I remember learning about the scientific black burden hierarchy in my college anthropology class. The notion that having one single drop of black blood in your heritage tilted your class assignment in the world wasn’t extremely brand new to me. My mom was a post-revolutionary Black Panther and having raised me as a single child in multicultural Seattle, she wanted me to understand the nuances of black culture and adopt a mentality that my culture was beautiful despite the world around me. Even though the rest of the world thought that black was “bad” my mom assured me that all cultures were unique, beautiful and God-created. Too bad my reality was completely contrary to what I was learning at home.

Hailing from the Pacific North West I was raised in the heart of a biracial boomtown. Most of my friends growing up were Caucasian-Black, Asian-Black and Caucasian-Indian mixed races. A new America if you will where hybrid couples produced offspring that made my childhood a constant identity battle. When it was time to play house in kindergarten, the boys took the biracial chicks to be their brides and I was left with the other “all-black” girls to trade off as each other’s husbands. The boys and girls (including myself) took pleasure in playing in Brittney and Andrea’s long, curly and super-soft tresses. There was no playing with my cornrows or the 60 plus barrettes my mom used to decorate my hair. It wasn’t until my mom performed the Just For Me ritual on my hair that I was invited into the “good hair” circle.

While I understand why so many are pissed off about recent singer Melanie Fiona’s comments about her “good mix” for hair growth – which she attributes to being of Black, Portuguese and Indian decent — her statement reflects a very real reality of how we have viewed beauty for centuries. Before “natural” hair was popular most of us were part of the relaxer generation and proud to be able to whip our hair as hard as the “others”. This conversation didn’t start with and it certainly won’t end with Fiona. Let’s be real.

Walking into high school, I was labeled as the rebel black girl that was down with the cause all because I refused to go to battle with another relaxer and traded in my time with a weave for two-strand twists. For four years my peers called me a Jamaican princess. Let me be clear, I am not nor have I ever been Jamaican. I really got hip to the game my sophomore year when I walked into class with a mean flat iron hair do’ and cut that gave me an Aaliyah-esque look sans the over-the-eye swoop. I was fly and I knew it. Everyone knew it. Even my Caucasian boyfriend boldly stated, “I like your hair like that.” I admit that it felt good to feel validated. Secretly I know that most of us hate to admit how much we wanted the equal opportunity to taste even a little bit of what the biracial chicks experienced growing up. It’s that same power that made Zoe Saldana the pick to play Nina Simone.

Why isn’t Fiona entitled to her opinion about her own damn hair? My biracial friends never had the issues with hair growth that I’ve had. Their ability to grow their hair super long, cut it off and not worry about it not growing back was a little annoying as I struggled to recover from a bad perm that left me with a bald spot, but I wasn’t going to outwardly hate on them. My hair is work. It’s a full-time job and a relationship that’s been dysfunctional since I could remember. We love each other because we have no choice. I’m proud of my hair but many of us are always looking to trade in our tresses regardless of the curl pattern. Hair itself is simply exhausting.

Melanie Fiona’s statement should not retract from our own personal belief in the power of our own beauty. I don’t believe what she said was politically correct but she’s free to love her mane the same way we’re free to love ours. Though we’re all very sensitive in our own experiences in dealing with race and hair, I don’t believe that Fiona’s statement was necessarily egregious or intentional geared towards being disrespectful to non-mixed raced individuals. Let the girl love her hair. It’s hers. We can celebrate OURS at the next natural hair meetup.

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57 Comments

  1. good hair is healthy hair.

  2. No one thinks nappy hair is good hair, sorry! I have very African hair and trust me when I say I wish my hair grew like some of my friends who have finer grades. I did a big chop almost 4 years ago and it was the worst I mean THE WORST decision of my life. I’ve used all the natural products, Carol’s Daughter’s crap and looked at every natural blog and youtube and my hair is still unmanageable and as kinky as ever.

    I would love to have a grade of hair like Melanie Fiona but that’s not possible and that’s life. I’m content but I’m sick and tired of black women acting as if nappy hair is all the rage. It’s looks good on a few people but most look like the nuts on natural blogs who strive to be so different.

    On top of all this, black men don’t respond to natural looks the way they do to a healthy looking perm or well kept weave. I’ll never perm my hair again (knocks on wood) but I’ll where a weave until I see some shift in my hair. But let’s stop lying to ourselves and just say different strokes for different folks.

