For The Uninformed, This Is What ‘Natural’ Hair Looked Like Before The ‘Curly’ Infiltration aka “New Black” Took Over

Before the latest anti-black dysfunction adopted by many black people who have not worked through their color racism and hair texture discrimination, was slapped on top of the current “natural hair” phenom encouraging black women to embrace the hair that grows out of their scalps and it became all about achieving loose waves and ringlets, there was this:

Vintage Afro Sheen ad

Look! Hair that looks shiny, moisturized with no dry ends or single strand snarls!

AND NOT A MANUFACTURED CURL PATTERN IN SIGHT.

It’s an A-F-R-O.

Just a hairstyle…..

The ONLY act of militancy from wearing a legitimate afro TODAY is doing so in the midst of BLACK PEOPLE!

No texturizing, heat-training required. No Bantu-Knot, Marley Braid-Out, Two-Strand Twist, Roller Set, or a $200 product list and 50 minute DAILY morning regime in sight. The ORIGINAL WASH-N-GO!!!  And I believe the fro didn’t shrink in humidity. No number-type categorization, no mixed-gals or poly-racial ad campaigns (i.e. Carol’s Daughter, Shea Moisture) either….

A ‘REGULAR’ BLACK WOMAN…AND HER DAUGHTER.

THIS IS HOW B-L-A-C-K Women and Heritage GETS ERASED:

********

I thought I should mention that I stopped chemically processing my hair about four 1/2 years ago. It wasn’t a deliberate decision, I just got tired of not seeing certain results I wanted with my hair and shifted my budget elsewhere. I had no idea there were so many hair blogs and YouTube channels devoted to “natural hair”. I’ve skimmed through most of the sites and vlogs since and even shared a few here on the main site and on our social media channels.

I even posted some photos of my first blow-out after a long-needed haircut a few weeks ago. My hair felt like cotton candy and while I liked wearing it straight for a few hours, I’m used to my curls. While I don’t pay direct attention to most of black-related media, I can count on many part of those channels to exchange information which I’ll review. So, between a mother discussing her son’s PTSD from experiencing violence while living in Blackistan and the anger about a non-black woman claiming to share the same experiences as non-mixed black women on a hair site frequented by black women as well as the passing of an R&B legend, it’s been an emotional few days for some people.

Isn’t it ironic that Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has a video on HAIR BRAIDING in Vogue (celebrating blackness as normal), while some African American women are stunned to discover they were inadvertently supporting blackface fronts for white interests?

It didn’t take me that long to figure out one major hair blog was in fact, white-owned. I googled her name, an early hair forum of the parent company  popped up in the results and it was rather plainly laid out. While I do have great research skills (lol), I actually thought this was common knowledge.

By the way, watching too many of the YT vlogs will drive you insane. Given most of these sites don’t have my hair texture and results vary, I’m glad I didn’t start viewing them until after I completed my own learning process. I have three different textures on one head. And even looking at videos of 4C vlogs my hair doesn’t quite look the same. I think there is an obsessive fascination with “curls” and hair length status updates, but realize if someone is trying to make money from their vlogs, they’re going to push more complicated hairstyles and tons of products. And at least one vlogger has publicly discussed the texture hypocrisy.

The problem of course is that many black women were already coming from a lesser-than point of view and you see how easy it is to gravitate towards women whose skin tone or hair texture are viewed as more desirable thanks to our anti-black woman devastation, that making stars out of them is very similar to how other women (often lighter toned, biracial, etc) are lifted up. You can’t just be relaxer-free, your hair must behave and look certain way!

*And by the way I figured out that most of the problems I’d attributed to relaxed hair (dryness, breakage, fragility) is MY HAIR and has nothing to do with a relaxer.

********

Go figure.

The.

End.

 

But I will pop back in to say thank goodness I skipped following all of the hair blogs and YouTube ‘Gurus’. I may have missed all of the back-stabbing drama from a few years ago but I’m finding the public dragging of the DIRT people do being exposed rather enlightening. In fact, some of it reads JUST like the stuff that some fake-BWE infiltrators tried to pull. So, the latest outrage over a white woman trying to dominate a conversation on what is in fact a white-owned hair blog that black women put on the map would not have been a surprise had people been paying attention to what was going on the entire time. Which includes who they flocked to for reasons other than haircare tips.

 

**P.S. I did catch a black woman blogger known for her weight loss, clean eating and fitness blog who rocks an old skool AFRO mention on her Twitter feed last week the number of dirty looks she gets from other ‘Naturals’ on the regular.

Anyway…..

Here’s the full history of the shenanigans at the Curly Nikki blog if you’d like to catch up (yes, I’m linking to LSA and yes, no stone has been left unturned):

http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php?t=341298

http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php?t=722847

and apparently there’s some current Plantation behavior over at BGLH, too:

http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php?t=725167

158 Replies to “For The Uninformed, This Is What ‘Natural’ Hair Looked Like Before The ‘Curly’ Infiltration aka “New Black” Took Over”

  1. I have at least 3 different textures/curl patterns on my head from coily curly to a wavier less tight pattern. I wore an afro in the late 70s and that was work and manipulation too. Twists and twist-outs are a manipulation, braids are a manipulation, locs are also a manipulation, as is pressing, relaxing, etc. A haircut is a manipulation. It's just hair. I choose to wear mine natural with an occasional no chemical manipulation because I was tired of apologizing to the world for how my grows and I want my children and grandchildren to be comfortable wearing theirs. I want the corporate professional to see that it's just hair. Wearing my my natural does have real economic implications, until the world catches up it will make some things harder, and some jobs unattainable. That sacrifice isn't for everyone.

