should be healthy, confident choices based on his/her beliefs - not someone elses.

Kendra said...

he sounds too good to be true.
*melts into pavement*

Anonymous said...

If one is being consistent, one who believes that relaxers are used at the expense of one's health to have straight hair is extreme, then one would have to believe that:

1) coloring with synthetic dyes
2) perming hair to make it curly
3) adding fake hair (which is loaded with toxic chemicals used to sanitize it)
are also extreme.

Does anyone who believes that relaxers are extreme also believe the above and be willing to state that with the same vigor?

Anonymous said...

Yet how many of us question where the hair comes from. Why are we wearing hair from different races? It is about choice or our we caught in a vicious cycle. How far are willing go for the price of beauty? Personally, I have never had a problem with relaxers or extensions yet so many of us have. I have seen so many black women with eroding hairlines and tricologists in the UK have had many black women as patients due to traction alopecia. At some point we have to question these practices.

kitka82 said...

1) I’m not going to pick apart Kevin’s comments because they are his opinion, and we are ALL entitled to our opinions.

2) I love to hear *any* man praise my natural hair. Period.

3) If you’re going to say relaxing is self-hatred, you might as well address any change that we make to our physical appearance (i.e. makeup, body art, perms, hair color, etc). Caucasian and Asian people are not the only ones born with straight hair. But I suppose this is about more than just hair…

4) I had two children before I had even heard that relaxing while pregnant was a sin. Personally, my babies turned out just fine. As did I and three of my siblings. My mom RWP’d too. But I suppose ignorance is bliss… :-p

Anonymous said...

Ive seen black women with nothing but a small patch of hair on the crown region (all the other hair has eroded and broken off with permanent scarring of the scalp, due to nothing more than toxic hair care practices) who are still attaching fake hair on to that small patch and allowing the BSL fake hair to cover the bald patch. If one says anything aboutit, then you are deemed a hater.
It is pathetic and borderline psychotic, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I see some of us need to read on the history of black hair...lol

What he is saying is NOT wrong...but there isn't one reason as to why women relax their hair. Straightening hair did start to resemble white women...it is just normalized now in society that black women and teens think nothing of it. Is it self-hatred? For some it may be...is it due to maintenance? For some it may be...there are plenty of reasons why women choose to do certain things with their hair. It's just ignorant to say that he's wrong...especially if you've read the books and have done the research on black hair.

choosing a hairstyle is a cultural, economic, and social capital "thing"

Anonymous said...

I find articles like this so very annoying and presumptuous. The black women I know are not infants. They make the choice of wearing their hair natural or relaxed is made for reasons other than self-hatred. Usually, it's just a preference, and nothing to do with self-hatred. I truly don't understand the need to vilify women who choose to wear relaxed hair. It is their choice and there is no need to judge or make assumptions about the self esteem or self acceptance of relaxed women.

Anonymous said...

On to the next one please. While I appreciate a person liking and embracing natural hair, but it should not come at the expense of dissing other black women who choose the option of relaxing. We (naturals) embrace our hair texture. I applaud us. But don't get so high and mighty and act like you've always felt confident rocking the fros, locs, etc. All this "you hate yourself because you alter your HAIR" is bulls*%T and I second LaMara with my eyes rolling. Can you come with the same crap as to why we alter other aspect of ourselves? I'm sorry, but this young man cannot possibly tell me a thing about being a woman and the decisions I make regarding my body and my hair.

Anonymous said...

Kevin...I will be nice because it seems like you have good intentions...but, how silly is it to think that straightening one's hair means self-hate or this secret desire to be white...you do black people such an injustice when you make these general factless statements...it is a style choice...PERIOD! Even though my hair is natural, I will flat iron it if I want to and I don't need people thinking that I hate myself simply because of a style choice...Please lend your love and passion to encouraging what you like instead of focusing on the population of style choice you don't like...

By-the-way...why does everything black people do have to be compared to white people instead of simply human nature??? If white people cut a bang in their hair, took a karate or yoga class...no one says "you are trying to be Asian". If I dyed my hair red, no one says I am trying to be Irish...but if I dyed my hair blond, I am trying to be white...please get out of your bubble...
Indigo

questfortheperfectcurl said...

I don't feel good about his response, or the comments. I do however, understand his reaction to the status he read on Facebook. That would make me roll my eyes too. But the fact that he went on to justify and generalize his views speaks loudly. Why people don't listen to one another, and just want to attack each other, is beyond me...and for everyone cosigning with him, when you need to insult someone else to compliment yourself, well, you look just as bad. Sad really. Also, having natural hair does NOT mean that you are a woman who is totally secure with yourself, down to earth, or full of confidence. That's just bs.

Anonymous said...

What is really funny is the human hair you buy in stores is Indian hair...NOT WHITE PEOPLE'S HAIR...so if anything...say, people who wear weaves are trying to be Indian...but that would not happen...LMFAO at the insanity!

Indigo

Anonymous said...

WOMEN ARE A TRIP! If this guy came on here glorifying relaxers, everyone would be in a tissy! This guy is actually supporting natural hair and ACKNOWLEDGING that there is a subconscious association with relaxed hair being MORE attractive.

Case in point- how many "on the couch" stories have we read about women finally realizing their own NATURAL beauty?

Case in point #2- How many times do you HEAR ppl making NEGATIVE comments about themselves when it comes to their hair? Even some naturals do it.

Come on, let's keep it real, this guy is making a valid argument- there is indeed an element of self-hatred for most women who relax their hair..!!!! DUH!!!

Anonymous said...

The number one selfhatred action going on in the black community today is NOT perming for straight hair, like Kevin says in his FB status. . It IS the fact that over 70% of black households are headed by women with NO MALE FIGURE in sight. The second selfhatred action is the low emphasis on education as compared to entertainment. Relaxing is very low on the list, if on the list at all.

Anonymous said...

This was very eye-opening. I love to know how black men feel about us. I've never viewed relaxers as social oppression; I was relaxed for 17 years (since the age of 7), but retained a very thick, long texture that everyone who knew me LOVED. I'm 24 now. I went through the "big chop" 6 days ago. I have gotten an overwhelming response from my friends, family and classmates- I'm in medical school so MOST of my classmates are White. They love it! Men seem to look at me differently and I realize that my walk has become a tad bit more confident. Confidence does attract others, but my issues with confidence were NOT directly related to my hair. I got the bravery to cut BECAUSE I became a more confident individual. My mom, aunt, and grandmother have gone natural, but we were all beautiful with relaxed hair as well. I think what's important is that we love ourselves. What we do with our hair matters in terms of upkeeping. Don't neglect yourself, but don't feel like being a "natural" or being "relaxed" is a direct reflection of your attractiveness or self-worth.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am natural and I still hate myself. One thing is not linked to the other. How can an outsider tell someone they hate themselves based on such a superficial observation? So, If you smoke, eat meat, and have unprotected sex, as long as you are natural you love yourself. Loving yourself is finding what makes you happy. If that means smoking to calm your mind or straightening your hair because that look fits you, do it and be happy.

honeybrown1976 said...

