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Chapter I: My White Boyfriend Changed My View on My Kinky “Kitchen”

Avatar • Jan 26, 2015
hair

Some of the “kitchen”.

 From the writer: The original article (posted below) is about a boyfriend who saw the beauty in his girlfriend’s “kitchen”.  A follow up article, chapter II, will touch upon race and hair as it relates to this story.

The most important thing about our gas-equipped kitchen was that Mama used to do hair there. The hot comb was a fine-toothed iron instrument with a long wooden handle and a pair of iron curlers that opened and closed like scissors. … The word ‘kitchen’ has another meaning, and the kitchen that I’m speaking of is the very kinky bit of hair at the back of your head… When hair had begun to ‘turn’, as they’d say– to return to its natural kinky glory–it was the kitchen that turned first (the kitchen around the back and nappy edges at the temples).”

~ Quote from IN THE KITCHEN by Henry Louis Gates

Back in my relaxer days, I thought it was essential to straighten every kink in my hair from the roots to the edges. One section of my hair that never remained straight for long was my “kitchen”. You see, that “kitchen” – that unruly hair at the nape of my neck – would stay kinky and due to conditioned thinking, I viewed that area as unsightly and unkempt. I did not like my “kitchen” one bit, and this was reinforced when the salonist would shave it off without asking. That nappy hair back there just did not belong.

Going natural did NOT change my mindset about my “kitchen”

When I went natural in 2008, I had fallen in love with my hair and its kinks – except for those in my “kitchen.” I know this sounds odd, but that was honestly my mentality back then. My kinky puffs, my twist updos, and my fuzzy twist outs were all beautiful to me, but no matter the style, that “kitchen” never appealed to me. Brushing and the application of gel only worked temporarily. Within an hour, I’d see the little o’s re-develop. Why couldn’t my “kitchen” just behave? Why couldn’t it form into cute little ringlets? So, I started to shave it off just as I did in my relaxer days and just as that stylist had first done years ago. The rest of my hair could be kinky, but that “kitchen” had to be cleaned.

Take the kinks out of your mind instead of your hair”

~Quote from Marcus Garvey

My boyfriend’s viewpoints on my kitchen

When winter hit and I began wearing braid extensions, I let the naps grow in all their glory. Getting bogged down with work and life, I could not afford to be bothered with keeping up the “kitchen,” so I just let it be. However, just because I left it to grow uncontrollably did not necessarily mean I came to like its existence. I had merely just come to manage it – partially accept it – for the time being.

One evening, while resting my head on my boyfriend’s shoulder, he started to play with my “kitchen” and said, “Cute curls.”  Thrown off-guard by the terms “cute” AND “curls,” I looked up at him and said, “Huh?!” You see, all I had seen back there were unkempt naps that needed to be shaved — unruly kinks that made my updos look messy. So when he said “cute,” I laughed and followed by “curls,” I nearly doubled over. He must be looking through another set of goggles.

How his viewpoints were a catalyst for changing my viewpoints

What he said that day replayed in my mind. What had he been seeing? Why was it different from what I had been seeing?  Why had I decided that my “kitchen” was so wrong?

It took some time, but one morning, the fog was removed from my periphery. I was in front of the mirror bunning up my braids when I recognized the “cute” and “curls” my boyfriend had said days prior. What could possibly be ugly about the natural kinks that grew back there? How could something so much apart of me, of my DNA, not belong back there? “Unsightly” gradually transformed into “beautiful” before my very eyes. Rubbing my hands against the nape of my neck, I also felt the beauty; so much texture and intricacy of little o’s under my fingers.

The unattractive, kinky “kitchen” had become an illusion of the past formed from years of relaxers and conditioned thinking. What was really on the back of my head was my beautiful hair – that’s it!

 

How do you feel about your “kitchen”? Did your view change when you went natural?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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fjkl
fjkl
5 years ago

Click-baiting.

hmm
hmm
5 years ago

I don’t think it has anything to do with “colonizer” (the subtle shade in this response…smh). Everyone values the opinions and support of those that we love. Sometimes it’s the little push that helps us in our journey to self love. I doubt the color of her boyfriend’s skin is what changed her mind — it was the fact that he was her boyfriend, a man she loved and respected. I hated my chin until my friend pointed out that many models have long chins and that she thought mine was pretty. When you value someone, their words hold more… Read more »

fancycoils
fancycoils
5 years ago
Reply to  hmm

Well, the author put “white boyfriend” in the title of the post. She could’ve just typed “boyfriend”. To me, that implies the color of his skin played an equal, if not greater role, in validation of her hair than just the words alone.

