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Curly Nikki

On the Couch with Jor-El

By January 27th, 202155 Comments

I first decided to grow out my hair in the Fall of 2009 when I was grad school. I was in a counseling program and we were encouraged (OK, more like forced) to do a lot of self reflection and the issue of my hair and race kept coming up for me. I remembered when I used to get teased a lot because I was biracial and people used to talk about my hair… a lot. I actually found the attention both nice and uncomfortable at times. It was definitely one of those situations where I was told I had “good hair” and that my hair wasn’t nappy. If only they could see me now!

So while I was in my program, I was doing a lot of reflecting on different parts of my identity, asking myself questions like “What does it really mean to be a man?” and “What does it mean to be Black or biracial?” So I thought back to those days of being teased and all the comments about my hair and just decided to run with it. I was also growing more and more tired of getting the same old boring cut at the barbershop and looking like everyone else.

Fall 2008

On the Couch with Jor-El
I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I was going to grow out my hair and see what happened. Well…a lot happened! I initially got a lot of positive feedback from people, especially at the very liberal school I was attending at the time. As time went on, the comments got a bit more balanced with some negative ones thrown in. I realized that my problem was that I cared about all the comments a bit too much and after more reflection I realized that was part of the reason I had not tried growing out my hair before then. I realized I was so caught up with other people’s perceptions of me that I gave less consideration to what I personally liked and didn’t like.

Fall 2009
On the Couch with Jor-El
Spring 2010
On the Couch with Jor-El

Now, it’s been two years and like anyone else, I have good days and bad days with my hair. While I used to be bothered by it, I now laugh at how the humidity makes my fro swell in the summertime. I mean really, it’s pretty ridiculous! On good days I take questions like, “Is your hair real?” as compliments and on bad days the comments make me second guess my decision. Ultimately, I’m very happy with my growing mane and I’m having fun with it. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about hair on this site and at NaturallyCurly.com. Both have been great resources to me, even to the point where I pass on the knowledge to those unsuspecting friends of mine. Thanks a lot for the support!

Spring 2011
On the Couch with Jor-El
Summer 2011

On the Couch with Jor-El

55 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    WOW its amazing, I would have never thought you were bi-racial. Your hair doesn't look any different from mine. I am surprised you got teased for cause i dont see the how it would look different from any other highly textured hair.You are handsome btw.

  • Anonymous says:

    To the person who gave misinformation re Vesta Williams–get the facts right before you post:

    On September 22, 2011, Williams was found dead in a hotel room in El Segundo, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.[1][20][21] According to the county coroner's office, Williams was found dead at 6:15 p.m. A Los Angeles County Coroner's Office spokesperson stated that the following autopsy did not yield a cause of death. In late December 2011, the family released this statement, through a family friend singer/producer Norwood Young, reporting her official cause of death: "Following three months of intensive coroner's autopsy and toxicology research, it has been definitively determined that the cause of death for our beloved Vesta was 'natural death' from 'hypertensive heart disease,'" adding: "An enlarged heart can remain undetected for many years."

  • ellie says:

    Despite that I think its awesome he's keeping his hair natural. Just the shape of his hair (2011) is not doing anything for me that piece sticking out in the front is a little awkward. :/ keep doing what you were in 2010.

  • ellie says:

    I'm not going to lie I do not like the last two photos. It does look look like he rolled out of bed and I would say the same if it was attached to a female. Bum is a strong word like many have used but I do feel he needs to shave and shape up his fro. I don't understand why natural means that we must like it. I love the first three pictures especially the third. Personally I don't think that its hypocritical for us to not like men with big fros. It's just never been my thing to like men with long hair. My husband has beautiful short curly hair that I'm jealous of because he can just put water in it and I'm asking if he used mixed chicks for definition. o.O

  • Turtle1920 says:

    I don't see how I missed this and Im usually up here everyday lol. Jor-El I love your hair. It seems that some of the women up here have blinders on. Jor-El is a highly intelligent man he will not have any problems getting a job, no matter the look of his hair. Look at men like Cornel West, he's natural and his fro hasn't kept him from being a respected scholar or obtaining employment. It seems with some of these comments men would never want to be featured or even seek info, because of a few misguided women who believe they are the only ones who can lay claim to the rights of natural hair info. I would love to see more men featured up here, its nice seeing a different perspective for a change. SN: I see you Carla Z Phiiiiiiii favorite LS

  • Teonna Denise says:

    wow, tht is one sexy man…i love a natural man ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Anonymous says:

    Maybe if he was clean shaven as he was in the earlier pics, it would give a better comparison?

