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Curly Nikki

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm……

By January 27th, 202130 Comments
I received this email from a reader yesterday. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.



Check out this “story” that was shown on FOX News about black women and their hair. According to the article, 4 out of 5 black women are overweight and guess what these folks claim is the reason…OUR HAIR! I am in no way trying to start a riot, but if there was ever a question about why black women are afraid to embrace their true bodies/hair/selves this is WHY! Would it be possible to post this so that we may have a discussion?




  • Anonymous says:

    If anyone holds a job were someone calls you out for being unprofessional, because of your hair no less, I urge you to seek an attorney!
    We have rights and perhaps we aren't making use of them. If I ever got called out like that, I'd call up HR and or the NAACP!!

    That's a hells no I can't be conformed like that, just because caucasian has put straight hair at the top of their priorities, does not mean I follow suit.

  • momo7 says:

    I can understand that scenario. I admit to sometimes skipping “sweat sessions” especially when I’ve just washed and went through the entire styling process.

    side note: Nikki, I thought you were gonna put the Melba Tolliver story up last week =/

  • karibbee says:

    the drop in exercise + hairstyle was true for me – not with relaxed hair but with weave. the hassle (and time) of properly washing and drying out the sewn on and cornrowed hair underneath meant sweating regularly was not an attractive prospect. So I went from running 15-20 miles per week to much shorter distances when I had a weave and swimming? well that didn’t happen at all.

    and I sympathize with the anchorwoman. they get a lot of pressure re: their image. at least in the UK, hundreds of people will write/call in to complain if tv personalities/anchors just happen to wear a loud shirt on a given day.

  • KinkyShea says:


    Some of this does have a ring of truth to it. When I was relaxing my hair the LAST thing I wanted to do was “sweat out” my relaxer. When I started transitioning back in 2007 with braids I still had the same thoughts of “sweating out” only this time it was with my braids. Earlier this year I finally came out of the braids and started wearing my natural hair. My entire lifestyle has changed. I eat MUCH healthier and workout most days of the week. I don’t have to worry about “sweating out” my relaxer, or braids, or weaves, or hairstyle. I actually love to sweat now and I’ve lost almost 20lbs since.

    I will say that it is very upsetting to have people say that natural african hair is unprofessional. When I came out of my braids I was very worried about wearing my natural hair at work, but thankfully I work on a military base so its TOTALLY infused with culture and everyone was fine with it. But for all the beautifully natural women out there that do struggle with and stand up to the ignorance, I just want to say that I am so proud of you. I admire each and every one of you for standing up for what you believe in. Stay strong and beautiful ladies!

  • Maguette says:

    Lol, I saw this a few weeks ago and chuckled when the white male reporter told the black female reporter that he liked her hair cut, when she had merely done a curl set. He seemed a bit uncomfortable with her hair so curly/natural. It reminds me of people’s reactions to my natural hair, after having seen me all my life with a perm. They don’t know whether to embrace it or be afraid of it. If we natural women continue to embrace our hair in its natural state, it’ll show the rest of the world that they shouldn’t be intimidated by our hair, instead they should embrace it with us. Frankly, it makes me laugh when white ppl say, “oh, it’s…funky” and you know they were fishing for just the right word, so as not to offend. I’m fine with whatever people have to say, because I’m the one wearing this hair, not them. Wether it’s funky, nappy, curly, cottony, stiff, short, kinky, clumpy, wavy, or having a “white girl flow” (ignorant ass comment, excuse my french Nikki), I DON’T CARE! I don’t put a label on my hair, I’m just wearing it as God gave it to me.
    And I must say, during my perm days, there were many times I avoided the gym right after a fresh wash and set. So I fully agree with that part. Out of all my friends, the ones who do go to the gym, are the natural girls. The permed girls are afraid of going out in the rain, missing a hair appointment, and sweating out their perm. It’s just the reality of having a perm.

  • Anonymous says:

    There is a grain of truth in this. When I was relaxing my hair, even after I went natural and was flat ironing, I would avoid ANYTHING that would make me sweat. I sweat at my scalp and would “protect” my straight roots at all costs.
    I am offended that natural/curly hair is seen as unprofessional. SInce I decided to stop flat ironing I actually had someone at work tell me that my new hair style was unprofessional. WTF! Why do I have to have “white girl flow” (LOL) to be professional?

