Thursday, September 20, 2012

Natural vs. Relaxed: The Controversy of African American Women Hair

         As I browse through editorials and websites, I see alot of African American women resorting back to their natural hair prior to relaxers. This change has brought on a debate within the African American community whether the nappy roots or society permed & press hair is preferred. Writing this blog is my outlook on this issue.

       I remember when my Mom decided to relax my hair at 10 years old, only because she said my hair had become "too unmanageable" for her. Basically too thick and long to where I couldn't bare to have her comb my hair. In other words, tender headed. See my mother is African American and Indian. My father is French, Indian, and African American which is classified as Creole. Having so many cultures mixed in one person like myself, caused my Mom to do the unthinkable. Not having the texture of hair as hers she said she didn't know what to do with my hair besides style it in braids, hot comb (which in Houston heat did nothing but made you regret wasting time hot combing), plates, and a bun. See my Mom was an avid user of the Blue Magic hair grease and water. When she wanted to make a statement on how tired she was of my hair off to a beautician I went to get braids. Now as an adult I actually want to see how my hair texture was that made my Mom just throw in the towel and chose to relax my hair as an alternative. Which by the way she never did my hair after getting one. I found myself every two weeks at the beautician getting my hair done. Which I didn't mind cause I felt like a big girl.
       This new era of hair choice has placed a form of segregation within the African American community. More like telling the African American woman to choose your roots or choose what the European culture would prefer you to have. Do I believe this epidemic has gone too far? Yes! The reason why I say yes, is because too many women has felt some type of discrimination cause of this issue. If you have natural hair your making the race proud and if you have relaxed hair your a sell out to the race. That's not right. The natural movement was only put into place cause African American women wanted to embrace their naturalness and to promote healthy hair. I mean I have heard numerous debates about this at my job and when I'm with my clients when I'm freelancing. Every debate has had a common denominator "to each its own".

      Why some women feel its no need to go back natural ie. corporate america, easy to maintain relaxed hair, versatility, and most of all relaxed hair looks professional. Now some might argue you can do the same with natural hair and at the end of the day "to each its own". Both textures require chemicals, some are natural oils and some are alcohol based. Also both textures requires maintenance. So really its "to each its own", right? This debate really comes down to personal choice. I personally prefer a perm but I'm in transition to become fully natural. Eight months into being natural I have four inches of natural with three inches of relaxed hair left chop off. I'm enjoying the change. Ladies let's not place a choice of hair preference as a segregated group like its only meant for the elite or true into our community. We are all beautiful and amazing women regardless of what texture we may choose. Lets keep the unity and not be divided.

XoXo MbP

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