    1. Ok…now that we\’re done talking about YOU, do you actually have something constructive to offer black women who are being discriminated against other black people, in favor of lighter/brighter/whiter?

  2. I don't understand why people spend so much time worried about what other women are doing with their hair! If I want to rock a 70s fro, a twist out, or have it fried dyed and laid to the side, that is my business. Aren't there more important things for you to be writing about in the world instead of trying to internet shame women for their hair choices?

    1. You\’re right. No one should \”worry\” about other women. Black women who are not biracial or look biracial should also not worry about women who do and are. Stop supporting their elevation as the standard-bearer of \”black\” beauty. Then they go about their lives just wearing their hair, putting on makeup and living life surrounded by people who value them. Just as they are.

  3. This article and articles like it are the reason there is a divide. I can't help if my NATURAL, biracial hair falls into healthy ringlets down my back. Does that make me less of a natural than a black woman? No. Does it mean that I have to do a lot less to achieve my desired results? Probably. So yes, me as a biracial woman admire the BW struggle to maintain healthy hair and retain length and do not throw critisim at them for trying hairstyles like twist outs to add a different look to their hair. The point with the natural hair craze it to move away from chemicals and have healthy hair FULL STOP. If certain individuals want to share different ways that you can keep your hair or mold it into different hairstyles while it's in it's natural state, so be it. It's not the 70's & depending on your fasion preferences, not many women want to rock a full on Afro every day.

    Tired of women like yourself trying to make me feel less black because I am biracial and assuming that I havnt had the same life struggles, which is what it falls down to in the end & is what can be fully heard in your essays undertones. I even witness BW recieve the same kind of treatment just because they have "good" hair or are light skinned. These things do not make our struggles any less and people like you are the reason there is a devide between sisters of all shades.

    A full on combed out poof Afro is still manufactured and moved away from the natural curl pattern as it is COMBED OUT. Every hair style we do is manipulated so stop throwing critisim on women and their own desires for their hair & focus on yourself and why you can't accept other peoples journeys.

    1. "Tired of women like yourself trying to make me feel less black because I am biracial and assuming that I havnt had the same life struggles."

      You ARE less Black than someone with two fully Black parents. And while some of your struggles may overlap with Black women's, they are not exactly the same. Do you go to your other side and say, "I'm tired of you making me feel less White /Asian/ etc because I'm biracial" ? Of course not, because they're not having it. Only Black people entertain this foolishness and you know it.

      It also seems you are low-key trying to "flip your hair" in Black women's faces in your post. Not here for it.

      1. Oh, I know and wasn't that the point of these temper tantrums? "Pay attention to meeeeeeeee!!!!!" Biracial and other non-black women telling us we're the same and how dare we set some boundaries is absurd. But that's okay. Smart women now know who else to cut away from.

      2. Exactly! As always "hit dogs holler". Once again we have women being purposely obtuse. They know full well that whites set up a hierarchy with the black -dark skin- kinky hair-curvy women at the bottom. The closer to blonde straight hair, blue eyes, skinny (not slim) you get -- the better -- in white people and black peoples eyes. The war was started by whites (notably white women) which is why we have to separate from them especially where beauty is being discussed. It has been continued by biracials and light skinned "pretty hair blacks". No one is saying you are inherently not black or hate black people or blackness because you are biracial or light skinned et al. We are saying that you have a privilege in your skin and your hair texture -- and like white women, you are high jacking the discussion and making it about yourself all over again and blaming us for showing your privilege and how other women are bludgeoned by it.

        You are not as black as me, because you don't look it. You are not as black as me if you don't have 2 black parents. You are not as black as me if you have not had to bear up under the burden (not my feeling about myself -- but how others feel about me) of being dark skin, curvy and having African features and kinky hair. Essentially I look African, and girls who look more African, need our own spaces where our beauty and thoughts are not relegated to the bottom, and we don't have to cater to other women who are already more accepted and privileged in the mainstream culture. I am not ashamed of being and looking more African, we don't have to apologize for being ourselves, nor do we have to forgo our own experiences and beauty for anyone elses. If you cant do an afro its because you are less black then the average black women -- and your beauty should not be the standard for the majority of black women.

        This should be obvious, but your privilege does not allow you to see it. Instead you insist on pissing on our heads (and getting others to) while telling us its raining -- and if we should smell the piss, your response is to tell us -- fix your face and drink it too. F-ck that!