I think it's opinion is quite commendable. One of the issues destroying the community is a lack of self-awareness, acceptance of the negativity that's destroying us, and a lack of knowledge. Relaxing one's hair is comparable to some in the Asian community's physical reconstruction of their eyelids for a "westernized" look. Maybe it's too hurtful for some black women to admit that they've been hustled into copping to someone else's beauty standards.

Anonymous said...

Lol Franki. I agree with your comment 150%!! This guy is a classic disenfranchised male
(read: bottom of the societal male pecking order) who is making this topic (black women's hairstyling options) more important than it actually is. This is one of the reasons why he makes it a point to state the issue of " the world has told us that black women are last on the beauty scale. Relaxing only confirms this." Someone who sincerely admires black female beauty would never even let thet come out of their mouth, let alone print on FB.
Yes, it's all fine and good that he promotes natural hair, but his opinion is JUST HIS. . . him and his opinion are no more important than that.

Jena said...

Thank you Anonyomus 4:00 p.m.!

You literally wrote my thoughts! I work in the family court system and get an up-close and personal view of our issues.

Daily, my unit processes a CRAZY amount of custody petitions for BLACK, unwed women, removal orders to place BLACK children in foster care, and criminal peitions to charge BLACK youth with crimes we all know they will be disproportionately punished for. Yet, we sit and debate hair as a significant issue in our communities??? You got to be freakin' kidding me.

Anonymous said...

you guys are far gone! Where do you think the 'straight hair preference' comes from?!

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome article!!! And I've been reading everyones comments, it's such an honest, thought provoking and lively discussion...

I don't know why it's so hard for us to admit that we've been programmed to loathe our hair from jump, and so many still dislike the look, feel, and stigma of nappy hair (I LOVE MINE!!!). All I wish for is for women to at least attempt to de-program themselves. If after trying to actually LOVE your own hair, you still hate it, OK, at least you tried! If you, as a discerning adult woman have actually seen, touched, cared for and loved your NATURAL hair for more than 5 minutes, and then decide to perm it, I would have nothing to say.

Perming your hair is NOT JUST A STYLE. And it's NOT just hair IMO... Perming your hair not only permanently alters the molecular structure of your hair but also the condition and health of your hair folicles and scalp. FOREVER, over and over again every 4-6 weeks for the rest of your life? Who does that but US? Hair dye coats the hair (temporary) or saturates it (permanent), it doesnt change its molecular structure. Even when white girls get curly perms it doesnt change the molecular structure of their hair. The beautician wears LATEX gloves and all I get is come Vaseline to shield my scalp from chemicals... Perming is not just a style. It's a LIFESTYLE you choose. Flat ironing is a style. Curling is a style. Adding extensions is a style. Etc, etc.

Kitty said...

Kevin is a very passionate young man not afraid to ruffle some feathers. He is a bit extreme at some point though.

For what its worth, I have mixed views on relaxers. My mother relaxed my hair at 4 years old, because it was so "difficult" to handle. I would kick and scream in pain a LOT. Granted, in the mid 80's there was not a lot out there for natural hair. And my parents just moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico a few years before. So, to stop the screaming, she put a relaxer on my hair. It was mild enough that in a few my hair would revert a bit. I lived in PA in a mostly white neiborhood and of course I wanted hair like my white peers! This continued for years all the way until highschool.

When I was old enough, I HATED the salons. I felt so angry that my hair never looked the way I wanted it, I couldn't wash and go like my peers, and that I was made fun of because of it. I BCed at 15 after having enough embarassment from my relaxed hair. I just wanted to shave the whole damn thing OFF! I HATED my relaxed hair.

Relaxers fueled my anger and self disappointment. It wasn't the cause per se. I know that many Puerto Ricans (wavy or coiled) get relaxers to either get a new style or hide that supposed "pelo malo". My mother has a more loose curl pattern and she relaxed for years and she doesn't even know why. She stopped because of her thyroid. So with us its a mixed bag. Its either a style or a form of hiding our nappy roots.

Anonymous said...

Since I've been natural I have noticed that there is no such thing as really tightly curled hair, once your hair gets use to being stretched with twists, or locs, or braid outs your hair becomes less kinkier. Our curly hair is more than hair it is apart of our culture. Think about it. Curly/Kinky hair is something that is unique really to those of the African diaspora this hair is not something that White people can copy and if you really think about it in their culture if it's something we have that they don't they have either stolen it, raped it from us, or tried to kill it. They cannot replicate this and that could be their problem with it.

I don't have an issue with straight hair at all, will I flat iron my hair one day? sure for temporary plesasure, my main concern is my curls so I will not make it a consistent hair routine. My problem lies in the issue of us not having control over the black hair care market, we don't own the hair we are buying so why buy it and make other ethnicities wealthy?

Anonymous said...

Permanent black hair dye contains a chemical call paraphenyldiamine which can cause a severe allergic reaction may be fatal.

All permanent hair dyes are damaging to the hair (regardless of the type). Blonde hair dye totally strips the hair and is the most damaging.

Curly perms (the ones people with straight hair use to make their hair curly) DOES chemically alter the structure of the hair and hair treated with it (like relaxers) must be grown out to reach its virgin/natural state again.

Hair used for weaving, extensions, attachments, etc contains toxic, harmful chemicals which can be irritating to scalp, facial and neck skin. This can result in inflammation of these areas leading to discoloration and scarring.

So, for each of you who are stating that relaxers are the only chemicals used on hair which are potentially toxic, you are wrong.

Education about what styling option you employ is up to you and on you. Just be knowledgeable about. No judgments here, I just like to make informed decisions.

Anonymous said...

meant to say paraphenylenediamine (PPD)

jetblack said...

I understand the love he was trying to show to natural hair but I think its a bit contradictory.
I just feel as if him definitively linking hair to a "positive" political choice kind of detracts from what I feel about it. For me, and im sure many other women on this site, I cut off my permed hair for me. It was falling out- a physical representation of an emotional crisis I was going through at the time. Absolutely no thoughts of "the man" white or black were in my head at the time.
I dated a man who absolutely loved natural hair. but what was different about him and this author was that I never felt like he was making it a fetish or about a political movement. It was all about me as a person. I just find it dangerous and "other-ing" when so much noise is made about it.
It was just another part of me that he loved for the simple fact that it was part of me and he genuinely sincerely loved it. im not sure if I'm being clear but I think that I prefer that to the kind of love or admiration the author of the piece speaks of that seems to have an agenda to it.
I would never want to feel as if someone like me/my hair because they thought it was a sign of "fighting the system" or helping them get over their own perceptions of inferiority. I'm not trying to knock down what he said as I can tell it came from the heart but I just feel it gets problematic when you get so extremist about it.

Anonymous said...

Wow,I love these posts that generate so many comments and spark debate. Thanks, Nikki!

I have been natural my whole life (locs and now loose). I flat ironed my hair for the first time in my life last month (for a trim) and hated it. It just didn't suit me. I guess my face was made for curls, kinks and coils.