hmm
hmm
5 years ago
Reply to  fancycoils

Did she choose the title? If she did, it’s more likely that she knew it would get people to click on it and read what she had to say, or because of the irony of the situation. Like, I doubt at the moment she loved her curls she was thinking “White people like this!” . But, for example, as a person with rice as a major part of my culture, if an Italian dude showed me the wonders of rice, I would be laughing at myself — “It took an Italian guy to introduce ME to rice!”. Of course I… Read more »

Adriannan Nonyo
Adriannan Nonyo
5 years ago
Reply to  fancycoils

The person above hmm gave you the reason

Zee Pyzee
Zee Pyzee
5 years ago

I find it fascinating how some men of other races find our natural hair beautiful yet some/most black men can’t even fathom why we go natural in the 1st place…

I think pointing out that he was white was for sensationalism, to stir up that “white savior” complex controversy or whatever, lol. I don’t believe this would’ve gotten the same amount of attention if it had said “my asian boyfriend: or “my native american boyfriend”.

Either way it’s about accepting & loving who you are & everything you were given so I’m this young woman is finally able to do just that.

MommieDearest
MommieDearest
5 years ago
Reply to  Zee Pyzee

I think it would have been fine if the title just said “My Boyfriend…” IMO the fact that he is white didn’t add anything to the story. It’s a nice story regardless. *shrugs*

tina
tina
5 years ago

Hi Nonye, It won’t happen overnight, but I do believe everyone can take the steps to loving themselves first, even after a lot of negative comments. Compliments help, but I do not think it should be the catalyst.

Rose
Rose
5 years ago

This is an interesting post, and I’m sure Chinwe speaks to a lot of women with her story. I think it’s not important what race her boyfriend is. What is more interesting is how we internalize racism, even if huge chunks of society have moved on from hating our image. It sounds ridiculous to us women because we are natural. Of course we love your. Yet, Chinwe isn’t lying when she identifies the “kitchen” as a place of shame for many black women. I thought it was once seen as the part of the hair which “revealed” one’s blackness, if… Read more »

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago
Reply to  Rose

See, but this is why we’re confused in a lot of ways when we dissect race; we want to discuss internalized racism, yet don’t want to indict white supremacy. It is ABSOLUTELY important what race her bf is to the moral of the story. Who did we internalize racism from? White people. Which is why it is a profound revelation for a BW to enhance her self love via the affection of a WM. this is literally the reason why she felt it necessary to title the article as such.

Paula
Paula
5 years ago

Sometimes, its really ain’t all that deep. How about this man loves this woman and was just touching her neck and just didn’t see anything wrong with the small hairs growing back there.. they felt soft to the touch. So he just told her so.…. no big deal. Every woman regardless of your color wants a man to notice her and in some ways validate what she already knows… that she is beautiful. I love myself.…. but it always feels good to get some indication that I am lovable from someone else. I truly understand what everyone is saying on… Read more »

Kennie B
Kennie B
5 years ago
Reply to  Paula

Beautifully said!!! ???

s lynn
s lynn
5 years ago
Reply to  Paula

So far the best comment I’ve read on this post. I’m African so the word ” kitchen” means nothing to me. However we all can agree that there are things we hate about our bodies, our looks. Self hate occurs with each one of us & our loved ones can be the people who show us that what we hate so deeply is actually beautiful. Whether her man was black, Asian or whatever at the end of the day he started her off into a journey of self love. Which I find beautiful.

CurlsCoilsKinks&Culture
CurlsCoilsKinks&Culture
5 years ago
Reply to  Paula

Yes!!???

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

Before I started transitioning in 2007, I used texturizers. The kitchen and all the hair in the zone above there retained what I now know to be its normal pattern better than the rest of my hair. I wished the curls were bigger, but It wasn’t particularly irksome. I’ve been completely natural since March 2009, and since then, my kitchen hasn’t failed to amuse and irk me by turns. I’m amused by the perfection of the tendrils back there; they’re the most perfect miniature corkscrews to be found on my head. I sweat a lot in my head, so all… Read more »

MsCurlyKat
MsCurlyKat
5 years ago
Reply to  Cygnet

Lol. It’s also your natural scalp oils shifting back there from perspiring and body heat; Even if you had no product in your hair, that part would do its own thing. Mine does the same thing, even when I had to stop using oil on my hair for a period of time due to a skin ailment. My curls are fairly loose (no tighter than 1/4 ‑1/2 inch) on most of my head, but by shampoo day, from my nape to my occipital bone, most of the hair back there is nearly straight! Curly hair is amazing and temperamental, no… Read more »

Jerri
Jerri
5 years ago

Really? You don’t? Are you African American? Have you ever relaxed your hair? Maybe an analogy will help. If straight hair allowed us to ‘hide’ who we really were, those ‘kitchens’ were there to tell the truth! Thats why any person with type 3/4 hair would understand. The edges always reverted first after relaxing/straightening. So it contradicted the image we were trying to convey, so anything and everything was done to hide reversion.

