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March 5, 2012

Knowledge is Power...

Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

A couple of weeks ago, Thandi shared that she was ready to leave the relaxers on the shelf and embrace her natural hair,in trying to encourage her daughters to be happy with their own curls. Well, she looks gorgeous with her natural hair and her curls are bangin'!

As I was over at the Daily Mail, the website I love to hate for some of the ridiculous articles they publish, I was surprised to stumble across this particular article with the British actress. With references to Viola Davis, and even Chris Rock's Good Hair Documentary, I had to check I wasn't on one of my favourite hair blogs! Now, the Daily Mail was recently listed as the number one online website – so I guess Natural is going mainstream hmm?!

Anyhow, upon reading some of the comments, there was one that particularly stood out to me:
Yeah easy enough if u have lovely mixed race curls. I have proper Afro hair and I hate it – it's vile. Straightening or weaving is the only way other than looking ridiculous!
Why did this stand out to me? Because I used to think like that!

I know, I know, very poor but until I started transitioning, like many others out there I thought this was a fact. Reading this comment just made me aware of how important education really is. I look at this comment now and cringe because education has allowed my attitude to change for the better. It had me thinking that maybe, SOME of the time when people ask naturals these kind of questions that may be received as being obnoxious, the truth is that they are simply uneducated.

This is not just relevant to our hair, but other parts of our culture. I know in my school, black culture was really not apart of the curriculum so it wasn't until later on that I sought to find things out for myself. We are always hearing phrases such as; 'seek and you shall find', 'knowledge is power, and my mum always said ' if you nah ask, you nah receive!', meaning that we should ask questions to get answers, or ask for help in order to receive it.

So, the next time I have to deal with an awkward question about my hair, instead of instantly shutting the person down I will try to inform them instead of continuing the cycle of false information.

Has education changed your attitude towards anything recently?

For an interview with Thandi, click HERE!

29 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

I have to ask, why do people continue to believe that people with 2 black parents have one kind of hair and people with 1 black and 1 non-black parent have another? I roll my eyes every time I hear it. It's so ignorant.

I've seen biracial people with every kind of hair under the sun(e.g. straighter than mine, just LIKE mine, and much kinkier than mine), and I've seen people with two black parents have everything from pin straight, to wavy, to curly, to kinky hair. I believe my eyes. Why do so many people refuse to believe theirs?

So how do people continue to convince themselves this is true? Did so many people really grow up thinking that the people with long hair or curly hair were biracial? Do you dismiss people with kinky hair as not being biracial?

Beyond hair, which isn't that important, it's sad that black people in the U.S. are so uninformed about their origins-how they came to be here and what has happened since.

And when people say these things, do they correct their mindset or feel silly when they see women that they know have two black parents who have curly hair? I mean, check out this website and its title ladies? Curly Nikki. She has curly hair. And she's shown you her parents. So how does that not change that really ignorant mindset?

But I'm just shocked that more poeple don't notice the phenotypic (and genetic) diversity among their own family and friends. My family has people who look every way you can imagine. That isn't unique. My friends' families look the same way. How many black families have people who ALL look the same.

phoenixa said...

I (ignorantly) shared the same thoughts when I had first cut my hair. But thanx to research, youtube and this website I know better. Thru the power of knowledge, reading and actually patience I have learned that I can get any particular look if I just take my time with it. But many people have absolutely no time for this so they live with these thoughts hating their hair. And the sad part is that it carries on to their children who then hate their hair. Ignorance can really be a factor with these thoughts of who we are.

Grace C. said...

Dear Nikki,
I'm ashamed to say that I have to agree with the comment to some extend... hear me out.

I've been natural for 4 months now. I've done all the research possible (just ask my husband), tried every technique on YouTube, bought all the "right" products (they are much harder to find here in Europe) and my hair still looks a hot mess.

Since I've BC'ed I have never worn my hair out, I hide it under a (straight) wig because it doesn't look nice.

I don't think it has anything to do with being biracial or not, my hair just does not look like I want it to look. I find myself longing for your hair,for Naptural85's hair, for Shelli from Hairscapades hair and so on. Not because of the lenght,but of the "bigness" I will never achieve due to my texture and ridiculous shrinkage.

So I partially agree with the comment: I need a weave, relaxer or wig not to look ridiculous to my standards. And my healthy, bad behaving natural hair is worn inside the house only...

Anonymous said...