  4. You’re a crappy writer who has a very narrow view of the subject matter at hand. While I do feel that all women should embrace their natural beauty, it’s not up to me or anyone else to criticize what type of hairstyle makes a woman feel comfortable. Whether she wants to rock an afro, dreads, braids, curls, or whatever that is her choice. I just read an article the other day saying that Asians have invented a way to make their hair kinky instead of straight. I’m of mixed race. My hair is curly, and I wear it curly 95% of the time. Sometimes I straighten it when I’m in the mood. If your point is to celebrate the natural beauty of women, you can do so without tearing others down. Your article just sounding ignorant, uninformed, racist, and cynical. You need to go back to school and take a writing class.

    1. Thanks for the laugh by the way. Because who goes to a site they've never visited before, creates an account and skims an article to tell the author it was written poorly? A FOOL.

  5. Why does it matter whether your fro is curly or "nappy". Some people with naturally good hair will always have fros that are curly. It was that way in the 70's too. This is another continuation of the good hair debate, straight vs nappy.

  6. I feel that if so many people are missing the point maybe it is because it wasn’t communicated very well. When I read this, the first time, it felt very much like you were attacking a lot of things at once and your message got lost. It feels like you are making very broad assumptions about some very broad subjects and giving very little reason for your opinions. I will admit that I was personally offended by your comments about bi-racial women. As if we should be ostracized for who we are as if we had a choice in what body and cultural background we received through birth. Having said that, if your point isn’t to criticize women for their hairstyles, ethnic backgrounds or healthy lifestyle choices perhaps you should lead with that. This article comes off as immature, prejudice, ignorant, and limited rather than uplifting, investigative and honest like you claim to have wanted. If your intended goal is to uplift us and instill pride in us maybe you should start by being positive and not trying to make people feel small for who they are.

    1. Your feelings are duly noted, but it is quite possible to communicate someone is sick and have them question it, even as they are dying because they refuse to accept their actual condition and want to continue ignoring it. Such is the case here. Otherwise, no one would have been upset at the reveal about Curly Nikki, no one would have elevated someone based on aesthetics, no one would continually argue AGAINST adapting life-affirming behaviors and black women would be in a much better position across the board. Then again, \’feelings\’ and deploying successful lifestyle strategies don\’t necessarily go hand in hand.

      1. Ok but you didn’t communicate any of that in your article. You ranted and raved about natural hair being an afro like that was the end all and be all standard of beauty for a black woman’s hair. Then you criticized the prevalence of light skinned woman as natural hair gurus, something that is utterly false. After that you claimed that altering a curl pattern could only be about immitating a european ideal of beauty and not about manageability and versatility. Then, at the very end, you finally mention the curly nikki situation which was simply a link to some threads and not your own well thought opinion on why and how this is an issue. At the very least you could have led with something like the essence.com editorial. This whole situation is an opportunity to open a dialogue among WOC and unite them, not create another #teamwhatever debacle. Way to.feed the wrong flame and aid what you claim to be fighting against.

        1. Well, then we're done. Because as has been stated in as many comments before yours some black women will continue fighting for their erasure. So deny and stay intentionally confused if you choose to because there was no ranting, raving or criticizing. There was an evaluation and a line drawn in the sand. You and I are on opposite sides and that's okay. We don't need to agree. It's time for that line in the sand to be drawn, for you and other women who support "business as usual" and those who really support true free agency and empowerment to go our separate ways.

          1. You’re not empowering WOC. You’re criticizing them for making their own choices. You’re saying “be on my side or shut up.” You’re doing exactly what every racist and biggot has done through the ages. You are completely ignoring the valid points people are making and questioning their intelligence. This doesn’t support your agenda it simply reveals your own insecurities and lack of faith in your convictions. Somebody who truly believes the message they are spreading can discuss and debate other opinions on the subject without name calling or needing to make others feel small. And for your information I do actually have similar feelings to the core of what you claim to be saying but I think you presented it poorly and ignorantly. It is child like and petty very much like curly nikki’s response to essence.com. If you want to throw shade by all means, have at it, but don’t try to wrap it up in a fake message about the empowerment and enlightenment of WOC. Its an incredible hypocrisy especially given your statements concerning curly nikki’s authenticity. Bye, Felicia.

          2. Only someone steeped in privilege who would lose it would say the sky is upside down to maintain it.

  7. Well said. Thank goodness I never followed any of those websites or blogs or vlogs EXCEPT Nappturality.

    Sincerely, a proud dread-head of 9 years.

  8. Well said. Thank goodness I never followed any of those websites or blogs or vlogs EXCEPT Nappturality.

    Sincerely, a proud dread-head of 9 years.

    1. Sadly, this lesson will be forgotten and something else will blow up in people's faces where some will be outraged, others will ask what's the problem and still others will say we're the problem for mentioning the fact there is a problem to begin with. And the intentional cluelessness will continue.

