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Natural Hair Sorority- Would You Join?

By January 27th, 202153 Comments

Natural Hair Sorority- Would You Join?

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

When I contemplated going natural, besides online resources, it was also the handful of natural-haired women at my school that served as a great source of information. And though we didn’t have an official natural haired “organization” or “sorority” on campus, I’m so glad I was able to meet and socialize with many of those women. They were invaluable and a great source of inspiration.

So when I first heard about negativity directed towards Pi Nappa Kappa, the first a self-proclaimed natural hair sorority, I initially thought: “What’s the problem?”

But then I chatted up with a few black Greeks, as well as non-Greeks, and a good majority were definitely not enthused. I had a few specifically state that they felt the sorority was a “mockery” of other Greek organizations. Some expressed irritation at how “silly” and “cult-like” some natural-haired women were becoming. And interestingly enough, other folks even felt the sorority was just an attempt to exploit and make money under the guise of “sisterhood.”

In my neck of the woods at Howard University there is a natural-haired organization called “TANGLES.” And though there are many natural haired social groups in the DMV area, as far as I know, TANGLES is the only organization dedicated to educating and inspiring other natural haired women at Howard U. I think TANGLES is a great organization with a great mission and I was stoked when they invited me to give a talk at the end of this month. I respect what TANGLES is doing and I would’ve loved to have a similar organization while I was in college.

So from my perspective, if Pi Nappa Kappa’s real mission is to educate, support and inspire, then I say more power to them. But I’ll also say this: I would definitely advise anyone to throw the side-eye if they start asking members to pay expensive membership fees, drink suspicious Kool-Aid or wear matching Nikes.

So what do you think of a natural-haired sorority? Would you join?

Are you a member of a sorority?

Do you think Pi Nappa Kappa is a mockery or silly?

If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx Austin, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a writer, media personality, and physician who shares her thoughts on natural hair and wellbeing.

53 Comments

  • Elena Washington says:

    I don't like the idea just because sororities by nature are exclusive. I think EVERYONE who wants to be a part of the natural hair movement should be able to……no rush week required.

  • YaYa says:

    Are you serious people? It is not that big of a deal. There are bigger issues in this world to be concerned about than this group. Get over yourselves. They are not harming anyone from what I can see.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'd join in a heartbeat. I'm trasitioning…about 3 months in….from relaxed to natural. I think it's empowering. i respect everyone else opinion, but I dont understand what the negative responses or ANTI Phi Nappa Kappa foolishness is about. Who would be offended?! I guess, "different strokes for different folks!" Oh well! But again, I think it's a beautiful thing, it celebrates the black woman's individuality in a POSITIVE light…which we definitely need more of. I think more young girls/women can be prouder and hold their heads a little higher since their is a group celebreating, shedding light on and encouraging them to embrace their heritage. They no longer have to be ashamed, run and go by a perm every 6 weeks, iron, burn, damage, etc, their hair. We didnt have to in teh first place, but that's what society potrayed, so we wanted to be "normal" and look like everybody else. To all my relaxed sistas…do yo thang! I aint mad at ya. But…I am proud to be nappy and think this is a beautiful thing.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Linden- You truly have some issues that you need to work on! Not everybody recieves AIDS from sex. Educate yourself first before you make IGNORANT statements! Although I am not affected by the disease, I am a strong advocate of fighting the speread of the disease. Many issues might not affect you PERSONALLY, but it affects the world we live in! The world does not revolve around YOU and what you are NOT affected by.

  • Natasha says:

    I'm not joining the natural hair sorority because my needs (encouragement, dialogue/forums, tutorials, tips and tricks, stories and product reviews) are met through other mediums. If others want to join it, then they should do them.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm a member. I "pledged" to uphold the positive affirmations of the group. I do not pay a fee. I belong to this blog too. I will source knowledge and support from both. I wish I could buy a t-shirt if and when they make one. I don't see the problem with wanting to spread positivity about natural hair.

