ThaWell Forum 1: The Natural Hair “Movement”… Our Thoughts

This post is the first of many that will be a compilation of thoughts from all four of us here at ThaWell. The topics will range from anything in the news, politics, or anything controversial we feel like talking about. There are just some topics where we all share strong (maybe opposing) opinions. Some of our opinions may make you smile, some may make you laugh, some may make you strongly dislike us for 2-3 minutes before you remember how awesome we are. Either way, feel free to leave comments on anything you read.

The first topic of ThaWell Forum Series is a collection of our thoughts on the natural hair movement that so many women seem to be embracing. Buckle up…

Erik: First off, let me say that I don’t see a problem with a woman with natural hair. I don’t think that a woman has to have long straight hair down her back in order to be beautiful. If a woman decides she wants to ditch the relaxer and go natural, more power to her. Go for it. But I do have two solid issues here, and they are as follows:

  1. Going natural does not make you more black than anybody else. Congratulations on your new-found independence from relaxer, but don’t use it as an excuse to look down on women who haven’t made the same choice. Your choice of hair care hardly gets you any closer to the Motherland… Like, not at all. So chill out a little bit.
  2. The natural look is not for everybody. The idea here is if you are brutally honest with yourself, you can avoid somebody else from being real and being brutally honest with you. If you choose to do it, be sure that you know how to take care of it. No need in holding on to a bad look in the name of trying to stay natural.

Chris: Life is an evolution. I’m not talking about growing a third arm or anything. What I mean is that we were designed to continually grow and mature. This is especially evident when it comes to my views on the natural hair movement. When I was a tad bit younger (but no less handsome) I despised the natural hair movement. I hated every single second of it. I felt like a woman should have long, luxurious hair and she should take any means necessary to achieve it.Even if a woman had to do what Detroit Red did to get his conk, she betta had done it.

But over time I’ve come to respect what folks want to do with their hair. Except this guy (Exhibit A: Insufficient daddying). She has to wear it, not me. If a woman feels beautiful with long, flowing, processed hair, beautiful. If that same woman decides that she wants to do a “big chop” and feel beautiful with #3 on The Barber Style Chart, that’s just as beautiful.

HOWEVAH

Don’t excoriate me if I feel more attracted to someone with nine pounds of chemicals in her hair. There have been good and plenty of women with short, natural hair that I have practically stalked on MySpace. Just as there have been women with hair from six different types of mammals sewed, super glued and stapled on their heads who I DM’d to death on Twitter. What I don’t like is the ridicule I receive sometimes if I decide to wanna holler at a lady who uses the creamy crack. Having natural hair does not make one more englightened that anyone else. From 3rd grade to 5th grade I never left home without my Donnie’s activator (Tulsa stuff) but there was no spiritual change when I shaved it all off. The Church of Natural Hair for Latter Day Black folks can miss me with all that jingoism.

-Chris

Marcus: First, as the only wifed-up member of the team, I’ll say this, it is super-amazing to have a wife that doesn’t blow the GNP of Estonia on perms, weaves, extensions, wigs, appointments, etc.  My wife hasn’t had a perm since Reaganomics.   I love that about her.  When we went on our honeymoon to Florida and wanted to get in the Gulf, no problem.  In Puerto Rico we were on the beach and in the water constantly.  Went to the rainforest and got dumped on. No biggie (on a side note, if that had been my sister we would have been forced to carry a living canopy over the top of her head until dry land was found).  I love the fact that I can touch her hair whenever…

With all of that being said, I couldn’t get enough of this picture of my wife.  When she had straighter hair, it was if I had a ‘different’ woman.  She had a different feel to her personality.  I didn’t know where the hair came from, who used to own it or from what region of the world it originated.  I just knew that I thought it was kind of sexy.  And that’s where the conflict lies.  Marsy has long hair.  In fact, when combed out and straightened, her natural hair is nearly as long as the “added” hair she was rocking.  Why did it sexy her up?  Maybe its because deep down, no matter how into the natural look a man is, he still would like to have that occasional Black Barbie look.  A woman with hair that blows a little bit in the wind.  Hair he can run his fingers through (which doesn’t make sense b/c Black woman always seem to have oil in their hair, resulting in a mess for finger-through-hair kind of brothers), and hair he can grab a hold of whenever he wants.   I guess moral of the story ladies is to change it up from time to time.  I’m not saying you have to bathe your skull in the chemical-rich perms that are out there, I’m just saying a little pressing never hurt.  And please, please don’t spend rent/mortgage on hair care.  That is not cool (thank you Marsy for being so smart).

 

15 Comments

    • Kristy Nicole
      June 5, 2012

      Awesome blog, fellas! As a “creamy crack” proponent, we do get the verbal beat down from natural sisters questioning our loyalty to our Blackness simply because we enjoy the manageability of straight, relaxed, permed hair. Just to know there are still Black men who enjoy our attempt to keep it versatile with managed hair is comforting so I will keep my relaxer appointments and continue letting my hair blow in the breeze! First Lady Obama has a perm, now what!

      Reply
      • Chris
        June 5, 2012

        Thanks. I can’t speak for the.other fellas but the biggest problem I have is the whole “We’re better cause we didn’t buy into the relaxer lie.” Folks always have to classify themselves to make sure one is better than another.

        Reply
    • Tiffany MB
      June 5, 2012

      Love the article! I’m natural now, but I enjoyed my straight hair. Having natural hair is great, but I do agree that some really go too far. I believe in switching it up, just like my relaxed hair, my natural hair is versatile. I’m beautiful regardless and my hair doesn’t define me….relaxed, pressed, curly, kinky…… its just hair, it shouldn’t define you! Great job fellas!