FOR some people that statement is true, I dont care how many You Tube videos or blogs someone reads everyone's hair is different & the majority of bloggers/vloggers dont have 4c or beyond extreme kinky hair. Lets keep it real most of us relaxed for a reason, COULDN'T, OR DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH OUR HAIR IN ITS NATURAL STATE. I dont car how much knowledge you get some just prefer the use of WRAP N GO HAIR ie relaxed hair!

Anonymous said...

Education has completely changed my eating and drinking menu to achieve optimal health.

Education has completely changed my attitude about so many things.

Hair, other cultures, my own culture, etc.

Pecancurls said...

Education has defintely changed my mindset about my hair. I must admit that I too used to think that only certain types of hair can go natural. However, through trial and error, I have learned to appreciate and love my natural hair the way it is --- even though it is not like the looks I had previously coveted. I now love my shrinkage and everything else that comes along with it.

I have also been educated about better eating habits and better exercise habits.

I am sure that we all have had some preconceived thoughts about many things that were later changed through education. When you know better, you do better.

adelh said...

I have two black parents, but my hair is nothing like my mother's at all. My dad has never relaxed his hair, so it just looks kinky to me, but I know it's soft and fine like mine. Well, people make that mistake with me, but i know what i have to do to get it to look the way it does. without gel, my hair is a hot mess!!!! my hair takes HOURS TO DO, even being natural. you don't know what Thandi has to do to get her hair to look good, so no one should judge her.

Anonymous said...

@Grace

It seems that you went into this experience wanting your hair to look like someone else's instead of dealing with what it is. There's no "right product". The right product is the product that keeps your hair healthy and moisturized, and that takes experimentation. You can't experiment hiding under wigs and weaves girl. Yes your hair will look a mess for a little bit but thats all the more reason to work hard to figure it out. We all go through that learning stage. Putting it away will not help you learn your hair. There are plenty of women on youtube and blogs and vlogs that have the texture you describe your hair as having, like Kimmaytube and Chary Jay and AfrianExport to name a few. Don't fawn over the hair you would like, and accept the hair you have. Until you accept what you have and take steps to work with it to make it look its best, you'll probably continue to think it looks a mess and maybe even consider relaxing again. I really hope you embrace YOUR hair, I'm sure it's beautiful, but if you don't think so it'll be hard for anyone else to.

Jarmelia- DIY Hair Care Blog said...

The comment made to the article does nothing for me. I used to get so upset when I read those kinds of things but, now I personally do not care. My blog, products, etc. are for those looking to find out more information, those who are ready to learn about their hair.

We all have things we may not like about ourselves, inside and out. For some people it's their hair, that's okay. I don't like my teeth but, that's okay, I accept them and move on.

Not very many people love every single inch of themselves on the outside and that is fine, just don't put yourself down or use that to put others down and we cool.

I love MY natural hair but,heck that doesn't make me better than anyone else. :)

Anonymous said...

EVERY type of natural hair can grow, be it 3c or 4c, it can grow, with the proper care and time. Check it this lady's youtube channel--she has course 4c hair, and it is now waist length:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Sera2544#p/u/1/fxQDylJvxac

Point proven!

Anonymous said...

I'm very ashamed to admit this: Before I went natural 18 month ago, I actually felt sorry for women with natural hair. I didn't understand why a woman would choose wear her hair natural when, in my flawed opinion, relaxed hair was so much easier to manage and looked so much "better." Sometimes I assumed that women with natural hair couldn't afford weaves or relaxers. Chris Rock's "Good Hair" was a huge turning point for me. I also took the time to educate myself about natural hair. Now my mindset is so different. I never want a relaxer or a weave on my head again.

phoenixa said...

In response about some people needing to just wrap and perm their hair.....When even doing that one must be knowledgable about their hair. Whether relaxed or natural you have to know what your hair needs in order for it to be healthy. I have seen naturals with unhealthy hair and permies with unhealthy hair its up to you really.

Bennii Blast ♥ said...

Hey ladies!

Thank you for responding with such honesty.

As @anon 9.15 pointed out; even within one black household, there can be so much diversity in our appearances such as the variety of skin tones. I guess when it came to hair, everyone in my family relaxed apart from a few cousins - who happened to be mixed race.

I guess I came up with the 'only mixed girls are natural' theory because of that and, yeah of course there was the occasional black girl that had natural hair but, where I live it is rare. Naive I know!