  • Linden says:

    @Anon

    'Our' community doesn't include biracials like myself, so why would I care about it's issues?

    I don't have AIDS/HIV or any STD, and I grew up pretty far away from the poverty line. They aren't my issues to talk about, the people with the issues should be talking about why going to the many places that GIVE away condoms for free is so hard, or figure out a different method of coping rather than shooting infected needles up their arms.

    And so on…

  • Anonymous says:

    I joined because i believed in their message, read the oath before you start spewing your hate. As a natural woman it's my choice to do what i believe in or like; and if that looks like signing up with this group then yea!

    Please don't use this topic as a gateway to insult other women, black women, greeks non-greeks, curly haired or nappy haired women.

    See when someone asked me what i thought women were like i said crabs in a barrel and this comment thread just proved me right.

  • WineGrrl says:

    I wouldn't join Pi Kappa Nappa because I am the world's worst "joiner." I wouldn't judge anyone else who would join, though.

  • Anonymous says:

    I almost liked this Author but she had to ruin it with the last paragraph of snide comments don't drink the Kool-aid or charging members? Wow! Brilliant disguise to diss something. Her message is mixed up and still inciting hate! Shame on you Dr. whatever your name is.

  • Anonymous says:

    So much hate. If only black people could redirect some of this energy into finding real solutions that is plaguing our community like poverty and aids. Had this been a post about that you may have only 3 comments. Yet go and talk about some people who found a commong bond and decides to act on their constitutional right to assemble and you get a barage of attacks. Do any of you have any shame or a brain? Did you read the pledge? What point of the pledge would you argue is not fair or good or clean? How dare you hippocrates claim you own Greek letters? Some of you are so backwards that your black behinds claim "I'm a Greek" before you claim I'm a black! What is the most sad about this is how the natural hair bloggers have set to the cyberspace and beating this group up with baseball bats! The boat has already left the doc! They've gotten about 4,000 fans in their group and fan pages in 4 weeks! That means you're calling all of them weird or crazy for deciding to join something they believe in!

    Black people are really something else. I'm reading this and I see a lot of fear and intimidation all mixed in. The kool-aid is being served by these so called "Greeks". Why their not all up in the Christain and non black greeks face with all this hoopla? Do they think Pi Nappa Kappsa is so small that they can just trash them?

    Why is the natural hair community so mean to them? They're part of you? This is a big blog, have you reached out to speak to the founders to get an unbiased opinion? This cannot be good for the entire natural hair community. This infighting is just horrible!

    I say leave the PiNK ladies alone to do what they want to do. They have not hurt anyone and until the word sorority "SISTERHOOD" becomes illegal, they can use it!

    By the way, I think the founder/s must be genius b/c if they had named it Natural Hair Ladies or Natural Hair GRoup would they be trending on Twitter and FB for an entire week? Something that most Huge firms with PR teams cannot even accomplish! Geesh.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh chill the eff out people. If you don't like the natural hair sorority or any of the other traditionally black sororities, then by all means, DON"T JOIN.

  • Anonymous says:

    I also don't get why blacks have to join a Greek organization, follow their traditions, and rep their culture, in order to have sister/brotherhood, community service, and feel educated. It sounds good written down but when you meet some of these black "Greeks" (oxymoron), you begin to wonder if it's just another form of separatism amongst us. Do you know the history of the Greeks and how they collectively felt about people of color? But now it's okay to follow their lead simply because education and comradeship has been tacked onto it?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Linden- What are you implying with your last statement?? Black colleges are not "real" colleges/universities? Being a proud graduate of a "black" institution, I take offense to that comment. We are talking about natural hair sororities, not degrading black colleges or the people who CHOOSE to attend them!

  • Linden says:

    LOL.

    @Anon

    I am biracial, not "light skinnedededed". I look like my MOTHER, and my FATHER. And no I don't have to claim anything but what I am, which is black, and white. What 'pro-black' biracial person would ever admit to actually being biracial? Most of those nuts never do, lol.