  9. I don't really think this article is completely fair. It's pitting different types of curl patterns or whatever against each other. I don't really know what my curl pattern is. I've never really cared. But I do know when I wash my hair and add regular leave in conditioner, it looks like the first girl in the bottom picture, albeit with a bit more frizz. Now I know some people who people who wash their hair and add conditioner and it looks a lot different than mines. The problem is when people want to say either I have good hair or think that I'm using a lot to get there. I've tried multiple times to get an afro. It actually takes me more work to get an afro…braiding or knotting then waiting and waiting then rebraiding or knotting because my hair doesn't really hold them, then picking out. And I have the type of hair that knots extremely easy if I don't condition it. But the way for me to get an afro is to dry my hair out. I think being open minded and asking questions instead of making broad assumptions works best. I had a natural friend that only wore afros like the lady above (it fit her texture) but had a lot more maintenance issues than me. I am not mixed for the record.

    1. Sigh, I'm allowing these comments but I can see how you and many of the other women who have and have not replied just don't get it. This article is discussing what is going on, my essay is NOT the source of what's gone wrong. And quite frankly if this many of you don't get basic 101 CARE FOR SELF COMPREHENSION concepts in conversation, you're not applying it in life either. And frankly, you can't be trusted to uphold any standards for forward motion being this clueless.

      So, let me go over this again. NATURAL hair used to be another term for an AFRO. That doesn't mean women didn't braid, loc, straighten (via hotcomb or chemicals) or dye their hair.

      The lighter skin, longer hair, "good" hair anti-black nonsense existed then, too.

      BUT MANY WOMEN ROCKED AN AFRO PROUDLY. B-L-A-C-K W-O-M-E-N.

      It was considered a BLACK HAIRSTYLE!

      'Naturals' today focuses on loose curls, length, bounce, heat training, texturizers, hairstylists sneaking in relaxers in conditioner, hair number typing and twisting your self into a pretzel to get a "crimp".

      NOT rocking an AFRO or any other hairstyle proudly.

      And the not-so-secret push for "good" hair.

      So, the only time we see a lot of black women get mad is when a WHITE WOMAN claims to "feel our pain" because she was ashamed of her "curls".

      And it was also revealed that what many thought was a black owned hair blog was always co-opted by whites, which is why they put the white girl on the blog in the first place.

      IF YOU WANT TO WEAR YOUR HAIR WITH AN ACTUAL HORNET'S NEST ON TOP OF YOUR HEAD THEN DO SO.

      The only people who pit "curl patterns or whatever" are the people as referenced above. NOT HERE.

      Now, if after all of this rudimentary explanations if you still can't understand the basics, you need to sit on this and review it until it becomes clear. It may take days, weeks, months or never. That's your own personal journey.

  10. This is yet another facet of the overarching problem with the continued attempts at erasing darker skinned, kinky haired BW. I am very pleased to see more BW speaking up & calling BS on this mess, but what I find disturbing is the number of BW who STILL are FIGHTING for their own erasure. To some this seems like a minor issue, but it is part of a bigger overall contempt/disdain/disrespect of BW. I think the reason why these things are coming up so much more frequently is BECAUSE the BWE message has reached a number of BW who refuse to go along with the status quo. 6-7 years ago no one would have said a thing about this. Exclusivity and addressing our own SPECIFIC concerns is not a bad thing. Everyone else does it & it's high time we as BW started doing the same for ourselves.
    As far as the whole natural hair thing, I locked my hair 9 years ago, and with the exception of a few You Tube videos I basically have ignored the entire hair texture classification nonsense. Part of the reason I chose locks over other natural hairstyles is because I am lazy and have no desire to constantly comb, reset & fuss with my hair. My locks are permanent & the cost of maintenance is free ( I maintain my locks myself ). That and I had no desire to spend hours in a salon with loud folks braiding my hair complaining about it being too nappy or being dependent on a whack job Sisterlocks consultant trainee doing my hair only if the house of Venus was in the cusp of Saturn with a Harvest Moon on the correct Sunday ( long, weird story ). I finally realized yes this is my hair & it's easier to deal with than any other hair type on the planet. My hair is weatherproof, always looks good & a bad hair day for me is when my new growth needs to be incorporated into my locks. Shoot I'm so unconcerned about what anyone thinks now that I'll go out in public in my equivalent of rollers ( Bantu knots in my wet hair…takes 24 hours to dry).
    Oops…sorry for getting off track. Yes, we do need black spaces and this will occur when we establish & maintain BOUNDARIES. Every other ethnic group gets this….except us. I DARE anyone to go try to hijack a Jewish/Nigerian/Ethiopian/Jamaican/Polish etc blog/web space like others manage to successfully do with us. I guarantee you you will be handed you a$$ with a quickness. Spare me with the " perpetually surprised " knowledge that others establish & maintain boundaries when it comes to their issues/concerns. It's a bad look that no one respects.

    1. YAAASSSSS!! To all of it. As the kids say these days. The response to this little blog post is likely to be my biggest ever. I clearly didn't realize things were as bad as they are and I thought I knew this already. But you're also great for pointing out the success of BWE is why this friction keeps coming to the surface. Black women can't claim ignorance any more. Many just refuse to change. They don't like themselves let alone other black women.

  11. I'm going to pop in to comments section to reply to someone who shared the blog post on Reddit and the comments there:

    There is no mention of hair dye in this article because hair color is not part of the conversation. Nor does this article eschew relaxers. Or braids. Or weaves. Or any FLATTERING HAIRSTYLE.

