Monday, January 26, 2015

Natural Hair Backsliding: Why Some Naturalistas Rethink Their Decision to Go/Be Natural

  It's been a while since I wrote a post with the hectic holiday season and all and then just getting back into the swing of things including the signing of a new book contract and hence, writing the book, which will be entitled Health Disparities and Diversity: Context, Controversies and Solutions, First Edition, to be released in 2016, by the publisher, Jones and Bartlett Learning.  But I haven't forgotten the naturalistas and the need to keep the dialogue going.  So I want to begin by discussing something that many can relate to or have perhaps observed. For the new year, people often make resolutions and for the most part, do not keep them, so I've heard.  I never make resolutions for the new year so I don't have personal experience with this. Nevertheless, I have been comparing the notion of New Year's resolutions to Black women who make big and bold moves to become natural, in terms of their hair, and then the next thing that happens is that suddenly they have reverted to a perm or a weave.

     Essentially, I am not judging because I am of the mind that one should wear their hair however they want, as I support the notion of freedom of choice.  But, this is a blog about the merits of natural hair (primarily) so on that level, it seems worthy of discussion. Personally, I have had my locks for over 20 years and I love my natural hair, so I can't imagine ever returning to a perm and I have never considered a weave, not even remotely.   The bottom line is that I don't want to experience my hair out of its natural kink because I just would not feel right. But, what I have come to understand is that it is the so-called versatility and the flexibility that folks want to experience by going from straight to kinky styles and then back again, in either direction.  For some reason, the European "flowy," straight, look makes some individuals feel better about themselves, even though they know for sure, that they are not experiencing the texture of their hair as it grows out of their scalp. They feel that to wear their hair straight, in styles that are representative of the current dominant racial group is more mainstream and hence more acceptable. Braided extensions are a different story, from my perspective, and the exception to wearing hair other than your own for the sake of fashion/beauty as such styles exhibit a long held, historical, African tradition.  A woman just successfully fought for the right to teach others to braid hair resulting in their getting a license to do so and she won her case.

     But, otherwise, perm and weave are another story altogether.  The preference for the latter makes me think of the woman from Chris Rock's film and how she described why she thinks people do not want to wear their hair "nappy/kinky."  Essentially, she said it's not sexy to wear your hair nappy.  Take a look at the video below to hear her comments and beyond:

     There is a part of me that doesn't want to believe that there are actual thoughts like what was stated in the film above about the natural hair of Black women, but indeed there are.  There are some who just don't feel that black women's natural hair is beautiful/sexy/positive.  There are some who believe that it is too hard to manage.  There are some vile thoughts about it, unfortunately, but thank goodness there are the naturalistas and I'm proud to be one of them!   In short, the definition of backsliding is usually a term used to describe a relapse.  So below you will find a young woman who experiences this backsliding situation. Perhaps this video will be of interest to you and from her thoughts about natural hair and backsliding a N.I.C.E. discussion can be held with the understanding that in any setting and in any venue natural hair is beautiful and is always cool enough!

No comments: