Natural vs. Non-Natural Hair in the African American Community
- The Beginning of the Movement
- A Naturalist Super Hero : Erykah Badu
- The Invention of the Superheros Kryptonite: Relaxer
- The Villains : Non – Naturalist
- Men’s Point of View
- Being Natural 20 years ago vs. Present Time
Practice Opening 1
In the African American Community there is a division between the women. Whether to wear your hair natural or to wear your hair non-natural. Natural seems to be the winning side. Wearing your hair natural is a political statement and from the beginning of the movement which started in the late 1800s it has always been about self acceptance for the black woman and pride in herself. A very famous Natural Advocate is Erykah Badu the music artist, she feels as though it is healthier to be natural, and why should she subside to the barbie doll look of Hollywood, when she can be herself in her natural state. Of course every super hero has its kryptonite, for the naturalists that happens to be relaxer which was invented by Madame CJ Walker. The Villains aka the Non-Naturalists have reasoning unto why they choose not to go natural, although it damages their hair, the non-naturalists still choose to wear weaves and get relaxers and chemicals put in their scalps. Men have a role in this movement , to whether they agree with how his wife accommodates her hairstyles. Now more than ever the Natural Movement is at an all time high in women wearing their hair natural, because it seems to be more accepted than it was 20 years ago.
Practice Opening 2
You gotta fight!, For your right!, to be Natural!! A huge political standpoint is happening right now within the African American female society. To choose to be Natural or Non-Natural. This argument is huge, celebrities like Erykah Badu are involved serving as a leader in the movement. From the start of the movement in the late 1800s, this issue has grown in the African American Community, from the creation of relaxer by Madame CJ Walker to the industrialization of chemical hair products period. A lot of Non- Naturalist have so many reasons to wearing their hair as they do, one of them being so they can fit the European standards and look acceptable to our society. African American males seem to be agreeing equally with how their wives choose to up-do their hairstyles, some like them natural, some like them non-natural, and some just do not care. Times are changing for the movement, now in present days Natural hair has a much more powerful standpoint in the political argument then they did 20 years ago when the Non- Naturalist were on the winning side. As we continue on with my research you will see how time, looks, and thoughts are a huge part of the movement.
The Beginning of the Movement
The Natural Hair Movement has been a movement for decades now and up until the 1920s was not recognized as a movement. Being apart of this rejuvenating, powerful spiritual journey gave the black women strength and power as a human being. It made them realize that it was okay to be black and not fit the non-natural look. African American women all over were picking up on this natural look, not knowing how big of a movement was ahead for the future.
Choosing to wear your hair natural was apart of The Black Power Movement, one of the prime targets of this movement was the straightening of colored peoples hair. To be Natural was to be Black, to have pride in your own race, be proud of the skin that you are in, not wanting to be like another race because that is how society wants it. The afro was a major symbol for the Naturalist and the Black Power Movement, it was considered a posing threat to society.
A Naturalist Super Hero : Erykah Badu
The Queen of Neo Soul herself is a prime leader in The Natural Hair Movement. Being a music artist from Hollywood, you would think she would go with the celebrity look straightened relaxed hair, or weave, but no she chooses to be a Naturalists. Erykah Badu has embraced her natural look when pop culture has not. She feels as though this look is healthier for her mind, body, and soul. Why should she choose which way to wear her hair one way or the other. Her hair embodies who she is as a human being.
Being apart of this division of the African american women has shown her shed rather be a person with “a natural mind and processed head than a processed mind and natural head.” Erykah states in her interview that “Being natural is really fresh but every once in the while, super natural!” Reasons such as previously stated is why she is a huge staple in this Natural Hair Movement.
The Invention of the Superheros Kryptonite: Relaxer
Every Super Hero has its weakness for The Naturalists is Relaxer. This chemical balanced product was invented in the 1920s by an African American women named Madame CJ Walker. She was embarrassed of how her hair looked, she wanted it to look pretty and like the “white folk” so she came up with a product first to help her hair grow and then a product to relax the black hair and tame it. So that the African american women could be acceptable looking in society.
Before you know it Madame CJ Walker had started creating more products for your hair to be more un-natural as possible. Another staple in this powerful movement.
The Villains : Non – Naturalist
Of course, What kind of Super Hero has no Villain? The non- naturalists are the weave, braid, chemical relaxing wearers that choose to be everything other than natural. These are the women who want to fit into society not only as themselves, but be able to be themselves but look as if they are apart of another race. So they can mirror “the European standard of beauty.”
Natural hair is looked at as inappropriate and socially unacceptable. Long straight hair is beautiful and elegant, why wear your own hair when you can buy Brazilian, Malaysian, Chinese hair to sew into your scalp? That is the non-naturalist point of view.
Men’s Point of View
A lot of black men are involved in this empowerment for the black women. African American men seem to vary in what they like their women to wear on their heads. Some are for the natural, some are for the non-natural, a lot truly do not care. The men that do care have many options on why they want their wives hair to look a certain way.
Men that choose the natural look for his women, loves and respects his wife. He wants his wife to be true to herself, and let her know that he loves her for her not for whatever other reason. The men that choose the non-natural look for their wives usually love their wives but want them to look a certain way in order to be able to be in the presence of the black male. This is sad because this destroys the worth of a lot of black women, it makes them think they have to look a certain way in order to have any man, and that is not the case.
Being Natural 20 years ago vs. Present Time
A women took us on her personal natural hair movement from 1996 to 2015. Her reasoning for bringing us with her is because she wanted to show how Natural hair was judged in the 90s , and how now in the 2000s is embraced highly in the black community. Back in the 90s black women were so harsh upon other black women who chose to wear the natural look, and in a course of 20 years it amazes me how they embrace the natural look. I don’t want to dive to deep into this article because of how great her journey is but I will explain upon later writings.
I feel as though my research is reflecting on how I feel about the Natural Hair movement. And it is clear I am taking the Natural Hair side. i love this topic because there is so much to write and talk about, this is a huge political topic and has a lot of standpoints I can stick by in my research.