Are You Natural?

The question heard ‘round the beauty supply stores across America.


That question has always been dumb to me. Even more so as the years have gone by and my kinky curls have attracted attention of all kinds. Maybe I should explain what that means? Or maybe you have already countered the phrase through many Youtube and Twitter beauty gurus. Or maybe you’ve noticed how big companies are now expanding their hair care lines when it comes to the demographic of black people. Simply put: I’m walking around with the hair that grows out of my head as is.

Crazy there is a term for it, right? Do white people go natural for wearing their hair as it grows? Nope. So I don’t get why it’s such a production when black people decide to do the same. Maybe it has something to do with the invention of the hot comb or the use of weaves but every woman likes to change up their look. What makes black people different? What makes me different? That was the question that plagued my mind when in my junior year of high school I decided I was done with relaxing my hair. I started trying to “transition” back to the hair I knew in childhood. The hair that took hours of tears and grease to comb through. The hair that only knew how to expand, reaching outwards in a vain attempt to touch the sky. That was my hair and I wanted it back.

So I grew it out.

There was no magic only the struggle of trying to relearn how to take care of my hair. I ignored comments of me having “good” hair being that the term always made me uncomfortable. It’s rooted in colorism and slavery but my community has an affinity with it. Not everyone I might add but enough to make me cringe every time I hear the false praise being sent my way. I checked the Weather Channel App to see if the humidity would be a friend to my twist out. I lived my life or tried to but my hair demanded conversation.

How did you get your hair like that?

Why didn’t you comb your hair?

I couldn’t go natural, I’m addicted to the creamy crack.

Is it hard being natural?

Do you have to use coconut oil?

Etc.

Etc.

Etc.

I’ve learned to smile through the awkwardness and tried to teach those willing to learn without sounding preachy. If my hair makes you want to give yours a shot, then that’s cool. What’s not cool is placing your unwashed hands onto my scalp. In the words of Solange Knowles: Don’t touch my hair. You have your own hair to touch. Also, no white people, I didn’t just roll out of bed without a care in the world. (I also didn’t roll out of bed seeking your or anybody else’s approval). This is my hair. It’s been my hair for centuries and you should know. Whether it’s braided neatly or free in a fro you have never admired it. So leave it alone. Don’t be concerned. I’m free of the creamy crack that’s left burns in between silky strands of straightness. I don’t miss it.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.