    This is about addressing the underlying self-hatred and misogyny that continues to run rampant throughout the black diaspora and psyche.

    For those of you stuck at a hairdo even when I've specifically written IN THE ARTICLE this is NOT ABOUT A HAIRSTYLE, you need to continue on your personal journey to critical thinking and reading comprehension. Come back when the lightbulb clicks "on". I have NO DOUBT the same issue will still be here, sigh.

    ** To all the "biracials" upset they can't have their biracial cake when it suits them AND be called black — too bad. Because when I discussed "mixed gals/polyracial campaigns" I was specifically referencing when companies like Carol's Daughter intentionally DUMP the black woman consumer for the "other". Not to mention there's an entire HAIR LINE CALLED MIXED CHICKS!!! I have yet to see anyone complaining to them that they are excluding black women! This is NOT personal beef with any lighter/brighter/exotical woman. I am very pleased with my beauty personally. But let's NOT play dumb about the history of black color racism and who benefits!

    ** And as I've already replied to someone here, since when does regular hair care (moisturizing, shampooing and COMBING and drying your hair) become something to avoid or automatically lump into the extreme efforts women with one main type of hair texture go through to get it to look like someone else's?

    When Asians put coarse detergent in their hair to DAMAGE it so it more closely resembles your average NEGROID hair that is an act of extremism.

    The same can be said for black women who try to get their hair to look like Yaki or some form of waves and ringlets that would require chemical alteration or extensions to achieve. Sure, you can do it but don't try to pretend it's an empowering choice or a change of pace IF it isn't. If you're emotionally charged about it and your entire self-esteem is tied to it, that's a problem and it's not about that hairstyle!

    WEAR YOUR HAIR HOW YOU WANT.

    THAT IS THE POINT.

    STOP FLOCKING TO PEOPLE WHO DON"T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE YOU TO COPY THEIR 'LOOK' INSTEAD OF FINDING YOUR OWN.

    NO ONE WOULD HAVE BEEN 'HOODWINKED' BY A CURLY NIKKI IF THEY HADN'T LIFTED UP SOMEONE WHO HAD A DIFFERENT HAIR TEXTURE THAT THEY NOT-SO-SECRETLY WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    OUTSIDERS — KNOW —- OUR DYSFUNCTION BETTER THAN WE DO!!! AND WILL EXPLOIT IT TO THEIR FINANCIAL AND SOCIETAL GAIN.

    THAT IS THE MESSAGE TO LEARN HERE AS THE INEVITABLE RESULT FROM NOT ACCEPTING YOURSELF.

    And it will happen AGAIN!

    1. You hit the nail on the head. I for one am so sick of this hair politics. It is so "INSANE." You summed up the whole issue of this craziness.

  12. This is so sad. All of it.
    I went natural for my health and the environment. Period.
    Since black people take the brunt of the effects from a dirty planet, (and our health is the worst in america) I personally think that should be the priority.
    This other shit? Just a distracting mess of arguments over who should occupy different spaces.
    Yes, its frustrating to have spaces made for black woman highjacked for other races. But I also have realized that YES, other races have struggles accepting themselves sometimes too, even though their curls seem perfectly fine to us.
    Where do we draw the line then?

    1. You draw the line period. There is no "distracting mess". There are the HAVES and HAVE NOTS. The issue is black people HAVE NOT. Respect means setting and enforcing boundaries. The failure to set boundaries as well as abandoning blackness is how these situations occur. While this conversation is going on with various people weighing in how it doesn't matter, two white women are making millions because they were focused and organized. They're winning this round, we are not. But this debacle has stirred the pot and hopefully SOME black women will take back their wasted time and resources and let their gifts benefit their own elevation.

    2. I'm new to natural hair and my decision to go natural was because I was diagnosed with Lupus. But I see a divide with sisters and natural hair. It seems that we can never get along with each other with ANYTHING. This bothers me. So now that I decided to give up perms and go natural, which was better for my health, I'm still not "Black" enough because I twist my hair and don't wear an afro? What next? I was recently baptized and when I came up from the water, the sister that was taking part in baptizing me told me that I was not praising GOD enough after getting baptized. I'm not going to put on a fake show because that's what someone else thinks a person should do. If we don't do things a certain way, then we're wrong? Stop trying to find the wrong in each other. Some of us are just trying to LIVE! Some of us don't have time to be bothered with if our HAIR is more blacker then the next person. We have more serious issues to deal with like being alive for our families.

      1. Whoever you're directing your frustration at, it doesn't belong here. Given your admitted health issues , take care of your major needs first because you missed the entire point of the article. This discussion is not the source of this "divide". This article is evaluating that divide and offering a solution to it.

  13. Sadly, I think that this article serves to further divide and makes quite a few assumptions. If I wanted to wear an afro (prior to my locs), I’d have to wash it, braid it, then pick it out, because of my texture. It took two years for my hair to lock because of its texture. Sistas have a variety of textures and curl patterns. If someone chooses to style theirs in such a way that lengthens their curl, I.e. twists or battu knots, who cares? The bigger focus should be on minimizing our exposure to toxic chemicals in our hygiene and grooming products.

