Monday, 15 June 2015

Nappy vs Natural AKA African vs American/Caribbean???

Sometimes I wonder if some of the 'stuff' that is uploaded onto Facebook is done simply and only to court controversy! What the...? Is this guy insane?! Lol!!! I am sorry if you are offended by my mild insult, (trust me it could have been a lot worse lol!) but you really should have seen some of the comments that other people responded with on the actual Facebook post itself. At the time of posting this, the post had nearly 16,000 comments and 5000 shares. Let's just say some people were a bit...UPSET! The gentleman has since removed his post! Hmmmm....

Okay, so I don't know about you, but what I gather from this post is that Mr Kenneth is definitely down with the natural hair movement...(yes ma brudda). Oh wait! But only if your 'natural' hair looks like the soft wavy/coily locks on the left, and ain't 'nappy' (*said in a strong southern drawl*), like the tighter tougher looking hair on the right.... my hair!!!! Oh, and if your hair is 'nappy'... straighten it or cover it the hell up! Am I misinterpreting this picture?  What do you make of it?

Now, as irritated as I am by this foolishness and ignorance from a grown man, it does remind me of how I kinda used to think. I will be honest, back in the day, when I was a CHILD growing up, I did kind of look at black hair in terms of good hair / not good hair. Especially growing up as an African girl in the UK when being African was NOT COOL! All things African were ridiculed and made to feel inferior to Caribbean (specifically Jamaican) culture. Thank God for Afro beats... how things have changed. But back then, African kids didn't have it easy in school. As a young black girl, the image of what was cool and attractive was also tied up in your hair, its texture and how you chose to wear it. You see, looking at the hair textures in the picture above, the hair on the left, rightly or wrongly, I GENERALLY associate with African American/Caribbean hair, the hair on the right, African hair. When I say African, I mean black, sub-Saharan African like me. 

Kiko hairstyle of Nigeria:  How mum sent me to school in the UK!. 

Koroba Nigerian Hairstyle: How mum sent me to school in the UK!

Now, before you all begin to throw virtual side eyes in my direction... let me explain why. First off, like I said, I am African, and the hair on the right side of Mr. Kenneth's post (with slight variations) looks very much like the natural hair of most women in my family... and most of my African friends. In fact, the hair texture in the bottom right hand picture of the post actually looks EXACTLY like mine. Personally, I have NEVER seen a black sub-Saharan African woman without some form of racial mixture, who has hair like either of the pictures on the left of that post (unless it's a weave/wig of course). Not in real life, nor on TV! Now that is just MY experience, and I do not claim to have met every single African woman on the planet. So please... On the other hand, I know (not all personally) many Caribbean and or African American (ok and Somalian/Eritrean/Ethopian) women with natural hair texture like in the pics on the left. 

Secondly, growing up in the UK, I remember at school, the girls who always had long, thick, slick hair were generally Caribbean girls... and the girls that had corn rows or had the misfortune of a jerry curl were generally the African girls... like me. I shudder at the memory lol! Am I revealing too much here? Now, I am not saying that this was the case for EVERY African girl in the whole of the UK, but at my school, and church and everywhere else I frequented, African girls GENERALLY weren't known for having 'good/nice' hair.  

Even on TV, I remember watching all those African American shows like 'A Different World' 'The Cosby Show' and 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. Who can forget, Jasmine Guy, Cree Summer, Lisa Bonet, and Tatyana Ali. ALL of these gorgeous African-American women had 'nice' hair. Even today, look at the likes of Beyonce, Solange, Jill Scott etc... look at how big and beautiful their natural hair is.

Jasmine Guy

Cree Summers

Lisa Bonet

Tatyana Ali

Beyonce au naturel...

So can you kind of see why I grew up with this association in my mind? Now this is not to say that I have never seen an African girl with thick, long hair... of course I have... but just not like either one of the two pictures in Mr. Kenneth's Facebook post; the types of girls that were celebrated on TV (as beautiful) and popular in school! There might be... but I just 'ain't never seen 'em'.

Fast forward to today, and thank God for maturity and the 'natural hair movement'. Now, as a woman who has lived and seen outside of my own orbit a bit more, I know that there are many gorgeous American and Caribbean women with hair just like mine. Also, with the help of YouTube, online communities and blogs etc, coupled with the fact that many more women (including celebrities) are revealing the state of their natural hair, even if only temporarily, we black ladies, young and old, African, American, Caribbean, wherever, can finally appreciate that there are various different afro hair textures and all of them can be beautiful if well/properly cared for.

Yes, some natural hair types might  require more care than others due to their natural structure,  i.e. require more hydration or more prone to breakage, but provided we learn how to care for our respective hair types, (and the knowledge is now out there), we can all have beautiful natural hair, whether worn out for the world to see, or protected/tucked away temporarily under a wig or weave.  

So Mr Kenneth... you know what you can do with your perm! As they say, 'my hair ain't stressed and so don't need no relaxer'. Thanks tho...NOT!

Stay confident and beautiful,


1 comment:

  1. All Black women have tight coily hair, no matter if we're from Africa (E or W), America, the Caribbean, or India. Only mixed women have silky hair. Just look at the photos of women you posted: mixed.