  • Anonymous says:

    This is extremely unsettling. Lets see if I can list the offenses:
    natural hair so I can excercise
    straight hair is definately more professional
    woman doesnt go natural till retirement
    at first sight of natural hair your taken aback
    even anchor woman needs time to adjust
    needing approval from boss to keep natural hair
    thickness(at least theirs one) is good thing about natural hair
    This commentary made me sick, Im so tire of our hair being treated as some foreign object that is up for discussion and debate. I say if anyone has a problem with the follicles growing out of my scalp, Take it up with GOD! -hsharp

  • Anonymous says:

    I can NOT begin to say how many things were wrong with this “news piece”. Not only that, but to ask the viewers, many of whom probably know nothing about “ethnic hair”, does one look professional over the other….are you kidding me? That is probably what angers me the most. The sad, SAD thing is I can guess that the most negative comments will come from our own. It goes right in line with the Tyra story. Uggggggghhhh…when will women accept what they were born with and stop fighting to change it. And Tyra, stop frontin’ with the cornrows for the “natural hair” story, when you rock the blonde lacefront everyday….so unnatural. Sing it India, “I AM NOT MY HAIR”….!

  • Nika says:

    I’m gonna scream if I hear one more person say that natural hair is unprofessional. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    However, I do agree that alot of permies do avoid the gym. I do agree.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do agree that there is a correlation to the health of some African American women and hair. I am not saying that hair is the only reason, but defiantly a contributor to our overall health. I didn’t think that I would ever wear my hair naturally curly. But I soon figured out that being a straight natural was not the answer for me in trying to develop an active lifestyle. Yes, I tried wearing a bandanna to the gym, only to discover soak and wet hair after taking the bandanna off. So, I’d then have to blow dry my hair and then bump it if I wanted a straight or wrapped look. Sure, I could have rocked a ponytail but why after spending so much time and energy in getting it done professionally. Eventually, I figured out that trying to have an active lifestyle and maintain straight hair was simply not worth the hassle to me. I choose health over hair and decided to wear my hair in its natural state. Had I not made this choice, I probably would have been working out 1-2 days a week right before getting my hair done cause I most def. was not going after getting my hair done. There were times when I strategically planned my workouts around my hair. Can’t go Monday or Tuesday cause I just got my hair done on the weekend. And of course the weekend is out cause, it’s the weekend. So the only available days for me unusually were Wednesday or Thursdays. So I can definitely see how hair can have an indirect affect on the health of African American women.

  • Newly Nappy says:

    I heard about this story but missed the actual report. I saw Ms Robinson on the news with her "natural" hair. Yeah….it looked like a permed rod set to me but okay. Neither here nor there.

    I do feel there is a bit of truth to the relaxed/straightened hair being an inhibitor to exercise. When I wore my hair straight I actively avoided anything that would make me sweat. Brisk walk, dancing, even just moving around a lot in warm weather, definitely no exercise sessions. It would take so much time & effort to get strait hair there was no way i was about to sweat it out, r u crazy man!!!

    I can't speak to her other statements since I didn't see the show. I personally hv found that since I've been natural i prefer my hair big n out. I recently wore it pinned back in a bun, i made it 2 days. I had to take that mess down n do a wash n go, i just didnt feel as beautiful & attention gettg. My big hair makes me an individual. I luv my hair strait or curly/wavy/weird. I’m not about to hv the attitude “well if u think it doesn’t look good/professional/appropriate I’ll stop wearing it” BUMP THAT!!! I dare any of my coworkers/managers/anybody to come to me with that ish. Plain and simple it is racially offensive for u to tell me that how my hair grows out of my BLACK head is inappropriate. As another poster mentioned curly headed Caucasians don’t seem to have these issues, and TRUST I’ll be danged if I will. I will wear my Bantu knots, my knot/twist/braid outs, my flat twists, my 2-strands, wash n go’s, etc etc. Sorry but I’m done fitting anyone’s mold. No disrespect meant but u take me as I am or hit the bricks. Ok, climbing down from soap box now…….lol!!!

  • No1blkbeauty says:

    When did “ethnic hair” become synonymous with curly hair?

    The reporter is obviously misinformed. Yes, there are many black women who avoid working out. I don’t accept the claim that hair is the reason for this. I think people who cite this reason don’t have the knowledge or the skill set to care for their own hair. Time and motivation, as stated in many of the comments above, are sure to be more plausible excuses for not working out.