Ch
Ch
5 years ago
Reply to  Jerri

Yes to all your questions and i’m a type 4. I still dont see the issue with it, no one i knew cared about it. Plus, i never was the type to slap a relaxer on at the first sight of new growth.

Ch
Ch
5 years ago
Reply to  Jerri

Yes im african american, i used to relax my hair, my hair is 4b. The “kitchen” never bothered me. I was never the type to slap on a relaxer at the first site of new growth.

me
me
5 years ago
Reply to  Jerri

Lol. We werent all trying to “hide” something. if your hair is straightened it Just looks neater.

cococrispe
cococrispe
5 years ago

I love anyone who loves us, just as we are.

artrese
artrese
5 years ago

like my husband 🙂

Chinwe
Chinwe
5 years ago

There is a disconnect between my post and the title chosen. Some readers picked up on that and I’ll talk a bit about that in the follow up post. Just stay tuned …

And no, the color of his skin did not play any role in “the validation of my hair” …

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago
Reply to  Chinwe

Keep tellin yaself that dear…“And no, the color of his skin did not play any role in “the validation of my hair”

JustAGirl
JustAGirl
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

You poor, petty, hateful thing. I pity you. Get a life!!

nappy4ever
nappy4ever
5 years ago

that’s what I say too…

afromiga
afromiga
5 years ago

When i was young, around second grade. I used to play with the kitchen in the front of my hair. I would twirl it with my finger until it would break off, and then move on to the next one. I highly regret that because that very hair was my edges and now I no longer have edges to lay because I didn’t know better when I was little. I have started to grow back my edges, but the process is slow when you don’t have the money to buy castor oil or biotin pills

riisriis
riisriis
5 years ago

I know! And it’s so sad. Our own men hate our hair, calling it ugly while men of other races adore it. My sis went natural and her very mixed but mainly Hispanic bf loves her fro, he describes it as bombastic lol. I went natural but didn’t do a big chop, I had braids, just couldn’t do the TWA. I used to have natural hair when I was H.S. before it became the huge movement it is now so going natural wasn’t a big deal mentally. I like to mix it up with my hair all the time. Every… Read more »

Denise Kimberly
Denise Kimberly
5 years ago

When I was in 7th grade, I had my hair natural after going through a traumatic experience with a relaxer; my aunt used lye and no lye relaxers in my hair at the same time. The hair in the back of my either broke off or started sticking together. After a few months my hair started growing back and I had my little naps on the nape of my neck. While in class, one of my friends (she’s Irish) said ” I love your little curls!!” And she pointed to my little naps. I was about to say to her “those… Read more »

Camille
Camille
5 years ago

I think it’s because they don’t know anything about it or black beauty standards. It’s like asian eyelid stuff. I know a lot of asians, but I can’t tell single from double lids- I just see tilted eyes. It will never be important to me but I know it’s a big deal. Unless a white person has black relatives or lots of black friends, they don’t know what any of those words mean, or what values we attach to them. They think our hair is beautiful because it is. I also think they like it because it’s so different than… Read more »

Tru
Tru
5 years ago

I don’t know that this article is about validation or even validation by the “white savior”. I think it’s more of a realization and acceptance. Sometimes epiphanies happen at any time and through anyone… This instance just happened to change her perspective and she accepted her kinks or “Os” as curls and that they are cute…

abbiethrills
abbiethrills
5 years ago

Well, let’s pump the breaks a bit. White people enforced (and still enforce) this standard of beauty, whether they realise it or not, and we internalised that racism (and have for 100s of years). That’s literally where black folk’s hatred of themselves comes from. This situation’s a little different because the writer’s talking about their white significant other and we always search for validation from people we love, but… I typically take non-black people’s compliments with a grain of salt because as long as a white standard of beauty is in place, there’ll still be problems with people of afro descent showing… Read more »

abbiethrills
abbiethrills
5 years ago

Yeah, I would have understood if she added a note somewhere like “btw my bf is white,” but having it in the title is like *shrug*

I think the article seems like it’s more about finding validation from a loved one, rather than about who it’s coming from…so it would have been nice if that were the angle as opposed to the focus on the fact that he’s white.

Namaste
Namaste
5 years ago

Agreed. I finally watched the Dark Girls doc and the undercurrent that you speak of was omnipresent. All the while I’m thinking… Has there been some seismic societal shift that I completely missed?? It makes me more than uncomfortable… it makes me feel quite sorry for us.