    Anyhow, yep still funny.
    LOL @ Black greeks, what's also funny is the reputation most of those "black greek" houses have, a girl like me with my curly brown hair, green eyes, and fair skin could get into the most popular one with no effort put in…I'm sure you know which one I'm talking about – you know that one that consist of nothing but "light skinned" girls, lol.

    Thank God I go to a real University and not a "black" college.

  • Anonymous says:

    …and feel free to get the last word in if you must.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Linden – Glad you think its funny. I guess you're one of those "light skinned" chicks who always have to claim their "blackness" after being called "high yellow" and "light, bright, d*amn near white" in grade school. Enjoy being enlightened.

  • Linden says:

    @Anon

    Identity crisis?

    My mother is white, and my father is black.
    I identify as biracial, is that what you mean? =D

    Sorry doll, I don't care about being apart of something 'traditionally African' I just find it amusing wanting so badly to be apart of something that rooted in, and from EUROPE. Calling yourself a 'greek', wearing Greek letters, and copying traditionally EUROPEAN Greek Houses customs and such….negro please..then black people want to pretend whites copy them…haha ok…LOL.

    Black Americans are so sad, it's even worse for Black "Europeans" from what I've seen haha.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ anon 3:39 p.m. I feel you on the leaps, bounds and humiliation. I chose not to join one as well. I also think that people need to revist how and why exactly the black Greek organizations came about. That shouldn't be too hard to do. As harsh as Linden's comment was about "massa's approval," there is some truth to it.

    From a constitutional point of view, Pi Nappa Kappa has the right to assemble, we however can decide whether or not to join it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Linden – the fact that you have to even go there with the, "I have to giggle everytime I see some poor little would-be-field slave man or woman calling themselves a "greek"" tells me you're the one with the identity crisis.

    I'm not a part of any houses or sororities, but I find it odd that we are still bashing each other being a part of something that isn't traditionally African – especially since most of us don't have direct ties to Africa (not for hundreds of years) except out skin color and hair texture.

  • Linden says:

    The real joke is black people in Greek houses to begin with, I have to giggle everytime I see some poor little would-be-field slave man or woman calling themselves a "greek".

    What a complete joke, lol. Some blacks are so desperate for massa's approval.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's so interesting to read through the comments. There certainly appears to be a lot of animosity towards Greeks and the CHOICE (as opposed to a need) to join a sorority. Everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, but I'm curious as to why some people feel the need to bash someone else's choices (in this case, to join a Greek organization) while making their point. It doesn't make your point (or you) appear stronger or more emphatic.

    I don't think the Greeks who have chosen to comment appear to be hostile to non-Greeks, however it seems as though they want to continue to uphold the strong traditions set forth by their founders. I don't think that by voicing their concerns, they are losing any more sleep over this matter or taking it any more/less seriously than anyone non-Greek commenters.

    Anyway, best of luck to Pi Nappa Kappa members in doing what they want to do with their organization.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it's a cute name and idea and I don't understand why people seem so threatened by this. Anyone who takes being in a sorority/fraternity that seriously needs to check their priorities and 9 times out of 10… worry about their grades or real life instead.

    I am not in a sorority but was elected to Phi Beta Kappa when I graduated college. That said, I see no problem with Phi Nappa Kappa, even if the name was intended to mock PBK. I probably wouldn't join it at this stage in my life but I totally support the idea and message behind it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wonder why this group feels the need to make this a Greek organization? Why not just call it a club??

    It may be that this group of women feels disenfranchised by the Greek organizations on their campus. They may feel like they would not be accepted as pledges (prospective candidates) OR that they reject the idea of being in an existing sorority. As a result, they seek to start their own. No problem there, but for heaven's sakes, don't be ignorant enough to use a made up Greek letter. The tradition of black Greek organizations has included a commitment to education, community service and sister/brotherhood. This organization (Pi Nappa Kappa) appears to be interested in serving only ONE of those traditions- sisterhood.

