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Doing What Comes Naturally

March 12, 2012

My hair and I have a good thing going. From cornrows to the Jheri curl (yes, that’s right I rocked a Jheri curl back in the day!), Poetic Justice box braids to my recent Halle Berry inspired short-cropped pixie, my hair has never let me down. However, I’ve known for while that we could both use a break from the rigors of styling and chemicals associated with relaxers.  In fact, I’ve been wrestling with the decision to wear my hair natural for almost a decade. The closest I came to taking the leap was in 2009, when days before leaving for Cuba I received a horrible haircut. To make matters worse, once I arrived at the resort I realized I had forgotten my flat iron. Thank God, I brought plenty of headscarves!  Since then, I’ve dreamed about the day that I would finally have my teeny weeny afro.

Well, it looks like that day is almost here. Earlier this year I finally decided that 2012 would be the year I wear my natural hair. My decision was not only because I wanted to give my hair a break and some extra TLC, but also because Sean and I hope to have a baby in the near future so I’d prefer to be proactive. Apparently, more and more Black women are opting to wear their hair natural, no doubt inspired celebrities like Esperanza Spalding, Viola Davis and professional women like myself. According to Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm, the number of black women who say they do not use products to chemically relax or straighten their hair jumped to 36% in 2011, up from 26% in 2010. Sales of relaxer kits dropped by 17% between 2006 and 2011.

So is this really a natural hair movement, similar to what we saw in the 60s & 70s, is it economics, or are we just determined to embrace the hair we were born with? I think it may be all of those reasons.  Although, I’d be lying if I said the reaction to my decision was all positive. Some women have told me that natural hair requires more maintenance. Maybe. But no more than what I was doing before. At least the hair products I’ll be using will be chemical-free. I understand though, that going natural is a big commitment and – especially for us newbies – a process. Even the process is a process: because my hair is short, I have to grow it out before I can get my TWA. And although I love him dearly, Sean’s reaction to my decision was a mixture of happiness and confusion.

(Note: Sean has offered his take on his reaction.

Check out the video after the post).

My hairstylist Natasha suggested that the best way to grow my hair would be to get it braided. One week later and the braids are in! Even with Natasha’s gentle hands, it took me a while to adjust to the pulling and tightening. Laughing and chewing were bloody uncomfortable.  But I’m cool now.  My braids look incredible! I chose a style inspired by Goapele. It’s soulful yet sophisticated. Natasha did an amazing job and the compliments haven’t stopped. Interestingly enough, I’m also answering a lot of questions from my non-Black friends, co-workers and acquaintances. They’re in awe of the style and genuinely want to learn more about our hair. I don’t mind answering their questions and engaging in positive dialogue because knowledge triumphs ignorance.

The beauty of our hair is its versatility. With that versatility, there is choice.  And it’s the freedom of choice that we should embrace. So no matter how we choose to rock it: relaxed, TWAs, afros, braids, twists or weaves, we need to be bold and wear it proudly. After all, it is our crowning glory. So my Queens, be regal and hold your head up high.



© Nia’s Piece, 2012

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2012 11:57 pm

    That was Hilarious!! Im going Natural too mama!! I just havent had the guts to cut out the perm yet, I ve just been braiding. so far so good! my hair got Longer. woo Hoo!

    • March 15, 2012 1:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I’m cutting my hair at the end of this month. Hope I can last that long. 🙂

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