Andrea
Andrea
5 years ago

Good article! We are beautiful and so is our hair…the “kitchen” too…self-love gotta love it!

fromanotherplanet
fromanotherplanet
5 years ago

Why is it that white people instantly see and appreciate the beauty of our natural hair and we (or our own) don’t and have so much criticism for it?”
Just so we are clear, we are talking about the same white people who banned black women from wearing natural hairstyles in the military? The same white people who won’t give jobs to qualified black men with dreads? The same white people who do not cast natural haired women in leading roles on tv and the big screen????
Lordttt!!! Can we have some context when we discuss hair and race??

Davina
Davina
5 years ago

I doubt the poster was referring to the same people that you listed above when they made the comment about white people seeing beauty in natural hair because that would make no sense. Obviously if she was referring to the “white people” you referenced than her statement would be false. It is more natural to assume she was referring to people that don’t judge on ethnicity and simply see beauty in things that are beautiful.

fromanotherplanet
fromanotherplanet
5 years ago
Reply to  Davina

Guuurl… *exhales* The “white people” I mentioned are the system, the majority, the institution and the systemic ideology that historically socialized black people to hate their natural features. There’s no need for making bold declarations about white people appreciating our beauty more because a few white men who love sistas are checking for you. Look at the bigger picture.

cynfbby
cynfbby
5 years ago

go in and let have!

kalexa1
kalexa1
5 years ago

Well said! They started this whole insidious race-wreck in the first place!

Adeola @ *The Mane Captain*

Black women can take tings out of context. I don’t know how a tiny portion of your hair that you don’t even see and that others rarely see can cause such an uproar. smh
http://www.coilsandglory.com

BNYC
BNYC
5 years ago

Don’t like my “kitchen”. Shaves it off.

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago

White savior bullshit.
I find it hard to believe that no Black man in her life has never told her that her natural hair is beautiful…This man would not be excluding the kitchen.
But aaaalllloovvaaa sudden her ‘white’ bf refers to them as ‘curls’ and it’s revolutionary.
We as Black women just set ourselves up for these attacks against interracial dating because we’re always validating how we magically learn to love ourselves though appreciation from Whites.

Candi
Candi
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

You’re not natural or you have never worn your natural hair in public before all of us naturalistas know that the majority of the backlash we get and pressure to relax our hair is from our own specifically the men. Yes there are some whites who can not appreciate our hair but it is mostly those of the African American community who were taught to hate their and others natural hair and teach these practices to their children my black parents permed my hair as a child simply because it was natural and that’s what they were taught not my… Read more »

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago
Reply to  Candi

I have never in my life found the audacity to tell a random internet person who they are and what they’ve done, but that clearly made you feel superior so we’re just gonna go head & roll wit it. Hm. But it looks like *YOU’RE* the one bound by a self perpetuated stigma because your entire comment was about how Black women are justified running into the arms of White men because *SOME* Black men do not appreciate natural hair. Keyword:some. You swirlers will twist anything and everything about white supremacy to justify your fetishes and low-self esteem. I’m with you… Read more »

guest
guest
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

I’ve been observing how some black women on the internet seem to have snap reactions to stories of other black women in interracial relationships. Women who, whether you approve or not, are living their lives however they want. Reading your posts I have come to realize that I am disgusted with women like you. You think you know everything. You think quoting some Garvey means you’re like the blackest person on the planet. You think because you only date and defend black men you couldn’t possibly be seen as an idiot when you express disdain for black women who date IRR.… Read more »

CurlsGalore
CurlsGalore
5 years ago
Reply to  guest

The fact that you said the poster’s comments about irr is based on jealousy, says everything about YOU. Obviously you think having a white man is status symbol. You talk about some black women bashing irr, what about those praising/bragging about their white man while bashing black men? Getting a white man really isn’t that hard either, maybe she is like me and just loves and appreciates good black men…shocking thought I know.

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago
Reply to  Candi

I have never had the audacity to tell a random internet person who they are or what they’ve done, you sound silly. It’s YOU who is stuck in a self perpetuated cycle of anti-blackness, because all your comment was about was praising White men just because *SOME* Black men do not appreciate natural hair, and *SOME* BM may have disrespected you. You swirlers will twist any & everything about white supremacy to justify your fetish and low self esteem — THEY ENSLAVED YOU, of COURSE they’re not suffering from an over all feeling of inadequacy, they’re not fucking marginalized. But Black… Read more »

Eve
Eve
3 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Um Black men do need to step it up. Malcolm X was black in time when America was much worse in terms of racist laws and the like. He taught self love IN SPITE of this. Black men don’t get a pass because of slavery if anything they should be the most outspoken advocates because what is a community without it’s men defending it? I would go as far to say that th number one calling of a man is to defend and protect the women and children in his community. Black men collectively fail to do this and are… Read more »

