Photo Source: http://tinyurl.com/o8g7zgh
There is a movement going on across college campuses that was sparked by one exhibit done in 2013 when women freely allowed people to touch their hair. This new movement of lowering public curiosity about natural hair has mixed reviews about it.
– Can I Touch Your Hair?
Photo Source: http://tinyurl.com/pyp5pyo
Although seen as a simple question asked out of curiosity, some find it very offensive. The exhibit was started as a way to get people talking about natural hair and how it’s really no different from regular hair.
The people that find the question offensive stated that they are not animals in a zoo, so no their hair cannot be petted. Now there is some truth in this statement. For example, if someone approached me in a setting that wasn’t appropriate (my job, school, etc…), I’d politely say “Not at this moment, maybe later.”
Photo Source: http://tinyurl.com/q6q5hec
Now I have been in a position where I felt “obligated or trapped” into someone touching my hair. My 11th grade year in highschool, when I big chopped my hair, it seemed as if EVERYONE wanted to touch my hair. I was shocked that the majority of people wanting to touch my hair were African – American or Hispanic – people of color. When I realized that there was a pattern among the types of people that wanted to touch my hair, I immediately knew that it was a problem that I was the first person they’d seen wearing their natural hair. Now, I, a college freshman at an HBCU, still experience people walking up to me asking to touch my hair. I don’t mind when people ask me about my hair regimen because I have no secrets to what I use in my hair – and it feels so amazing walking on my college campus seeing so many women and men wearing their natural hair. It really feels amazing.
Photo Source: http://tinyurl.com/of2vmko
In the media, little girls are being sent home for “unruly hair” and people are being fired for wearing protective styles (corn rows, etc.) and that is why “YES, YOU CAN TOUCH MY HAIR” is important. To stop public criticism, denounce stereotypes about black hair, or to convince people to go natural/ help them find their ideal regimen… for some people they HAVE to touch your hair and it’s as simple as that. I personally wouldn’t get offended, but as humans we do have the right to allow people to touch our hair or to deny them that option.
Here’s a link to 2 videos displaying the public exhibit:
You Can Touch My Hair, A Short Film (Part 1)
You Can Touch My Hair, A Short Film (Part 2)
What are your thoughts about their exhibit? Has someone ever walked up to you and asked to touch your hair? Comment below and tell us your story!
Being a natural isn’t hard enough with having to figure out a hair routine, understanding your hair texture, doing research, and so much more. But there’s added pressure to know all the “slang” or terminology that goes along with being a naturalista. There are some words and phrases that are more obvious than others, but there are certain ones where you’re like, wtf?! No worries, we’ve got you girl! Here’s a few naturalista slang words and phrases that will have you hip in no time.
Banding: A styling technique used to prevent hair shrinkage. You gather the hair into one ponytail or several smaller ones, using elastic bands to secure the hair, one after the other, all the way down to the ends, (or near the ends) of the hair. Bands are left in for a period of time or until the hair is dry.
Bantu Knots: A hairstyle created by twisting hair sections in one direction until they wrap into neat knots. The knots are often secured near the scalp with bobby or hair pins.
BC (Big Chop): Cutting off all relaxed portions of the hair, leaving only natural growth.
CG (Curly Girl): CG is an abbreviation for “Curly Girl,” a book written by Lorraine Massey and Michele Bender.
Coily: A term used to describe the texture characteristic of natural Type 4 hair. The coil is most evident when the hair is wet and/or defined with a styling product
Cowash: The practice of cleansing the hair using conditioner in place of shampoo.
Creamy Crack: A reference to chemical relaxers.
Curlformers: Curlformers are rod-like hair styling tools that help to create gorgeous, glossy curls, without damaging hair or using heat
EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flat Twists: A technique where the hair is two-strand twisted flat to the scalp, similar to a cornrow.
Fluff: The use of fingers or a pick to add volume to natural hair.
Nappyversary: The anniversary of the day one decided to “go natural” and to stop using relaxers in their hair
Pineappleing: Pulling hair into one large puffs, using a hair tie, scrunchie, or other hair accessory. The puff is positioned at the top of the head. Thishelps preserve the coil/curl definition of the style overnight, and also provides some stretch to the hair.