    At the end when she said thank goodness there is an advantage to having ethnic hair, I was taken aback. It is obvious that she is uncomfortable with the hairstyle and this is still relaxed hair. Imagine her discomfort with natural hair!

    They were given a great opportunity to discuss hair and health in reference to the black community and they blew it. A big part of the reason is that the report doesn’t know squat!

  • Franki says:

    I’m gonna call bullshit. For all of middle school and half of high school, I got my hair pressed bi-weekly and was in the dance studio working my butt off at least 3 days a week. I’m in college now, no pressing in sight and now that my dance show is over, I barely go to the gym. Hair is an excuse, not the core problem.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think this story is too one-sided. Yeah, if straighten my hair I’m extra cautious of what I do so it doesn’t frizz up, but so what? Even when my hair is curly I don’t exercise. I would have appreciated a more multi-faceted approach, with stats like how many non obese black and white women actually exercise because I’m thinking there are a lot of other factors including, oh I don’t know motivation and maybe genetics. But hey, it’s Fox and they only have a certain amount of time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m familiar with this; there have been several community studies (I’m in the public health field) that try to tackle issues of obesity in the Black community. Those specifically surveying lack women found that a lot of women report that a disincentive to workout, swimming, etc is their hair. Of course this answer (before placing it in cultural context) made some public health officials go “what?”

  • Nutmeg says:

    I am so pissed @ this story, and this is my hometown! I shared the following with the reporter & the producer…

    I believe you botched an opportunity to tell an interesting and important story with your “Great Hair Style or Exercise? Solving the Dilemma” story. The very title and whole angle of the story presupposes that there is something wrong with "ethnic hair" in that you cannot have a beautiful style…where is the objectivity and straight-up reporting? I do not disagree with the premise of the story — I do know that many black women do not exercise regularly in order to maintain relaxed hair. But I do not believe that this is a primary reason for shunning exercise (I would say it’s a symptom of bigger issues), and I also understand the underlying entanglements and struggle that produce such a decision — this story could have been an opportunity to educate people (such as the co-anchor, who clearly didn’t know much about “ethnic hair”) about the nature of “ethnic hair” (though I object even to that phrasing…it’s just hair! Hair that happens to not be straight); encourage/motivate people to never sacrifice their health for artifice, no matter what choice they make about their hair; and challenge greater societal and professional notions that straight hair is the only hair that is beautiful or acceptable. As a recognizable and respected member of the Chicago and media communities, Robin Robinson seemed only to feed into the “good hair” myths that haunt black women (“Thank goodness there’s one [advantage to having ethnic hair]”, and it angered and sadden me…it seemed as though she was practically begging for negative feedback on her new style (“if you don’t insist that I take it down…”) so she could go back to being straight!

    The bottom line is that hair style is, ultimately, an individual choice; however, greater societal and cultural influences prevent it from being just that…an INDIVIDUAL choice. I think your story trivialized and assumed far too much, and if it had gone beyond the surface, it could have been much, much stronger and more relevant and resonant.

    P.S. If a straight style is what is preferred, I thought Robin’s hair looked nice when it was unwrapped after her workout.

  • justme says:

    I’ve seen this clip before and I think it’s hogwash. If someone truly wants to be workout and be healthy, they’re not going to let their hair stop them. How can I have healthy hair if my body isn’t healthy?

  • nikkiblanco says:

    I can’t lie–when I used to relax my hair, I would avoid working out, sweating in any way shape or form if I was going out that night, that weekend, or even just wanted to wear my hair flat ironed and down and not up in a messy ponytail, with my roots one texture and my ends another…

    Somewhere around the time when I was in Iraq I stopped placing so much emphasis on what other people think of my hair (I am no where near “cured” of my issue by far… but I am a lot better than I was.)

    When I wear my hair huge and natural, I get lots of stares, compliments and weird looks (especially when it was shorter and closer to an afro) but I did it anyway… then there were time I would just put it in a bun because I couldn’t take all the attention (positive or otherwise.)

    Now, I’m lazy and it doesn’t have anything to do with my hair!

  • God'slillyflower says:

    It’s sad to see that the news reporter has given others so much power over her appearance. In my opinion, that story aired her insecurities, as well as those of so many other black women who are uncomfortable in their God given hair, more than anything else. And lastly, black people are not over weight because of their hair,as with any over weight ethic group it is simply a lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to diet and fitness.