Anyway, I understand his point, but have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think black people (not just black women) have been taught to believe, through generations, that their natural hair is unattractive. The message is not always so overt, meaning no one has to flat out say it's unattractive. We get the message in different ways. Until recently, you rarely ever saw true representations of natural black hair in the media. I still find it challenging to find someone like me/us in mainstream magazines. Do any of you look to mainstream magazines for tips on how to care for your hair (InStyle, Marie Claire, Glamour, etc.)? Do you honestly mean to tell me that the media has zero effect on the way we perceive ourselves? I think it's human nature to want to "fit in", be trendy and in fashion. We do not fit into society's "traditional" standards of beauty. Society is slowly evolving and becoming more inclusive, but still has a long way to go. Part of me feels like it's unfair to wag a finger at black women alone because they chemically process their hair and tell them they hate themselves without acknowledging all these societal factors that play a role in the way we see and feel about ourselves.

On the other hand,I do think that there is a lack of knowledge when it comes to maintaining our natural hair and it doesn't necessarily have to equal self-hatred. There weren't many outlets in the past. People seem to be obsessed with long hair(although I've seen many gorgeous ladies with short hair). Naturally curly/kinky hair shrinks quite a bit and is also very delicate. Without the proper maintenance, the hair will continue to break. Since "relaxed" has been the way for so many years, there has been more time to establish the proper routine for relaxed hair, ultimately, resulting in better length retention. In line with this is also the fact that because there has been a general lack of knowledge about natural hair maintenance, people will say that relaxed hair is much easier to maintain. Last point: sometimes it has nothing to do with any of the above. Sometimes we get bored and want a change. It doesn't always have to be so deep. Some people want to stand out and be unique. Think of Rihanna and the various ways she's worn her hair. Do I think she hates herself because part of her hair is straightened? Not really... Maybe one day she will even be natural and the next she may be back to relaxed styles. Sometimes it's just about self-expression and fun.

SFD

Anonymous said...

Straight hair preference originates from a variety of reasons:

1) Historically being raped of culture,language and family comfort, and brought to a situation where you are a minority within a dominate climate of animosity geared toward everything that you are.
2) Having your men start to accept and promote beauty as being everything that you aren't and seeking to retain at least SOME of their admiration.
3) Struggling with not seeing images that reflect anything beautiful about you or people who look like you for yrs.

I wonder if any other group of women would have fared at least HALF as well as black women have.

Alesia' Mason said...

Let me put it out there like this: I have a four year old niece who tells me my hair is nappy b/c she thinks a perm is so much better. A lot of black women condition our children to think that when your hair is straight, it's better so I understand what he means by self hate. The whole white thing is because when perms were first made, that's what it was for: to have Caucasian looking hair. Think about it before you jump down his throat.

Anonymous said...

This is soo true. Great article. Black women are perceived as the inferior race because we are trying to be like the other races when it comes to straightening our hair, when all the other races already have straight hair. If our hair was supposed to be straight we would have been born with straight hair. We need to stop living up to society standards of beauty because we all know this is a majority world on earth and the media has brain washed us on what real beauty is. We need to embrace our beauty like our ancestors did and start a movement to make the other races want to live up to our idea of beauty. Do you remember how our sisters wore the afro and they looked beautiful and united. Other races will never feel that we are more beautiful or even equal to them when we try to look like them instead of making them want to look like us. We should all come together and work on changing the world opinions about black women and beauty. A change will come if we do it together.

Anonymous said...

Women have been wearing natural hair since the beginning of time. I have a picture of my mother with an floppy afro sitting on her shoulders. It comes to a point where you can't take yourself too seriously. The real question is why do black people think that all black people should fall in line with their idea of being black. I have pretty natural hair, my cousin has pretty relaxed hair. We BOTH love ourselves, and in no way do I think I am more self-aware than she. I am a puzzle, and who knows how I will feel tomorrow. :-) P.S. Men will like what you like if you show it right. - Aisha Said It

Anonymous said...

SOME men will like what you like if you show it right. I've been relaxed (had relaxed BSL hair until 10 yrs ago) and natural ( now have BSL when straightened - which I very very rarely do) now.
When I was relaxed, brothers were swooning. Now that I'm natural, brothers are quiet, but nonblack men are stepping up like crazy. I havent changed (at least I don think I have)- always been friendly and very positive with those who treat men with kindness and respect. So, some of this selfhate isnt just black women in a vacuum perming their hair.

Anonymous said...

meant to say "treat ME with kindness and respect"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have access to or remember what the original relaxer ads stated as their intent? Did the ads state that this product will make your hair Caucasian straight? Did they say the product would make your hair more manageable? I'm just curious to know exactly how they were marketed- outside of the visual image aspect.

Dolores said...

Let's keep in mind that there are many women who undergo invasive surgery and starve themselves to meet a certain beauty standard. (I'm not saying that black women never do these things but the percentages are low.) If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well - very well.

Anonymous said...

As a proud natural woman, I will like to say for the attempted separation of kinky vs. relaxed vs. weaves, Kevin can BITE ME. To generalize a person’s thoughts based on a hairstyle is beyond me. I will be laughing about that all day. Anybody remember that skit/song on School Daze? And in my house nappy black girls are the most desired, it’s called preference. –Aisha Said It

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with what he's saying.Perming one's hair is a form of self-hatred in my opinion.Why is it so difficult for women to see themselves as beautiful in their natural state? Why must we as black women have to drastically alter our appearance in order to be rendered beautiful or to be accepted by society? There is such a bad stigma attached to natural hair, and the mentality that our hair is not beautiful needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

I just relaxed my hair three weeks ago after being natural for 13 years? Why? Not because I didn't love the afro, locs and curls I grew over those years, but because it was time for a change for me. If I get tired of this I will cut it off and start again. It's just my hair! It has nothing to do with who I am and what I am trying to be. Following that logic I guess I've been "white" my whole life as much as black folks like to call me that because of my speech.

When someone finally patents a barometer of blackness I'd be glad to get one, but until then not one aspect of my physical being can make me more or less black than the next woman.

Anonymous said...

Articles like this is why I stopped coming to blogs that talk about what men think. Women need to be comfortable with who they are without any outside influence. I was never self hating when I was relaxed, that's what I thought I was supposed to do. No one ever said why don't you stop relaxing...no one. We need to stop caring about what other people want, think, feel and start living for themselves...man up!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:48
I love your attitude. You have exercised a choice for styling without trying to make a political statement. For far too long, black women have been the subject of intense discussion for everything we do - what we wear, what we eat, what interests us , what disinterests us, what hairstyle we wear and how that makes everyone else on the planet feel, etc. etc. Its nice to just BE sometimes.
Thanks for reminding me that it is possible!

Ezinnechee said...

what i wanna know is where are the rest like him???!!!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully being responsible men. LOL

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kevin! I'm tickled at the difference in the comments between this post and the post that inspired it. In the other post many women expressed that a mans opinion shouldn't matter and yet how many times do naturals boo hoo over men NOT appreciating their natural "god given"? Women seem to want things both ways, but no.

I 95% agree with Kevin! There is a tremendous element of self hatred for many. That argument that black people naturally have straight hair is a red herring because guess what we are not talking about THEM! Regardless of color, if your hair grows straight out your scalp, chances are you are not going natural and don't need CURLYNikki's advice! We are talking about women with afro-textured and curly hair trying to conform to a standard of beauty that was never meant for them. I've read comments even on this site using "nappy" in a very derogatory manner so let's not act like that doesn't strike some deep fearful chord that god forbid kinky curly hair should look well KINKY (the horror!).