    • @Natural Joke: Natural joke. I’m sorry you have so much self-loathing on who you are and feel so insecure. You’re blaming everything on your hair… Trust me, there is more to life than “what black men respond to” if your goal in life is to have hair that “others” will find attractive then it’s no wonder you think your hair sucks. Listen to yourself referring to smoother hair as “finer grade” hair and then claiming that its different strokes for different folks”… people with natural don’t have “bad hair” that they chose to love. YOU have what you desribe as “bad hair” because you have a bad attitude towards your hair. Don’t blame anyone else, blame yourself. No one said you had to agree with what others consider good hair, you chose to hate your hair. I don’t know why what “other thinks” matter so damn much to you (that screams insecurity man!)… society, black men, WhoTF cares?! Others don’t decide your worth, YOU do but when you keep referring to yourself as someone with “lesser grade” hair well its clear that you consider yourself to be “less”. Sorry but “hair products” will only take you so far… your attitude towards yourself and your hair is 95% of the work. If you’re that angry about your hair and think of it constantly as something inferior I can only imagine how you handle it when you try to ahem “manage” it (i.e : angrily and impatiently and with loathing). I get where you’re coming from though. I used to be a weave addict, thinking “I hate my hair and it hates me” so get under that weave, out of my sight. Like you I expcted my hair to change to suit my (terribly flawed) idea of what “good hair” is. Unfortunately, your hair will NEVER change for you its up to you to change for it. That’s just reality. I wore weaves back to back for 20 years until my edges were barren – Naomi Campbell barren) and if Naomi who can afford the best weave stylists in the world still has those edges, trust me, the same can happen to anyone. (and if you think Black men like a corolla of barren edges with a tuft of weave, you’re in for a surprise!). It took over 2 years for me just to get the hang of dealing with my own hair to see and retain some growth. I can’t say that it is the most awesme thing in the whole word yet but I do love it and CARING for it. People treat you and your hair the way YOU treat you and your hair so if you’ve found others considering your hair of lesser grade it’s because you’ve been spreading that message and wearing that chip your shoulder like a badge of martyrdom. When Black people bring themselves down trust me, every non-black will agree with them. Wanna love your hair. Then LOVE your hair. Your hair doesn’t need a shift, your attitude needs a shift!

      • @Karen: Love this, Karen!!!!!!!!

      • @Karen: OK so now you want me to love my hair as if I don’t. I love my hair and I love myself and I say positive affirmation and all that. I get that. Most of y’all have my words twisted. My hair doesn’t grow and I’m fine with it but I can wish it grew LIKE MELANIE FIONA or anyone else’s hair that grows. My attitude has nothing to do with that.

        Most of the women coming at me clearly come from the camp of Iyanla Vanzant. Some positive thinking bs. If I don’t like something I can think it’s bad and change it and if I can’t change it, I have to live with it and make it work which is what I do.

        • @Natural Joke:
          “My hair doesn’t grow and I’m fine with it”…

          If you’re “fine with something” why you trying so hard to change it, hide it or call it “less”? The more you talk the more the insecurity oozes. Again, if your hair “doesn’t grow” (which is BS by the way because all hair grows, unless you’re bald in which case how you gonna keep that weave on your head?). It “doesn’t grow” because you still haven’t developped enough love, care and PATIENCE for your hair to learn how to handle it. You dream of combing your har like some white-girl (or smooth headed black girl) pulling the brush from her forehead to the ends and because your hair can’t do that without breaking (Ooops, I mean, “not growing”), instead of accepting you need to care for your hair differently. You prefer to blame your hair for not giving you that warped dream that only good hair can be combed a certain way rather than admit that YOU are the one doing your hair wrong. You prefer to define it as “lesser” and tell everyone with natural that “nobody likes natural hair” to make them feel as low about their hair as you do yours because well, miserey DOES love company. It’s not rocket science (or even psychology). You’ve expressed your insecurity simply enough that there is no need for anyone to twist your words. Furthermore, by claiming that you need to “change your hair” in order to attract a mate is like a woman saying she needs to get breast implants to attract a mate… so tell me, oh ever self-loving one, why would added boobs be lack of self-esteem but added hair not? You want to wear a weave, wear a weave, you’re not the lesser for it. Your lesser for it because of your attitude and for stating it loud and clear online “I wish my hair grew like some of my friends who have FINER GRADES.” and “No one thinks nappy hair is good hair” Tell me again, where were your words twisted?

          Gotta hate us “positive thinkers” eh? We’re the worst for not finding fault in ourselves!” Well I’ve been called worse, so thanks. It’s no kink off my hair!

