Your Black friend announces with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, ‘guys, I’ve finally decided… to go natural.’ You are happy for her as this seems like good news, but all the while you are thinking, ‘um, I thought everyone’s hair was natural?’ The phrase, ‘I’m going natural’ probably sends some people into the land of what-the-heck-are-people-talking-about? Well do not worry, you can stop scratching your head! This article will give you the low-down about fierce Afros and kinky curls.
Everyone has natural hair on their head. But, when Black women talk about going natural, what they mean is no more relaxers. Relaxers are used to chemically straighten Afro- textured hair and it is generally damaging to the scalp and hair. More recently, some Black women have ditched the relaxers in favour of Afro tresses. They either chop all of their hair off or go through a transition. This means allowing your natural to grow out whilst gradually chopping off the straight hair.
Okay, get ready for a quick history lesson. You will be clued up about why natural hair is a big deal for some individuals. Historically, Afro- hair has been criticised and presented as unattractive because it does not meet the European standard of beauty, which tends to be long, straight or loosely curled hair. In order to assimilate, hair relaxers were made. Black women could finally have straight hair too. Now, why is natural hair so important? Well, for some women it is a form of liberation- they can enjoy their hair in its original state, without feeling the need to conform to European standards of beauty. For others, the acceptance of their natural hair is the beginning of a self-love journey.
In recent times, it seems like more and more women of African or Caribbean decent are saying goodbye to hair relaxers. But, what has sparked this rising trend? I do not think there is one specific reason for why Black women are gracing the streets with their beautiful natural hair. What I do think is YouTube, its growth of tutorials, and sites like Curlynikki.com have played a part in creating a space where Black women can be more informed about their hair texture. Also, after seeing stars like 12 Years A Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o, The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira or The Help’s Viola Davis rock the natural look, and super cute hairstyles on Pinterest, who would not want to be part of the natural hair glam-party?
Whatever the reason, I’m proud to see more Black women confidently embracing their natural locks. Some may call it a trend, and I think it is a darn good one that is here to stay.