Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#TeamNatural .... Wait! What?

So the internet when HAM when a website displayed a Caucasian women as a representative of the "Natural Hair Movement." It's been ugly in the cyber-world. It was ugly for a few weeks and fortunately, I have no dog in this fight, however, I have an opinion. From my understanding, the Natural Hair Movement really isn't as much a movement as it is a statement. For centuries, women with Afro textured hair that was often called, "nappy," or "bad hair" etc., would often use Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) to straighten our hair to either loosen or eliminate the curl. There are women who were known for having "good" hair; however, they had curls that were loose, almost wavy and that was the "ideal" texture. They didn't straighten their hair with the vigilance we kinky girls did.
Not gonna lie, having the "z" pattern wiry curls absolutely sucked! Sitting between your mum's legs as she waved a hot comb through your kinks was not fun. Sadly, the detangle process was what did my hair in. Thick hair, think wiggy, that really had no part but rather sat on one's head was so difficult to comb through most times I found excuses to not want my hair done, but that meant no church, no church meant no home.
When most girls came of age, to be determined by their house rules, they could get a relaxer to straighten or relax the curl. When I found out about this, SIGN ME UP!!!!  Against my mother's wishes, I succumbed...


It was as if heaven opened and cherubs were released around my head that day. I could not understand how addictive this would be. I felt like I had "good hair" although everyone knew the good from the bad haired girls, it was wicked moving my head and my hair not stuck to my head. When the wind blew, I had some problems, just like the white girls! We understood the struggle of rain, fog, and other elements that could take a good hair day and throw it down the toilet.
My mum refused to "put that junk" on my head, so I had to work humiliating chores for families to afford my addiction. I had a worker's permit, but I had no experience, car, references, so cleaning, babysitting, writing papers, all means to get the roots straight. Most women did this for most of their life.
About 10 years ago someone brought to my attention all the health hazards of the "creamy crack." I spent a lot of time researching anything to dispute the claims. How could I allow hearsay to steal my joy? Devil be damned!

Sick as it sounds, I scoured the internet to find out what beautician was known for getting hair bone straight. There were times, my scalp was on fire, but if I said anything then the chemicals would be rinsed out with the chance of my hair not straightening all the way. So I suffered with the chemical burns in order to have that hair that moved like the girls on tv and magazines. Sure, my body and face were jacked, but the hair was on point.
In time, more of my associates were doing a "big chop" or "bc" and opting to stop straightening their hair and to let it grow in it's natural state. Some were more zealous than others. They said natural and they meant natural. They stopped putting any chemicals in their hair. There were recipes made from ripened bananas, avocados, raw honey and other items found in the house. As for colouring the hair? Henna! I started greying at nine so I do colour my hair. If that makes me unnatural, cool, I'm okay with that, but the fact that in 06, I transitioned (no big chop) from relaxed to natural has been such an amazing journey. It's had highs and lows, it takes a lot more time, patience, and tender loving care to do my hair, but I don't mind. I am past the whinging about how many hours it takes since the beauty shop took a whole day, it's nice to have my weekly pampering session.
So, where is this #teamnatural coming from? When a Caucasian woman was interviewed by a predominately black website, pitch forks and torches ensued. It was the interview that divided a movement. In all fairness, the struggle with kinky coarse hair is much different than the curly haired girl who isn't even transitioning. She just decided to embrace her natural curls. No more scrunchies, this girl is wearing her hair proudly.
So, shots were fired, fingers were pointing, domains were questioned, boycotts were trending and accusations ran amok. Nearly everyone, even those who didn't understand the "movement" were chiming in. A man held a forum via Web Ex to try to bring the peace back. I tried to listen, but I kept thinking about that song, "I am not my hair," by E. Badu. Was it really that serious? It's one thing to not spend money where you aren't respected such as Asian owned beauty supply stores, but now we are boycotting some of the friends we "grew up" with online.
I must admit, I did view some bloggers and vloggers differently; but fortunately, none of them live on my side of the world. Being an outcast has its benefits.
Do I think that it was wrong to put a "Becky" as a featured natural? There are some who have kinky hair; however, this one did not. I find that poor taste because it would be like having Kate Moss represent Weight Watchers. Sure, she may "embrace her natural curves," but they miss the point.
Will there ever be a #teamunited? Of course not, so I'll just dodge the bullets, educate myself when necessary and stay out of it. How was your week?


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