I leave 5% off because I think there's a lot to say for people who are self confident and into personal expression who just like to do crazy things to their hair like shave it, dye it, wear a baldy etc. without it having some deep meaning. They do exist, but I don't think that's the majority of women. I would also disagree that everything women do is to attract men. Women tend to be most competitive and concerned with what other women think ha!

svrbrownsuga said...

Great Post! I wish more people especially men felt this way..Hopefully one day they will.

Krystal said...

Kevin, I think I am ready to marry you. *sighs, faints, gets up and does the MC Hammer*

Dee said...

beautiful interview, makes me happy to see wise, young, and educated brothas who appreciate natural beauty in black women.

jessica said...

Lol Hair is hair..Self-hate..and a hairstyle? not even in the same boat.
i'm a junior in highschool, i see and interact with alot of people. Some people feel they dont have the guts to rock a fro. my mom on the other hand, relaxes her hair because she didnt like wearing her natural hair and she is happily married :)
BUT i did like this interview because its really kool to see a brotha attracted to natural hair instead of the usual weaves, straight, etc.

"Ruffin, Esq." said...

Firstly, I am willing to fight any woman for Kevin :)

But seriously, THANK YOU KEVIN FOR LOVING BLACK NATURAL-HEADED WOMEN! As a Black woman who did her "BC" in April 2010, I truly appreciate your viewpoints and your love for natural hair.

In your interview, you stated "I really like the confidence 'natural hair' exudes." The truth is ... when a Black man prefers a natural-headed Black woman, there are certain traits that are exuded about him also. These attractive traits include confidence, originality, and individualism.

I have read a few dozen of the comments. To the women who are offended and have made ill-mannered remarks about Kevin's "First Amendment" rights, should not you ask yourself "why?" ... Why are you offended? Why are you so angry? Why have you made such inappropriate remarks to a person that you do not know? Psychology and the Critical Race Theory have the answers.

I have not seen factual statements with citations, so let me include some.

- During Colonial America, enslaved Africans who worked inside the main house “were required to present a ‘neat and tidy’ appearance or risk the wrath of the master.” Hence, in order to gain the approval of their owners, enslaved Africans imitated their owner’s hairstyles. Because the owners wore wigs, so did the slaves; others fashioned their own hair to look like a wig. (Andrew Powe, Beyond the Pencil Test: Transformations in Hair and Headstyles, or Communicating Social Change, GLOCAL TIMES, Apr. 1, 2009, available at http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/gt2/viewarticle.aspx? articleID=164&issueID=20.)

- Straightening products have aided Whites in becoming less offended and more comfortable with the presence of Blacks in the workplace, since the products have changed Blacks’ hair to be akin to the White beauty standard. Black women are then more acceptable and easily integrated into environments dominated by Whites, such as Corporate America. (Constance Dionne Russell, Styling Civil Rights: The Effect of §1981 and the Public Accommodations Act on Black Women’s Access to White Stylists and Salons, 24 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 190, 194 (2008).

- The process of straightening permits the dominant group to ascribe different meanings to what has been straightened. “The choices a Back woman makes about her hair will inform how employers racialize her. She can be perceived as “silken,” “coarse,” or “resistant,” depending on what she does with her hair, a signifier of her racial identity.” (Devon W. Carbado & Mitu Gulati, The Law and Economics of Critical Race Theory, 112 YALE L.J. 1757, 1771 (2003).

*** For those of you that believe "If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well."*** ... my response is...
- Black women avoid certain fitness activities in order to maintain straightened hairstyles; they even have a term for their pro-hair/anti-workout choice: a “freeze day.” On this day, Black women do not exercise to avoid ruining their hairstyles, which leads to overweight and obese Black women with many health problems.(Leslie Goldman, Does Your Hair Keep You From Working Out? IVILLAGE, July 8, 2010, http://www.ivillage. com/does-your-hair-keep-you-working-out/4-a-216495.)

Again and again, thank you very much Kevin... I live in D.C too :)

MissGina said...

Been natural 8 years now, and I still like reading articles like these. By the way, my man loves my natural hair too! There are more men like Kevin out there ladies. No need to fight lol.

Anonymous said...

The tell tail sign that indicates if someone is relaxing due to shame of their natural Black hair is the way she talks about her new growth.

Now, I've been around both Italian and Jewish women that chemically straighten their hair (Dominican straightening and BKT)and when it come time for a "touch up" at no point do they talk about their natural curl pattern with disgust. TOO MANY BLACK WOMEN DO.

When I start hearing Black women state that they need a touch up as a matter of fact without speaking of their new growth like it's the worse thing in the world ONLY THEN will I believe it's just a styling option rather than a styling necessity, in their eyes.

Anonymous said...

I might not and you may not agree with all that this man said but I respect him and his views. I as well do not believe perming your hair equals self-hatred. However knowing the chemical composition of perm and the effects it has (not just can have but definitely has) on your body I do wonder how anyone would voluntarily do that to themselves. Now does that equal self hatred, perhaps for some but certainly not for all.

There were also other statements I disagreed with but I do not believe that makes this a bad article or him a bad man. Like I said, I respect his opinion.

"Ruffin, Esq." said...

Firstly, I am willing to fight any woman for Kevin :)

But seriously, THANK YOU KEVIN FOR LOVING BLACK NATURAL-HEADED WOMEN! As a Black woman who did her "BC" in April 2010, I truly appreciate your viewpoints and your love for natural hair.
In your interview, you stated, "I really like the confidence 'natural hair' exudes." The truth is ... when a Black man prefers a natural-headed Black woman; there are certain traits that are exuded about him also. These attractive traits include confidence, originality, and individualism.

I have read a few dozen of the comments. To the women who are offended and have made ill-mannered remarks about Kevin's "First Amendment" rights, should not you ask yourself "why?" ... Why are you offended? Why are you so angry? Why have you made such inappropriate remarks to a person that you do not know? Psychology and the Critical Race Theory have the answers.

I have not seen factual statements with citations, so let me include some.

- During Colonial America, enslaved Africans who worked inside the main house “were required to present a ‘neat and tidy’ appearance or risk the wrath of the master.” Hence, in order to gain the approval of their owners, enslaved Africans imitated their owner’s hairstyles. Because the owners wore wigs, so did the slaves; others fashioned their own hair to look like a wig. (Andrew Powe, Beyond the Pencil Test: Transformations in Hair and Headstyles, or Communicating Social Change, GLOCAL TIMES, Apr. 1, 2009, available at http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/gt2/viewarticle.aspx? articleID=164&issueID=20.)

- Straightening products have aided Whites in becoming less offended and more comfortable with the presence of Blacks in the workplace, since the products have changed Blacks’ hair to be akin to the White beauty standard. Black women are then more acceptable and easily integrated into environments dominated by Whites, such as Corporate America. (Constance Dionne Russell, Styling Civil Rights: The Effect of §1981 and the Public Accommodations Act on Black Women’s Access to White Stylists and Salons, 24 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 190, 194 (2008).

