It has been almost a year since I did my big chop. I have learnt so much about my natural hair, and I still continue to learn new things as the days pass. Recently someone asked me what being natural really means to me. I have to admit, that question lingered in my mind for a while, and this is what I came up with.
For a long time, we as black people have allowed ourselves to be dictated to how we should look. We have been bombarded by the media with images of skinny light complexioned black women with long flowing hair and perfect little noses, and have been made to believe that that is how we should look if we want to be viewed as beautiful. It even went as far as black women missing out on job opportunities if they wore their hair natural, and let us not forget the ridicule one endured if they dared to wear their hair in its natural kinky glory. We have been programmed to believe that our natural features are unattractive and unacceptable. That includes our skin colour and our hair.
When a young black woman sees images of women like Beyonce and Halle Berry in magazines and on the TV and are told that these are the most beautiful women in the world, who can blame them for wanting to bleach their skin and relax their hair or wear wigs and weaves? For decades, the beauty industry preyed upon our insecurities and put out products that would alter our natural features, which we went out and bought. It is not a wonder that black people are the leading consumers of hair products.
But I digress, being natural to me means breaking away from the mold.It means I am becoming an individual and I am not conforming to society. It means I am embracing my uniqueness, my beauty, my genetics, my ethnicity, my heritage, my ancestors… I am embracing who I am. Not everyone will appreciate all that, but that’s just too bad.
I refuse to put myself through painful and unhealthy beauty rituals to change my features….I am perfect as I am.
Everytime I see a woman with her natural hair, I can’t help but smile and feel a sense of pride. A black woman who accepts her natural beauty is the most wonderful sight. We owe it to our daughters to love ourselves and take pride in what God has given us. If you will not go natural for yourself, do it for your daughter.Let her know that she is beautiful just as she is and teach her how to care for her hair, she will thank you for it
I hope more and more black women will be inspired to join us.
Stay natural and stay beautiful!
What does being natural mean to you?
- Relaxed vs. Natural Hair vs. Weaves vs. Dreads (bellasugar.com)
- Tyra Talks About Going Raw With Her Hair (bellasugar.com)
- Biggest Headlines of 2010: Natural Hair (bellasugar.com)
- Show-Up! Show Out! A Celebration of Natural Hair! (wholeness4all.wordpress.com)
- Black women join movement to go natural with their hair (miamiherald.com)
- Not quite ready for team natural? Why these black women went back to using relaxers (thegrio.com)