  • Anonymous says:

    I find it ironic that a lot of people seem to have an issue with this particular gentleman's seemingly unkempt afro, yet everyone loved the guy who was previously featured (I believe his name was Kenny) who stated that he did not even comb or wash his hair. In my opinion, the last two pictures probably aren't that flattering. His entire face and the entirety of his hair can't even be seen, so I think it's a little too quick to pass judgement.

  • DeeDee says:

    ur hair looks great!!

  • Fuzzy says:

    I love your hair short or long, plus you are handsome to boot.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks I love the male perspective. I love your hair grown out it makes you stand out and it really fits you. Nice smile as well. I can't believe people actually ask is it real, I thought only us women got that. That is why I'm loving the male perspective. I moved to the South and realize many more men embrace their natural hair moreso than men up North it's usually low cuts and fades up North. Noticed the same with women as well a lot more naturals down South. At least from what I've seen. As a matter of fact I can guarantee I would have never become natural if I didn't move South I didn't even realize it was an option until a friend introduced me to the naturals on YT. This is the best decision I ever made wish I could have done it sooner!

  • Tamika says:

    http://blkgirlsrock.tumblr.com/post/10544739388

    Um, no one considered that Jor-el and the above model have different hair textures? The model's hair naturally curls like that…it isn't particularly 'styled' a certain way…some of y'all are some serious hypocrites.

    By the way, he looks hot with the grown out fro!

  • Hxyzyn says:

    LOL, black women get mad when black men say things like "I don't like that nappy fro" and then want to talk about european standards of beauty, brainwashing of black men, etc. But then some black women will turn around and say the same types of things to black men. Some of y'all act like a bunch of bitter hypocritical spinsters lmao.

    why are some commentators so negative on men's posts?? Men face issues when it comes to growing out natural hair as well, it's not just a women's thing. I know y'all haven't forgotten the men's Nivea ad, where the afro was considered unkempt and uncivilized.

    Also, I have seen many disparaging comments online when male celebs have grown their hair out a bit. The comments range from "Is he sick?" to "Ew, get a haircut, that is not cute". It's not too unlike the criticism that natural women go through when we transition. Some of y'all need to stop being so stank just because it's a man featured instead of a woman.

    I have seen many pics from women on this site that I thought were busted, (some of y'all could just keep that -ish to yourself on Show-and-Tell Fridays tbh) but I don't disparage them because I'm trying to support people in their natural journeys, not break them down. People would cry foul if the women's threads were full of "oh girl that TWA makes you look manly, get a weave" or "put on some makeup before you take a picture!" but I guess a man's thread is fair game?

    Some women just want to pick a man apart just because he's a man.
    ———————————

    Jor-El, you look good and your hair is fly. You're quite handsome. I really like the 2011 look, but I will admit I'm partial to dudes with longer hair. So maybe I'm biased lol. You don't look "bleary eyed" to me, continue to embrace your natural hair and encourage people to do the same! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • FrouLaLa says:

    Gotta love a guy with Superman's father's name! Love the curls too! Thanks for sharing…I'm liking having the male perspective on natural hair.

  • Carla says:

    Hmmm… Should I comment on the adventures of Rel's Hair. Yes, I believe I will. I have seen the transformation from the beginning to present. I must say that I have enjoyed the ride. I'm happy that you decided not to listen to those naysayers and go for it! I think natural is the way to be. You got the "good hair" might as well embrace it! I think your mane helps to define the Rel spirit that I know and love so well!

  • Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that as soon as a man is posted up the negative comments roll in full steam… I'm always more interested in the backstory, not if they can get a job with the kind of fro they have.

    You have got to be kidding. Some of y'all just be nitpicking JUST BECAUSE. Have a seat.

    Jor-El, I definitely feel like your hair grown out adds to your character. You don't look "run-of-the-mill"; I'm sure you stand out quite a bit among friends. Thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice looking guy. Great hair.

