Tag Archives: Encourage

I’m too old for…

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Overly sensitive people in the natural hair community. I know we all have our struggles as naturalista’s, and we’re constantly battling negative stereotypes when it comes to our natural hair. But when we have discussions amongst ourselves, we should be able to speak freely and not be censored by the natural hair police or admins of a group who try to tell you what you can and cannot say, especially when it’s not demeaning or offensive. We all have different thoughts and opinions, and having natural hair is not going to change that. Having natural hair does not mean that we’re exempt from all criticism. That’s not being realistic at all.

I’m starting to rethink being part of natural hair groups on Facebook because I’m finding that grown women don’t know how to have grown up conversations about HAIR. It’s sickening and it’s a shame.  I left a group tonight because the admins tried to chastise and tell others how they should and should not feel and what they can and cannot say when everyone was simply stating their opinion on a hairstyle. Yes, a hairstyle people. It was so ridiculous and so petty and uncalled for. And that’s when I said “You know what? I’m too old for this.”

girl-bye

We cannot control what people think, what they say, or how they feel. All we can do is focus on ourselves and keep ourselves uplifted. Tune out the negativity and keep showing the strength and beauty of our natural hair as much as possible. Be supportive of one another and stop trying to make people think and feel the way you do. Those who are natural still have misinformed, backwards, or flat out ignorant thoughts on natural hair, which means not everyone is on the same path or level in their journey as you may be. People can only learn through education, not censorship.

 

Love of Self + Culture = Love of Natural Hair

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Angela Davis Art

For the past few months I’ve been reading and hearing disturbing accounts of black women being shamed or made to feel ugly because of the darkness of their skin, the kinkiness of their hair, the fullness of their lips or noses, or the curviness and voluptuousness of their bodies. This isn’t just happening in America, it’s happening in Brazil, Cuba, Africa, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic – any place where there are darker hued people. To me, it’s a reminder of how deeply rooted racism, colorism, and self hate really is. In Louisiana for an example, it is a fact of life that those deemed Creole, who are basically light skinned (might as well throw in “with good hair”) do not associate with those who are darker skinned. They won’t even allow a darker skinned person in a photo with them, let alone stand up in their wedding! In 2016 this is still happening, and it blows my mind.

In Brazil, there’s a young woman named Nayara Justino who is a model and actress. She made history by being the first dark skinned woman named Carnival Queen. Sadly, she was stripped of her title because of the racist outrage over her dark skin. The people wanted the tradition to continue of only crowning a lighter skinned Brazilian woman. This poor woman was called every racist name in the book on social media, and the judges cowardly caved into the public outcry and stripped her of her crown and giving Nayara no reason for doing so. Much later they denied taking her crown because of the color of her skin, even though everyone knows that’s exactly the reason why. Let’s be real – if the public never had a problem with her being Carnival Queen, she’d still have her crown, right? Right.

I hate hearing and reading about these things, but I’m glad for social media because without it we’d never hear about these things happening. Mainstream media never report about these types of things because they want you to believe that the world isn’t as racist as it is. Well you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that racism in America and in other countries is alive and well. It’s this narrow-minded thinking that keeps black women and women of color from loving everything about themselves. This is why it’s so hard for women to even attempt to love their natural  kinky, coily hair because all they hear and see on tv and in print ads is that straight, long hair is the only hair that is beautiful, and it’s the only hair you should want. Curls and kinks are ugly, unkempt looking, and wild. Just writing this makes me cringe at how ridiculous this thinking is, but it’s out there and the roots run deep in the minds of many black women and black men.

Recently I watched the documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution on PBS. During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a call for black pride because of the hideous racism and persecution taking place against blacks at the hands of white people. Loving ourselves, our culture, skin color, and natural hair were just some of things that were encouraged by the Black Panther Party. Seeing all of those beautiful, natural afros of various sizes, textures, and colors in this documentary made me smile. It made me swell with pride because all of these people looked like me, they had hair like me and they wore it proudly. After the demise of The Black Panther Party, that pride in our natural hair  practically disappeared as chemical relaxers and Jheri Curls took over. Fast forward to today and you have black women once again saying no to putting harmful chemicals in their hair and yes to proudly wearing their natural hair. Many call it a movement, others call it a fad. Ask the manufactures of chemical relaxers and beauty salons about their sales for the past ten years and they’ll tell you it’s not a fad. Today, women are more informed and aware of the harmful side affects that chemical relaxers cause. There is a plethora of information all over the internet at our disposal to educate ourselves with. So no, this is not a fad. This is a lifestyle change and natural hair is here to stay.

Collectively as women, we need to help and encourage each other whether if we are natural or not. Don’t look down on those who aren’t natural, be encouraging. Remember, most of us were addicted to the creamy crack for many years too! Don’t preach to them, be informative. Compliment one another and be an example. Be willing to discuss your hair journey if given the opportunity. Your story could help someone else make that final decision to go natural.  Before I went natural, when I would see black women rocking their afros, afro puffs, or twist outs, I always felt their hair was beautiful. I felt a sense of pride seeing them rock their natural hair because I always felt our natural hair is beautiful. I wouldn’t hesitate to compliment them and tell them how beautiful their hair was. Then I had to look at myself and ask “If you know natural hair is beautiful and it’s healthier for you, what’s keeping you from going natural?” I had no answer, and I had no excuse because there was nothing holding me back. My daughters were natural, so again, what was holding me back? Nothing. I got educated and I took the plunge. I big chopped.

