Activist, Jamaican Marcus Garvey said, “Don’t remove the kinks from your hair. Remove them from your brain.”
And that is a fight we are still fighting today even as the Natural Hair Movement grows.
I find that even when persons accept their kinks, coils, curls or naps, their mindset is still relaxed or European to some extent.
Many people may think that they are very much African or Afro-centric in their views when it comes to their hair, but let me highlight two things.
- Length checks
Many naturalistas love their hair, texture and all, but they bawl about their edges, the frizz, and the fly-aways. It is sad how society makes us feel that hair strands which refuse to be pulled back or retrained are “unruly” and “unkept”.
Listen to me, your hair is beyond your control, don’t be ashamed of that fact. It is not something that must be set straight. (Get it?!)
Sooooooooooo many naturalistas, myself included are fighting this battle daily still. You see us in front of the mirror trying to slick our edges, to get them laid. We recommend tying down your hair at night with a satin scarf, or we try brand after brand after brand of holding products and even DIY gels to help us “tame” our edges.
Hence are we truly accepting what our natural is and what it does fully?!
And it is most funny. Because Caucasians with straight hair types who can easily slick their hair back, even with just water, they walk out the house with stray hairs blowing, the “wispy strands”, and call it the “bedhead” look, with no fear of cries and criticisms. They don’t get bombarded with questions and statements like, “You comb your hair?” “Your choir boys singing;” “You could have gotten a toothbrush for your edges,” “Where your brush?” and “You need a new gel or a good gel.”
They don’t run to the bathroom by midday praying that their “extra hold” is still holding. It’s crazy but so true, right?! (Please understand this is in no way about promoting one race or talking down another, it is just me showing an observed difference.)
Secondly, why do many naturalistas focus on length checks?
Many naturals are judging their hair’s progress by length, when in truth, many people could look at strength of the strands, or even do volume tests. Check to see how much thicker your hair has gotten; how much fuller your afro is. Maybe these are the types of checks that we should look into if we feel the need to check. Length is not the only way to judge progress.
And truthfully, especially for those girls with Type 4 hair, who experience crazy shrinkage, what do length checks prove when the world sees your hair in its shrunken state mainly?
We have some growing to do, but never fear. We got this far by faith and we wont ‘relax’ our efforts now. Continue to grow in confidence naturals.