  • Shelly says:

    love this post….beautiful hair!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with the CN community, Jor-El. I really like the way your hair was styled in the 2010 picture. That particular look is right on point and very flattering to your facial features. Peace & love to you!

    As a side note: Like many of the ladies previously mentioned, it would be lovely if negative people could keep their nasty opinions to themselves. If you cannot say anything nice to someone, it is best to remain silent. Let's try to focus on the positive more! Treat people the way you would like them to treat you, if the shoe was on the other foot! Why is that concept so hard for some folks to grasp, remains a mystery to me?

  • BePositive says:

    I think he said he was in grad school, so not yet in corporate america and being biracial is a part of his identity even if you cant see it. he has every right to mention it as much as he likes. the "you aren't bad looking" comment… I don't want to create more negativity, but that is seriously disappointing.

    To this guy, I like your hair and you are definitely cute. Please continue to be and do positive things in the world.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice hair but had you not mentioned you were bi-racial I would have never thought. No disrespect to your parent who is not Black but why do you feel you have to mention it? You aren't bad looking but at least you aren't scary like Kenny who lives in Japan.

  • Anonymous says:

    R&B Singer from the late 80's Vesta Williams age 48yrs old has been found dead in her hotel of a possible overdose… So sad to hear of her passing.

  • Sham says:

    LOL @ Annie L! Amen sister

  • Annie L. says:

    Jor-El:
    You do look like you rolled out of bed all bleary-eyed and whatnot in that 1 pic but….according to the replies no one would mind rolling out of bed right next to ya, Lol!

    Lovely hair, have a great continuation of your journey!

  • Anonymous says:

    @ annon 1:44pm
    Understood. However, on this site, women are depicted wearing their Sunday-best, heading out to run errands, on their wedding day, hanging out with friends, and heaven forbid- in the work place rocking their Nubian tresses.

    I've not found that pictures are displayed using such discretion; i.e. posting only photos of hairstyles that are "appropriate" or "netly manicured" for the workplace. And it should be no different for men. But the underlying theme that resonates with perhaps everyone on this site is having a community where we are unashamed to display our hair in styles that others may deem "un-kept, un-ruly, or un-sightly"- without the negative garbage that we have to endure from others about what is and isn't acceptable.

    Again, I'm at a loss as to how anyone who embraces those themes for their life, and frequents this site, can post such comments that deviate from the positive, accepting, and championing themes found on this site for natural haired folks. Maybe this just isn't the community for the naysayers?

  • Anonymous says:

    @ annon 1:22pm

    Obtaining a job in Corp American or McDonald's is relevant. Our black men have it hard enough in the working world and do not need this type of natural hairstyle to hinder them. Just because it's natural doesn't mean he shouldn't look polished. He wasn't born with unruly hair. I would love for him to send a picture of a look he would have if he was going to a job interview.

  • Anonymous says:

    Agreed that the dude in the link posted above does look quite handsome with his tresses- just like Jor-El. So, it's two for two. It's a shame that within this forum we have some who differentiate between those whose hair looks "styled" versus those whose hair looks "un-styled". I was under the impression that everyone reflected in this community wore their hair in a manner that was "styled"- whether it reflects the status-quo or not.

    Is this really the community where we need to distinguish between the two- one category for "styled" and another one for "un-styled"? Geez Louise Finch already. It's 2011 for crying out loud. I thought we were beyond that….smh….

  • Alesia says:

    Well, I personally think he's handsome anyway he chooses to do his hair. If you don't like his hair, don't be rude about it b/c the negative comments you're giving him, people have given you.

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    http://blkgirlsrock.tumblr.com/post/10544739388

    This link that someone posted above in their comment. That guy looks good with his fro. Now that's a dude with grown out hair done right. His hair is neat, "styled" and looks healthy and moisturized. I agree that he needs to be featured lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with the women who are appalled at those who dare make negative comments about this brother's hair. As black women with natural hair, we field these types of stereotypes all the time. From other AA women who frown on our natural crown, to black men who say derogatory things about women who aren't "fried, dyed, and laid to the side," to Caucasian folks who look at us sideways because they can't feel our steelo.

    This is a NATURAL HAIR website- for sistas (and maybe soon for more brothers) to express themselves in their own skin. Just as we as women can do without the negative comments, even if they are just the opinions of others, I'm sure this brother can do without them as well. If you ask me, doing anything different is not only a double-standard but perpetuates the same ignorance we often have to rise above. Come on people! Can we please demonstrate the same love for him and his mane that we're trying to embrace in ourselves and get others around us to realize? Kudos to you, brother.

