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Sista Sound Off | Natural Hair: The Good, the Bad, and the Nappy?

India of My Natural Sistas
India of My Natural Sistas

The natural hair movement has been one of the best events I have ever witnessed. I have seen women of all spectrums of brown loving, caring, and accepting their God given crown of curls, coil, and kinks. I have seen beauty and hair communities emerging on platforms, such as YouTube, where women are willingly exchanging their tips and tricks for caring for black hair. Also, I have seen companies, specifically black-owned, who have flourished from the underground and made products that catered to our unique hair textures. Yet, there’s always those bad seeds, which try to grow and weed their way into something beautiful. These bad seeds are up to no good; they are destructive, poisonous, and growth depriving. These bad seeds that I speak of are US. Yes, I am talking about you, me, your mama, sisters, friends, cousins, and other flawed humans like us. We have become our own worst enemies. We have let bigots and undermining opinions, views, and/or portrayals dictate how we should think of our own hair. So, I am calling you out! However, like I have mentioned earlier, the natural hair movement has been a glorious event for black women and companies. But, I want to share with you all what I think has been our rise and downfalls in this movement:

1.The Good
First, the acceptance and love of our natural hair has been a delightful sight. Black women all over the world have finally allowed their natural curls to sprout from their scalps, and display their beauty, entirely. Also, there has been this sisterly bond and love that has grown between black women out of this movement. How many of you have been stopped and complimented on your natural hair? How many of you have found yourselves engaged in friendly conversations on hair and beauty with other black women (whom were complete strangers)? So, we have really come to see each other as beautiful, and as one.

2.The Bad
Now, we have overcome a lot and have made great milestones as it pertains to accepting and loving our hair. However, those bad seeds I mentioned earlier, have sprung to the surface, and are making themselves known. For example, hair typing has cause us to rob the beauty of embracing all curl patterns. Kinky, coily, curly, zig-zag, or whatever, they are all beautiful. But, the system of categorizing our hair by curl pattern is stunting the growth, and goal of the natural hair movement. Society, including ourselves, have considered people with looser, softer, and curlier texturizers to be the most beautiful. Meanwhile, those ladies sporting tighter, coarser, and less defined curls to be the least beautiful. Words and phrases such as “nappy,” “good hair”, and “bad hair” are among the list of hair shaming and praising labels.

Not only are we hair typing, but we are now hung up on obtaining long natural hair. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having the goal of a long and healthy head of curls. HOWEVER, if you are becoming upset or depressed about not having long hair like the naturals you see on Instagram or YouTube, you have a problem, my dear. The problem is that you are not being patient and loving the hair growth stage you are in. There are people out there who are really thinking that ONLY long hair is beautiful hair. But, no honey, you are so wrong. TWA’s are BEATUIFUL, cropped cuts are BEATUIFUL, shaved heads are BEATUIFUL, and (if you are like me) tapered cuts are BEATUIFUL! So, no matter what hair growth stage your hair is in, embrace your beautiful!

3.The Nappy
The “nappy,” this word goes back so far and seems to have so much power. That power lies in the belief that “nappy” is ugly. So, what do people do when they equate something as projecting ugliness? Well, they criticize, degrade, and unwelcome what they believe to be ugly or unattractive. For instance, our hair continues to be unwelcomed in some of our professional careers, and even in schools! I can’t tell you how many times it has shocked me that children have been sent to the principal’s office because they decided to rock their natural afros or braided hairstyles. Like, really?? It is disheartening to know that society still wants us to conform to their ideals of beauty. As comedian Paul Mooney said, “If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” But, you know what, who the hell cares!

Now, I want you all to take in the good, bad, and the “nappy” I have written, and realize that nothing is perfect. However, don’t let this movement become a pool of mockery towards our beauty. We are part of the responsibility of how others view us. If we are behaving negatively towards our own people, how do you think others will behave? So, continue to let the good thrive in this movement. Love yourself and others, and be part of the solution, not the problem.

Love, peace, and afro picks,

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Written by Melony Crayton

Melony Crayton is a college senior at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, studying communications. As a communications student, she has grown a passion for women’s leadership, and writing. Currently, she is an intern for The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life, and is looking forward to her upcoming graduation in May 2016. Melony is passionate about self-improvement for women, and enjoys reading, writing, watching YouTube, Diy-ing, and natural hair and beauty.

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  1. Melony I loved this post and it brought up some really good points. The Paul Mooney quote made me laugh because I remember watching the Dave Chapelle Show when I saw it, but the man is real and from the reaction to our beautiful kinks & curls proves what he said is correct. Thanks for the post sista

    • Your welcomed, and thank you for your compliment! Also, yes Paul Mooney definitely had it right when he made that quote, so hilarious but so true.

  2. This article was a great read and very well expressed. Thank you for taking the time to write what most are already thinking.

  3. I never realized how much my friends were concerned with my hair. When I decided to go natural they hated it. Some still do. They laughed. Called me nappy headed. I guess to discourage me. But the more the criticized me the more I wore my hair out. I still do protective styles but not for too long. I just want the ugliness associated with the word to disappear. Nappy just does not describe my hair. Its very soft kinky and smells like coconut oil. lol

    • Hey LeShawn,

      Thanks for your comment, and continuing to be you. But, I will say that maybe your friends made fun of your hair because they aren’t as courageous enough to what you did (but secretly wanting to!). Usually when people make fun of others, it sometimes stems from their own insecurities. So, keep doing you, and let the haters do their job. lol

  4. So I really enjoyed this read, it was all I needed to remind myself of the journey I’m on and the relief I received knowing I have sistas going through the same process. My biggest takeaway was the confirmation that, black women participating in this movement are taking control of our identities, inspiring one another, and sharing the love; and that alone is revolutionary. I am in love with this movement!!

  5. I would just like to say what a wonderful and inspiring article,the only thing I have to say is this let’s leave out the nappy ,that word is about a very very tight curl pattern it’s very curly and thick at the roots which makes it har

  6. Love the article the thing with NAPPY as we call it is the curl pattern is so tight and so thick at the roots it’s hard to comb can we put out a article that teaches them how to work with it me myself I have 3 combination hair tight tight curls in the crown some Indian and some that curls nicely but it’s mixed all together except that in the crown but hey loving my natural

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