    1. Sadly, I think you're missing the point and being dismissive of the larger issue at play. This isn't about wearing an afro. You clearly are focusing more on your biases than actually READING THE ARTICLE OR THE COMMENTS because your reply makes no sense if you had. In case you missed it, AFROS WERE CALLED NATURALS. Today's "Natural" movement is polluted by the same old whiter/lighter/brighter silky, long hair color racism that denigrates black women. But feel free to keep focusing on the hair (symptom) and not the actual cause.

  14. this isn't really a wash and go though…it's stretched out hair that's been stretched, brushed, picked out, and patted down to perfection. it still had to be twisted down at night and brushed out in the morning. this type of afro had to be manipulated, too.

  15. this isn't really a wash and go though…it's stretched out hair that's been stretched, brushed, picked out, and patted down to perfection. it still had to be twisted down at night and brushed out in the morning. this type of afro had to be manipulated, too.

    1. You're missing the point. Normal grooming is one thing. Spending inordinate amounts of time and money to push your hair to do things to look like other people's hair texture that they DON'T do to achieve the look because you can't accept your own hair texture is the unspoken rule that has not been addressed. Are you suggesting we shouldn't style our hair at all? Do you also suggest we not use soap and deodorant? Moisturizer and lotion? Sunblock? Lipstick? Perfume? Yeah…you sound THAT ridiculous for even suggesting this line of dysfunctional thinking!

    2. yep,,, i remember when the GUYS did this in the 1970s
      they had to use too much time in their hair..which for me was a turnoff, just like many black men wearing earrings today
      i really wanted guys in the 70s to wear their hair shorter, even though white guys wore their hair feathered, which i thought was 'feminine' as well.
      Me? i stopped wearing relaxer in 2008, when i went to a beauty school, and the girl who gave me one DIDN'T NEUTRALIZE IT properly and my hair fell out (didn't have to get a 'big chop") and been natural ever since.

  16. I love my natural and most of the time it’s blown out but my texture when left to air dry automatically curls I always say I want a “black power” Afro and yes sometimes I do get it twisted but I’m still as natural as it gets and no some people don’t like it but I never want to fit in I love MY natural everybody’s is different although I understand some of us still have yet to embrace our whole selves and understand we are the most beautiful people ever created by Yah!

  17. Oh please!! Its just hair! it grows, it falls out, it grows again! the African American community has so much other stuff to be worried about. I have a perm and I'll probably die with a perm…Does this make me less black? gimme a break

    1. No one said anything about not relaxing your hair. Do you read for comprehension? The point is that a black woman should be free to wear her hair ANY WAY SHE LIKES! As long as it\’s flattering do whatever suits you. There is always SOMEBODY who comes along to try to diminish the larger conversation with nonsense.

  18. I am so glad this was written! I too agree we are favoring the curly dream rather than the wooly reality! I like that my hair does not conform to the "new natural" ! I find it so funny how black women are in such a hurry to grow out their natural hair that they are getting" natural" weaves and pretending that it's not fake. Get real! I am beginning to dispise this "new natural" movement. Half of the women that are bandwagoning the natural trend would have tease me furiously in the 1990's when I decided to chop off my hair! But it has a lot to do with marketing and who is buying what! We black women are constantly trying to find ways to reach that cream texture when white people don't care! They still see us a black people! I am hoping the brain washing will stop! Now I don't see anything wrong with two strand twist. But I am not trying to convince people my hair grew out my scalp like that.

  19. Umm lol I got a quick question, does Afro Sheen company still exist? Lol because my Natural chemical free AFRO can use a little help to get thee above look lol

  20. I have relaxed hair, and I remember researching natural hair care blogs and forums around 2007-2008. I was quickly turned off because most of the criticisms of relaxed hair that I read were very similar in tone to criticisms of natural hair. I've never had a problem with anyone choosing to go natural, and relating their experiences and challenges with it. But if you have to tear down anyone else to proclaim what's beautiful, if you're carrying the same damaged mindset into a different forum, then you're already coming from a place of inferiority and have already lost.

    And that's not counting the most popular Youtube bloggers who are commonly not the typical black American woman. All of this recent controversy is interesting to see play out, because other black or "passing as black" women have been explicitly and implicitly feeding into and propagating the inferiority for years. There were/are some who have rejected the madness, but it's only now that a white face is exposed that most see the bigotry for what it is.

    In any case, I continue to relax my hair, and decided that if/when I go natural, it will be on my terms. I have a suspicion that the rhetoric around relaxers will shift in the coming 10-15 years, because I noticed a lot of the backlash against relaxers coincides with the GMO/chemical-free/healthy vs unhealthy/junk science frenzy that's permeated our popular culture. Not saying that anyone should use relaxers, but I believe a good benefit of the natural hair movement is that it's forced women to pay attention to THEIR hair. I still go to the salon for touch-ups every 10 weeks or so, but I've always done my own hair in between. So many relaxed women that I've known rely solely on the salon for hair care instead of figuring it out for themselves. That's why I suspect there is a (possibly growing) minority of women going back to relaxers (quiet as it's kept) after being natural for X amount of time. But you don't really hear about those stories because the automatic assumption is chemical straightening = not embracing black beauty. Even though all of that natural hair manipulation as mentioned in your post is really the opposite side of the same coin.

