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A PLACE FOR US

Is the natural hair movement the exclusive domain of Black women? In my opinion, yes. At least it is on this website.

SousaOther races do not have the same deep cultural issues surrounding their hair as Black people do and although I respect that they can have very curly hair, even kinky hair which presents its own challenges, it’s not “natural hair” as I have defined it for the purpose of what Nappturality represents. That is why non-Black hair issues and representations will not be showcased here. There are plenty of places that cater to others. This one is for us.

Since creating Nappturality.com in 2002 as one of the kickstarters of the online 'natural hair movement', I have only ever featured Black women on Nappturality.com. That is not going to change because Nappturality only represents Black issues. “Natural hair” to me, is Black women’s natural hair. This movement is about our struggle. It is our movement and our recognition.

I first used the term “napptural” hair 14 years ago, to represent our hair and made Nappturality about more than just cute “natural hair styles” – knowing that somehow, at sometime in the future, like almost everything else we create, our "natural" terminology and movement would get distorted, diminished and hijacked.

Is it an exclusionary view? You could say that. But having a narrow focus is nothing new for Nappturality.com. From inception, this website was never going to be a comfortable place for everyone and we took the hits for it.

The core principles of Nappturality.com are to empower Black women by helping them understand and recognize the beauty of their natural hair in its natural texture, with a special focus on that type of natural hair that is most vilified. You all know what that is so save me from defining it (pun not intended). Hair is only a small part of us but it is also a part of our identity. That is the power behind this whole "natural hair revolution" we are starting to recognize.

Black people have so little authentic representation as it is. It seems every time we are successful at creating something for the betterment of Black people, we begin to feel the need to “widen the appeal” or “expand the base” or even sell it or combine with someone else. Be it for profit, image, hits, popularity, image, whatever reason, expanding your base is a lucrative idea. Growing your base means a bigger business. And bigger business usually equates to more money. And you need money to run a business. I get it. 

A while back, I was offered to grow Nappturality to include more hair types, allow “healthy” straightening talk, get more celebrities onboard and to join with a well respected “Black hair” brand. It was tempting because to be honest, I never planned for Nappturality to grow so large so fast, take up so much of my time and cost me so much to maintain. So I did consider all those options.

But when I thought about why I started Nappturality in the first place, and what it would mean to this membership I care so much about if I “expand” into these areas, declining was easy. Nappturality.com is an exclusive place for the Black woman. It represents my heart and I truly believe it is helping Black women in the best way possible. Changing it even a little would dilute the core and change the website and the integrity would be lost. I followed my heart.

And here we are.

100% Black. 100% Natural. 100% No Apologies.

 

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 11 August 2015 05:06

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  • Thank you Bunny. It is nice to be remembered from all the way back then. Some people visiting Nappturality now were only in kindergarten when it launched. That's amazing to me. I do hope people realize that back before it was popular, there were women fighting for respect, getting fired, losing partners over their decision to wear natural hair. Nappturality was forged in that fire.

    Like 2
  • I am so proud of you for holding strong in your stance against adding anything to Nappturality!! There is an abundance of places for other hair. Yes, an abundance. But we have to dig, seek and search for one place that UNDERSTANDS AND PROMOTES OUR HAIR JUST AS IT IS. This is the one place that isn't trying to tame my hair, tone down my hair or make it comfortable FOR OTHERS TO ACCEPT. Nope, Nappturality encourages, in fact, INSISTS, that I rock my hair the way in NAPPTURALLY grows out of my head. And I LOVE IT. Thank you for this site. No disrespect to anyone!! Much respect to us!

    Like 1
  • Thank you Letitia! I can't even add anything to your comment. Perfect! ~Dee~

    Like 0
  • Guest (sandy)

    For as long as I remember Self Love, unfortunately, for some people has been equated with hatred of others. That isn't true. Just because we need a space to discuss all the issues related to our hair and culture doesn't mean that we are hateful. It just means we have unique issues. When I continue to hear the stories about children and adults who are marginalized because of their hair and skin color, I wonder where these women who aren't black were in speaking out about such injustice. They don't want inclusion in that part of the experience--but just the part where they can benefit. I've also noticed so many women with tighter coils now wanting to come up with all types of concoctions and methods to have looser "curls". Yes, that's their business. But what they don't realize is that gradually history is repeating itself once again: drip, drip, drip and one day our own people will no longer have companies, websites and blogs of their own and once again they will be marginalized.

    Like 0
  • "Turns out, Nappturality, knew what they were doing all along. I used to be turned off by how you had to be "referred" by someone and how you couldn't even mention your straight hair on their site. Turns out they knew what was up all along." This is a quote posted by someone on another hair board, in response to should the natural hair movement be exclusive to the black woman or should others be allowed to share their journeys. For me, Nappturality is where it all began. Not my hair journey, I was already on that road, but the hair movement. This is where I found the support that I needed and the education. This was the very first site that I could find, way back when. I admit that at times, this site was too intimidating for me. I didn't want to go deeper. I wanted it to be just about cute hairstyles. All along, I knew it was and is something far stronger. I can say that I have had some good times on this site. When I want to keep it pure and real and when I'm feeling like I have to get back to my roots (no pun intended), I always return here. I believe that black women are becoming more enlightened; they are feeling and recognizing the movement. They are going to start seeking out authenticity. They are going to find there way back to this site. Thanks Dee!

    Like 1
  • Thank you for understanding why I'm not budging lhastings. Not an inch, on what I believe in regard to Nappturality's position in the 'movement'. Your comment encomp***es the very essence of why. I don't feel the need to have to recognize anyone's struggle but the Black woman's struggle. No matter where we are in the world, we are connected to each other and face many of the VERY SAME issues when it comes to the disparaging of Black features. IMO in this instance, this movement ours to own. Some will agree, others disagree with me for being hardcore. But NP is staying put on this issue, no matter what, for better or worse, for the members. Much love to you.
    ~Dee~

    Like 0
  • You already know how I feel about this subject...I have a lot of words and some of them aren't very PC but for now I'll just say I agree with everything said, including the comments from Bunny (*waving*) and lhastings (I saw that post you're referring to; that was a good thread until it "lost focus").

    Like 0
  • Guest (Princess)

    London, UK

    I love this post! I wish I'd had access to this site in 98 when I first attempted to go natural, alas I didn't last long. But you are here now and I really love the authenticity of this site. I am upset by how easily some natural sisters are swayed into feeling the natural hair community should be more inclusive of non-black, non-natural hair. These ladies are unaware of the ludicrous sense of entitlement exhibited by non-blacks who wish to have a spot in our community, for our hair. Making excuses for and rationalising the need for non-blacks to feel comfortable to share their experiences with us, like these are 'shared' experiences when they are not. The worst part is to be accused of being racist for wanting to serve ourselves in our community. We are not viewed positively as we are and that is what I believe the natural community and you Patricia are at least trying to address - I don't see how people that are not black having their two scents about their hair is going to help me or my little girls feel empowered about themselves in a world that would prefer to ignore our needs altogether.

    Like 0
  • Guest (taj)

    Los Angeles, CA, USA

    thank u for this stance.

    Like 0
  • Guest (Darlene Harge)

    Just wanted to say I liked the article.

    Like 0