There is nothing wrong with loving our culture. There is nothing wrong with loving our blackness. And there is definitely nothing wrong with loving ourselves and our natural hair.

 

When Will Naturals Be UNITED?

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Women power

A blogger on Facebook wrote about natural bloggers and vloggers on YouTube and Instagram who wear a lot of “bold makeup” in their tutorials. She stated how they go through their how-to hair tutorials and then show the finished product with a very made up face. Not all vloggers do this, but some do. She then took the time to shout out vloggers that she personally liked because they wear little to no makeup in their tutorials. She also related how she used to wear makeup but has since stopped because she learned how to feel beautiful without makeup. While reading this and trying to figure out where exactly she was going with all of this, I couldn’t help but notice how she made it very clear that she was anti-makeup, but in the same breath gave what I felt was a very backhanded compliment to the other known bloggers and vloggers who always have ‘beat faces.” (For those that don’t know, a “beat face” means your makeup is flawless)

She said that she wanted to reach out to those naturals who may feel that they have to put on a ton of makeup to make their natural hair look more appealing to others because this is what they see the YouTube vloggers do. Her concern was for those who also hide behind makeup due to deeper issues they may have. I know there are naturals out there who feel like they must compensate for their natural kinky hair, and it breaks my heart to hear that they would feel that way.  However, if your intent is to encourage these naturals and open the dialogue for those who do have deeper issues going on, don’t point the finger at other naturals as though their choice to wear makeup is something bad.

Let me be clear: I admire her wish to open the dialogue for those who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin to be themselves. I take issue with her approach. As though there isn’t enough pressure on women as a whole to look a certain way, fit into certain molds, and to be a certain size to even be considered remotely attractive, we as natural haired women of color continue to put added pressure on one another by trying to dictate what makes you a true natural. Why must we do this to each other over something that should be celebrated, not trivialized? Why must some be so petty?

Just like being natural is a choice, wearing makeup is a choice as well. We all have our reasons for kicking creamy crack (relaxers) to the curb and embracing our natural roots. We also have our own reasons for wearing or not wearing makeup. Makeup is an enhancement. It’s used to cover up flaws and enhance beauty. Some women don’t feel beautiful unless they are made up. Some women feel beautiful and at their best with a clean, bare face. No one should be shamed for either choice.

I’m all about encouraging and empowering women, especially those who are embracing their natural roots because going natural is not an easy thing to do. It’s a process, and sometimes it can take a long time for some to embrace the process. That’s why I started this blog, to document my journey and to hopefully encourage others along the way. It bothers me to see bloggers write things that divide rather than unite. I hate to see yet another rule in the non-existent “Natural Hair Rule Book” being pushed off on those of us in the natural hair community. Educate, uplift, be positive, encourage, and empower. Those are the things we should be doing for one another as women and as black natural haired women, not making ones feel inadequate or not natural enough.

I keep coming back to one question: Where does it end? Every time you turn around there’s yet another “rule” out there that naturals should or should not be doing. For many of us, going natural had a trickle down effect. Not only are we taking better care of our hair by using more natural and organic products, we have also become more aware of what we eat by making healthier food choices. Some have stopped putting heat in their hair. These are all good, positive things that ones have made a personal decision to do. Giving the impression, intentionally or not, that naturals shouldn’t wear makeup and embrace their natural skin is one writers personal choice being pushed off on others, and that isn’t right. Will the next rule be that naturals shouldn’t wear finger nail polish or fake nails of any kind because we should embrace and love our natural nails? When will we stop adding burdensome, unnecessary rules to having natural hair and start accepting and embracing ourselves for the wonderful, diverse women that we are?

I expressed my opinion on the article and there were a few, including the author, who didn’t like it. What they couldn’t grasp was how her words, intentionally or not, could be offensive to those who do wear makeup. Their response to me was “Well the article isn’t for you, why are you so defensive? This article is for those who do feel pressured to wear makeup or feel the need to hide behind makeup. Those are the ones we want to reach.” They totally missed the point. At first I went back and forth with some of them attempting to explain where I was coming from, but ended up sounding like a broken record. The comments from these “grown” women became childish, and that’s when I gave up and left the conversation. In my opinion it wasn’t a positive, unbiased or uplifting post by this blogger. You can’t claim to be positive by putting down others and then sit back and act surprised when those who do enjoy wearing makeup are offended by some of your statements in your article. Oh, did I mention that the majority of those who took issue with my comments were those who do NOT wear makeup, just like the blogger who wrote the article? Surprise, surprise.

In the end I will always advocate for encouraging and uplifting my fellow naturalistas. I will always support and celebrate encouraging and uplifting natural hair blogs that also educate it’s readers. I will always speak out against the endless natural hair rules that certain natural hair extremists try to push onto others. I will always do my part to UNITE naturals and be positive, not divide and discourage.