#TeamNatural: The Movement I Hoped For When I Was A Girl


Fros and kinks everywhere. The gravity-defying hair is gracing the world with its presence as Black women and mulattos embrace their natural hair.

The natural hair movement first went mainstream during the 1960 and 1970s when activists and actresses in blaxploitation films sported the afro. They embraced it proudly in resistance to beauty standards that were based on a racist eurocentric ideals. Hence, negative connotations were ascribed to the afro in where it was seen as ugly, deviant, and rebellious in western society.

The stigma associated with afrocentric hair influenced Blacks to assimilate into a eurocentric look. From permed hair to weaves and wigs, Black women religiously embraced hair that resembled western hair.

Related: THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCING YOUR PRINCESS TO EMBRACE HER CROWN

Afro-textured hair is unaccepted to the point Black women with natural hair faced and still face ultimatums that made us choose between our job and hair. If that was not bad, women who chose to be natural had to face ridicule perpetuated by Black women and men. Silly comments like "your hair is nappy," "perm your hair," "at least I can afford to wear weave" where made against women with natural hair. For example. Nicki Minaj said “you nappy headed hoes need a perminator" in a rap song from her Pink Friday album.

Nikki Minaj is not the only celebrity to boldly mock afro-textured hair. Gossip celeb Wendy Williams mocked Viola Davis after she embraced her crown at the Oscars. Her comment against Davis? Wendy said "no one wanted to see a Room 222 look on the red carpet." Room 222 was a TV show from the ’60s and ’70s about a black man with a short Afro who taught a history class. Wendy Williams was implying that Viola's Davis afro made her look mannish. And then we have Black men who I believe are just as worst. Rick Ross said “Bitch hair nappy girl, you need that rich shit." What is rich shit? And then there is Young Thug who lowered two Alaskan Airline workers to peasants after he missed his flight. Young Thug called the workers nappy peasants whose hair look like Africans.

As demonstrated, rhetoric against the afro is perpetuated by people of all races which influenced Black women to dislike our natural hair. Fortunately we are learning to embrace our natural hair regardless of the negativity around it. This was made possible by the neo-natural hair movement that swept the world in the past decade and empowered women to go natural. A good sum of Black women gone natural to the point perm sells have dropped within the past years. This neo-movement is influential even Black males have begun to sport the fro and twistouts instead of the low-cut they have been conditioned to view as clean and proper.

Related: ROCKIN' ROUGH N STUFF IN OUR AFROS AND PUFFS!

Today, with everything going on in terms of embracing Blackness, the moment is bittersweet. Bittersweet because as I see afro hair-centered resources for kids such as Black dolls, mini cartoons, coloring books, and videos that empower girls to embrace their crown, I am reminded about these resources that weren't around when I was a kid. Now as a 25 year old millennial, the young girl in me cries out.

I was one of the people whose hair refused to subscum to the perm. No matter who or how my hair was permed, my hair remained puffy and rough. Thus, I was ridiculed by my friends who called my hair nappy. Rewind back to my preteen days. As an African I wore box braids before it became popular in America. My American friends called my braids horse hair which was insulting. This created in me a hatred for afrocentric hairstyles. I wanted nothing to do with my hair and made it a mission to achieve straight and silky hair.

The title is, #TeamNatural: The Movement I Hoped For When I Was A Girl. This movement could have helped twelve year old Onyinyechi (me) love her Blackness and overcome the programming that swayed me to despise and alter my God-given hair. Leaving the past behind, I am glad this movement is around not only for us women who didn't have a natural hair movement when we were kids, but also for the girls of today. They don't have to endure what many of us endured as kids.

Related: THESE DOLLS PROMOTE NIGERIAN HERITAGE

This modern natural hair movement has empowered me to love my blackness and create a sisterhood amongst fellow afro-hair women. It is a joy to see Black women and girls love who they are. I am glad to rebel against European beauty standards to proudly EMBRACE my africanness.

What is your say. Do you wish the natural hair movement was around during your childhood?

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