I took my free time this week to binge watch a series of my favorite Spike Lee movies. School Daze is a classical film that tackles social issues within the black community. The movie displayed the black women’s internal issues surrounding appearance. Its visuals were full of passion and emotional controversy. You had one side with light skinned women with silk pressed hair or loose curl patterns. Another side had women with a darker complexion flaunting their natural more kinky hair. These two groups insulted each other with the titles “wannabes” and “jiggaboos.” We advocated for the big chop in 2016, and still praised our forever First Lady (silk presses and all). So why is the conversation still stirring with controversy?
Are There Mean Girls in the Natural Hair Movement?
I would not refer to anyone in the natural hair movement as mean girls. Maybe just uneducated on the situation that this movement was originally tackling. Let me be clear; everyone has a state when their hair is natural. The curly girls in this community can range from 2A to 4C with many different variations of porosity and density.
When I did the big chop sophomore year I was so excited to see what my natural curl pattern was. You could say I was a 3c-4a type with low porosity. Of course it took me ages to find someone with a similar curl type since mine was a bit complex. However, just looking up tutorials on YouTube I was surprised that there was barely any variety. Nothing was wrong with the quality of the videos that came up first, but they all just looked the same. The same mixed raced girl with type 3 curls that “everyone wanted.” I’m sure it was no hassle to to just add 4a at the end of the search, yet it made me wonder a bit. Was there an ideal way to be natural? The young girls with the same appearance were the first to get sponsorships from brands. Not until we came up with our own natural hair brands that know that type 4 curls needed a bit more equity in this equal movement. Diversity is a multi-layered topic that does not end with racial, sexual, or religious backgrounds. Within our own groups may we acknowledge and promote our beautiful communities.
Is It Just Hair?
Our hair defies gravity, shrinks, and can be worn in so many different styles. As a community we try not to let the movement consume our identity. We are more than our hair, skin, and ebonics. It feels as if other groups may refer to us as self absorbed with our features, but these parts of us express so much more than our culture’s physical appearance.
There is still the ongoing issue of cultural appropriation. People still are not educated on what it is, and its comparison to cultural appreciation. Anyone can pull off the hairstyles we set on trend. Just make sure you refrain from calling them out of their original name or taking credit. May I also remind everyone that pressing our hair, wearing lace fronts, and sewing in tracks is not trying to be Eurocentric. Especially when everyone feels the need to use a flat iron to get that sleek look. Black children around the world in areas in or outside of the U.S can be born with straight hair or non kinky hair without being multicultural.
Today’s post was inspired by the Just JKing “No Crown Necessary” T-Shirt. Make sure to cop one, and remember that as black women we can wear our crown as we please. That goes for natural, pressed, braided, or with tracks and wigs. Our crown is our choice!