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago
Reply to  Candi

“Who taught you to hate yourself!?” — identify that quote for me. Black men, nor Black mothers taught you to hate your natural kinks, WHITES taught us to hate ourselves and our features are still being either diminished, altered, or stolen today. Since you’re such a “naturalista” then maybe you should go find a Black man, and make little afro-haired babies, since our natural hair is so beautiful and all. But you might not do that, because since White men are so superior, you want your baby to have that wavy shit, no self hate issues for your little biracial… Read more »

Laura Helvey
Laura Helvey
4 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

It just doesn’t seem right to characterize, stereotype, or clump one group all together like that. I have had bad experiences from some men, some women, some blacks, some whites, some Asians, some Latinos, some gays, some straights, some teachers, some cops, some grocery baggers, etc… I am just glad not everyone takes a bad experience (that may or may not have happened personally to them) and clumps an entire group together for hate. It’s just not a good thing to hate… ever. 🙁

Eve
Eve
3 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Lol! I’m a little late to the discussion but I think this is spot on. I have had men of all different races compliment my hair black, white, hispanic whatever it’s usually the first compliment I get from men trying to hit on me. At the same time I understand that a lot of black people hate themselves, to this day my mother does not call me hair beautiful nor does my dad (though I will say my mom has actually criticized my hair while my dad simply has no opinion), my “old school” parents think nothing of “nappy hair”… Read more »

BubzLife Starlight
BubzLife Starlight
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Whites weren’t the ones calling my hair nappy.

Guest
Guest
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Honestly, I can’t imagine a black man complimenting a black woman’s kitchen. Not because they hate it but because it’s the kitchen. It just does what it does and is nothing special lol. A white person might find it fascinating because it is different from theirs.

Hola
Hola
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Girl, please. I’ve NEVER NOT ONCE IN LIFE EVER had a black man even compliment my hair let alone my “kitchen”. And yes my white boyfriend DOES appreciate me and my hair and my skin more than any black man ever has. Sorry. Just facts. I don’t need validation from white men and I don’t need validation from black men. I learned to love myself, by myself; no white man taught me that, and certainly no black man taught me that. This is just a simple observation I’m making between how black men typically percieve me vs. how white (and other)… Read more »

BreezeJC
BreezeJC
5 years ago
Reply to  Hola

Look, Black women like you, in your position, are incapable of giving an unbiased perspective of how Black women can validate OURSELVES in the collective conscious. Ya’ll have already been validated by White males at a critical point when you did not YET validate your own unique beauty, and when ya’ll come to me telling me one White male has corrected the multitude of rejection from many Black males — I don’t trust it. But your response was inundated with anti-blackness as well. Against our men, whom have their own degradation and trauma under White Supremacy, which is indoctrinating THEM into… Read more »

Lakitha Goss
Lakitha Goss
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

I agree with you. I seek validation from no one. Take me or leave me.

Black british beauty
Black british beauty
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Tbh perhaps it was just the fact that someone else had openly appreciated it regardless of their skin tone and ‘race’. Perhaps no other man had paid attention to it, its really NOT everyday hate on people you know. Perhaps just sometimes appreciate a great article about a woman who is beginning appreciate herself. Not everyday “white saviour” and white bashing… LOL JUST LOVE YOURSELF!

Megan
Megan
5 years ago
Reply to  BreezeJC

Been natural 5 years. Got my first compliment from a Black man 3 months ago. Started from White men immediately. That isn’t a ranking of White compliments or opinion as better, it’s just a matter of fact, so I can believe that she’s being genuine…after all, if she was excluding her kitchen as beautiful, why couldn’t Black men (who were very likely slow to appreciate her going natural) be doing the same? Why assume it was included if they were complimenting her? I agree that setting Whiteness as a standard is a problem, but sometimes you need a new perspective… Read more »

fairgold
fairgold
5 years ago

I think sometimes it takes someone else to see the beauty. And because we don’t see many afo americans flaunting their natural hair in the media we tend to forget how beautiful we are. Black White yellow Red people are beautiful

MsCurlyKat
MsCurlyKat
5 years ago

I’m glad you made peace with it. When I was a hairstylist, I used to get mad when my customers called any part of their hair ‘kinky’ or ‘nappy’. I would correct them by reminding them it was simply tightly curled. Mind you, this was during a time when relaxers and even Jherri Curls were the popular styles. They still got their chemical services as they wished (and the chemicals are what eventually ended my cosmetology career, they are not good for anyone!), but it was my hope that reminding them their hair was simply a tighter curl than what… Read more »