    Anyway, long comment, but ultimately, with all of the beautiful and natural features that are beneficial to black women (skin, curves, bone structure), can I say: I think it's okay for us to struggle with our hair. Every racial and ethnic group of women exposed to or living in the Western world, I guarantee, has some general vice about their physical features. White women with their skin and weight issues, east Asian women and their eye issues and infantilization of women, southeast Asian and Polynesian women and their skin tone issues, same with south and central American women in addition to obsession with perfect posteriors and breasts. It's impossible to fit the ideal, because it's ever changing and shifting. And that's not to negate the Eurocentric image of beauty that's prevailed and deemed non-mixed black women unworthy. Just that I don't believe hair has ever been the sole indicator of standing proud against the image.

    1. Thank you for the extended reply. Yes, all women DO experience hitting the beauty ceiling and determining what standards they will adhere to, fight against or comply with. Black women just go off the rails with everything though. It annoys me when I hear them look at relaxers with disdain, the \”creamy crack\” put-downs as much as the \”twist and curl\” obsession. One isn\’t better than the other quite frankly. I see some black women who wear a relaxer very well. What doesn\’t work is cheap hair, infrequent maintenance and not knowing a good stylist on top of not knowing how to care for our hair. The weave focus as with many things is about getting black male approval who don\’t want non-mixed black women anyway. My own hair journey (lol) has led me to discover I have the SAME issues whether it is relaxed or natural. The point is to make CHOICES that work best for us as individuals.

  21. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

    I've been annoyed with the Natural Hair Jihadis for quite some time (due to their hypocrisy); but until the Curly Nikki debacle I bit my tongue and refrained from saying much about them. From the beginning, I felt "some kind of way" because these women use a hair typing system that puts straight WW’s and Asian women type of hair at #1. While the more typical hair textures and curl patterns found among BW are at #4. What’s up with that? Who came up with that mess? A friend said a gay BM hair stylist came up with that; but I haven't taken the time find out if that's accurate or not. Anyway, yet again, masses of AA women are buying into something that positions somebody else as first and #1.

    And for the record: I wore my hair in a natural and braids during the height of the 1980s Jheri curl era. I wore my hair in these natural styles without using any so-called curl activator-type products. My natural naps were on display in all their unaltered glory. These modern day Natural Hair Jihadis aren’t doing anything new. I'm just pleased that all this mess has bubbled up to the surface to be exposed. The unmasking of the hypocrisy involved in all of this is an opportunity for more AA women to honestly and sincerely get their minds right. For real, this time. Instead of pretending and play-acting.

    1. Andre Walker, Oprah's stylist, came up with the hair typing system and wrote a book. At one point he was giving advice about a woman's natural hair style in a magazine and said she should use a curling iron for greater definition. What horrible advice! I had my hair styled in such a way that it was a not-really-straightened bob that was curled under at the ends with a curling iron. It was the worst hairstyle I ever paid for and I was glad to leave the salon after dark.

      1. It would seem hair health wasn\’t a priority if that\’s what he recommended! Anyway, we need to scrap that hair typing system just as much as the paper bag/manila folder test.

  22. Black women don't want THIS look. They don't want on large mass of undifferentiated hair, that doesn't shine, isn't 'bouncy', doesn't have 'hang time', can be length checked', and doesn't imitate the natural hair aesthetics of other races of women. This modern natural hair movement has nothing to do with black women wanting to reclaim the beauty and cultivation and appreciation for their own hair. Its all about length retention, and MANIPULATING natural hair so that it emulates hair with curl, texture and shine. Its not enough for it to have a healthy sheen. Its not enough for it to be thick and healthy. Its only viable, when its being 'managed' into a style that pretty much HIDES its natural traits, with lots of products, regimens, styling techniques, and moisture, Moisture, MOISTURE!! (said Jan Brady style).

    Black women are lying to themselves and the proof is coming out in the wash. Now that the TRUE object of our obsession -- the WHITE WOMAN and her shiny, bouncy, curls has shown up on the scene, we are offended…when truth is, SHE is who the whole natural hair movement seeks to emulate, in the first place!

    Thank you for writing this piece and calling black women to task on their role in the erasure of the image of Authentic Black Womanhood. Its about time that we begin put our own feet, to the fire. MOST of what happens to black women, negatively, could NOT happen if we didn't let it, and in some cases, create it.

    Being empowered means owning our own dysfunction and healing it. We can't keep playing the victim, like we dont play a part in this stuff. We are at the scene of the crime, every time.

    -- Breukelen Bleu

    1. I struggle with this, too. I look at those videos and websites and my hair isn\’t the length of or the texture of those women even after following instructions. It can be very frustrating. And ever since I cut my hair, I\’m feeling so exposed now. But it was so dry and dense I had to do something. I actually found some great moisturizing and hydrating products, but it\’s shorter than I want. I\’ve had to leave the house with no defined twist pattern and remind myself this is my hair and it\’s okay. This is ridiculous.