Product Junky: A person who buys a lot of different products and brands in the quest of finding the “perfect” ones for her hair.
Protective Styling: A hairstyle that helps protect hair from dehydration and damage, by eliminating the need for manipulation, (combing, brushing, picking, etc.) and shielding against environmental exposure, (i.e. sun, heat, cold, wind).
Second Day Hair: The state of one’s hair on the day after it is cleansed, conditioned and styled.
Shrinkage: A term used to describe the reduction of the visual length of hair. It is a process that occurs as wet hair dries
Transitioning: This is the process, (also called “the journey” or “going natural”) whereby one’s natural-textured hair is allowed to grow in, while the previously chemically-treated hair is trimmed off in stages.
TWA: Teeny Weeny Afro
Twist Out: A hairstyle created by first two-strand twisting the hair while wet or damp. After the hair is dry, the twists are carefully released and styled.
Virgin Hair: Hair that is natural and has not been chemically processed or altered.
Wash n’ Go: A term referring to a quick and easy styling session whereby a defined finished style is achieved without twisting, braiding, knotting, rodding, etc.
Photo Source: http://heygorjess.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/curlfest19-e1403584267157.jpg
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.
Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/WfJGNZ
High fashion powerhouse, Vogue, dropped an artful video featuring Lupita Nyong’o today, and just like every other time Queen Lupita does anything, the Internet went wild. This video didn’t feature Lupita performing a monologue or stunting on us with her fashion as usual, but it showed her engaging in one of her favorite hobbies: braiding hair. What can’t she do?!
In the short video titled “Braids,” Lupita tells us about how her aunt taught her to braid and twist, as she corn rows a friends hair on camera. All while looking fly, I might add. Her desire to learn the craft came from a disappointing visit to a braid shop in NYC while she was an undergraduate. Throughout the video she skillfully braids the hair of her six closest friends, and shares some of her views on braiding and hair with a subtle passion that is genuinely beautiful. In her eyes, braiding someone’s hair can be “intimate”. She saw it as her “side hustle” and a hobby that gave her the opportunity to connect with others. The short clip is a cute look into her life that adds to her enigmatic presence in pop culture, but also humanizes her, and makes her more relatable. As an African woman myself, it was great to see her doing something that so many women in my family do in their day to day lives. Hair braiding is a cultural symbol that is engrained in the community of black Americans and Africans throughout the Diaspora that has recently been co-opted by sources of high fashion media. As braids show up on runways and fashion spreads, they are becoming trendy, and people who are blind to elements of black culture have believed it to be a “new” hairstyle. In some ways this video helps take ownership back, all while embracing the art form of braiding and natural hair itself.
In cultures across the world, hair is a woman’s crowning glory. To me it’s a physical expression of oneself and identity. Natural hair, and the beauty of black women in general is often chastised and belittled in our society, and that’s one of the many reasons Lupita has been such a breath of fresh air. She is a different picture of “black womanhood”, and to many the physical manifestation of the black woman that is often forgotten in mainstream media. “Braids” is a simple but poignant embrace of the beauty of black hair, African culture, and Lupita herself. I loved it and I encourage you to watch it here!
photo credit: http://hiphollywood.com/2014/06/braided-up-lupita-nyongo-reveals-haircare-hobby/
Everywhere you turn another girl is natural, turning natural, attempting to be natural, etc. But being a naturalista isn’t just a fad, it’s a lifestyle. I, myself am natural, and I love my hair, but it took a long time to get to loving my “beautiful monster”. She (as in my hair) tends to do her own thing most days, but that’s what makes everyone’s hair different, and special, and quirky. The versatility in the natural community never ceases to amaze me. Here is a list of a few naturalistas I follow on social media on a daily. Now these naturalistas aren’t just well versed in hair, but also in beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. They have also helped me learn to love and appreciate my hair, as well as become the naturalista that I am today. Hopefully, they can help you too. (more…)