I am thankful that, like @Peacancurls said 'When you know better, you do better', because deciding to go natural is one of the best decisions I have made.

Thanks for commenting!

Bonnie

Maria said...

I've seen these types of comments before. People try to act like its not a big deal if somebody does the BC and has 3B or 3C curls. Almost as if it doesn't count because that hair is "coveted" or whatever, if you know what I mean. Its ridiculous to try to make someone else's Natural journey less joyous just because their hair isn't a certain texture.

MsBloo said...

I agree with the comment at" 1:36 PM". That is exactly how my view on natural hair was but the only difference was that I did not have the chance to watch chris rock's movie "Good Hair" rather...it did not appeal to me(still havent watched it btw).I started changing my view on natural hair when I noticed bad effects of the perm which for me was, thinning of the edges and no improvement of hair length( instead of it growing it was getting shorter!!) So I was "eh, wat do I have to lose" and started transitioning. Of course I went online and started educating myself which was when I came across this website and a few others and have become a loyal viewer to all of them. Thank you Curlynikki as well as all the people who have contributed to the website.You guys gave me so much inspiration and have helped me with my confidence SO MUCH!! I am very glad to know that I am not the only person of my ethnicity ( or skin color) who has experiences that are relateable. I love you guys! :D

~MsBloo

Anonymous said...

@ Grace C. Who commented at March 5, 2012 10:03 AM

There are plenty of people with YT channels who have natural hair and live in Europe. I follow the YT videos and blog of a woman called Ani who lives in Austria. As I am learning German, this helps me a in reading and listening. Her YT name is Blackvelvet330.

http://www.krauselocke.de/ is a natural hair/culture blog in german that also has a YT channel, the website also has a shop.

On YT you can also search "Les cheveux crépus" and you will get plenty of vids by ladies who live in France.

Contant people thru their channels and ask how they get their products what they use.
I know that most people order from :http://www.britishcurlies.co.uk/.
You can also order stuff thru Amazon and select the country you are or a country that is near to where you are.


Also keep in mind the companies that make products like Sauve in the US, also make different products in Europe. Just go to the company website and find the site for your country. For example, Sauve is made by Unilever. And the company makes lots of good shampoos & conditioners under different names that are like Sauve in other countries like I discovered when I lived in Europe.

Another company is Schwarzkopf. Like Unilever the make good conditioners that I have used. Again,go to their website and look to see what conditioners are sold in your country.


And remember L'oreal is all over. Just go to their website and see what products are sold in your country.

Wella is also another company and I like their repair conditioner(Pro Series line). It comes in a big bottle which is good because I used a lot.

When I was in Europe I got conditioners (because I mostly Co-wash) that saidlthings like repair, moisture , for dry hair.
To get coconut oil, I went to the local health food stores.And olive oil is all over in the grocery stores.

Since you live in Europe, I would recommed looking at YT channels and blogs from naturals (loose hair and locks) of people who live in Europe. Because some people review products that can only be found in Europe/a particular european country.

Try to find your local health stores that sell vitamins, supplements, etc. Go and ask if they also sell essential oils, oils like jojoba, castor, shea butter and teatree. You might be very surprised. I know I was. And all I had to do was what my mama told me, to ask.

This blog has a forum and you can start a thread asking people who live/have lived in Europe(the country you are in) to give the products they use and where they get them.

Hope this helps you. I was and will be a natural in Europe so I know how it feels to feel like you have no help. The people from the websites above are really nice and will help. People leave comments in english on their pages and they answer.

Crishair said...

Out of topic: for me, Thandi's hair does not look afro hair. Unless she's rocking a permanent or wig...

Anonymous said...

okay, first, im curious as to whether she was natural and just straightening her curls or what, b/c those two pictures show no kind of realistic transition or anything... like, no length difference really... it just baffled me... idk

Anonymous said...