MsCurlyKat
MsCurlyKat
5 years ago

I think it is a valid question, glad nobody has responded negatively to it. I’m sure that some probably do ‘slick’ their edges for the very reason you have stated. I’ve observed other reasons as well. The reasons include blending the edges into the rest of the style-sometimes a little product stretches tighter edges so they blend more neatly into the rest of the hair. Some do it because their edges are so fragile, they get caught in a comb or brush or on their fingers as they style it, so they have to apply something, even if only slicking… Read more »

teppuM
teppuM
5 years ago

I don’t feel like “white people” in general overall see and appreciate the beauty of natural hair. I don’t think black people by and large do either.
The most negative comments I’ve gotten about my hair have come from black people, BUT i’ve also gotten them from white people, too — the “microagression” stuff. Like “her hair is soft, not like yours,” from people who’ve never touched my hair and have no idea how soft it actually is. =p

White people over all don’t get it. But this article is about this lady’s boyfriend who happens to be white.

NolaJD
NolaJD
5 years ago

Some people don’t view the term nap(s) as negative…like me.

Fix it
Fix it
5 years ago
Reply to  NolaJD

I think we should stay away from using word that’s whites used to negatively describe us

NBestOne
NBestOne
5 years ago
Reply to  Fix it

Yes, it is like we agree with the term with the we use it in the same negative way.

blip
blip
5 years ago

my “kitchen” and the kitchen of all the naturals i know is usually in the middle of our head, and the back is the softer part with looser curl pattern. anyway i hate that middle part, it does its own thing and i can’t tame it at all

FlyPen
FlyPen
4 years ago

I appreciate this article. The comments are more disturbing. I am disappointed that one woman’s view can lead to so much disrespect by others. Do people write blogs to share anyone’s but their own experience and perspective? If I don’t benefit from a view, I keep searching the internet. I do not get on my soapbox about why this woman is “ridiculous” or whatever. It’s insulting that we sometimes view our experiences and opinions as more valid. Perhaps our opinion is just more valuable to us and not any more worthy. Too bad we can’t hold space for others’ feelings… Read more »

Shanèe Grant
Shanèe Grant
5 years ago

This is like the third article like this I’ve seen online recently . The whole ” I didn’t appreciate my natural self till my white boyfriend told me he did, so now I love it ” not to mention its a sweeping generalization. I don’t think as many black women stress about their “kitchen” or their “naps” as this article made it seem. The natural hair movement is at an all time HIGH among African American women . articles like this would love to have you believe that we never appreciate our natural selves while other races do . I’ve… Read more »

SemiXoXo
SemiXoXo
5 years ago
Reply to  Shanèe Grant

Yeah. Not gonna lie. I don’t know what her boyfriend being white had to do with accepting her ‘kitchen’. It was a bit irrelevant.

amberk
amberk
5 years ago

So wasn’t untill your white boyfriend approved of it that you saw your napes as beautiful too.…got it

Tina
Tina
5 years ago

I don’t understand why we need validation from others to accept the way our hair acts. Ladies accept yourselves first!

Nonye
Nonye
5 years ago
Reply to  Tina

I agree with your comment, but then I’m guilty as well. I see how validation from others can be the key to finally accepting ourselves. When you constantly hear negative things about ourselves from family, friends, media, etc we get use to believing it. Sometimes we need that one person who tells us differently because others have clouded our opinions.

SemiXoXo
SemiXoXo
5 years ago

I never referred to the back of my hair as the ‘kitchen’. I also never had a problem with it so I can’t relate to those that do. But I look at it like the rest of my hair: accept it for what it is. I know there are some ppl who straighten there edges and nape hair to make it look more presentable. I just don’t get it. Perhaps I’m biased but I feel like we should embrace our hair in it’s entirety and work with it, not against it.

Ch
Ch
5 years ago

I never knew this was a thing til i started reading hair blogs and forums. Like who really gives a flying fork about your nape hair?! I dont understand.

SheridaDaily
5 years ago

Interesting…

Lobstergirl
Lobstergirl
5 years ago

I always felt frustrated at my ‘kitchen’ — first time I ever heard that term but I am in the UK — when I used to relax my hair. Everything is so much less stressful now I’m natural — it’s just an extension of the rest of my hair — it fits! I love my healthier natural hair ?

clever_moniker
5 years ago

FUZZY EDGES FOREVER. Just like looser textures have their wisps of hair which dangle effortlessly, we have our own aesthetic. These naps are mine and don’t need to be laid straight or shorn. It’s not enough to be natural but know that all accompanying characteristics are within the spectrum of our hair type. It’s more than knowing which sections are 4A or 4B but knowing that the clumping of our curls at the nape is our own hair’s language. I surround myself with images of kinky hair and naps so I don’t forget that.

Kayla
Kayla
5 years ago

Mmhhmm.….