    As a black woman who happens to be in a sorority AND has natural hair, I am insulted by the straight ignorance surrounding the name of this wannabe sorority. Natural haired black women have enough negative stereotypes to contend with than to have the assistance of our own promoting a big one- ignorance. Is there anything substantive that this organization serves to do other than discuss hair, hairstyling and hair care products?? Seems totally vacuous to me, but those are just my thoughts.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am not Greek and never felt the need to join a sorority. The girls I knew who were members weren't nice and I didn't feel the urge to go through any leaps, bounds or humiliation to prove myself. I knew who I was then and knew enough about myself that I wasn't about to play any demoralizing games of paper bag tests, what size are your jeans tests, or just who are your mommy/daddy tests to be a part of an organization. If your sorority did not or does not engage in that, you shouldn't be angry. But if my words upset you, well…

    With that said, I don't see anything wrong with these women forming their own group, organization or sorority. If it starts out focused on hair, what's the problem? Hair is a big deal in the black community. The choice to go natural is not always easy and the need for support is STRONG.
    There is the possibility that the sorority may grow from its origins. My brother is in a black frat and from what I know about black fraternities, most were created for black men to bond together in a racist, exclusive atmosphere, and their mission grew from there. I see no difference with Pi Nappa Kappa. However what I do see from the majority of responses from the sorority crew reminds of why I never made that leap in the first place. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Can't we all just get along???

  • Anonymous says:

    What's the big deal?? If you don't like it, don't join. Simple as that.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's ridiculous! I wouldn't join! I mean since I went natural just over a year ago I have seen more negativity over hair than I have seen in a long time. As I searched websites,youtube vids and blogs to be educated on taking care of natural hair, I was exposed to what looks like a line in the sand about who's natural and who's relaxed! Who cares!! What someone else does to their hair doesn't change what happens with mine. To educate is one thing…to come up with a sorority OMG!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Anonymous 12:54p comment. Not all African-Americans are Christian. The founder is trying to promote more than natural hair. I will not support Pi Nappa Kappa.

  • Goombagirl says:

    If I go back far enough my lineage is Greek…check
    I have a sister…..check
    I live in the hood…..check

    Whew! Now that I've got the Greek sisterhood covered…. I come to CN for inspiration and support for my hair journey so no, I see no reason to join Pi Nappa Kappa.

  • Ashley Jane says:

    HU!!!!!!! LOL I do love my alma mater but ummmmm theres quite a few young ladies on that campus that need to be directed to TANGLES… They're trying but there's a lot of dry kinks and curls walking around. Thanks for sharing this… I'll be sure to let some people know.

  • Sham says:

    oh and LMBOOOOOOO @ suspicious kool-aid!

  • Anonymous says:

    this organization draws in people who might be interested with initial "hair talk" and then flips the script and goes all jesus/god. the founder does not understand that not every black person is religious, or even a christian, and that tacking on jesus to the group after the fact is a surefire way to run off those who might otherwise be interested. people who joined did so for the benefits of uniting through hair, not religion.

  • Sham says:

    Bahahaaa! This is a hot-buttered mess! I think the creation of a natural sorority would do more to divide us than to bring us together, b/c you know some militant diva would be the one to decide if your curl pattern is tight enough for you to join, or not. Discrimination = Lawsuits!I am not a fan of the bootleg Greek letter "nappa" either.

    I ALREADY feel a kinship to fellow curly & kinky haired women. As if we share a secret that no one who hasn't taken this journey can fully understand. You don't need letters or a membership card to validate that. We have blogs, hair forums & meet-ups for the purpose of sharing info & ideas… right?

    And as member of the Divine Nine, I can say without a doubt that we were founded as service organizations… to give back to the community & to promote education, culture, artistic expression, etc. So unless Pi Nappa Kappa is down with THAT cause, they need to fall back.