      1. I see what you mean. In both NYC I had an afro that was rather messy at first in NYC and then I decided to just wear a TWA and that meant keeping hair at my normal afro texture with no twist outs or braid outs and I had my hair like that for a good six years.

        1. Sometimes hair is at that in-between stage, sometimes we just have bad hair days. If I recall, people would use a blowdryer with the pick attachment to get the height for the afro. Or at least the pick. Twist outs are great, but lately I was feeling like a slave to doing them every day and feeling weird when I didn\’t have \”curl definition\” and I realized some indoctrination had creeped in. And I looked to those YouTube vlogs and Naturalistas who had different hair textures, were hawking $300 wigs and obviously spent more time and money than I felt is warranted for non-relaxed hair.

    2. I proudly wore my afro in the 70s and 80s and you hit the nail on the head. It was not about curl definition or hang time. It was about wearing our natural hair proudly and not being ashamed of it. I got caught up in the relaxer fever for far longer than I should have, but I returned to fold. I watched Youtube and joined several natural hair forums. However, I slowly came to realize that I am not a member of TeamNatural so much as I no longer chemically straighten my hair. I have yet to use heat on my hair, even to blow-dry. I have been so turned off by some of the "new naturalistas" as I call them, because what I see is the pursuit of a looser curl then what you have.

      1. And that\’s why it\’s good for those of us who just want to wear our hair in peace need to separate from those with agendas.

    3. In all honesty, locks, twists, etc exist in native african tribes. Nothing wrong with wanting various hair styles to choose from. People like to feel unique. I do love a sista rockin a proud fro though!

    4. I totally co sign.

      I myself am dark skinned and my hair loves the FRO in its natural state. I thank the Natural movement for it has taught me about alternatives to relaxing (co wash, apple vinegar, taking care of my scalp, etc). I was thrilled when I discovered Curly Nikki. But when the curlies kept popping and popping, I realised it was time to say goodbye.

      In real life, I do not visit my hairdresser everyday for 15 minutes or more. Once every 2 weeks is enough. And I alternate between 3 hairstyles. So learning about bantu knots, hennaeing, marley twists and so on is irrelevant.

      Also, my hair is big. Big, big as in massive. It has volume. It is both thick and coarse. It is so 4C that most "hairdressers" think thay have to burn my scalp to relax it. And when braiding me for the 1st time, I get charge a premium -- becaue it always take longer to braid than expected.

      I have a lionness crown and no amount of cream is going to curl it. So I left Curly Nikki ages ago when I realise that 3b/3c was the ideal.

    5. most of the 'ringlet' styles many black women are into
      is the children of BLACK MEN and WHITE WOMEN
      their hair tends to go into these ringlets

      i remember years ago, when there was NO PRODUCT for BIRACIALS because many of the heavy products didn't look good in their hair, being too thick and weigh it down.
      even Miss Jessie's creator has a Japanese mom.

    6. Look, I grew up in predominately white/Asian schools and neighborhoods. White female hair has ended in my food, mouth, in my eye and has grossed me out my entire life. Their wispy hair was never desirable to me but I honored their hair as they are human beings too (at times) and are allowed to live their aesthetic lives. This being said, my natural hair has nothing to do with white female aesthetics…. and honestly, I do not believe black naturals are swayed by White Fem. aesthetics but are, instead, doomed by the wants of Black males. If WW, today, found a way to convert their hair to the tightest coils, en masse, BW would not follow…because we do…not…follow…WW. However, if BM were suddenly like, “I don’t like that loose sh#t”, BW would be tripping over themselves to use hairpins and straws as curlers. Not a judgment, as it makes the most sense, but it’s unfortunate given BMs are obsessed with whiteness.

      I’m just a little tired of being blamed, as a BW, for the obvious ills of others. We have enough power to stop watching some vids and to watch others. Once I saw naturalistas identifying as curl patterns, I was out because we know where that leads but must we be perfect in OUR FAMILY BUSINESS… Shea Moisture f**ked up and it was purely about getting more money a la Carol’s Daughter and their multi-ethnic movement treachery. Haven’t bought CD since and I was an original from S. Elliot in BK.

      I knew this was the direction Shea Moisture was going in when they “made up” the problem of segregated beauty aisles….ummm…I know of no BW who doesn’t appreciate the “safe space” for their beauty products. It was clearly the first move in this direction of appealing to non-black women. This was always their plan, ya’ll…

      This did not happen because of our difficulties navigating different curl and wave patterns between us, this happened because when BP have something to ourselves, in America, in particular, whiteness always covets it and is driven to colonize it. This is why I don’t believe in catering to them for attention, a la BMs. BW’s disinterest in “whiteness” makes white society obsessed with conquering BW which is why I believe it is so important to not internalize the propaganda that we aspire to be like them. I mean, like, of all groups, we cater to them the least…

      This is a all on Shea Moisture…not Black, natural womanhood. I believe this wholeheartedly. We can’t be the only one who are ALWAYS accountable, even for the mistakes/failures of others. That does not make us strong; it makes us self-destructive.

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