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  1. #1
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    Default So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

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    It seems to me that the essence of going natural is being transformed into not so much of a journey of self-discovery but a journey to see how many hair products one can use on their heads to make their natural hair into something more acceptable. More like that lady they saw on TV. Wait, they SAW ON TV?

    Not too long ago, and I mean within the last 5 years, this just didn't happen. It was unusual. So unusual that people who saw natural women on TV took pictures and uploaded them to NP to comment on. (TRUTH) We didn't see Zerlinas and Mayas on NBC prime time with their beautiful natural hair and locs gracing the screen on the news or on expert panels. Locs and naturals were resigned to the fringes of TV, more seen in music and entertainment and hanging out the backs of helmets of NFL players. We were not seen.

    Maybe this paradigm shift was inevitable. Maybe it's just the way things go as we make progress. Remember when we were focused on our journeys, discovering how amazing our real hair truly is? Discussed how our hair was affecting those around us and how we were being judged, stared at, people reaching out to touch our hair, feeling for tracks? Women of all ages who were just starting out were talking about how since going natural they were beginning to feel different about themselves?

    These changes could be because natural hair is not seen as something unusual now. Because of the Movement we created, natural hair has hit the mainstream. Thousands of hair products promising to deliver your hair from an undefined nappy halo to something well-defined and acceptable in the natural hair realm to be envied by all who lays eyes on it. This has become the focus.

    Nappturality took on the first publicized case of hair discrimination back in 2003, so long ago I can't even remember the sister's name though I remember her face and I remember she worked in government / in a courthouse maybe. I remember contacting her, but she didn't want to talk about what happened to her because of all the abuse she was getting. But we mobilized for the cause anyway. And she was reinstated.

    NOW, 16 years later, 2 progressive States, CA and NY have ratified laws making natural hair discrimination illegal so what happened to her won't happen to you in those States.

    This is forward progress and I will take it wherever I can get it.

    But at the root of all of this, and the reason why this Natural Hair Movement must retain its heart and soul, is that most Black women still do not wear their natural hair. And not always by choice, but by design. Not because they tried it and didn't like it. But because it's what their mothers and grandmothers did. It's what they teach their daughters to do. It's just done. We are taught to "fix" that nappy, unmanageable hair from an early age. Most Black women don't even know what their real natural hair looks like except for that tiny bit of new growth that peeks through before being fried with chemicals or heat back into some form of straightness.

    I still hear about heads and bodies being too big for natural hair. Boyfriends and husbands preferring straight hair. It's too nappy. Too hard. Too thick. Too thin. Too difficult. Too short. Too scared. Too ugly. Too, too, too. And the simple, I hate me in my natural (real, actual born with it) hair.

    It's this. The ignorance of the form and beauty of our real hair. How and why it is made for us - for you. How it takes years off your face. And why it is still not respected or loved or appreciated by most of us, that I am still here claiming and holding on to this movement. And whether I am speaking to thousands or to an empty room, I'm still here.
    "The truth is, your natural hair, in all its texture, is the hair that is ideal for YOU.."
    ~Dee~


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  3. #2
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    Thank You.... for this is what Black Women need...support from woman like You......like Us!!!

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    Great post and spot on. I applaud our efforts; yet, somehow success became our own worse enemy. I attribute the change to the Chris Rock movie. I saw the shift then. I do still have awkward reactions to me and my hair. It’s still a thing, however the mystique of it all had diminished within the black community, for better or worse...the jury is still deliberating.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    @KnottyAuthor you just hit the nail on the head. I remember that movie now - it simplified and misrepresented our hair stories but it had mass appeal to the simple-minded bandwagon mentality.

    In the background, via email now - I am still receiving a LOT of messages asking for help and advice. Nothing has changed for me in that regard. That's why I am torn between shutting the doors and not.Young women may be growing up now with more access to natural hair resources and products, but the mentality is still exactly the same as it was in 2002. The same hair grading, the same hair hate, the same yearning for a better "grade" - the same boyfriend issues, same family insults. Same wedding straightening drama. It's like there are two worlds existing side by side...
    "The truth is, your natural hair, in all its texture, is the hair that is ideal for YOU.."
    ~Dee~


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  9. #5
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    @dee Yehhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I feel ya. It's a struggle. Perhaps publishing and leaving it out there for the 'next' generation will help assuage your yearning to educate. I do feel guilty (from time to time) for not doing workshops / seminars...but then it passes. I know the books are there for those that are 'called'.