@ Grace, thank you for keepin it extra real. sometimes its not a matter of finding the right natural styles..for some people, no matter their texture, their natural hair grows or looks an awkward way to them. and thats OK! that doesnt mean theres any self-loathing there. Its just being honest. The same way people wear girdles or "flattering" styles or colored clothes, it can be the same with hair. If i knew my booty was extra juicy for no reason (with no problem with it, because that can be handy ;D ),that doesnt mean i gotta let it wobble wobble when i walk to love myself, id slap a girddle on it. She gets mad credit for being HONEST with herself and others about how she feels about her hair and still not relaxing. Honestly, i have a hard time believing that as many women who are like "reading a 10 min youtube slideshow changed my life, my hair is awesome, knots and all, i love it" are like that all the time... or even most of the time, and i dont think its fair for newly natural ladies to have to come into that, because it can be REALLY isolating. im not saying we should hair-bash but i think being honest about elements of perfection should be paired with being honest about flaws and how we feel about them. Some of the most empowering and comforting testimonies/articles/blogs that ive read are with people keeping it real, like "i be wanting to punch my hair in its face sometimes, but i love the volume, i love that its how God made me, i love the curls and the versatility." thats fair.
NOW! in response to that first comment by anonymous, about diversity in the black community more or less... most black people know there is great diversity in the community, because as u said, everyone or everyone has a friend with a particularly diverse family... However, with the keeping it real thing i have going on here, apparently, most people believe that more biracial women have smoother hair than "nonmixed" black people, because its generally true. Not that NO 2-black parented person cant their own natural hawaiian silky thing going on, or that a mixed person could have beady-beads, but there is a marked and notable difference in frequency of the silkysilky with 2-black-parent people. With that said, as most of us know, most and i REALLY mean most, black families are not 100% pure stock, in fact, many African families are not 100% pure stock... so whatever anyway!
Ive been natural for years, permed for years, & natural for years.

Doc said...

okay so i've been thinking about this article over the last day.

two recent blog posts really enlightened my thinking on this issue. 1) (posted here on curly nikki) some post about it being THEIR hair and why am i making a big deal about other people's hair and 2) (posted on acurlsbf/around the way curls). a post encouraging people to question WHY we think the way we do. i.e. why do some people think coily hair is "vile". probably b/c of centuries of being inundated with european standards of beauty.

with that being said, i decided to respect what people think of themselves. is that wrong? i mean, i get it. sometimes, i want a noise job. i hate how undefined the bridge of my nose is. so i recognize that some people are just gonna hate parts of themselves. and sure, it's likely because we've been brainwashed to only appreciate white standards of beauty and it's really unfortunate. but all i can do is try to spread love. i try to tell people how beautiful they are and and i try to be an example of self-acceptance. but i dunno... i'm starting to wonder if someone else's self-hate (and that is, in fact, what it is-- when you don't love what comes from you naturally, then you don't love part of yourself-- period) is something that i should concern myself with. we all struggle or have struggled with it. either you are a currently victim in some regard or it took you a long time to get past years of brainwashing. i want to respect where people are in their process-- keeping in mind that they may never see their beauty.

one thinking that her hair (or my hair for that matter) is vile is her perogative. it's got nothing to do with me. it's not my job to convince you-- you have to come to terms with that on your own. if you wish to be a false representation of yourself-- then so be it. who am i to look down upon you.

Anonymous said...

Oh please...can we just call a spade a spade. MOST (i did not say all) of the time, the naturals with 4a, 3c, 3b, 3a have dramatically different experiences from those with 4b or 4c or 4d hair..WHY? Because their hair is dramatically different...This is a FACT. PlUS, most of the women with 4a, 3c, 3b, 3a are usually mixed. Remember hair type is tied to your genetic makeup. Just because someone is dark skinned doesn't mean that they aren't mixed. Also,as one poster above noted, most of the vloggers on youtube and beyond with big, huge fluffy down to there curls are NOT 4C girls..There may be SOME exceptions, but not very many and that's what they are....exceptions. We cannot use the "exceptions" to illustrate a point...We must use the most common occurence....Just as everyone commonly says, since every hair is different, every journey will also be different but the common trend is that 4b/c hair has a somewhat harder time of it...

Dee Emerald said...

every time i hear this debate, i remember one of my classmates from high school who was waaaay darker than I, with purely african ancestry and had a mop of loose curls! and there were many others like her but she was the closest to me.

I won't get into the hair type argument, but I'll def agree that educating myself is one of the best things I've done for my hair.

Lela7 said...

@ Anon 3:01: I went looking for more 4c bloggers on you tube and I found lots. Calling them exceptions is wrong because it is more than just a tiny amount. I think you are confusing their lack of fame with lack of amount. They may not be famous, but they do exist. I just typed in 4c hair styles on youtube and got 4,890 results. I would call that a lot.