- The process of straightening permits the dominant group to ascribe different meanings to what has been straightened. “The choices a Black woman makes about her hair will inform how employers racialize her. She can be perceived as “silken,” “coarse,” or “resistant,” depending on what she does with her hair, a signifier of her racial identity.” (Devon W. Carbado & Mitu Gulati, The Law and Economics of Critical Race Theory, 112 YALE L.J. 1757, 1771 (2003).

*** For those of you that believe "If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well."*** ... my response is...
- Black women avoid certain fitness activities in order to maintain straightened hairstyles; they even have a term for their pro-hair/anti-workout choice: a “freeze day.” On this day, Black women do not exercise to avoid ruining their hairstyles, which leads to overweight and obese Black women with many health problems.(Leslie Goldman, Does Your Hair Keep You From Working Out? IVILLAGE, July 8, 2010, http://www.ivillage. com/does-your-hair-keep-you-working-out/4-a-216495.)

Again and again, thank you very much Kevin... I live in D.C too :)

Ruffin, Esq. said...

ATTENTION! ATTENTION! ATTENTION!

I do not understand why my comments have been deleted two times within the last hour. So now... not only are Kevin's "First Amendment" rights being violated, but so are mine.

My comments actually included facts with citations. It is ashame that this so-called "pro-Black natural hair" website deletes blogs that are real and truthful. Since this site cannot take my "realness," I will take my thoughts to "nappturality.com." Thanks!

- The "ESQ" said it.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I am willing to fight any woman for Kevin :)

But seriously, THANK YOU KEVIN FOR LOVING BLACK NATURAL-HEADED WOMEN! As a Black woman who did her "BC" in April 2010, I truly appreciate your viewpoints and your love for natural hair.
In your interview, you stated, "I really like the confidence 'natural hair' exudes." The truth is ... when a Black man prefers a natural-headed Black woman; there are certain traits that are exuded about him also. These attractive traits include confidence, originality, and individualism.

I have read a few dozen of the comments. To the women who are offended and have made ill-mannered remarks about Kevin's "First Amendment" rights, should not you ask yourself "why?" ... Why are you offended? Why are you so angry? Why have you made such inappropriate remarks to a person that you do not know? Psychology and the Critical Race Theory have the answers.

I have not seen factual statements with citations, so let me include some.

- During Colonial America, enslaved Africans who worked inside the main house “were required to present a ‘neat and tidy’ appearance or risk the wrath of the master.” Hence, in order to gain the approval of their owners, enslaved Africans imitated their owner’s hairstyles. Because the owners wore wigs, so did the slaves; others fashioned their own hair to look like a wig. (Andrew Powe, Beyond the Pencil Test: Transformations in Hair and Headstyles, or Communicating Social Change, GLOCAL TIMES, Apr. 1, 2009, available at http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/gt2/viewarticle.aspx? articleID=164&issueID=20.)

- Straightening products have aided Whites in becoming less offended and more comfortable with the presence of Blacks in the workplace, since the products have changed Blacks’ hair to be akin to the White beauty standard. Black women are then more acceptable and easily integrated into environments dominated by Whites, such as Corporate America. (Constance Dionne Russell, Styling Civil Rights: The Effect of §1981 and the Public Accommodations Act on Black Women’s Access to White Stylists and Salons, 24 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 190, 194 (2008).

- The process of straightening permits the dominant group to ascribe different meanings to what has been straightened. “The choices a Black woman makes about her hair will inform how employers racialize her. She can be perceived as “silken,” “coarse,” or “resistant,” depending on what she does with her hair, a signifier of her racial identity.” (Devon W. Carbado & Mitu Gulati, The Law and Economics of Critical Race Theory, 112 YALE L.J. 1757, 1771 (2003).

*** For those of you that believe "If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well."*** ... my response is...
- Black women avoid certain fitness activities in order to maintain straightened hairstyles; they even have a term for their pro-hair/anti-workout choice: a “freeze day.” On this day, Black women do not exercise to avoid ruining their hairstyles, which leads to overweight and obese Black women with many health problems.(Leslie Goldman, Does Your Hair Keep You From Working Out? IVILLAGE, July 8, 2010, http://www.ivillage. com/does-your-hair-keep-you-working-out/4-a-216495.)

Again and again, thank you very much Kevin... I live in D.C too :)

Anonymous said...

DELETED COMMENT...

Firstly, I am willing to fight any woman for Kevin :)

But seriously, THANK YOU KEVIN FOR LOVING BLACK NATURAL-HEADED WOMEN! As a Black woman who did her "BC" in April 2010, I truly appreciate your viewpoints and your love for natural hair.
In your interview, you stated, "I really like the confidence 'natural hair' exudes." The truth is ... when a Black man prefers a natural-headed Black woman; there are certain traits that are exuded about him also. These attractive traits include confidence, originality, and individualism.

I have read a few dozen of the comments. To the women who are offended and have made ill-mannered remarks about Kevin's "First Amendment" rights, should not you ask yourself "why?" ... Why are you offended? Why are you so angry? Why have you made such inappropriate remarks to a person that you do not know? Psychology and the Critical Race Theory have the answers.

I have not seen factual statements with citations, so let me include some.

- During Colonial America, enslaved Africans who worked inside the main house “were required to present a ‘neat and tidy’ appearance or risk the wrath of the master.” Hence, in order to gain the approval of their owners, enslaved Africans imitated their owner’s hairstyles. Because the owners wore wigs, so did the slaves; others fashioned their own hair to look like a wig. (Andrew Powe, Beyond the Pencil Test: Transformations in Hair and Headstyles, or Communicating Social Change, GLOCAL TIMES, Apr. 1, 2009, available at http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/gt2/viewarticle.aspx? articleID=164&issueID=20.)

- Straightening products have aided Whites in becoming less offended and more comfortable with the presence of Blacks in the workplace, since the products have changed Blacks’ hair to be akin to the White beauty standard. Black women are then more acceptable and easily integrated into environments dominated by Whites, such as Corporate America. (Constance Dionne Russell, Styling Civil Rights: The Effect of §1981 and the Public Accommodations Act on Black Women’s Access to White Stylists and Salons, 24 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 190, 194 (2008).

- The process of straightening permits the dominant group to ascribe different meanings to what has been straightened. “The choices a Black woman makes about her hair will inform how employers racialize her. She can be perceived as “silken,” “coarse,” or “resistant,” depending on what she does with her hair, a signifier of her racial identity.” (Devon W. Carbado & Mitu Gulati, The Law and Economics of Critical Race Theory, 112 YALE L.J. 1757, 1771 (2003).

*** For those of you that believe "If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well."*** ... my response is...
- Black women avoid certain fitness activities in order to maintain straightened hairstyles; they even have a term for their pro-hair/anti-workout choice: a “freeze day.” On this day, Black women do not exercise to avoid ruining their hairstyles, which leads to overweight and obese Black women with many health problems.(Leslie Goldman, Does Your Hair Keep You From Working Out? IVILLAGE, July 8, 2010, http://www.ivillage. com/does-your-hair-keep-you-working-out/4-a-216495.)

Ruffin, Esq. said...

*** DELETED COMMENT***

But seriously, THANK YOU KEVIN FOR LOVING BLACK NATURAL-HEADED WOMEN! As a Black woman who did her "BC" in April 2010, I truly appreciate your viewpoints and your love for natural hair.
In your interview, you stated, "I really like the confidence 'natural hair' exudes."

