The Natural Hair Issue

For a while now, the natural hair trend has been growing, with more and more women choosing to chop off their relaxed hair so it can grow back in its curly form. With this trend has come a lot of indirect (and sometimes full frontal) shade-throwing in the direction of women with relaxed hair. People say that going back to your natural hair is accepting yourself the way you are, and that relaxing your hair means you’re a black women trying to be white. I personally think that this line of thought it extremely dangerous.

So, quick recap. People in most (but not all) African countries grow really curly hair on their heads. Sometimes, women “relax” their hair with chemicals which make it permanently straight. The hair before it is relaxed, in its curly, hard to handle glory is usually called natural.

Now, my hair was relaxed when I was three because I cried when my mother combed it. Neither my mother nor I had any interest in me being/looking like anything I wasn’t. We just wanted easier hair to comb. “But God gave us the hair. We have the strength to comb it.” Yes we do! But deciding not to does not automatically strip you of racial pride. I’m older now and I decided to go natural. This did not come from feeling more African, or realizing that black is just as beautiful (which it is.) I want something new. Finito.

The other thing is, I do know that sadly there are African women who do things trying to change their appearance because they do not feel they are beautiful the way they are. Despite this, I don’t think every single person who gets their hair straightened is trying to switch races. Hair is just hair and you can do whatever you want to it. Some days it looks cool in an Afro and other days you might want it straight and sometimes you might dye is orange. It doesn’t have to be political or mean you are taking any sort of stand

This is one person’s opinion. How do you feel about it? Join the conversation in the comments section!

One thought on “The Natural Hair Issue

  1. Thank you for this. I went natural as a matter of necessity, too. Let’s just say over my first year at ALA, Joburg weather and chemicals in my hair took their toll. My hair got very damaged. Eventually, I decided the best thing for me to do was chop it off and start fresh. However, it was only when I cut my hair that I realized the “movement” I had joined. Suddenly I was made aware of my kink, and all the politics behind it. I had a new, childlike awe to the texture on my own hair, and had a small sense of accomplishment at watching it grow. On most days, I love my natural hair, and I would totally relax it one day if I wished to do so. At the moment, though, the pros of growing it natural greatly outweigh the cons, and I feel content with my hair. That’s what matters, that I am happy with my hair. Honestly, I say to each her own- what we do with the way we look should be what we want. Our value or validity should not come from how we wear our hair, dress, speak or behave. Rather, how we do all of these things should reflect how much we value ourselves. 🙂


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