    I got tired of arguing with women about why they can't use kool-aid to dye their hair and other fun fantasies the internet has begun to push with the rise in social media and FAKE news. The conversation became less genuine and less organic as folk shifted to severe product junkiism with the rise in accessibility of product at the consumer level. Perhaps this is the torch that has passed? Hmmm. Im good with it. I feel like they mama or g-ma lecturing now, less of a girlfriend having coffetalk now, lol. Funny how time shifts things....
    Last edited by KnottyAuthor; 12-14-2019 at 11:15 AM.
    STILL keeping it knotty 1 day at a time ... since '03
    locked since '06
    KnottyAuthor aka Cheleski

    The Knotty Truth Series: The OG natural hair care book series on natural hair,culture & science

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  11. #6
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    Girl, I'm feeling it more and more. Nappturality is an enigma. I think we created something here that will never be duplicated. Maybe it was the time, the place society was at that point, but we really came together and talked about EVERYTHING. We took the time to write thoughtful posts, not 200 characters. We didn't scroll through at 100mph, we actually read what others had to say. I really miss that.

    Social Media helped connect people and can be fun but in essence it has ruined the world in a lot more ways. We have lost substantive online conversations and community as Black women we really lost. Not just NP but other sites as well. They're all gone, taken over, turned to online selling places.

    I am going to launch a donation drive soon, so I can archive everything and put the conversations into a searchable repository. I can't have all this knowledge just disappear like everything else we do. And I won't be here in 60 years to keep it real.

    Quote Originally Posted by KnottyAuthor View Post
    @dee Yehhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I feel ya. It's a struggle. Perhaps publishing and leaving it out there for the 'next' generation will help assuage your yearning to educate. I do feel guilty (from time to time) for not doing workshops / seminars...but then it passes. I know the books are there for those that are 'called'.

    I got tired of arguing with women about why they can't use kool-aid to dye their hair and other fun fantasies the internet has begun to push with the rise in social media and FAKE news. The conversation became less genuine and less organic as folk shifted to severe product junkiism with the rise in accessibility of product at the consumer level. Perhaps this is the torch that has passed? Hmmm. Im good with it. I feel like they mama or g-ma lecturing now, less of a girlfriend having coffetalk now, lol. Funny how time shifts things....
    "The truth is, your natural hair, in all its texture, is the hair that is ideal for YOU.."
    ~Dee~


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  13. #7
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    We will continue to lead by our examples. My two girls still have natural hair. They do sometimes straighten it with a straightening iron, but they also sometimes let it be natural without the straightening. I have done my part.
    They are 18 and 20 years old. I will continue to sing praises of how their hair looks best kinky and curly.
    And as for me, I have vowed to be napptural for life. No one and nothing will ever change that.
    Thanks Dee for starting up Np. It was my haven when I was going napptural and had loose hair and when I started my locs. It will continue to be a haven for people who are napptural and for those who need encouragement to keep it napptural.
    Uzuri - May 2006 NoTM
    Joined NP on 2003
    last chemical fire cream-April -May 2002, Cut off all relaxed hair-Nov 2nd 2003
    Locīd Dec 11, 2011, redid some on Jan 1st, 2012

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  15. #8
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    Quote Originally Posted by deecoily View Post
    Girl, I'm feeling it more and more. Nappturality is an enigma. I think we created something here that will never be duplicated. Maybe it was the time, the place society was at that point, but we really came together and talked about EVERYTHING. We took the time to write thoughtful posts, not 200 characters. We didn't scroll through at 100mph, we actually read what others had to say. I really miss that.
    All of this! I miss NP so much mainly because of the connectedness and sense of community. I don't know where I'd be now without it. I went natural at 18 and having NP to actually go through and discuss with others helped me on my journey tremendously. I've found that it's less of a journey and more of a trend now. The various things I've seen people doing with their natural hair makes me absolutely cringe. One thing that I will always carry with me from NP is that going natural is more than just chopping your hair off. It's a mental transition as well. I hope there are still new naturals who are truly embarking on a journey and not just going natural so that their hair can grow back thick enough to straighten again. Dee - I will never ever, EVER be able to thank you enough for this site.
    BC: 12.4.06
    Freeform Locs started: 6.14.2020

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  17. #9
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    Default Re: So, Natural Hair is Mainstream Now? We Are Not.

    Quote Originally Posted by deecoily View Post
    Girl, I'm feeling it more and more. Nappturality is an enigma. I think we created something here that will never be duplicated. Maybe it was the time, the place society was at that point, but we really came together and talked about EVERYTHING. We took the time to write thoughtful posts, not 200 characters. We didn't scroll through at 100mph, we actually read what others had to say. I really miss that.

    Social Media helped connect people and can be fun but in essence it has ruined the world in a lot more ways. We have lost substantive online conversations and community as Black women we really lost. Not just NP but other sites as well. They're all gone, taken over, turned to online selling places.

    I am going to launch a donation drive soon, so I can archive everything and put the conversations into a searchable repository. I can't have all this knowledge just disappear like everything else we do. And I won't be here in 60 years to keep it real.
    I appreciate social media for all that it has done and all that it is able to do. That said, I do think there's a lot to be said for the longer posts that allow us to share our thoughts with nuance and consideration of the "other" viewpoint. Whatever people have had to say about NP being too militant doesn't negate the impact that it had on the black community, in my opinion. This forum was a cornerstone of the natural hair movement and I'm glad to have been a part of that.

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