Lately there’s been quite a bit of discussion in the comment box about what being natural is and is not. We decided to parse out the five main points of contention to see if they are reasonable. Check it out.
Putting Color in Your Hair
Many women feel that coloring your hair simply disqualifies you as natural. There is a point to that — Hair dye is technically a chemical that weakens the hair and in some cases, alters the texture. But “going natural” most commonly refers to embracing texture, not color, although that’s part of the process too. Some argue that choosing a light color is an attempt to distance one’s self from a black/afro aesthetic, but what about creativity? What about experimenting and trying new things? Ladies, what’s your take?
It’s true that the natural hair movement began with, and is firmly rooted in black culture. And that is not likely to change. But it’s also true that accepting hair texture is something that women of other ethnicities struggle with too (as Algerian style icon Sa Rah shared) — albeit to a lesser extent. The consequences that black women can face for being natural — romantically, professionally and socially — are far more grave than women of other ethnicities. STILL, any kinky or curly haired woman can benefit from the inspiration, instruction and advice shared within the natural community. So, what do you think? Can any curly or kinky-haired woman be called ‘natural’, or is it a label that should remain unique to black women?
Getting a Texturizer
Many naturals were deeply upset when they discovered that Titi Branch, one half of the duo behind natural haircare line Miss Jessie’s, uses a texturizer to elongate her curls. Many saw this as a betrayal and antithetical to the natural ideal of embracing your texture ‘as is’. Texturizers are a chemical treatment that loosen kinks and curls but don’t fully straighten the hair. Without proper upkeep they can weaken the hair, and lead to breakage. Some feel that, because texturizers don’t fully eliminate kinks and curls, they should still count as natural. Ladies, what do you think?
Being Black and Having Wavy/Straight Hair
Black hair comes in a wide variety of textures, from kinky/cottony to bone straight. What about black women with naturally wavy and straight hair? Some feel that, because their texture is already socially acceptable, they don’t “need” the natural community and shouldn’t be a part of it. Some of this thinking came into play here on BGLH when we posted an article by Brittany, a wavy haired natural. What do you think ladies? Should being black and having wavy or straight hair disqualify you from being natural?
Being Natural Underneath a Weave
Our 2011 interview with Angela Simmons, who has a massive afro under a shiny head of weave, sparked major debate. Some felt that Ms Simmons, who didn’t know much about managing her natural hair (outside of seeing a stylist) was not qualified to be featured on a natural hair blog. But an increasing number of women are transitioning from relaxers via weaves, while keeping their natural kinks and curls hidden underneath. Some don’t yet have the courage to rock their natural hair out in public, and others find that weaves — which can withstand significantly more manipulation and heat styling than natural hair — are more convenient. Does this mean these women are not natural?
What does being natural mean to you?