        • I appreciate your comment and hate that you are met with “oh you hate yourself” foolery. People like Karen ignore the real ugliness that exist w/n black people’s mind. As if we only have a few problems to deal with. Reality is we are a bunch of f*cked up people with too many problems to itemize; hair being one of them.

      • @Karen: I totally agree with you Natural Joke. I stopped perming my hair since my sophomore year in high school. It’s been the best decision I’ve made despite my mom’s, friends criticism. Styling natural hair is not easy. I tried styles like flat-ironing & curling, braiding, buns etc but its just not as stunning than when I have a weave. My hair doesn’t do a loose curl pattern like those Youtube girls. So now I’m in college and I wear wigs, and hopefully my hair will look better with more length.

      • WOW! Beautiful and oh so true words, Karen! I agree 200%!!!

    • To think that no one thinks nappy hair is good hair is an over statement. I have the kinkiest afro EVER yet even on what I would consider to be “bad hair day”, I have had black and non-black men tell me that they love my “natural” or that they like my hair. Before you make a comment like that, you should check your confidence level and self-esteem because it seems low. If you don’t think your hair is beautiful, then why should someone else? Being that Africans don’t all have the same feature, very “African” hair does not exist. Liya Kebede and Zahara are African, for example, so your statement about “African” hair makes NO SENSE. If you want to wear weave, more power to you, but just like any hair, you have to take care of it. Your hair could become worse with a weave as well if you don’t pay attention to it. If a man does not like you because of your hair, move on to another one. Simple as that.

      • @Bren: And I do. I never let a man dictate. It’s just what I see my experience with what I love- black men. You’re not being honest if you don’t do certain things to attract a mate.

        • @Natural Joke:

          I’m going to say this but I don’t know if you’re going to hear me.

          1) Your mate doesn’t have to be black.

          2) Frequently, non-black men are more enamoured of black women who wear their hair naturally styled.

          You can *choose* to limit yourself, but you don’t *have* to.

    • @Natural Joke: Speak for yourself, my friend. There are plenty of people who think nappy hair is beautiful, and I am one of them. For the record, I have seen beautiful hair of different textures (nappy, curly, wavy, straight), colors, and lengths on the heads of people of different races. In every case, there’s been one constant: the hair has been healthy and well-nourished.

      I’m quite happy to live and let live, as far as one’s preferred hair management techniques go. But I have to speak up when I see people writing things like “No one thinks nappy hair is good hair, sorry!” Speak for yourself.

    • @Natural Joke:

      When I see the term “nappy” used in a derogatory sense, what that says to me is that the hair is dry and needs to be infused with moisture. Getting your hair moisturized and keeping the moisture sealed in is what gives your naps the sheen and manageability that most naturals desire.

      Have you tried Shea Moisture or Nubian Heritage products? As far as I’m concerned, they are the truth. Price-wise, I think they are quite affordable compared to the size and cost of other “natural” products and they are 98-100% all natural ingredients.

      Not to mention, they really work for me. I have fine afro hair that is dense and very tightly coiled. Meaning it’ll dry out and snatch back just like thick afro hair if I don’t keep it moisturized. Plus at around $10 a bottle, it wouldn’t break the bank to give it a try.

      I purchased almost the entire line when they had BOGO at Walgreens.
      These are my thoughts:

      If you still get poor results, maybe you need heavier products. Thicker conditioners with silicons might be your hair’s friend. Before I switched to the sulfate/silicon free products, Pantene’s Relaxed and Natural line was my hair best friend. My hair was moisturized, easier to manage, and had a nice sheen to it.

    • Black men “respond” to straighter hair because that’s what they were taught.They got stigmas too my dear….but on the other hand just because your hair is “nappy” doesn’t mean it cant look good. You just need to find what works for you. Can you lock it?…twist it?. You said no relaxers so what about braids? I’ve learned that mean prefer a woman who keeps her hair up.I see women all the time with “nappy” hair & good men wrapped around their arms…the secret is finding a style that works for you & keeping your hair maintained well. Your hair is not going to change at all so either embrace it or wear a weave….those seem like the options.No disrespect, just keeping it real….and I’m not a Melanie Fiona…I got naps ; )

    • @Natural Joke: This is one of the saddest, most hateful things I’ve ever read.

