So the new rage seems to be natural hair. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, people are embracing natural hair and the media is having their take on it (despite the fact that loads of people have been natural for years, so what’s new?!). Last night I read an article in the Bulletin and Record – quite a long piece too. And was not slightly frustrated about it!

Nothing original, just the same angle that having natural hair is about liberation, about proclaiming our Africanality (if such a word exists), ok Africanism, and showing that ‘I’m proud to be Black’! Ok, very good. And for the rest of us who just have it natural because we’re trying to grow it back healthy? Without trying to make a political statement?

Me in the office

I started my ‘natural hair journey’ a couple of years ago after getting fed up with my previously long luscious hair thinning and looking with envy at my sister’s down to her shoulder ‘fro. She had previously suffered a similar fate and decided to go natural. So I thought why not? Of course I completely forgot that my sister and I have totally different hair textures!

I was recommended by another ‘naturalist’ to join a facebook group that supported ‘us’ on ‘our’ journey. It was interesting in the beginning but I realised it was really hardwork! Once I figured out what EVOO was, and to DC, pre-poo and all sorts, I realised the line about how you can just wash and go with a ‘fro was far from true! And worse still the fact that everyone’s texture is different so what works for you might not work for me. (Also the group seemed a little bit cult-like too).

But more and more there seemed to be an us vs them argument – the naturalists vs the weave/perm team – the pro-black vs the sell out. It simply was not that serious for me. In fact I daily contemplate going back to relaxing my hair, it’s just right now (because I don’t follow the religious regiments others do), having natural hair is far more affordable. However, if I was to follow the regiments and treatments as suggested on the blogs, or the ‘cult’ group, I’d question which was more affordable – EVOO is not cheap!

The thing that gets to me is also the misconception that your hair can only be healthy if it’s natural. Not true. Hair can equally be healthy if you have a care and maintenance routine even when relaxed (though how something that’s dead can be thought of as healthy anyway is beyond me).

The other issue the article pointed to was that ‘lots’ of celebrities have weaves and this is why ‘normal’ women prefer that to natural hair. Erm ok, but what about the fact that a weave can be a protective style? And that actually some of these so called ‘lots’ of celebrities do in fact have natural hair under those weaves?

The thing I’ve always loved about black women is our ability to express ourselves though fashion, interesting hairstyles and just things that are part of who we are that makes us stand out. So why should our hair now be confined to one thing? And how come this debate does not rage on about white women? They tan, do they want to be black? They have weaves, so what is their shame? Does Kim Kardashian want to be black because she dates black men?

I mean why is it that we are the ones with issues?

I love my hair – even when it’s hair that I bought! I think that my hair is an expression of who I am, what I’m feeling at that time. I feel equally empowered when my full on afro is exposed (not quite shoulder length but getting there), as I do when I’m rocking a dead straight ‘whip it in your’ face, down to the middle of my back weave. And you know what? Either way someone is going to ask me if that’s my hair!

So when you see me in my cornrows or my natural hair out, know that I’m not Team Natural, I’m Team My Hair, My Choice.

If it grows out of my head, is not natural regardless to what I do with it?

If it grows out of my head, is it not natural regardless of what I do with/to it?

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