What defines #TeamNatural?
Now if you haven’t heard about the CurlyNikki/Ebony diversity in the natural hair community showdown, you’re really missing out.
Pretty much CurlyNikki, a well known hair blog that a lot of naturals frequent, did a feature on a White woman who expressed how difficult it was accepting her own “natural” hair. Ebony.com, commented with their rebuttal to the fact that a White woman cannot understand the Black struggle, and should not be included in the natural hair community. Then Sarah, the White woman who the original feature was done on, gave her side of the story on why she should not be excluded from the mix. And to wrap it all up, CurlyNikki responded to all the madness to stand by her decision. When it comes to natural hair, the debates get pretty heated.
Diversity is a word that constantly gets thrown around nowadays, but there is also still a need for community in any case. Community with those of one’s own kind in order to relate to and rely on for support. Diversity fosters growth and progress, but so does community. The question is, should diversity be a part of community, more specifically, the natural hair community? Should #TeamNatural be exclusively for someone who is Black, or Biracial, or Afro-Latino, or Multiracial?
Many women who fall into the categories previously mentioned have struggled with hair issues since childhood, mainly with trying to find the right products for their hair because of an underlying factor that the natural hair movement seems to highlight: race. If the natural hair movement was to include everyone who deemed their hair as “natural” (never altering it with chemical processes), there would be no need for the natural hair community! It exists for a reason: for women of ethnic backgrounds to love and accept their hair. But by all means, if you want to call yourself natural, but do not “technically” fall into society’s definition of this community, go right ahead. Acceptance of your own hair, no matter texture, race, etc., is a beautiful thing.
But the natural hair products market was made for women of color, to cater to the needs for their hair. The market wouldn’t even exist if people did not see a need for it. It didn’t exist, or wasn’t thriving until women of color made their presence known. Others with “less difficult” hair textures, were already taken care of in the hair department. So why should the natural hair community be diverse? Yes, their hair is “natural” because that is how it grew out of their head, but it doesn’t differentiate them from one their own kind.
White hair has never been oppressed, shunned, looked down upon, or disgusted about. Black women have a history of oppressing their hair to be like the White women in order to get the same privileges and opportunities. But now, the one chance we get to be free and embrace our kinks and coils, that confidence is being taken away from us. When was the White woman’s curly hair ever the reason she got fired from a job or called nasty names? Yes, it might have taken her a long while to appreciate her hair, and in that we can relate and share experience, but the struggle, the history, the personal connection is not there.
It is not a secret that Black women take their hair seriously to the point where there is often an emotional attachment to their strands. The countless hours at the salon every weekend, the hot comb, learning the discipline of sitting on your butt while your mother combs out your hair from a young age, all these things create memories and a connection that many may never understand.
As women we should all embrace each other and whatever crown we choose to wear, but embracing one’s own crown does not exclude the fact that there are different crowns with different meanings. But we have come a long way. Far enough to promote diversity in a sacred space? The answer is still unknown.
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