      There are many people out there-myself included-that do indeed think kinky hair is lovely, so it’s unfair to say “no one”. “No one” would mean you know and can speak for all 7B people on the planet and I doubt that’s the case. No one is lying to themselves and no one is “striving to be different”-people are striving to be themselves, and since no one person is like another (even identical twins are COMPLETELY identical), that means people are going to look different than the person next to them. For you to think everyone should alike (in this case, like white people) is truly tragic.

      There’s no such thing as a “grade” of hair and kinky hair is often some of the finest hair there is while Asians have some of the coarsest hair on Earth, even though their hair is straight. I can’t believe we’re still having these 1930s-type conversations in 2012 but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    • It’s hard not to put your two cents in on this argument. Yes the straighter you hair the easier it is to stay moisturized= length retention. Everyone’s hair grows about the same rate. Next I’ve hadall styles and I find that men respond to me the exact same. If you’re uncomfortable with a style and lose self-confidence than no one is going to be attracted to you. Own up to your own feelings about yourself, your body and hair! Don’t blame it on how it grows out of your head.

  3. ^^^^self-hate at its finest. Just because you hate your hair, doesn’t mean that we all have to. Im sorry, but no, I will NOT accept that some hair types are better than others because I don’t believe that to be true. I refuse to buy into the euro-centric beauty standards that have polluted your mind. I really hope you find the love you need to overcome the insecurities that are so evident in your post.

    • @BreaktheCycle: No self hate boo-boo just realness and honesty. The funny part about your backwards statement is that you automatically thought I was referring to white, Euro-centric women. Black people have bone straight hair as well as nappy hair. I have African, West Ghanian to be exact hair that is nappy and kinky.

    • Black hair (and kinky curly/wavy textures, too) need moisture. LOTS of it! All hair grows about the same per month. But I’m not crazy about my hair, even though it’s long. Not because of the texture, but because it’s so hard to maintain, not to mention ridiculously sensitive scalp. Anything and everything can either make it hurt like hell, or itch, or dry out like a desert. That’s why I wear weaves or Senegalese twists. And even at that rate, getting those in is torturing. It’s so painful. Last time, I got a hot comb on my UNTREATED (as in completely kinky!).The worst physical pain I went through in a year. But my mom was sort of pissed, so she didn’t care.

      Jealous of the other black people with less sensitive scalps.

  4. Natural joke..You really are. I worked in a Children’s Hospital and would see cancer patients all the time lose their hair and you are “upset” that you have nappy hair and you ASSUME that everybody with Nappy hair is defeated like you.

    Your first problem is thinking that BM are the end all and be all of men…You need to expand your horizons and stop thinking that a BM ‘s opinion of YOUR HAIR validates you. IF ANY MAN cannot accept you as you are and see beauty…Grab some self esteem and tell him to F*CK off…

    I am loc’d now for 10+ years and bruthas and non bruthas tell me ALL the time how WONDERFUL my hair looks…I have WELL GROOMED LOCS…they are kind of BADASS because I take pride in how I look everyday…

  5. My grandfather told me “the only bad hair is no hair” and he was bald who could have been mistaken for a white man. i say that to say this: everything ain’t for everybody. everybody doesn’t need to be natural, and everybody doesn’t need a relaxer. you have to define “need” for yourself. live and lt live. and just becuase you hate your hair texture, doesn’t mean you hate yourself. everyone has something about themselves they don’t like.

    • @lyn: that’s like saying because a person hates their nose or how short they are, they hate themselves…one does not automatically mean the other but it obviously affects one self esteem deeply when they hate something that they were naturally born with. It’s almost like you’re always carrying a burden around with you and it’s true that everyone has the option to relax, be natural, whatever they want to do but if a woman relaxes her hair because she doesn’t like her natural hair texture and wants to run away from it, trust me, that burden of being so uncomfortable with that part of themselves will ALWAYS be there. It’s not fun. And people live that way and that’s their choice, of course, it is their life.

      At the same time, there’s some women who are ok with their texture but just don’t want to deal with it at a certain time in their life or whenever and it’s their choice.

      As long as a person is alive, there’s always the opportunity to face insecurities and fears head on and rise above them, there’s always the opportunity to try being relaxed, natural, texturized, whatever.

      It’s all a freaking journey (in regards to hair in particular) and I hope at the end of the day, black women realize we have so many OPTIONS regarding out hair and that we grow in understanding of it instead of staying in the same lane they’ve been in for so long. Society isn’t going to help you with it, you have to do it.

      Anyway, It’s just hair but it is much deeper than that at the same time.

  6. LOL natural joke, you are just projecting your own self esteem issues on other women. Please stop and do some introspection on why you think that way about yourselves and assume the same thing about other black women.

