Hair Hate is Real: I'm Natural But She's Not
I just bought my ticket to Curlfest and I'm super excited at the opportunity to once again be around more natural women embracing not only their hair but themselves as they are... and then I saw a post that disappointed me and triggered some thought. There's an issue in the natural hair community that I want to address.
To some the natural hair community is welcoming, but to others the natural hair community can be viewed as excluding and even a community of biases and contradictions.
This post basically addressed the concerns of this black woman who is natural.
Her views can be seen in one of two ways... a statement rooted by self-esteem issues and sista bashing, or a real concern that should be taken into consideration. (This is not to single out this young lady either because I have heard similar thoughts from other women before.)
From the lens of self-esteem issues and sista bashing
One of the things that can make or break how you feel about your natural hair journey is how you define things and who you let define the success and setbacks of your journey.
I said I did a big chop because I had a lot of hair and I chopped off a BIG amount. Now to someone else, a big chop is the alternative to transitioning and they may not agree with my definition, but at the end of the day, it's MY journey, not theirs.
Latinas and Red heads have curls as well, so their natural hair journey should not be looked down upon. It takes a lot of time for someone to embrace themselves as they are after years of trying to fit in or conform to the norms of society, so just because someone has "looser curls" doesn't mean that their journey to finding the right products or loving their hair is any easier than someone who has had relaxers and did a big chop and is now going natural and has "wash days" and "pre-poos."
Looking at her statement an actual concern
This young women's statement can also be looked at as her emotions and concerns being directed at the wrong people. The hair product companies are the ones who should receive the concerns if you feel that you are not being represented in the light that you want. If you feel that your 4c is beautiful and it's beauty is not being shown do some research on who to reach out to. Try writing a letter to human resources, try out for a casting for a commerical, start a movement for representation or make your own commercial for that matter, but trying to dim another woman's light, who happens to be in the spotlight right now, is not going to make your light shine any brighter.
We should realize and remember that the media goes through fads of what previously unacceptable or disliked style (or even group of people and/or their physical character traits) should be the new "it thing." (And of course when it becomes the it thing the originators never get credit)
Remember when the media didn't think it was "cool" to be thick ? And now everyone wants to be thick ? Or when being dark skin was looked at as a curse ? But now everyone (including people who lack it) is hash-tagging "melanin" ? OR WHAT ABOUT CORNROWS ?! Remember when they were frowned upon ?!
It's like each "minority" group is getting their spotlight on the pedal stool (where their aesthetics are being praised by the media.) and our Latinas whether they want to admit it or not are our sistas, and there is no need to hate on your sista.
I'm loyal to them but they hate me: Shea Moisture the Heart Breaker.
As a black woman I know when I saw the opening title for the Shea Moisture commercial "Hair Hate is Real" I'm thinking it's commercial displaying the women with the 4a, b, c and beyond hair textures (with type 3 hair women as well) because it is true...the hair hate is real. Other people hate our hair because it doesn't reflect the norms of European standards of beauty or even the images that have become the norm for "curly hair." Hair Hate, often times, is also real within ourselves. We hate our hair because we do not quite take the time to understand what our hair needs and we become so obsessed with trying to replicate the images that are placed in the commercials that we begin loving other people's hair more than we love our own.
With this in mind it is understandable why so many women, especially women of darker skin tones and with hairs type that differ from the ones that were displayed in the commercial, were SO UPSET. It was a moment of heart break because Shea Moisture is looked at as a brand that has so many options for every woman of every color, with every hair type, so it was expected to see, EVERY WOMAN represented in this commercial, and when there was not enough variety or display that represented the face of the loyal users, literally all hell broke loose. Shea Moisture attempted to manage this crisis by pulling the commercial and releasing a new one, but the damage was already done. If those who were offended weren't a first thought to be put in the commercial, reaching out to them to appease the upset crowd is not going to help the situation.
I LOVE how specific the Shea Moisture products are to your hair type and needs, so it is very unfortunate that they've created this problem and will not be at #Curlfest2017, at least from what I've seen as far as sponsors go.