There has been a massive shift in the way black women wear their hair over the last couple of years. The natural hair movement which started a while back but really built momentum over the last five to six years has had many black women and even men, reject the ways of relaxing and chemicals and returning to their hairs natural state. Even I myself did and it was a somewhat love-hate relationship with this new texture of hair. But like anything else, with time and a lot of patience I have grown to love my hair (on most days). But like my mother used to say, my hair is as stubborn as the owner.

You may be wondering where I am going with this. A recent conversation with a friend of mine brought out the question; why are only some natural hairstyles acceptable? You see, she had been out in public, slaying a headscarf, unfortunately, her headscarf fell off in public and her natural hair underneath the scarf was left in Dudu plaits. Of course naturally, she was mortified while her boyfriend picked up the scarf and handed it back to her. I’m sure she is not the only one to have had such an experience.

From this, I realised that most of the time I wore a headscarf was when I didn’t feel like my hair was in a presentable state. And when I say presentable, I mean in the eyes of the public. The natural hair community. The most compliments I get on my hair is when I have it out in a twist/braid out. So when we wear our hair out it’s stretched 90% of the time. If I turn around and walk out in Dudu plaits, I wonder would I get the same compliments for wearing my hair naturally?

It seems as though we only want to go natural to a certain stage. But why is that? Why do we think our natural state is not acceptable? Why do we feel the need, even when we go natural to still manipulate our hair to look a certain way? We may have moved from chemically damaging our hair but if there ever was a time to illustrate that old habits die hard it was this.

Having a film like Nappily Ever After which addresses some of these topics on natural hair is a great conversation starter, that as we move forward in our decisions with hair and things within the black community we need to really understand what it is that we are seeking. So natural means all states of natural the Lord has placed on your head. So please go out confidently in just that. Let us not make someone’s opinion of us become our reality. The only way we change mindsets is by daring to be ourselves, fully ourselves without conformity.

Jane T



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