The truth is ... when a Black man prefers a natural-headed Black woman; there are certain traits that are exuded about him also. These attractive traits include confidence, originality, and individualism.

I have read a few dozen of the comments. To the women who are offended and have made ill-mannered remarks about Kevin's "First Amendment" rights, should not you ask yourself "why?" ... Why are you offended? Why are you so angry? Why have you made such inappropriate remarks to a person that you do not know? Psychology and the Critical Race Theory have the answers.

I have not seen factual statements with citations, so let me include some.
- During Colonial America, enslaved Africans who worked inside the main house “were required to present a ‘neat and tidy’ appearance or risk the wrath of the master.” Hence, in order to gain the approval of their owners, enslaved Africans imitated their owner’s hairstyles. Because the owners wore wigs, so did the slaves; others fashioned their own hair to look like a wig. (http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/gt2/viewarticle.aspx? articleID=164&issueID=20.)

- Straightening products have aided Whites in becoming less offended and more comfortable with the presence of Blacks in the workplace, since the products have changed Blacks’ hair to be akin to the White beauty standard. Black women are then more acceptable and easily integrated into environments dominated by Whites, such as Corporate America. (Styling Civil Rights: The Effect of §1981 and the Public Accommodations Act on Black Women’s Access to White Stylists and Salons, 24 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 190, 194 (2008).

- The process of straightening permits the dominant group to ascribe different meanings to what has been straightened. “The choices a Black woman makes about her hair will inform how employers racialize her. She can be perceived as “silken,” “coarse,” or “resistant,” depending on what she does with her hair, a signifier of her racial identity.” (The Law and Economics of Critical Race Theory, 112 YALE L.J. 1757, 1771 (2003).

*** For those of you that believe "If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well."*** ... my response is...
- Black women avoid certain fitness activities in order to maintain straightened hairstyles; they even have a term for their pro-hair/anti-workout choice: a “freeze day.” On this day, Black women do not exercise to avoid ruining their hairstyles, which leads to overweight and obese Black women with many health problems.( http://www.ivillage. com/does-your-hair-keep-you-working-out/4-a-216495.)

Anonymous said...

DELETED COMMENT

Firstly, I am willing to fight any woman for Kevin :)

But seriously, THANK YOU KEVIN FOR LOVING BLACK NATURAL-HEADED WOMEN! As a Black woman who did her "BC" in April 2010, I truly appreciate your viewpoints and your love for natural hair.
In your interview, you stated, "I really like the confidence 'natural hair' exudes." The truth is ... when a Black man prefers a natural-headed Black woman; there are certain traits that are exuded about him also. These attractive traits include confidence, originality, and individualism.

I have read a few dozen of the comments. To the women who are offended and have made ill-mannered remarks about Kevin's "First Amendment" rights, should not you ask yourself "why?" ... Why are you offended? Why are you so angry? Why have you made such inappropriate remarks to a person that you do not know? Psychology and the Critical Race Theory have the answers.

I have not seen factual statements with citations, so let me include some.

- During Colonial America, enslaved Africans who worked inside the main house “were required to present a ‘neat and tidy’ appearance or risk the wrath of the master.” Hence, in order to gain the approval of their owners, enslaved Africans imitated their owner’s hairstyles. Because the owners wore wigs, so did the slaves; others fashioned their own hair to look like a wig. (Andrew Powe, Beyond the Pencil Test: Transformations in Hair and Headstyles, or Communicating Social Change, GLOCAL TIMES, Apr. 1, 2009, available at http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/gt2/viewarticle.aspx? articleID=164&issueID=20.)

- Straightening products have aided Whites in becoming less offended and more comfortable with the presence of Blacks in the workplace, since the products have changed Blacks’ hair to be akin to the White beauty standard. Black women are then more acceptable and easily integrated into environments dominated by Whites, such as Corporate America. (Constance Dionne Russell, Styling Civil Rights: The Effect of §1981 and the Public Accommodations Act on Black Women’s Access to White Stylists and Salons, 24 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 190, 194 (2008).

Anonymous said...

DELETED COMMENT CONTINUED



- The process of straightening permits the dominant group to ascribe different meanings to what has been straightened. “The choices a Black woman makes about her hair will inform how employers racialize her. She can be perceived as “silken,” “coarse,” or “resistant,” depending on what she does with her hair, a signifier of her racial identity.” (Devon W. Carbado & Mitu Gulati, The Law and Economics of Critical Race Theory, 112 YALE L.J. 1757, 1771 (2003).

*** For those of you that believe "If the worst thing black women are doing to themselves is putting in a relaxer, then we're doing very well."*** ... my response is...
- Black women avoid certain fitness activities in order to maintain straightened hairstyles; they even have a term for their pro-hair/anti-workout choice: a “freeze day.” On this day, Black women do not exercise to avoid ruining their hairstyles, which leads to overweight and obese Black women with many health problems.(Leslie Goldman, Does Your Hair Keep You From Working Out? IVILLAGE, July 8, 2010, http://www.ivillage. com/does-your-hair-keep-you-working-out/4-a-216495.)

Again and again, thank you very much Kevin... I live in D.C too :)

Anonymous said...

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion as well as their own style. I do what i want with my hair no matter what guy or other person thinks.

Franki said...

Just a note to other commenters: I think Nikki has an anti-profanity rule for comments, so you may want to watch your language. Or at least, I think that's why my comment was deleted. And Nikki, if you're reading and you do have an anti-profanity rule, you may want to put a "Commenting Rules" section in the header; saves you for deleting comments and readers from having well-thought out comments deleted for using a wordy-dirty.
--------------------------

As for the topic at hand, I still think Kevin reads as an arrogant berk who won't believe that a black woman is strong unless she does what he wants her to do. The idea that his significant other must listen to his opinions on her appearance as opposed to following her own judgment because failure to do as he wishes implies a desire to attract other men is troubling. It shows a desire to remove a woman's autonomy in deciding how to present herself, as well as a belief that women's appearances exist only for the pleasure of men - an idea so problematic I don't even know where to start with that foolishness.

Master's or not, this fella is still spouting tired, patriarchal dreck in the name of black liberation. Nothing he says here is about having healthy hair, or about feeling beautiful for oneself. It's about more women looking the way he wants them to, so he can have some Natural Queen Eyecandy. It's not about us, it's about him. Demanding that women conform to a non-traditional beauty standard is still demanding that women change themselves for the whims/desires of a man. And frankly, he can get the heck out of here with that.

Anonymous said...

The question stated: "Why do you think women care about a man's opinion when it relates to hair?" To me, that implies that women care about a man's opinion when it relates to their appearance -because hair is an important indicator of 'beauty'.. His response disregards what the question is really asking "Why is hair such an important indicator of beauty?" I don't think he had any intention of imposing his 'male' perspective of how women should look.

His viewpoint is that if males are more accepting of a natural look, then that should 'help' the process of black women embracing their natural look.

Regardless of what anyone on this blog says, we have been taught that our hair is not as good as those of other races, and he seeks to change our idea of beauty by embracing our natural selves...