Also, why would you need to be mixed to have 4a hair? Isn't that part of the normal spectrum of hair types found on black people who aren't mixed? I thought type 4 was found on the majority of black people.

I typed in 3c hair styles and got found 3,370 results.

Naturally Yours!!! said...

I can't defend the statement because I know better now. but, I can in some ways say that I can understand the comment because it is always perceived that a person of mixed race has a more manageable type of hair and curls by just adding water and their hair grows long without the efforts that a person has to go through like me,( I am very nappy but happy) and not every mixed chick's hair is what we perceive it to be but when it all boils down, we need to know what works for our individual hair, because my hair is nappy I never looked at it as pretty until I took the weaves and the wigs away, and I had to deal with my natural hair (no other options) as a little time went by my hair became easier and prettier and one day I just fell in love with my naps. So don't let it bother you that your takes on hair and beauty aren't the same as someone else's this person may not be in love with herself yet...

Anonymous said...

@Lela.. I never said that there weren't any 4c bloggers. I said,--> "Also,as one poster above noted, most of the vloggers on youtube and beyond with big, huge fluffy down to there curls are NOT 4C girls.."

And not only that, but they achieve such results in such a short amount of time...This is not the norm for 4C girls..

The bottom line is that Hair needs moisture (ie water) to grow...4C hair is the driest of hair types due to the very nature of its structure(ie 4c), herego,4C hair takes a bit more patience and care to grow compared to other hair types....period.

Also, its getting kind of tiring to hear things like-->"So don't let it bother you that your takes on hair and beauty aren't the same as someone else's this person may not be in love with herself yet..." Just because ppl differ in their opinions, doesn't necessarily mean the person is suffering from low self-esteem, self hatred, white-washed or whatever colorful descriptions ppl use. Sometimes, it is just a matter of differing opinions...nothing more, nothing less.

Naturally Yours!!! said...

@Anon 10:41.....I can say now that this just a blog and everyone has their own opinion of whatever, everyone hasn't walked your shoes and you obviously haven't walked in ours. that comment was made simply because whoever that chick was that made that comment, I WAS HER!!!!! for the past 3 years my hair has been as natural as it could be, but I when I would look at other women of mixed races, their hair was prettier than my hair. without the weave and the wigs I was ugly to me. I didn't love my own hair, it wasn't until Dec '11 that I ditched the artificial ME and I began to see other women with my hair type looking a glamourized and looking like divas on you tube, it now Mar '12 and I am in love with me from head to toe.


You are way to argumentative for this to be a blog, and the bottom line was not about hair needing moisture it was Why do women make comments like "Yeah easy enough if u have lovely mixed race curls. I have proper Afro hair and I hate it – it's vile. Straightening or weaving is the only way other than looking ridiculous!" and the truth is women or whoever decides to deal with hair inform themselves so that they would know that your hair along with the mixed chick's hair can be just as manageable, you just need to be informed!!!!!

and by the way there are millions of people who are very well informed and are very much ignorant.

Grace C. said...

@anonymous who commented on March 5, 2012 11:36

At the same time I started my hairjourney I also started exercising because I wanted my body to look a certain way. No one ever reacts to that by saying:"accept the body you have and stop longing for the body you want".

When I started my hairjourney I was going for a certain look, what's wrong with that? I learned a lot and I'm still learning. My hair is healthy but I still do not like the way it looks!

Lela7 said...

@ anon: March 7, 2012 9:41 AM

I never meant to imply that your thought there were no 4c bloggers. I thought you were wrong to say the majority are not 'extreme kinky'haired. You seem to think the majority of bloggers have curly not kinky hair. I believe u are wrong and that within the black natural community there is a good mix. None of the very famous bloggers are kinky but that is a different point.


Also, your statement that most 4c's don't have 'fluffy down to their curls.'I don't understand the point you are making. 4c doesn't have that type of hair naturally, so what is it u are trying to say? Of course its not the norm for 4c girls because there hair is different! Obviously. Its like saying people with straight hair don't have big fluffy curls -their hair isn't naturally that way. Your point makes no sense.

I never went against the idea that 4c hair needs more moisture either. Who was arguing against that.

Anonymous said...

who cares what thandie thinks about her hair its not anybody else's business how she feels. i have 3c hair and sometimes i wake up and hate my hair and wish i had straighter hair but i also know my friends with straighter hair go through the same problems.We are human were aloud to have opinions whether you think there right or wrong.

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