      Reply
    • Tosha S.
      June 5, 2012

      Natural hair rocks!! I was relaxed for most of my school years up until 2 years ago. Going natural has been the best thing FOR ME. I would never look down at another black woman for not being natural- its her choice just like being natural is mine. It took some getting use to, however, I find that my natural hair is just as versatile as my relaxed hair…and if I so desire, I can flat iron my hair for the relaxed black barbie look. Although a guy may not be about to run his fingers through my hair, the walk though my coils is just as sensual. I encourage every woman to go natural at least once because EVERYTHING from enjoying the rain to “bed wrestling” lol is a totally different experience with natural hair.

      Reply
      • Chris
        June 5, 2012

        “Walk through the coils.” \o/

        May I ask why you went natural?

        Reply
    • Erik
      June 5, 2012

      Thanks for the comments, ladies, and thanks for reading! Every man has his preference when it comes to this topic. Mine just happens to be hair that is well-managed. Whether it’s permed and straight or natural and curly, if it’s taken care of, I can dig it. What I can’t dig is that one chick that feels the need to start rockin’ a dashiki and throwing up her fist all the time while looking down on women with straight hair. Natural hair doesn’t make you “deep”. It doesn’t make you Afrocentric. It’s just a choice. So if it’s your choice, rock it well… Please, please rock it well.

      Reply
    • Ty
      June 5, 2012

      Good read guys! I’m natural because it was something to do. In my third year I love it because if i want It straight I can press it and if I want a fro I can do that too. Men have preferences and that is cool. I get hit on WAY less since I’ve been natural. Funny thing is I have no interest in being one with “the motherland.”

      Reply
      • Erik
        June 5, 2012

        Thanks! You mentioned that you get hit on less, but you still get hit on. So you must be doing something right! Lol! More power to you. So much of our African American culture is built on how well we present ourselves to the rest of the world. It starts young. You have to have the newest, freshest sneaks, or the name brand clothes. For black women (and men, to an extent), hair is a HUGE part of that equation. It takes a whole lot of guts to make that jump. It sounds like you and the rest of those commenting on this topic have done it, done it well, AND have made the choice on your own. That’s big. And it’s commendable. And it’s beautiful. *applause*

        Reply
    • Tosha S.
      June 5, 2012

      @Chris,
      no particular reason…I had went without a perm past the 12 week mark and I saw these cute little waves in the front of my head so it kinda sparked my interest. I went another 4 weeks and the waves were deeper and longer so I figured why not look into going natural cause it looks like I have a “good grade of hair”…so I cut my relaxed hair in the middle of my head to check my curls out and as it grew it was BEAUTIFUL…these tight little curls… I’ve never been natural so I looked up ways to grow it long and healthy and I found myself always playing with that little section in my head. One day in June, I decided it was THEE day and chopped it all off- and cried the next day, lol. I was all about my hair and how I looked exotic with the long jet black hair but after I got over the initial shock I realized I am not my hair and rocked the hell out of my lil fro…2 years later, my hair stretched out is past shoulder length…right where it was when I cut the perm off.

      Reply
    • Cristin
      June 5, 2012

      Good to see the fellas talk about hair, too! I’m natural, and it’s a pain in the butt. I usually keep my hair in braids or a weave because it’s too thick and can get too long and I don’t have time or haven’t made the time to learn my texture and how to manipulate it. However, I also don’t like the idea of harsh and heavy chemicals in my hair. Being married, I’m certainly not worried about a man’s opinion of what my mop looks like these days, but it gives me great satisfaction to see that black women and their choices are being embraced and celebrated!

      Reply
      • Chris
        June 6, 2012

        So some of you have alluded to your hair within the context of a man/dating/relationships. What about workplace/jobs/career? Any pushback or praise due to your natural hair within this construct?

        Reply
    • Krista Chante
      June 8, 2012

      In reply to natural hair in the workplace, it has its ups and downs. I think it depends on the hair style itself. It’ll be 2 years in July that I did the big chop and when I went to work in the beginning stages, I got a lot of kind of blank stares and questions as to how does my hair do that or a half smile followed by oh, it’s cute. If I wore twists, coworkers would call them worms or dreads. But as my hair continues to grow, I can do more styles and can wear “professional styles” at will. I say all that because a lot of people, that includes black women with a relaxer, just need to be educated on natural hair. It took coworkers a while to get used to my hair and understand what I’m doing with and once they did, it was easier for me to be completely comfortable with whatever styles I choose to rock.

      I’ve got nothing against relaxed hair! I loved when my hair was on creamy crack and whipped! But the good thing about being natural is I can straighten it out and still wear it whipped whenever! Some women may not have the time to maintain natural hair and I respect that; natural takes time and dedication!

      Needless to say, I LOVE MY NATURAL! 🙂

      Reply
    • Kneesee
      June 14, 2012

      Haha! I loved this. I am not a fan of natural on me. Looks good on some but others not so much.

      Reply
    • Ruth Jeremiah
      March 26, 2013

      Interesting post. Maybe it’s just me and my friends but we haven’t portrayed ourselves as better than. I am of the philosophy that you can do whatever you want to your hair because it’s yours. People who are of the extremist mentality are super strange and slightly disturbing.

      I do whatever with it and that includes straightening. It’s just hair after all imo.

      Reply

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