It is about our hair, our culture and the discrimination we still have to confront just for deciding to wear the natural hair texture we were born with. Other 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.
2019 Edit: The Natural Hair Movement is worldwide. I am very encouraged by a 100-fold increase in my website traffic from several countries in Africa It seems my sisters across the Atlantic are also coming on board in high numbers, to the natural side. Or at least taking a look. Still, Nappturality is here with information and support if and when you need it. Forward!