  • Anonymous says:

    Cooooome ooooon! WHEN does it stop??? I'm natural and in a sorority as well and this just cuts the cake for me! I don't have a problem with forming a club BUT a sorority?? I heard they have a hand sign and everything! I've seen some interesting things in my 13 years of greekdom but this goes down in history! I'm just one of those greeks that feels like there has been so much created already that has somewhat diluted the presence of the other Black greek lettered organizations and here's something else adding to the madness! I feel like you ALL are my sistahs and I don't need to join a sorority to say so or to ask for your advice on hair!

  • Carla says:

    When I first heard about it, I though it was just another Facebook group that bears the same "sorority". I had no idea people (the founders) would take it this seriously. I would never join anything like that, because what other's had said, I have blogs, forums, YouTube, etc – I don't need an exclusive group based on how I wear my hair. Interesting discussion nevertheless.

  • Jada07 says:

    I am in a greek sorority and I am not bothered by the idea of a natural hair organization. I do however, wonder what the intent is for what is being proposed. As the author said, if it is truly to promote awareness and education, as well as provide a sense of unity then I don't see anything wrong with the idea of an ORGANIZATION. To attempt to make it into a GREEK organization is a different story, particulaly when you make up a "letter" to add to the greek alphabet… You also have to wonder, is this just perpetuating the divide that already exists between "us" and "them"?

  • Anonymous says:

    I'd love for there to be more education about healthy hair for chemical free, non-relaxed, and relaxed hair Black women. I'd also love for there to stop being so much fascination about "our" hair. Its hair…its not a cult or a religion. I think it is all walking a fine line of blaxploitation.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Sarah, there is nothing wrong with it. There will always be something that people want to make themselves a part of. Calling it a sorority turned me away from it simply because the term has some negative connotation when it comes to how women behave when labels come in to play. When my mom told me about this, I thought it was a joke and that she was making fun of me and my sisters. I hope that it is successful and doesn't start becoming just a social organization when they say they are here for another purpose…

  • Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't join a legit "black Greek" organization simply because as a black woman, I'm not trying to emulate the paganism of Greek culture, therefore I definitely wouldn't participate in this hair sorority. Sometimes natural sistas can be a little over the top in their zeal for their hair. This is why many relaxed women I talk with think natural hair is just a fad. Our hair is an extension of our God given beauty…it shouldn't define us.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it's dumb, I'd never join and I'm surprised that people would even entertain it.

  • Nadine says:

    @ Sarah,
    just like SOME guys who decide to wear saggy pants and expose their backside/underwear, that makes ppl look at that GROUP OF PPL in a certain way…ridiculous and stupid. It's one of those things that everyone involved really needs to pick up a book and educate themselves about. Some INDIVIDUAL choices are different from when group choices are made, but in this case IMO this makes us looks like we have nothing going on in our heads except our hair, sadly we are much more than that. Some people who wear their hair naturally may look at this and say, really? 'To each their own' is so much easier said, but this is one of the many reasons why there is so much ignorance and stereotypes floating around, we have enough FOLLOWERS in the world already.

  • Kalena Michele says:

    I'm cool with organizations, but to make up a sorority like that is just wrong to me.

  • Anonymous says:

    as a member of a black greek letter organization, this didn't bother me, not one bit.

    i thought it was silly, but it's their right to start an organization. and i guess the best way they know how to celebrate the sisterhood that comes along with black hair, they decided to call it a sorority. they're playing fast and loose with the definition of "sorority" but it's really harmless. no need to get all up in arms about it. why are folks always so concerned about what other folks choose to be concerned about??

  • Anonymous says:

    My brother crossed over in the 80s. I crossed over in 2000. Between the two of us we have seen a lot of awesome things come from both fraternities and sororities. But I will not lie and say that I haven't seen a lot of repetitive serious damage come from them as well. There is a lot of division and stereotyping caused by orgs. "That one's for dark chicks", "That one's for fat girl", "You got to be pretty, light skinned with long hair to get into that one". I do not know exactly how serious "Nappa" is taking this whole sorority thing but I can see a whole lot of division stemming from it if taken too seriously. Let's not forget how ugly the whole team light/dark skinned thing can get. Don't pretend that that can't manifest it self by way of natural hair sororities. Yeah I put an "s" on it. You really think only one natural hair sorority was gonna fly with the masses? If it is just a sorority by name, then I have not problems with it. But if it's going to function as a sorority, that makes me worry. Naturals need to embrace themselves as a whole, not as individual parts.

