By Trizah Fay
Conversations around the natural hair movement are often touchy, to say the least, based on the various misconceptions and assumptions especially from outside the movement. One particularly igniting misconception is that natural hair is a trend that will probably die out. And while there are many ways to disprove this misconception, let’s just go with the facts.
Going BACK to natural hair
After years of succumbing to mainstream cultures that elevate straight hair over curly/coiled African hair, many women chose to go back to wearing their hair the way it comes out of their scalp. Regardless of our motivation for this change, we must recognize that it was a personal decision made with awareness of all the perks of relaxed hair and weaves. By going back to our natural hair, we were simply accepting ourselves in all our authenticity and refusing to be dictated upon by those that knew nothing of our experiences. And one of my favorite arguments against the idea of natural hair being a fad is that after the initial transition into natural hair, women are able to move between various hairstyles based on their own preferences rather than societal pressure. Going back to a fad is impossible, mostly because these fads don’t stay relevant long enough for someone to get into them twice.
Fads come and go
While a majority of African and African American women have straightened their hair or opted for wigs and weaves at some point in their lives, many of us still have our natural hair and we have had it for longer than any wig or weave. The definition of a fad is that it develops within a given culture and eventually fades out. However, natural hair has been around for all the generations of the African race.
Not everybody gets a fad
Another thing about a fad is that it is mostly about being cool. You may, however, notice that some of the most traditionally ‘un-cool’ people have natural hair. For example, parents and grandparents tend to stay out of trends but they seem to be at the center of the natural hair movement. Natural hair campaigns go as far back as the 1960s during the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement.
The debate is very much alive
Even within the natural hair community, there is a lot of learning and unlearning that continues to happen every day. The movement is undergoing an evolution of some sort, as opposed to fizzling out. From deciding that all hair is good hair, to finding the right products that nurture hair instead of altering it, the community has come a long way from the days when hair types had become battle lines. And as long as the conversation continues, natural hair will remain relevant even to those that are not a part of the movement.
Nature is eternal
There was a time when natural hair was stigmatized against and this was the time when it would have fizzled out. Although honestly, there are many instances in the present time when natural hair is still viewed negatively. People with natural hair have had to fight for acceptance and representation and I’d like to think that we are slowly fixing that. Natural hair icons like Issa Rae, Sheila Ndinda, Yannie the Locologist and Michelle Anyango among others, continue to lead us in embracing our hair as is.
I think that natural hair is a state of our being, where we just embrace ourselves in our true form despite all the conditioning that made us doubt the beauty of our hair. Natural hair remains one of those things that will not go away for as long as our hair grows the same.