The Diluted Natural Hair Sisterhood
I want to say something about the current iteration of the "natural hair community" and I am going to be blunt. Fractured -- that term came to mind because of all the splits into tribal factions on Facebook and other platforms. Maybe it's more diluted than fractured - or maybe a combo of both.
Everything changes and evolves, sometimes for the better. In the case of the Natural Hair Movement and Community, not so much for the better, at least not what I had expected it to become. Don't get me wrong, some great strides in hair products have been made with the new awareness and new-reclaimed love of our afro natural hair type. But a lot of our hair issues run deep. Deeper than can be explored in a tweet or or in a Facebook group. And I think that's where the fracturing began, and we proceeded to run to our corners.
Social media has given us a place to play and be played. Entertained and to entertain. But it also has birthed a monster where people are all competing for airtime and would rather promote fakery if it helps them to gain followers than provide inclusive, accurate, positive and helpful information which may not receive the same number of likes.
We are divided into factions. Separate groups of people with ONE type of hair or ONE type of style or ONE type of view. Instead of having a NATURAL HAIR UMBRELLA where we can find all kinds of hair and help, we retreat to a corner (and multiple corners) of strictly like-minds and become obsessed with that one point of view, becoming intolerant of and uninterested in opinions that may differ.
This is not how things grow. This is how things stagnate. We must do better.
Too much of what I am seeing online are individuals with ridiculous, insulting and just bad information fueling divisiveness over personal natural hair choices, tearing down and carving up what used to be supportive, helpful and positive natural hair sisterhoods across the web. OR it's because we again have lost our way by falling into hair-typing dependence and looking for that holy grail product to make our afro-kinky hair magically turn into the 3b curly coveted type.
We are disrespecting the afro. STILL.
It's a mess.
It's not limited to the natural hair loose wearer community either. I see it in groups of people with different categories of locs, which is incredibly disappointing since we hold locs and the loc journey in such esteem. So quick to down someone else who may have fewer locs, thin locs, tightening, latching or not latching, whatever. And making women feel bad about their choices if their locs or technique does not measure up to another's expectations.
I thought we were making progress and getting past this nonsense. But apparently, we are still in the field vs house mindset and our hair attitudes are smack bang in the middle of it.
I am not sure what I can do about this, how I can help bring women to empower each other and support each other regardless of their choice of hair style or their natural hair type. I cannot compete with the behemoth of social media and the up and coming "-istas" competing for likes and followers on the 'gram by any means necessary and with any and all tricks and lies about natural hair to get you hooked on their channels full of nonsense enticing you to buy things using their affiliate codes.
Yes, the natural hair movement and sisterhood is worth saving and building on, but if won't be easy to regain the focus and community it used to be, if it is possible at all. Imagine our own spaces, with our own communities and our own women in charge of it all. Can it be?