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Culture

RE: Myranda Stephens – Natural hair doesn’t make you ‘Blacker’

As a member of ‘The Natural Lounge’ group on Facebook I find a lot of interesting links and perspectives on the “natural care movement”. This particular link that inspired this post I found interesting because it is something I think about regularly.

I have been thinking about if natural hair makes you blacker because I have been getting some comments from friends and family lately. One particular friend was correct in thinking that yes – I am seeking to connect more with my African side. Which is funny because back home they look at my hair and ask me what I’m doing with it. Then I get the jokers who ask me if I’m part of a Black Panther Movement…

I for one agree with some of the basic principles of Ms Stephen’s arguments. There is some weird sort of battle in some cases between black women (because the men don’t seem to care either way do they?) on if you should have a relaxer/ perm/ weave etc and what it means. I agree you are definitely no more or less black if you choose to go natural.

I feel like for some one us “naturals” she may have missed some of “our point”. I won’t speak for “us” out there though, I will speak for myself – I think that is probably easier.

To say that it’s not about looking white I feel may not be necessarily entirely true across the board. Now hear me out before you get angry and start swearing at your screens. Also bear in mind that I am open to discussion and as I grow in age and knowledge my opinions are subject to change or evolve. As far as I am aware the beauty and fashion industries are headed predominantly by white people. Our entertainment industries take on these fashions and pass them on to the general public. Though we are embracing the natural look it is still not as widely accepted as the straighter options. If it were we wouldn’t be struggling to make some sort of compromise on how to present it in professional environments i.e. the workplace so the way I see it for SOME people it IS about looking white, conforming and fitting in. If that is the case that is perfectly fine. It is your body and you are the best qualified to do as you see fit. I just believe that if there is an ounce of truth in this paragraph that we accept that this is a contribution to this “revolution”.

I also find that for me the issue is not the hair choice, but rather the lack of choice. After one year of being natural without the aid of braids and chemicals I am still baffled by how hard I find it to tame my hair. At 22 years of age I shouldn’t be learning the fundamentals of haircare… The fact that I am not the only woman out there learning about my hair at this stage in my life I find somewhat strange. Even when going back to my home countries of Ghana and Nigeria the reaction I get to being natural and the misinformation is baffling. What were we doing with our hair all this time? I think that question is part of the hype around the “natural movement”.

That being said with all things in life balance should be exercised. I will definitely not look down on anyone who choose other hairstyling options. All I ask is that everyone be aware of the overall consequences if there are any. And in the cases of people who may feel less attractive without weaves or relaxers I would hope that they can identify the root to those issues and learn to accept themselves the way they are.

I know what my issues were:

  1. I never relaxed my hair enough times anyway. It looked natural most of the time because I only relaxed my hair when I felt like it – which could be as little as four times a year.
  2. I admit that I was originally unsure about how attractive I would be without some sort of extra hair help. Me being me had to challenge myself.
  3. I like the unpredictable nature of my hair. I feel it reflects me perfectly. Wild and carefree.
  4. I love the volume.

That being said those are just my thoughts after reading the article. One thing is for sure, you are definitely not more special than the next guy because you choose to be natural. And for that I have to agree with Ms Stephens. I think some people out there might’ve needed a reminder.

It was also interesting to read that the trend got crazy after Chris Rock’s documentary. I was trying to put my finger on the surge in interest in natural hair. That makes sense.

In any case feel free to put your thoughts on my reflections or on Myranda Stephens article below. The link to her article is here.

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About Combing for Curls

Ghanaian-Nigerian Accra-based natural hair blogger and vlogger. Creator/curator of African culture and political content.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “RE: Myranda Stephens – Natural hair doesn’t make you ‘Blacker’

  1. Hi Nwadiogo!

    So, every now and then, I Google myself to check for any “mess” that might be released into the universe. Lol. I was pleasantly surprised to come across your response to my Sister 2 Sister Magazine blog about natural hair. I think you make some very valid points. I’m also glad you understand where I was coming from when writing the piece. I saw an opportunity to start an open dialogue about this subject, and your blog reassures me that I made the right decision. Thank you for that! And I must say, at 22, your writing is very impressive and fun to read! Keep up the great work. :)

    Myranda Stephens

    Posted by Myranda | November 27, 2011, 7:00 AM
  2. I really liked this article, you are a lovely writer and I am enjoying your blog!

    Posted by Angel | December 10, 2011, 7:01 PM

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