  • Loe says:

    I think this is silly actually. As someone who aspires to become a member of a sorority one day, this makes me feel pretty ambivalent. On one side, I understand that these women want to band together and share their love of natural hair and support one another and that's great, but on the other side, I believe forums and natural hair meet-ups serve the same purpose. I'm not knocking them for doing it because their reasons for beginning this organization may be more concrete than the public has seen, but I don't know if it is quite that serious. I would like to read more into it because it is interesting but at the same time I don't think this matter is to be taken too seriously. At the end of the day, we're all individuals and what we choose is what we choose regardless of what anyone else thinks. We should be loving our naturalness, educating about the perks and encouraging people to do what's best for them, not creating another means to divide us as women.

  • Anonymous says:

    As a natural and a member of a black greek-letter organization, I would be offended. "Nappa???" That is making a mockery of what all of our founders endured in the process of establishing our organizations. I might've been LESS offended if it hadn't been for the made up greek letter. I'm all for natural hair clubs or support groups….but leave the greek out of it.

  • Jeannette says:

    I'm not in a sorority but I can understand how many feel that a 'natural' haired sorority is a mockery towards Greek organizations. Besides, I have youtube, curlynikky, and other natural hair forums that I've joined. As much as I love my hair, it is not my WHOLE life. I have other things I do like establish myself as a business owner, and during my down time spend time with family friend and engage in my hobbies. So a natural hair sorority is the least of my interests. Would I join…NO! How I feel about it, although I don't care, I'm leaning more towards…what is the point again? With all the natural hair meet-ups, social networking forums, youtube etc…it's too much. I don't feel that you need a natural haired sorority to engage in sisterhood. We have sisterhood right here on Curlynikki and the like.

  • Nadine says:

    I totally agree with ANON 8:30am, why are women, NATURAL OR NOT, so about their hair??? Another step in the ladder for you to stand on to say IM ABOVE someone else, or another group of ppl. How self absorbed can some women be, THERE'S NO LIMIT! Let's get our priorities straight. When and why is the natural hair community so bent on hair type classifications? We all hair curly hair, PERIOD, no matter how much twists outs and braids you do to change your look and appearance. Damn, when did this stop being about tutorials and helping others natural virgins with their journeys???

  • Anonymous says:

    I probably wouldn't join, but I don't have a problem if other people want, too. Different strokes. I don't know.. For me, I guess mixing the word "sorority" with "hair" just strikes me as a tad…what's the word???…corny. Yeah, that's it.

  • MrsWardy88 says:

    I dont know how I feel about it. I uphold the same qualities they stand by… So I didnt see the point in making the oath. I didnt see the benefit in it. I dont want to join just to say I did, I really want to know what can we do together to benefit people.

  • Anonymous says:

    hen I first heard about this "sorority", I thought it was a joke. Sororities are founded on Principles more than just Sisterhood and Commonality and the fact that they made up "Nappa" as a Greek Term would probably not make them very welcomed in the Greek Organization World. Yes, I'm both in a Sorority and Natural, but the more natural I become the less I'm convinced that people are looking at being natural as a lifestyle and more as a trend to be "different" and entertain things such as this.

  • Anonymous says:

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!
    We are so behind as a people. It's amazing some of the stuff we come up with. It's one thing to join a club or group or whatever, but a sorority?!
    "I'm more natural than you and blah, blah, blah. It's harder to be me because my hair is type 1234567 blah blah. You are mixed so you have it easy blah blah" I can just hear the conversations and the inside clicks inside the group.

    Whatever. I don't care.

  • Natural Hair says:

    Your "drink suspicious kool-aid" line brings back memories of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple.

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