How We Can Discuss Texture Discrimination Without Tearing Each Other Down

Image: @darknslay

Loving your natural hair is a learning experience.

Your entire life you are exposed to images of hair that shape and transform your perspective of the person you see when you look in the mirror.
That person – you should be happy with her.
You should love her fully, from her crown to her heels.
But sometimes it is hard to do so.
Because a voice in your head constantly reminds you that your hair does not look like the girl on TV. Your curls will never be as defined. As loose. As beautiful.

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Does Hair Grow Faster After The Big Chop?

Photo Source: Style Weekly

by Mary Wolff

For any curly girl embracing her natural hair, it is a journey. Some curlies choose the big chop method to jumpstart their hair journey. While the big chop can be intimidating for a lot of women who have never had short hair, it is also an easy way to take that first step and embrace the commitment of natural hair. This is a big step and lots of questions come up. Is it better to big chop or transition? Does hair grow faster after the big chop? Here are the answers to these two big questions that come up all the time.

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If It Wasn't For The Internet- A Look at the Natural Hair Movement

by Rachel Anderson of LoveTheyIntrovert

Okay naturals let’s take a moment to reflect. What convinced you to go natural? Some may say they saw a cute style that another natural had or that they were tired of lifeless thinning hair. Others may say they were tired of being enslaved to the Saturday all day hair appointments and then some may say it was the countless shedding of hairs.

But what if I was to say it was the internet that convinced you to go natural?


Read On!>>>

On Making Naturally Curly Hair 'Normal'...

by Amanda Starghill via NaturallyCurly

Through the eyes of the unfamiliar, this unofficial natural hair movement can appear to be vain or even political, but it is far more complex than that. Every woman’s reason to big chop or transition varies due to health, aesthetics, convenience, lifestyle and a multitude of other reasons. I can understand how a swarm of women cutting off their hair can look like a trend, but the connotation of a trend seems to undermine the bigger picture of a decision that is significant and seems to be final.

Building a Community

An element of the natural hair revolution that is undoubtedly true is that the nuance of camaraderie amongst women pushing for a common goal has broken so many barriers and strongholds. Because this popular niche is continuously gaining recognition, more women are coming to understand just how diverse the group is within itself. Many women are professionals, mothers and students who live completely different lifestyles but ultimately all desire healthy hair. The misconception that rocking natural hair is more difficult is being refuted, and as a result, more women are embracing their natural tresses. As women begin to fellowship, learn, decipher, and apply certain methods and products to their hair, on their own terms, they have begun to see that maintaining and styling natural hair doesn’t have to be laborious after all. The statement that you make time for what you want stands true in respects to maintenance, but this applies to all hair, chemically treated or not.

Taking Curly Mainstream

Many women are starting their hair care journey as natural. They are not transitioning from maintaining healthy relaxed hair to healthy natural hair. Learning how to apply a wealth of information about natural hair care is challenging due to a lack of familiarity with their own natural hair. The mere introduction to the plethora of information that is available about hair care may be overwhelming, but it is very helpful in identifying what works for your lifestyle and needs. This growing awareness is spreading so fast that hair care companies are seeking to cater to this new audience that appears to be transitioning from the minority to a majority, especially in consumer consumption.

I say all of this to get to this final point: the day that taking care of your hair in its natural state is no longer a foreign concept will be awesome. You know? When I realize that it’s been a minute since someone asked “why is it that Beyonce’s hair is straight and yours looks like that?” *insert side eye* and thinking in the back of my head “if they only knew.”

As more people come to understand the essence of what is being achieved with this movement, they will begin to realize that women with textured hair are only trying to redefine their different as normal. Everyone who decides to “go natural” is not necessarily doing it with the intentions of making a statement, but inadvertently they are sending a message to the rest of the world. Women are altering and reclaiming their unfamiliar as normal.

When Natural Becomes Normal

The day when moisturizing and sealing will not be considered “too much” and deep conditioning is not considered any more time consuming than getting a relaxer will be amazing simply because it will be normal. To those oblivious to natural hair care, reading this article may have you thinking “You don’t know how to wash and comb your hair?” Quite frankly, no. Everyone’s story is different, and they probably all share similar elements, but ultimately, the answer is no. Have I put a comb through my hair before today? Yes. Properly? Probably not.

Not everyone remembers the who, what, when, where, how and why of this huge misunderstanding of curly hair, but somewhere along the timeline of birth until the start of their hair care journey many consciously or subconsciously understood their hair to be too unmanageable, unattractive and unprofessional. To say the root of the misconceptions are neither here nor there is very false but learning and acceptance always take time, whether it’s for yourself or sharing information and testimonies with others. The greatest subliminal efforts of this movement are the small elements that are transforming natural hair to becoming normal.

Every contribution of this normalization process is important. In Jill Scott’s new music video “Blessed” she wakes up in the morning and spritzes her hair with Ouidad Botanical Boost spray. To a little girl watching the video, waking up and refreshing her hair before starting on her day will be a simple element in her morning regimen before school. To some, Jill Scott appears to be an unofficial advocate of natural hair, and I wouldn’t doubt her support, having worn her hair natural for years, but somehow every natural has become one.

Although many find sharing information to be fun, there are also those who could care less to be the self-assigned spokesperson for the natural hair community. For some who have surpassed the newbie stage, they will be more than relieved to stop answering questions of whether you should pre-poo before you shampoo and ACV after the DC of your TWA *chuckle*.

By no means am I saying that you shouldn’t reach back and help others but those who have come down from the excitement of being newly natural are ready for natural hair to just be normal. Do they understand the thirst of curiosity? Of course, but the constant preaching, teaching, and defending is a lesson of patience that many did not prepare for but none the less they must be equipped to do. People will always agree to disagree on hair care and style. Will the masses ever understand? Who knows and ultimately this movements screams “who cares?”

Weigh in!

Help Out a Fellow Natural!

You know how we do... meet Yanique!

Hey Nikki!

My name is Yanique and I am a Junior at Agnes Scott College (a predominately White Liberal Arts Woman's College in GA). I transitioned to natural hair during my senior year of high school and BC'ed 3 times (but that's a WHOLE other story! lol). I am emailing you because I am in SERIOUS need of my natural communities help!!

As a Black woman rocking an Afro on a predominately White campus, you can only imagine some of the things I go through, subtle but still very much there. Though I LOVE my college, it has it's flaws and is working on them, but not quick enough for me lol =). Anyways, I lost my work-study because I am a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar which covers undergrad and grad school in certain areas, so the college decided I was not in 'need' of work-study. I plan to further my education in Public Health, more specifically in Maternal and Child Health, a program covered under the Gates program, that is NO LONGER COVERED!! Although I have had internships in the past they have been non-paid internships, one in which I worked in two general health clinics in Jamaica and my current internship which I (co)mentor a High School young woman and participate in leadership and training conferences, but frankly...That's not putting gas in my tank, nor money in my savings for paying my master's and PhD program.

I need help Nikki! Our career department here on campus lacks PAID opportunities and I REALLY REALLY am in GREAT need. I worked so hard to get where I am today, without receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship I wouldn't be where I am because of the economic realities of my household since the downturn of the economy. Basically I am asking that if anyone can give me an opportunity to step my foot in the door and increase my savings for graduate school, please help me!! I am very dedicated and passionate about my work in women's health and equality and I would not turn down a volunteer opportunity that would allow me to further network, because of my love of the area. Also any job opportunities outside of this area would be appreciated, I just need something meaningful quickly. Please let me know if you or any of the natural community can help me, or if you need more information.

Thank You SO MUCH in advance,

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