Crmy Coco
Crmy Coco
5 years ago

I don’t think it matters how and why black women start loving all things self, as long as it happens.

silly little thumb
silly little thumb
5 years ago

This is beautiful, Chinwe, but lately I’ve been noticing that the natural hair community has fallen in love with the “white savior” concept. It’s always I hate my hair, my family hates my hair, black men especially hate my hair, but no problem because I found a white man who loves me just the way I am and now I love myself, too. I won’t lie, my experience dating while natural vs. weaved/relaxed is more…diverse. But I have met black men and white men and hispanic men who love my hair and others who hated it. I’ve also had non… Read more »

Jerri
Jerri
5 years ago

You aren’t alone. I too have noticed the “white savior” trend.

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

You are a lovely young woman with a fab mane and it pleases me so you’ve come to accept your DNA in toto. What I do find fascinating,as I’m beginning to read stories which echo your experience on ‘the Internets’, is that it seems those carrying the phenotype of colonizers are able to break the cognitive shackles many of us continue to carry. Is this because many of us will only take as legitimate the opinions of the colonizer? Nevertheless, it’s always a positive to be romantically involved with a person who accepts you as you are. Congrats on accepting… Read more »

clever_moniker
5 years ago
Reply to  Guest

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think of her boyfriend in terms of his descent from “colonizers.” White men accepting our coils over black men has been an issue resurfacing over and over so it calls attention to the lack of empowerment from those in our own community. They were two little words that made an impact. It’s a wake up call to those black men who are still caught up with silky edges. It’s a nod to the black women who found self-acceptance outside their race when they should have found it within their community. It’s a PITY a white… Read more »

Adía
Adía
5 years ago

I like articles like this because if all your life you hear about how horrible your nappy kitchen is or how you need to take care of the beady beads sometimes all it takes is for someone to call it nice. It doesn’t have to be a white boyfriend or a SO at all but just someone to give your a different perspective

Edges_N_Paris
5 years ago

So your white boyfriend was the first person that asked why you shave your nape area? Your homies never told you that you were buggin out? Not even the hair stylist? I ask these questions because if your boyfriend was the first person to question your actions, then I understand why you were suddenly enlightened. Furthermore, that would have nothing to do with the fact that he was White, since perhaps you would have had the same epiphany had you heard it from someone else that was close to you. Now, if your white boyfriend WAS NOT the first person… Read more »

Stace
Stace
5 years ago

Never knew the term kitchen until an episode of Girlfriends. Not all naturals have issues with the hair at the nape of their neck or at their temples. This could be because not every natural has hair at the nape that behaves or looks like that of the example picture above. It could be that some people just didn’t care that much to be traumatized by it. I don’t know, but I don’t like all these whoa is the black woman’s image of herself stories. I never had any issues with my hair texture, skin complexion, facial features. I’m getting… Read more »

Tasha
Tasha
5 years ago

I’m sorry if I missed the point. But what does your boyfriend being white have to do with your kitchen ? You didn’t learn to accept it until you saw that he did? But did it really matter what color he was to begin with?

I’m just saying.

HairAnomaly
HairAnomaly
5 years ago

Bryan O’Connor to the rescue…*sigh* I stopped having a “kitchen” (a reference I never use personally) as soon as I went natural and started loving on my mane instead of trying to hide my hair with relaxers and other nonsense. My entire head is now full of “cute curls.” One of my exes, who was white, told me how much he loved my hair, and my response was simply “thanks.” I loved myself and my hair long before he did, and his approval was not some life altering experience. It’s a dangerous thing to let your esteem and worth stem… Read more »

Ashley DW
Ashley DW
5 years ago

I enjoyed this so much. I think it’s great when the person you love can help you love yourself just a little more. And for those making this discussion about the “white Saviour” consider this. If her boyfriend were black/brown would the discussion turn into “Why does she need a man to validate what’s beautiful about her”? Any number of arguments could be presented to lessen the beauty of her realization. Can we applaud growth in self love without trying to tear it down?

Maneglory
Maneglory
5 years ago

I’m an African woman from South Africa. And African- American culture does filter through and influence our modern day living. But this is one of those things that I hope never affects mine, my daughters or other African future generations to come.…I just don’t understand it. And I hope I never do.

Lady4c
Lady4c
5 years ago

This site has been like a sanctuary too me you guys and all your storiesss.
I started a blog for a project and did a cover on going natural. Could you guys help me out and comment/feedback would appreciate it soo muchhhh! Thank you!

http://whatswithmariss.weebly.com/blogzone/why-going-natural-is-such-a-big-thing

Mary
Mary
5 years ago

That’s what’s wrong with us…other people have to tell us we are beautiful for us to believe it. Other people have to Columbus what we have done for it to become good or accepted. We have to do it for ourselves and stop making excuses.

