When I first went natural almost a decade ago, I was definitely the odd one out in many of my circles. If you know anything about my story, you’ll remember that my own mother was not really supportive of the “natural thing” I was doing. She once stood in front of the door, while I was on my way to work to question my “provocative” choice of hairstyle. I’m also pretty sure that if you started around that time too, you might have received the same disapproving message from your family, friends, neighbors and others.
It wasn’t before long that going natural became more popular. It was still a “new” thing even 5 years ago, but as a “new” thing it was gaining good traction as women all over began to share their tips with the world via mediums like blogs ands YouTube. Black women were beginning to have more confidence in their hair and would see many others rock looks, styles and lengths that were at a time deemed possible for only a select few, genetically inclined ladies.
Photo by Glenford Nunez
Natural hair has come a long way. We now see it in so many places in so many colors, lengths and styles, but is natural hair, and even more specifically, is natural, long hair as inspiring and brim with meaning as it used to be?
I’ve had the opportunity to poll my subscribers on what is most important to them when it comes to natural hair. I wanted to get some raw data to help me discover what kind of information they really want to see from me.
The first question I asked was, “what does growing your natural hair longer mean to you?” Three hundred eighty-four ladies responded with various answers but despite the collection of various answers, one type of answer reoccurred and became one of the most prominent. That answer was somewhere along the lines of, “My growing longer hair means I am proof that my race doesn’t limit the length my hair can grow to.”
I found that particular answer interesting because I would say and in fact, I have said the same thing. I grow and keep my hair long because I am compelled to want to prove people’s perceptions of black women and in this case particularly black women’s hair growth and beauty, wrong.
Now that there are so many black women on team #longhairdontcare, does growing our natural hair to healthy, longer lengths still matter?
It’s clear to me on so many levels that this movement has always been about more than just hair, but should we continue to allow the socio and psychological implications of this movement influence our current hair decisions?