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Curly Nikki

Embrace Yourself: Natural Hair of All Types

By January 27th, 202130 Comments

Sheenalyoung writes:

Five women. One room. Four have naturally curly hair. One has naturally straight hair. Three of the four with naturally curly hair have straight styles. A conversation begins…

In the video she states, ‘black women don’t have a monopoly on hair issues and body issues… issues of beauty. Every woman deals with this. ‘ I couldn’t agree more!

Weigh in divas!


  • Anonymous says:

    I don't understand why people got the message wrong! The video wasn't try to kill you!

    Put your defesnses down ladies an actually listen to the spirit of the meassage.

    Every women has hair issues not just black women!

    This should unite us as it shows we are not the ONLY ones struggling with our hair or embracing our natural hair whatever that may be. Great video and i understood the message.
    I didn't realise non-black women had so much prsessure to straighten their hair. So this was a en eye-opener.

  • London2011 says:

    Powerful video! All cultures, nations etcc are fighting with their hair in some way shape or form! Wow i guess the key is to be happy with what you have and to take care of it well no matter how you choose to style it. Great video.

  • Anonymous says:

    it is so funny because im at work he he and my coworker is caucasian and she has been complaining about her hair all day because it is not straight at the top and she put a african american relaxer in the top to make it match the bakc and now it is fried. Everyone has hair issues

  • Anonymous says:

    When all woman respect hair in it's natural state(straight or curly) then all will be good. It's nice to know there are minority women with straight hair and from our history they haven't had the problems that those with curly hair have faced. Not hatin on straight; but luvin on curly. When we ALL can become accepted: COOL!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree. Hard to read these comments because the bitchy-ness is unreal. The angry black woman has reared her head over and over and over again.

    Great job Nikki. Love the blog! You're trying.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why are white people always brought up in any hair conversation and then a diatribe trying to explain why non black women have soooo many issues with their hair too? Stop trying to play ignorant. Yes every race has issues or characteristics that are deemed undesirable and wrongly in need of fixing but we mustn't trivialise the difference between black hair history and that of other races.

    I can assure you that non black 3a,b-Cs (as they tend to be) are not ostracized by society or made to feel like their hair is defective in some way. In fact they often receive compliments on their curls. They just buy into western culture and decide to straighten to be like type 1s because they believe the advertising hype about sleek, mega watt shiny straight hair that frankly no one has.

    white type 1s really don't think about hair because they don't have to, their hair is deemed work, social, public and life appropriate. They have to go really far with the lack of grooming for people to comment whereas as a black natural, your hair could be moisturised, combed and done and people still want to turn around and call you unkempt or insinuate that your hair reflects badly on a whole community which you never claimed to represent.

  • Anonymous says:

    What I think is sad is how many black people think that out of all of the things that they have the power to change or control in life, they place so much emphasis on hair?
    Why is it that in our effort to conform, we don't compete on education or something like that? Why don't we strive to be seen as the race of high achievers in our effort to achieve "parity"? No, we decide to beat the white man and make him like us better by buying Asian hair and sewing it to our heads. Has that ever worked for anyone?
    Fine, argue racism and oppression as much as you like, but do you think that sounding ignorant or being uneducated is okay as long as you keep it weaved up? Why so much emphasis on the physical rather than on competing on something of substance?
    I think that the bad values and focus on the physical (when the skin color will always be the same) is what is so sad. It's not like I suddenly look white when my hair is straightened.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's funny how everyone assumes that if someone has what they want, then that person is somehow happier.
    Good video and good food for thought I think.
    I wish someone would acknowledge how much we suffer from "grass is always greener" syndrome.
    Do you realize how many Asians, who supposedly have the hair that society thinks is the "best" long to have waves and curls. My white friends with straight hair don't think it's that great either. I have many Asians friends who do their darnedest to try to coax wave and curls out of their hair (with cuts and often using products labeled "curly" b/c I think they believe it has that effect on hair).
    Also, we're glossing over the fact that many white women covet blond hair too. When Chris Rock appeared on Oprah, Alexandra Wentworth talked about that, and polled the women in the audience, who were overwhelmingly sporting blond hair, about how many were natural blonds. She isn't, and only a handful of women in the audience were.
    And I don't even want to contemplate having to deal with their obsession with thinness.
    There are lots of supposed norms in society, but a lot of time, we give them more power than they really have. We incorrectly assume that everyone wants the same thing, and finds the same things beautiful. People talk so much about what society doesn't accept, but in the grand scheme of things, what stands out more, your skin color, or your hair? Things may not be perfect, but I think my skin is much more noticeable, and if I'm not getting automatically rejected or pelted b/c of it, it's funny how many people are paranoid about letting their hair out.
    As someone who was raised in a predominantly white environement (only black girl in my class K-12), went to a "white" church (Lutheran), and was went to university and into professional space that also has almost no blacks, I can say that I've never had any white person insult or comment on my hair, and it's been a lot of things. Always natural growing up, relaxed in young adulthood, and now big and natural again.
    Have any of you ever really been mocked for your natural hair by anyone other than black people?
    And why is it so easy for so many to assume that a white person with straight hair is happy that it is straight?