    Your hair is FIERCE!And it doesn't hurt that you're lite on the eyes ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and one more thing- whether or not he's accepted in Corporate America or McDonald's is irrelevant. I work in Corporate America where I rock bantu knots, afros, and twist-outs. It's about time someone was big enough to wear what they're born with and not trying to assimilate! And by someone, I mean a brother!

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    @KeshaSharee It's hardly the same thing. He looks untidy and unkempt. No one is telling him to go get a curl/relaxer or whatever, but imo he looks like a bum. Maybe if he included pics of how he wears it to work my opinion would change, because in those last 2 pics he looks like he JUST rolled outta bed. If that is how he wears his hair to work then . . . oh boy.

  • Sham says:

    Handsome fella! But I am curious to see him "made up" so to speak… just to see how his hair is styled for a night out on the town, or a day @ the office.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not viewing him as a potential mate and I'm not saying he's not attractive. I doubt that this young man would obtain a corporate job or at McDonald's with that look. His look is no different than young men sporting unfinished cornrows. Just my opinion.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your hair and story with us!

    You are handsome in all your pics, but I think you'd also look nice with the longer hair and no beard. Give it whirl!

  • Carmel Stacks says:

    @KeshaSharee

    I know right? It's not like he's posting on match.com looking for feedback. Bottomline, the bro is attractive with and without the fro. Me personally, I prefer it grown out.

  • KeshaSharee says:

    I can understand that people have their own opinion but come on. This is a natural hair site and some have the audacity to say that either you can't take him seriously because he has a fro or he looks better when he had a low cut. Double standard in all its glory. We (natural hair women) get offended when people tell us we looked better with a relaxer, same thing. My opinion: He looks good regardless.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not feeling the unkept look. Much better with short and tailored look.

  • Anonymous says:

    The 2008-2010 pics are where it's at! 2011 pics…ehh, not so much.

  • FineNaturalHairandFaith says:

    Fionnnnnnnnnne!

  • Anonymous says:

    I like the short cut.. he looks really handsome.. the longer hair distracts from his fine face.

  • keisha says:

    Well aren't u a cutie! Beauti
    ful hair and story! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kandyapple says:

    Now the quetion I have for Mr. Jor-El is what time of job he has now and if his hair has been an issue. I know my women worry about their hair in the workplace and how their employers will take them being natural and sporting their big and bushy hair, but I imagine it could potentionally be a – dare I say – a bigger problem for Black men with big hair. In general men are expected to have short hair.

  • Shanna says:

    Love it!! look at all that hair!!

  • Pecancurls says:

    Jor-El, your hair looks fab!! Glad you are having fun with your hair and not letting the comments of others dictate how you live your life. It is interesting to read a man's perspective on going through much of what I always thought of more as the struggles of women. Thanks for sharing.

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    Isn't Jor-El Superman's father? lol cool name.

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    Hmmm, you need to cut that. I can never take a dude seriously that doesn't have a sharp haircut.

  • Anonymous says:

    I like all the pics but because I love big bushy hair I like the recent ones the best. I'd love to get my hands into his hair…!

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry I love the first pic of him…handsome!

  • Naomi says:

    you've have beautiful hair! I'm glad that you did not let the perceptions of others stop you from growing (haha). Also, I'm with you on the humidity. It's pretty hilarious!

  • Anonymous says:

    this hair WORKS for you– you look so good!

  • Anonymous says:

    http://blkgirlsrock.tumblr.com/post/10544739388

    This natural haired guy looks good as well, he should get a interview on here lol… that's some eye candy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I like '08 to '10 pics the best.

  • Kellye says:

    Jor-El, you and your hair are beautiful. I appreciate and respect that you grew out your hair as a part of your self reflection…it's not easy I'm sure.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    Nikki, keep the guys coming! They're a great addition to the "conversation"

  • Candace4life says:

    Well his hair looks nice and if he hadn't that he was biracial I would never have known. I like the 2008 and 2010 pics the best, but congrats on letting yor hair grow out.

  • Kika says:

    You go ahead with your handsome self! Thanks for sharing!

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