Anonymous said...

Wow what a great article and equally great commentaries! I think that self hatred can be overt as well as covert. For example the person who stated that they like the ease of relaxed hair in the morning,(pulling off their scarf and brushing their hair), well I get that too. I am a 4a / 4b, and once I comb my hair the night before and tie it, I can get the same effect in the morning.

When I decided to transition, (and I mentioned this to my hairdresser and that I may press once in a while), he was quick to point out that another client, whose hair I had admired, and who pressed about twice a month, had a different texture from mine. I wanted to prove him wrong, and since my last relaxer in May 2009, I have been amazed at the beauty of my hair. BTW no longer go to him.

In retrospect he tried to scare me to think that I would not have a manageable texture. But thank God I had a successful transition, and with the help of this blog, newlynatural.com and YT found some wonderful role models. Self hatred and fear I did not give in to.

I think that this all comes down to finding ways to be creative with our hair. I have found that the more I use certain oils etc. the softer it feels. According the the Sesame Street song, "I love my hair!"

Peace from NYC

Anonymous said...

I was wondering why some of the comments were deleted as well Ruffin, Esq. Who decides which comments deem "appropriate" and which aren't. If there are guidelines we need to follow in order to respond to a post that would warrant such passionate responses, then let us know. We take the time to post articulate and well thought-out posts so don't waste our time if you are going to delete them.

PinkGirlFluff said...

If it was just hair people wouldn't get so defensive over his comments.

Hence why hair is more complicated than that.

Some cultures cut their hair very short while mourning for a deceased loved one. Some cultures do not believe in cutting hair at all. Some create very complex and intricate designs for important ceremonies.

Hair is NOT just hair.

It is a symbol of who YOU are.

It is a very important part of our culture. Historically our hair changed with the times and that is awesome!

Let us not downplay the role of our manes in order to defend hair choices. If you relax because you prefer your hair straight, then be ok with that. If you don't, be ok with that. But never think for a moment that your hair choices don't have social implications because they do.

And don't pretend that your hair choices are just about style. It's about something deeper and we all know it whether we want to admit it or not.

I really wish we would have an open and honest conversation as adults on why we made the choice to relax or not to relax when we became old enough to make the choice.

People wouldn't have to speculate or specu-hate when people are honest and not just brushing a topic off like it isn't a valid subject.

Again I say, it is not just HAIR!!!

CURLYNIKKI said...

None of Ruffin's comments were deleted by moderators. According to my log, she originally posted a comment at 10:01 pm last night. I remember reading it (I'm emailed each and every comment), which is why I was confused when I woke up this morn to find comments about it being deleted. It seems that it was uploaded properly... if it didn't publish to the site, I have no idea why. Usually, everything that comes to my Iphone has already published to CN for all to see.

We delete comments that attack individuals and use curse words. Period. Comments that contribute to the discussion and inspire deeper thought are always welcome! Love the debate ladies! And love your comment Ruffin! Sorry for any confusion.

BrownEmber said...

Yay! Waves at CurlyNikki! :D

Love your comment @PinkGirlFluff! The "just hair" argument always makes me smile because the folks pushing it seem to be trying so dang hard lol. My skin is "just brown" but I'm darn proud of that. My nails are "just dead skin cells" but I'm not about to rip them all out. My eyes are "just brown"--my nose is "just big" my feet are "just skinny"--these are all things that make me "just me".

Yes, eventually we will all shuffle these mortal coils but until then my body is my temple. I'd like to think that all people take care of and appreciated their shells. My physical characteristics are a symbol of my parents love for each other and for me. I look at my nappy hair and I see my mom. I look at my narrow long feet and see my dad. Lol just like I wouldn't chop off a couple inches of toe to fit into a pair of shoes, I wouldn't perm my hair to fit someone elses standards. I do nothing to my body without purpose and intent. First because I know what it represents to me and my family and second because I know that my physical body represents ME to the physical world. I would never downplay the obvious connection between my inner and outer selves to make a point...

Hyspin said...

I really don't get point of the mans confession on natural hair I think these articles are pointless. Frankly I find it hypocritical reading these.

But if people love them so be it. But if we are going to have them I think we should switch it up too add some other cultures in here, East Asian, White, Latino, South Asian, and Black. If there is such a curiosity in what men think of natural hair then lets get the whole rainbow in here.

But I wouldn't mind seeing one more question, if we are going to stick with only black men, that I would love to see Nikki ask, to see where these men truly stand. Question: "What percentage of women did they date have curly hair vs straight hair vs extensions." Get them to give us a estimated percentage I mean it will be funny to find men who demand natural hair but have only date girls with straight hair and I have seen it.

Kellistarr said...

What a fantastic interview! I'm amazed that he is so insightful and passionate and by how he managed to voice my very own thoughts.

I think he's onto something when he speaks about the woman's self-confidence. It might sound strange, but I think it takes mega self-confidence to wear natural hair. Even if you don't have a platform, like it or not, natural hair is making a statement.

Many Black women don't know what their natural texture looks like, those that have glimpsed it don't like what they see, nor do they know what to do with it and most aren't interested in learning. Of course, I'm being very general here, but this is what I hear from people I know and strangers that comment on my hair. I've always felt that the self-hatred towards hair has been a learned process. I just wish that Black women would accept the beauty, the versatility and all the other characteristics that go along with natural hair. I know to some, it's just hair. But it's YOUR hair.

How satisfying to read and hear the acknowledgement and appreciation coming from a man who is not faced with the same hair challenges and issues that a natural-haired woman is. Bravo!

kaydensmum said...

In my best "Hey Mon" accent..."I tink I love heeee".. LOL!

Anyhow, Though I might not agree with all of his views I'm lovin that he loves and embraces a natural women.

Anonymous said...

I went natural so my hair would be healthy not because I needed to learn how to love myself. If i ever relax again its not because i hate myself. I also love myself enough not to care about what anyone thinks about my OWN hair.

Butterfly3000 said...

For those of us that have seen the Malcolm X movie...yall remember when he was putting the relaxer in his head and the cops came? He was dating the white woman at the time. I'm not saying that by relaxing, we are trying to be white, BUT, I do believe we were unconciously trying to fit in and/or be accepted in a society that was/is controlled by White America. It was cool to get something (hair) to "lay down slick" that usually sticks out wiry and frizzy.

The inventor of the relaxer stumbled upon lye after it was left laying overnight on a piece of wool. What in the world made him decide to market that to be used in black folks hair? Well....ummmm....probably because we were already sitting in kitchens using hot combs to straighten our hair so why not just use a cream to make it even straighter! Capitalism at its best.

Point being, If someone takes you from your home where your hair is happy to be nappy, everybody's rocking the tightly coiled wash and go proudly and you're suddenly forced into a life of hard labor with awful living conditions where your opressors are all bright skinned and straight haired beating your birth name out of you, then you WILL begin to immulate and even idolize them to be accepted by them. You, your offspring and many generations down the line.

I understand Kevin's comment, but fastforward to 1980's, my momma just didn't have the time or the informative resources to "deal with" my thick coarse hair so the Jheri curl, the relaxer and the every two week appointment at the beauty parlor was the way out for her.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, will you marry me? lol

Anonymous said...