  • dmadcurly says:

    I thought this was an excellent video. Thanks Sheena!

    Some of y'all need to think before you click the post comment button. Please and thank you.

  • LBell says:

    I TOTALLY got the message of the video. I've been around different races my whole life so I've known for a long time that ALL women struggle to live up to some kind of beauty standard for their hair, their skin, their body parts, etc. No news there.

    However…there is a reason why black women spend FAR more money on their hair than any other race of women. There is a reason why the black hair care industry is a multibillion-dollar business (multimillion these days given the recession; see recent Washington Post article). What black women go through to fit in (hair-wise) simply cannot be compared to what other women go through. Sorry. Our ish is on a totally different level of effed-up-ness…we are struggling with the legacy of decades of oppression that challenged our very humanity.

    When I start seeing straightening products marketed to PARENTS of nonblack children, THEN we might be able to claim some kind of parity. When I start seeing nonblack toddlers with weave and perm (OUTSIDE of the beauty pageant community, which is a very small community) because their parents simply can't figure out how to "manage" their hair, THEN we might be able to claim some kind of parity.

    Until then…most of the nonblack women I personally come across who complain about their hair really just need to spend some quality time on NaturallyCurly. (Or not.)

  • jetblack says:

    Wow.. this is the reason why my friend advised me to stop reading the comments in CurlyNikki like she did. Because for every enlightening article/video Nikki puts up a mound of ignorant and just *not necessary* comments crop up. Like "mammy"? How dare you, just how dare you. That is just so disrespectful. Grown women. I'm all for critical review but there is no reason to be nasty. Show your age and use your words, not slurs. Great job Nikki on the website, and great job Sheena on the video. I thought this was a lovely reflection and it was enlightening. Thanks for sharing and keep on being you. You seem like a very warm and intelligent person and I like many of your videos.
    This is my very last comment/time reading comments on this site. I will stick to the articles.

  • PinkGirlFluff says:

    We as women should look out for each other regardless of race. If I hear a convo about curly hair and I feel the urge to give some good tips, dang it, I will share! You shouldn't have to be of someone's race to share good tips. If Becky has tips for me on how to keep my hair lush I'm going to thank Becky.

    I love this video because she describes a situation where women of different ethnicities can relate on a topic we seldom talk to each other about because we think that a person of another race cannot relate.

    The young lady in the video isn't saying you should not talk to other sistas about hair. She isn't telling you to share all your deep dark Black secrets. She's just describing an experience.

    What's the harm in that?

    Sheena you rock!

  • Cia says:

    I love the music lol it was so tranquil…
    Okay so this hit home for me. On my blog i posted something about Natural hair being natural hair and how sometimes people over look the other ethnicities that have natural hair. I dont mind the whole collective sites that support natural hair though. I am sure there are others out there that speak about natural hair for asians, latins.. etc.
    Overall this video was great and it really helped to emphasize what i was trying to get at in my blog post =)

  • Star says:

    OMG! I really think alot of ppl misunderstood what this video was saying. What I perceived from this was that she was merely pointing out that its not just us blk women whom have issues with our hair, but that ALL WOMEN of any race sometimes have issues with their hair. What's interesting is that the white female & latina females probably had something like 3a silky loose type curly hair, the kind that if we seen on us blk folks some would consider "good hair". I could be wrong tho, & that's not important, just saying. Then she metioned how the chinese female had said how she WISH she could get curl and volume in her hair. Ppl we live in a world where ppl always want what they don't or can't have. Human beings (some) are naturally envious and brainwashed to think that what they have is not good enough and are curious about how it would be to change something or have & be something else. In this country there has always been a programed standard of beauty, and that's long straight flowing blonde hair with sparkling blue eyes and a thin physique.Every race has their standard of beauty within it, but like she metioned its time for ALL WOMEN to love & embrace themselves & define their own standard of beauty. Its not about race, its about you as an individual & accepting you no matter what ppl say or think. At the end of the day do you & what makes you feel good & happy, but don't change for others & for what this ridiculous society says. Good Vid & very appreciated.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the comments, Stephanie and Anon 3:50. By the tone of some of the comments posted here, I'm almost left thinking that I may have watched a completely different video! This was about ONE woman's encounter and her discovery that women of all races struggle with hair issues. Nothing more, nothing less. It truly baffles me how some people–Anon 2:19, Leann–want to read far more into this than is even remotely necessary. *SMH*.

  • Unknown says:

    Wow, I must say that I am surprised at the defensive tone that a lot of women seem to have taken from listening to this video.

    I think the intent was not to get caught up in what certain people tell you is the standard of beauty, but to set your own standard. And I think she just wanted to state how interesting it was to be in a room with women of various ethnicities that all had a collective issue with naturally curly hair. How many times have we all been in a room where there is a white woman, black woman, latino woman and asian woman, and you actually have the opportunity and ability to talk about hair? For me, never. I may have been in a room that was multi-racial but not in a setting where we can discuss our hair. It may be in a business setting or conference or something like that.

    I think Sheena was just pointing out an interesting encounter and sharing it with us that all types of women struggle with self-beauty and she used that scenario to ENCOURAGE black women and all women to embrace their natural selves and set their own standards.

    I think it was a great video and very well-done.

  • Sheena LaShay says:

    Hi All, This is Sheena LaShay here. Thanks for your feedback on the video. If this video spurs interesting and intellectual dialogue from all angles, that is great. The point was just to highlight an interesting conversation that I had just had. Point is, who ever "they" are who are telling you how you have to be and how you have to look…do away with them. (That's if you are in control of your life and the people you allow in it.)

    And Felicia, your assumption of who I'm surrounded by is incorrect but thanks for your commentary as well. I think we have similar experiences actually.

    And to the anon person who couldn't get pass the music, I think I use it every now and then so…beware in case my other videos pop up too. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with everything Anon 3:50 posted. Some people always want to play the race card when it has nothing to do with it. *Smh*.

  • Anonymous says:

    *sighs*@ leann. Mammy? really? I agree 100% with Anon 3:30, this is the main reason that I was so pissed off about Chris Rock's documentary suggesting that black women obsess about their hair more than any other race of women. That we are trying to strive for that standard of beauty. NEWS FLASH! Even white people are striving for the same standard.
    The only reason I come to sites like this and naturally curly is because they feature women of all races, no one is alienated.. Comments like Leann's are beyond closed minded and ignorant. Please get a life. I've learned tons about taking care of my hair from women of all races because hair, is hair. Even though I have afro textured 3c/4a, my hair has been really responsive to Asian hair products (possibly because my hair is uber thick) those products where recommended by an asian curly. So, no I don't think anyone is saying its "wrong" for black women to speak freely about a topic but we don't have to close our ears to other perspectives. I also think those perspectives become particularly important when certain people try to label certain individuals as self haters because they put a flat iron through their hair. It's ridiculous.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anon 3:20 that is exactly what I was gonna say.
    Most are missing the point of the video it's about a unrealistic standard of beauty that women of all all forms have. There are a lot (not all) of naturally curly ladies that want to have straight hair and a lot of straight haired ladies that want to be curly.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's a great video. I think that all women have issues related to self-image and I did not think she meant to dismiss or belittle these feelings when it comes to black women. The point was to highlight some of these shared anxieties. I do feel however, that issues or struggles related to self image whether it's hair or weight etc are harder to deal with when you are a minority. This is the case for many black women especially those living in the Western World. Anonymous @2.44 pm summarised it: "where blacks and features indicating blackness are at the bottom of ladder".

    The messages might be verbal or indirect but they still have an impact. It's great that there are websites like these that enable these types of conversations because frankly where else would we have such an outlet? Ultimately, the best way to learn and move forward is to engage not only with each other but to also listen and learn from other cultures and ethnicities.