MalibuStacy
MalibuStacy
5 years ago

Wow, that white penis is a magic stick I guess!

MalibuStacy
MalibuStacy
5 years ago

Smh at this article. I’m glad my father told me how lovely my kinky hair was before I could get a chance to hinge my beauty or attractiveness on another person’s opinion. Thanks Daddy

Axyxa
Axyxa
5 years ago

I had to comment! I remember the first time that I heard the term“kitchen.” I was in a college classroom taught by an Afro-American woman professor. She could not believe that I was unfamiliar with the term and the shame around it. But I was oblivious to the term and shame. It wasn’t as though my hair wasn’t kinky and that my mother had not used a hot comb on it when I was a child. My mother never used the term because she does not have a kitchen and neither do I. My hair is 4c in the front… Read more »

Jacky
Jacky
5 years ago

Nice post. I love when people finally start appreciating the features that make them unique. I know that I may get some hate for this but I don’t understand why naturals slick back their edges. It seems to me like it stems from the same feelings that the writer felt towards her ‘kitchen’; feeling like the edges aren’t good enough, the way that they are naturally. I’m still yet to understand this phenomenon. If I’m wrong, please correct me but I sometimes feel like naturals do it to make their edges look like those of other races or to make… Read more »

saniel
saniel
5 years ago

Never thought about it, it’s all part of my hair.

CurlsCoilsKinks&Culture
CurlsCoilsKinks&Culture
5 years ago

I’ve never hated my kitchen. But I did hate my hair before I went natural about 15 months ago. I used to like playing with it; I’d twirl it around my fingers. I do love the title. I think that men of other races: white, Hispanic, etc. tend to enjoy our natural hair more in general. At least that has been my experience. I get tons of compliments from my non-black make friends about my hair but rarely are my black male friends impressed by my natural hair. Ultimately it does come down to simply loving yourself. I love this… Read more »

Nnennaya
Nnennaya
5 years ago

Oh yes! My view of my “kitchen” changed when I went natural. As the writer said, when I was still relaxing my hair 3 years ago, I made sure the hair dresser always applied ale properly on my “kitchen” because I hated the feel of it. But now, I don’t even bother. Since am all kinky so why wouldn’t my “kitchen” be? *smiles* Really nice article. And nice White Boyfriend she got *wink*

sweetli30
sweetli30
5 years ago

Why is it that white people instantly see and appreciate the beauty of our natural hair and we (or our own) don’t and have so much criticism for it?

Just the other day, one of my white colleagues was complaining about her hair not staying in place and stated that I (natural-haired black woman) “got the good hair” and it’s always cute and stays styled. I had to laugh to myself.…the irony of those words.

I am so happy to see black women embracing their natural hair and reveling in the God-given crown bestowed upon them.….kitchen and all.

:o)

fromanotherplanet
fromanotherplanet
5 years ago

Lordttt

StevieT
StevieT
5 years ago

I hate the fact that people especially black women call their tight curls, naps. They are not naps, they are very tight curls that are beautiful in every way. Just because they don’t look a certain way doesn’t mean they’re ugly and that you have to hide them. EMBRACE the curls!

Akua Quinn
Akua Quinn
5 years ago

Funny how other cultures are able to appreciate our beauty as Africans that we were taught to hate. What’s not funny is when they profit off of it furthering the grossly disproportionate distribution of wealth that the Trans Atlantic slave trade established during this country’s formative years. A little off topic I know but back to your point: White supremacy (in our community) taught you to how to hate your hair and now your white lover has taught you how to love it! I suppose its only right… Congratulations!!

No disrespect intended IJS though… ‑_-

Rene? Màlizía Marandu
Rene? Màlizía Marandu
5 years ago

Yeah the thing is, when i read this post I thought a few things. 1) I also really feel uncomfortable about the “kitchen” in the back of my head.. but as of late iv been too lazy to do anything about it. Not that i ever do anything about it other than brush it or cover it up in protective styling as much as I can. However so i love the point she made. Why must I be so ashamed? of my beautiful curls? 2) I have also recieved so much slack for my tightly coiled hairs. my mother was… Read more »

Mira8
Mira8
2 years ago

I’m tired of being told not to touch black hair when the fact is BLACK HAIR TOUCHES ME! I’m not even mad about it. Just sick of black women projecting their touchiness. If you don’t like it so much stop doing it.

Black Girl With Long Hair
Reply to  Mira8

Huh?

Terru
Terru
3 months ago

I am white and I have those unruly kinks and curls that never stay straight no matter what I do. I wear my hair up all the time because New Orleans is always hot and humid.
They drive me crazy. But at 59 I have finally gotten over controlling them and let them be. My husband loves them.

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