This is crazy. I've never met a guy..a straight guy..who cares this much about hair. I know guys emphasize on hair but not to this extent. They don't really care if you have natural or permed hair, as long as it looks good. Wow. And this is who y'all wanna marry? If my man was this shallow, I'd leave his a**

Anonymous said...

Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it.
What is she talking about??
That means you need to read Hairstory...

AusetAbena said...

I respect Kevin's opinion. Also, we have to realize that he should have the right to come and defend his statement. He wrote it originally as a Facebook status, than a blogger took it upon herself to write an entire post about. We say hair is just hair. We could easily say a Facebook status is just a Facebook status, but it isn't. It sparked a post response and more than a hundred comments, in either support, nonsupport or even disgust of his comment. So does that make me a Kevin fan? As I just said, I respect him and his opinion and I am proud of CN for giving him a chance to respond. I will not get into the "is relaxed sign of self-hate" debate, because I already responded on the other post. I would personally a little upset if someone dissected my Facebook status the way Kevin's facebook status was. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this article! I have never read about a Black man who was so passionate about natural hair. Really, we should appreciate that because he obviously has done some research into the issue and that is rare.

I will go against the grain here and say I agree with him that Black women who relax their hair are trying to look White. BUT for many of them it was out of convenience because their moms relaxed their hair as a child and they just continued with it. Let's get real people, relaxers were CREATED to simulate White people's hair so we would be accepted by them! Relaxers were not created so we could have a new style! A bun or an updo is a style, changing your natural hair texture is not. I bet many women with straight hair would not curl it if they knew it was permanent so no, when they curl their hair it is not the same thing.

People may relax also due to lack of knowledge about natural hair and how to care for it. If you asked me 5 years ago I would say women with natural hair can only wear locs, 70s style afros, or look like Marsha Warfield or Grace Jones because that was all I saw (and of course braids). If these styles were the only one's available, how many women would have gone natural? I thought only biracial women could have the hair I have now. I had never seen coily natural hair, twists, or twist outs. So when I thought of nice hair I did collect photos of White and Black women from magazines (because there were no natural Black women in the magazines then) and tried to style my relaxed hair like theirs. Having natural hair was not an option and I thought I was just supposed to relax my hair because that's what Black women do and there was no other option.

So yes, out of convenience and ignorance about natural hair, I did try to make my hair look like White women's hair. I didn't know there was any other option and I had never met anyone with natural hair.

Get real people, look at old relaxer ads when they first came out,. The product was CREATED to cover our African hair, and that original purpose has not changed.

Ugomma said...

Ok I officially LOVE this guys and agree with EVERYTHING he said!!! And how could you deny it? There are THOUSANDS of magazine ads, music videos and even products dedicated to black women with relaxed hair. He is right, relaxed hair is STILL preferred over natural, and as an ever-evolving human race, women are going to continue to not like the way their hair is in order to fit a certain mold and mate.

I don't know why people are getting so defensive about him "passing judgement or not passing judgement" let's be real people, people make judgements and say whatever they want to say and YES, I do wish more women especially black women embrace who they are. Don't get me wrong I think people should be able to change their looks whenever (which is why I braid my hair with extensions and maybe someday I will straighten my hair, MAUBE), but relaxers have a very bad HAIRstory that continues to haunt us today, except today we use use the dangerous chemicals in relaxers as a sign of liberation/ assimilation. I wish more black men would show more appreciation for girls who do decide to go natural. I'm Nigerian and even within my community people think I'm stupid for showing off my "nappy hair" in America.

Anonymous said...

Ummm so is Kevin single?? Come on Nikki you can have a guy do a post like that and not let us single D.C. sisters know :)

stephanie aka scrapandthecity said...

This is interesting. I was concerned mostly about one thing. Choosing to relax hair is not the same as plastic surgery. Your hair when its alive and in your follicle is your original texture. If you get a nose job, or a lip reduction, your original look cannot be restored. I see where he is going, but Its comparing apples to oranges!

To me a relaxer is cosmetic. You can go back to your roots,anytime you want. We are that versatile and that's what I think should be celebrated more. Versatility and celebrating healthy hair no matter what you choose!

Anonymous said...

@ Stephanie aka scrapandthecity: I so agree with you. Honestly a lot of these women seem to agree with him just because he good looking. I guess what they say is true People naturally do agree with good looking people because when they are good looking people natural think they are more honest.

Good I still stick with it is just hair. Yes their is an history but those living in the past can never live in the present. I think he made his point but with those explanation you can make an issue about dust. I just think he blowing it way out of proportion. Because what happen the freedom of choice and want to do different things. Lets face it hair for the most part is treated as an accessory like clothes. Some people are happy with what the know works on them. Some are in a rut, and yes some are going with a norm but humans always want to think they are normal. Yes there is history to everything that could be an issue.

For example "vanilla" the flavour a lot people love means "vagina" so what everyone should stop using it a a fragrance or flavouring? Really common.

A lot of beauty practices today are connected to one of three things Youth, Health, or Wealth. Face it the truth about beauty is ugly. I think he has no right to shoot anyone down for it. Lets be honest people care what others think (as much as we tell each other not to) But He encourage that in the statement:
"Do you think your significant other should consider your opinion when making decisions about her hair?

Most definitely. Not considering my opinion would lead to think she was trying to impress someone else."

So he not proving any better for the situation.

Just saying in the end the arguements structure is in the end weak bases, he got facts but he seems to be so closed minded to fact that it a personal choice and that make the person no worse or better for choosing it.

missna4u said...

i loved it. i'm open to other people's opinions and views. thank goodness we all don't think the same, huh? Go kevin!

La'Tasha said...

Why does the style of my hair have to do with race and politics, I was relaxed because i liked it, I am natural because I love it. Neither were representations of selfhate or selflove, I am not making a statement but a style choice. Though it is nice to see someone passionate about their views generalizations are annoying and i feel untrue. Also why does my choice of style or hair have to baised on what some potential man may or may not like? when I style my hair it is me that i am trying to impress, not you or the world or main stream media. yes this man appreciates all types of natural hair, but he does not seem to appreciate all types of women.

BMAK said...

my name is Aja, writer of the original response to his post, and I could not have said it any better than this "anonymous" person did. --> "don't think what this guy is saying is all that encouraging to naturals, to be honest. I 100% resent him feeling like he has the authority to pass that kind of judgement on women, of any color, but especially black women. To me, this is just voice telling women what they SHOULD be or NEED to be. I am not my hair, not even my natural hair, or my sometimes purple hair or my sometimes straight hair. I don't need hair to make me "look confident" because I am. I don't need hair to make me "look sexy" because I am sexy and I certainly don't need anyone to tell me how I feel about myself.

I really hate that black women are judged so harshly for experimenting with their hair like other races of women do. The white woman who has fried her dark lock blonde or destroyed her curly coils straight by over processing, does not get beat over the head by the "self-hatred" brigade Can't I have the freedom to destroy my hair, like everyone else if I damn well please without someone attacking me? People like him assume that black means this one thing, which is even more narrow minded and backward than the supposed self-hating people he attacks. I'm with the original response to his statement. Sometimes hair is just hair. "

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