  • Carla C. says:

    Okay… so, call me crazy, but this is what I used to do! I absolutely would NOT sweat…..and kill MY perm? Na uh! Wasn’t happening!

    Since I’ve been natural I don’t have a problem getting down and dirty. I actually LOVE it. I’ve always had a natural spirit, but it was hard for me to live that part of me with a perm (if that makes any sense). I currently workout 5 days a week, I hike twice a month, and I’ve been skiing several times (with the helmet on LOL)! I have lost 13 pounds in the last month…. 13 off of the 30 I’ve gained over the last few years… just because I wasn’t willing to mess up a good set. LOL

    Great story. :-)

  • Unknown says:

    I understand the correlation but ultimately it’s not majority or the sole reason why african american women do not work out. I think laziness is majority of it. I was an athlete in highschool and I made do with my relaxer. I didn’t resort to braids or anything like that and my hair was taken care of just fine. There are ways of dealing with your hair and being able to manage it while having an active lifestyle. But too many folks claim that time is of the essence and trying to fix their hair is consuming after a work out. Braid out, twist outs, bantu knots are all ways of being able to go through the week while having an active lifestyle while rocking relaxed hair. It did it for years. Many folks have become too reliant on the salon/stylist to come to their rescue. Save yourself the money and try to do it on your own. It takes practice but over time you get better at it and are able to maintain it better on your own.

  • Carmel Stacks says:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve heard women say they did not want to “sweat out” their hair so yeah, there’s some truth to this.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ummm, so where does diet play in all this? Wanting ‘fly’ hair doesn’t explain why some shove fried foods and sweets in their mouth. I am sure the exercise regimens between white and black women are largely parallel but nutrition is not.

  • 1FlyButtafly says:

    Before I decided to transition natural, I must to admit I got frustrated trying to keep my hair straight after a work out. I would wrap it up and put a satin scarf and after I finished with my workout it wouldn’t be a straight as I wanted it to be. I would end up having to flat iron my hair again and again. I just ended up giving up on the work out thing, but my transitioning to natural has gotten me back on my feet again.

  • Love, Life, Happiness says:

    When I had a perm I was guilty of not working out or stopping once I started sweating. I would be in the salon every other week to make sure my hair was cute and didn’t want to mess it up with exercise. The really problem was I just didn’t know how to take care of my hair. With a little work and practice a perm doesn’t have to stop you from working out.
    The anchorwoman’s story was very good to me. At the end she should have kept her mouth shut and it would have been even better.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was kind of disappointed in the anchorwoman saying that she would change her hair if people didn’t approve. I guess she’s not ready to be a leader. Oh well I’m still rockin’ my natural in a corporate work place…back to the top at hand, lol. I believe our hair does hold us back because I remember wearing my hair in a bun or ponytail when I ran track because my curls would fall. Very interesting topic, thanks Nikki!!

  • Anonymous says:

    This may have a lot of truth to it. I’m asking the question; Why is wearing natural hair not professional?????????? Sighhhhh.

    recently i decided to go natural due to spending too much money on hair products not being able to have the “active” life style that I want and embracing my natural curls.

    Great post.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hogwash! I can say this b/c I’ve struggled with my weight for a good while now and there was no correlation between my weight and my hair. My hair and my self-esteem? Maybe, but my weight and my hair are totally unrelated. It wasn’t until I got off the couch and started working out and eating right that I was able to maintain a healthy weight. Folks, lets not add one more excuse to the list in an attempt to justify why we [black women] are doomed to live an unhealthy lifestyle. My two cents!

  • OMB says:

    I’ve seen that clip before and I can say that I have been guilty. I used to work out every day. During that time, the only thing I could do with my hair was put it in a ponytail and that didn’t even look good. I was frustrated with getting it done and paying $60 for it to be completely destroyed the next day… so I stopped. I’m transitioning so that I can exercise without the worry of “messing up” my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    this is sad. yesterday i went to work with a twist out and i heard comments about my hair being wild today, cute, but wild. i think that was a way of saying i should not wear it like that anymore because it is not professional. nothing is ever said to caucasians or hispanics that have naturally curly hair, so why to me? i think it is crazy to say that straight hair is professional. i work on Capitol Hill and i love that african american congresswoman are starting to wear their hair natural. you can’t have a more professional position than that. if they can do it, so can i…and i will be.

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