It gets deep when you have to define or categorize the hair strands that grow out of your scalp. Where should our natural hair fit into this society in which we live today in 2014? This makes me think of talk show host Arsenio Hall when he said, “the things that make you go ‘hummmmmm.’” There has always been a community of natural hair.
In terms of natural hair acceptance or gaining momentum on natural hair styles, without getting too political or historical, in the ‘70s Bob Marley and other Rastafarians from Jamaica made locs or dreads popular. During the same time period in the U.S., the afro was the style of that era and as I recall “momma nem” had their afros on point. However, I believe much of that time frame was dictated by social and political ramifications.
Webster says a trend simply reflects what seems to be going around at any given time. A movement is the act or an instance of moving; a change in place or position. However, here is where it gets tricky.
How we view natural hair styles is where the real discussion of movement or trend is being tossed around. Whether it’s a movement or a trend, the best things that have come out of this natural hair momentum certainly seems to have come for the right reasons:
Self-acceptance — There is nothing more powerful than being able to convey positive messages, images or cues to our sons or daughters that despite what media may portray in terms of hair, you’re beautiful just the way you are.
For so many adults, they are able to fully embrace their whole selves easier. The influx of embracing natural hair could indirectly increase unity, and that can manifest other good things for the Black community.
Health — With the world turning more eco-friendly and green, we are focusing on the chemicals we are putting into our bodies. It seems we are becoming more “health conscious,” which leads us to question a variety of ingredients.
For some people, healthy living includes trying to eat right and exercise. It is no secret that in the Black communities we have debilitating health disparities which place Black women in the lead for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The word on the street is that since we don’t have to worry about sweating out our straighter hair styles, we may be getting in more activity.
Marketing/media opportunities — Modern technology has played an important role in the rise of natural hair as well. The Internet gives us access to so many resources. Women are becoming more educated and knowledgeable on hair care, products, marketing and learning the foundation of being an entrepreneur.
Heck, YouTuber’s are making money. Individuals are launching their own product lines such as make-up, apparel, hair products, workout tapes, self empowerment videos etc. I am loving the innovation.
Check out the magazines, commercials, movies, runways…natural hair is on the rise. Thus many of your larger organizations are releasing products that focus towards natural hair care; thus sales are on the rise in many markets. Natural hair is permeating other areas of the culture. I see dolls with afros being made, and all kinds of kids are dragging them around.
This natural hair revolution that we have created is an awakening that we now have increased hair styling options and hair care choices. I believe natural hair is here to stay. Some people do it for a statement, some do it for health, some do it for fashion — whatever your reason, it’s about individuality.
Choosing to go natural is personal. It’s ok to embrace all of you or enhance what you were born with. Whatever your hair type or style, learn to love your hair as it grows out your head.
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.