  • Anonymous says:

    I think everyone has missed the point of the video. She did not say that we should not discuss the topic as black women. But, instead suggested realizing that all women are striving for an unrealistic beauty standard. Especially when people suggest black women try to look white, when actually everyone is striving for the same ideal despite their race.

  • Anonymous says:

    My name is Felicia (because I don't know how to add my name since I don't have a website :/ )

    Hmmm… I'm not really sure what to think. My initial reaction was that this is very Tyra-Banks-ish. Lol. Like it sounds like an outtake from the Tyra Banks show.

    My second thought was… um, well, yeh of course women of other ethnicities have hair/body issues. How is that new?

    Perhaps Sheena is surrounded by black women who don't know that women of other ethnicities have issues. Some of my closest friends are not black and they talk about their various issues all the time. So I'm pretty familiar with this.

    I do applaud Curly Nikki for showcasing women of various ethnicities. But I also appreciate sites that showcase naturals from various African/Caribbean/South American cultures.

    One thing I've loved most about this natural hair journey is learning so much about the diversity that exists within black culture and developing pride in that. Interfacing with women of other ethnicities has been a part of my natural hair experience, but, if I'm being honest, it hasn't been the main part.

  • Leann says:

    And enter the black mammy who has to soothe the white/latin woman's anxieties… *Sigh

  • Anonymous says:

    I couldn't get past the background music, I'm sorry…

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon–I couldn't agree with you more. For some reason it is always black people who have to look at issues with the goal of "racial reconcilliation/healing". Why are we always expected to take the high-road and be the all-embracing ones???

    Why should we be constantly looking out for others, tiptoeing around certain issues just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings? Especially when these other people do not do the same for us?

    I do not deny that other women may have their "body issues". However one woman's issues of having loosely curled hair and being white are not the same as my issues of having kinky hair and being black in a society where blacks and features indicating blackness are at the bottom of ladder. We can connect on other stuff, but not this. Sometimes it's necessary to be specific so that you can better relate.

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    @b. Great comment… And yes, that's something I didn't consider.

    I do wish that we could speak on this issue from BOTH sides of the fence without shaming each other. Because it is true that there is a global aspect to natural hair, by nixing relaxers we take our place (alongside millions of other women) as women who have chosen to deal with our texture as-is. And we can be an example to women — black or otherwise — on what that looks like.

    But there is also a very specific, cultural aspect to natural hair. Many of us live and move in black communities — even if it's just our immediate & extended families — and there is UNDOUBTEDLY an issue with black people embracing the way they look. And that's something we have to deal with.

  • b. says:

    I hear you, Anonymous.

    The reason "we can't make up our minds" is because the "we" cannot possibly speak for everybody. Some people would rather take a more globalized view of things. Some don't. There IS a large group of people (male and female, actually) who embrace natural hair in its various definitions. But like any other group, there's NO one spokesperson. Expecting "naturals" to speak as one voice doesn't make sense. She was giving her own account.

    OTOH, I do feel you on your comment about "why feel bad about discussing topics with other black women?" I agree there.

    In my humble opinion, it would do us well to discuss the issues in BOTH ways — within our "community" as well as with others who may have parallel issues. We learn the most that way.

  • Anonymous says:

    *Sigh… Okay I get what this video is saying but here's my question; Since when did it become so wrong for black women to gather around a collective topic?


    Like, I get tired of people making me feel bad or guilty for wanting to discuss hair/body issues with other black women.

    I went to a predominantly white college, work in a predominantly white office, have dated white men and regularly socialize with a multicultural group of girlfriends. In my life there are times when race doesn't matter to me at all… and there are other times when I choose to seek out black women. Why is that wrong?

    I get what this video is saying and I do appreciate it, but I think it's funny how blacks — who, within American culture, are a pretty disadvantaged group — are often placed with the burden to be open to other ethnicities. I don't hear Asian/Hispanic/white women in beauty shops telling each other… "Oh, but let's remember that we're not the only ones who struggle…" Why even point that out? It's a given. All women struggle.

    There is an undertone of patronizing in this video, and I don't like it.

    Also let me say; I find naturals to be somewhat confused when it comes to how they view race.

    On the one hand I hear constant lamenting over how black people don't embrace natural hair, and how we have to teach our men how to love natural hair. And on the other hand there are videos like this that seem to suggest it is ignorant for black women to discuss issues of beauty from the perspective of race.

    Why can't we make up our minds?

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