and I thought that Miley Cyrus and her “twerking” appropriation was bad…
My natural hair is not a joke and it’s not a trend.
There was an article featured on a natural hair blog that featured a white woman and her “journey to natural hair acceptance.” I am not going to give the name of the article…but it was featured on Curly Nikki. I advise you not to go visit the site. I do not want to support that site with any more clicks. Curly Nikki, which was founded by a Black woman named Nikki Walton, was originally intended to give Black women a safe space where they could get advice and support for their natural hair. Ultimately, the blog was sold to a white-owned company, so it should come as no surprise that a white woman who basically just took her hair out of a bun and called herself “part of the natural hair movement,” was featured on the website.
Let me say this…
My natural hair journey is sacred to me. My natural hair journey wasn’t just superficial, it wasn’t just about not seeing my beauty represented in magazines or on the big screen. It wasn’t just about cutting the relaxed tips off of my hair and it certainly wasn’t as simple as taking my hair tie out and proudly proclaiming myself “a proud natural!” No. Embracing my natural hair was the beginning of embracing my Black identity. Once I went natural, I started researching about my African roots, I started reading about my history and I started taking pride in who I was. I questioned all of the lies that I had been told about my heritage. I learned that my western and central African ancestors had a rich history and still have a rich culture. I learned that much of what the media shows about Africans around the world is untrue…and I started to love myself. So, my natural hair journey was more than just superficial, it was sacred. It was a catalyst that led me to embrace all parts of my Black identity.
Natural hair support groups are a place where Black women can feel safe. We can can feel safe from discriminatory military regulations, we can feel safe from school and workplace discrimination and we don’t have to worry about being called “nappy-headed hoes.” We need those spaces and I find it very offensive that a white woman, who is part of the very group that marginalizes US as Black women, feels entitled to enter this space and impose her views on Black women. Her struggles as a white woman with “natural hair,” [read:white hair] are not comparable to the systematic discrimination that Black women face for wearing our God-given natural hair everyday.
The natural hair movement is about Black women bonding, sharing our stories, supporting one another and healing..and I am sorry, but I cannot identify with a white woman who claims to be apart of the natural hair movement and I will never be able to truly accept a white woman into the natural hair space…not as long as white supremacy and white privilege continue to exist. As long as I have to keep straightening my hair just to go to job interviews and as long as I have to keep reading stories about schools expelling Black girls for wearing natural hair or banning african hairstyles or the military banning braids and afros…I cannot take the “hair struggles,” of a white woman seriously. It doesn’t compare and I certainly think that it’s insulting at best and racist at worst to suggest that it does compare. This is not to say that the woman’s struggle’s with self esteem aren’t important and this is certainly not to say that white women can NEVER be invited into black woman’s space, but it is clear that some white women are oblivious to their own white privilege and as long as that attitude of oblivion continues, there will continue to be a rift between Black women and white women in the natural hair community.
Because my identity as an African woman was stolen from me…My natural African hair is the only link that I have to my origins.
Yes, the natural hair movement is a sacred space for Black women and I completely understand where the anger and frustration that many Black women feel is coming from.
Please don’t appropriate our natural hair journey. It’s not a toy or a fad.
read more about my natural hair journey here: https://blacknotwhitedippedinchocolate.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/hairdresser-tales-natural-hair-is-soft-beautiful/