    Some people feel comfortable and even enjoy being in a mental prison so it’s up to you.

    • @DF: I have no problems with my self-esteem. If I was short and I said damn I wish I was tall, do I have self-esteem issues. Nope, stop projecting. Bye

      • @Natural Joke:
        “No one thinks nappy hair is good hair, sorry!” no THAT’S called projecting…and yes, if you were short and you saw yourself as being inferior in some manner to people who were taller then i’d say YEAH you PROBABLY have self esteem issues.

        Let’s reflect..you said nappy hair is not good hair, then you say you wish you had fionna’s grade of hair and then that black men also think natural hair is not as attractive….so you think your is crap, you think fionna’s type of hair is better and you feel that black men’s reactions to your hair reinforce your belief that natural hair is unattractive. Yeah, I’d say since how you view your own hair is connected to your overall view of yourself (to whatever extent) that it DOES affect your self esteem negatively in some way. It would affect ANYONE’S self esteem no matter the background or race. Noone’s saying you hate being black or that you want to kill yourself so calm down.

        Anyway, like I said it’s your life, your body but people will react when they see/hear something obviously problematic and if you want to listen and hear what others have to say or not, it’s your choice.

        God bless. I have nothing else to say about all this.

      • Ok, if low self-esteem is not the issue, then let’s say insecurity. That has a softer ring to it and it’s something that everyone experiences at one time or another. I will admit that I get frustrated with my hair to, but it does not mean I hate it or want someone else’s.

  7. Thank you for this post! When these stories surface that are not necessarily offensive and we go off the handle it makes us look petty. What Fiona said about her hair was in fact true, her background does allow for a growth speed that most black women can’t relate too. and that is ok, and we don’t have to hate her for it.

  8. I am mixed and I have African Diaspora hair , so biracial ain’t got nothing to do with anything its all a game of genetics sometimes I wear a weaves and sometimes I wear wigs , and sometimes I wear cornrows.
    The truth of the matter is why are Black women so focused on whose hair is natural and whose isnt and wether black men respond to it (honestly if they don’t like it Fuck em , there are more than black men in the sea and they will love it anyway you do it ) maybe we should focus on being educated , or on health, maybe helping each other grow as a culture, maybe on gaining the respect we deserve but they keep our heads fucked up so we can’t gain knowledge of our true power.

  9. Lets get it straight …. lol . I am a Actress (real movie ) and model To put it bluntly me and my nappy hair have worked all over the world, stomped down a million runways (nappy and straight) been in a lot of major films , and also have dated heirs and genius’s and some of the most beautiful men you could lay eyes on of all colors from all cultures and races with my nappy ass hair. Maybe it’s not your hair maybe its you , If you think your Ugly than you are . Love yourself and the rest will follow. I pray one day you can stop being a victim of your mind and be the Beautiful nappy haired queen you are. http://www.karita.us ..www.facebook.com/actresskaritafleming

  10. All women are insecure but can you blame them. As a latina raised around black people all my life, all I heard was that my hair was the ideal and not by black women themselves but by all the different media outlets, commercials, and men. Men particular don’t value straight, curly, healthy, unhealthy, or anything else but length. When I cut my hair, men looked at me different. Plain and simple.

    I applaud any woman that has the strength and support to battle the constant and blatant assaults to our consciousness.

  11. Excellent article. Honest and open and very real. I loved it. I’ve absolutely NOTHING to question or critique. But! the comments on this thread are ratchet. Why did everyone get distracted??? What’s going on is in the name, Natural”JOKE”!!!! Sorry honey-anyway! back to realting to this reaaly good write. Sherrell ended the article with the right and best way for us to deal with this really sick and demented Racist experience.

  12. Everyone I know says I have the “good hair.”

    It resists chemical treatments, won’t heat train, and after a wash and dry flips gravity the middle finger as the ‘fro fluff decides to help me out with half a foot in extra height. Coming from an Amerind mother and a Black father with the odd ‘light fine and soft’ grade of hair, it means that it either fluffs up or curls in so tight that we’ve both broken and actually gotten combs lost in it.

    It takes hours to do start to finish: wash, rinse, wash, rinse, deep condition, rinse, leave-in deep condition…NOW comb, dry, iron. It is labor intensive and gets on my last good nerve at times, but I feel like a new woman after I do it. Growing up I thought “good hair” was straight and behaved. Now I know it to be healthy, happy hair, like what’s been on my head for years. I thank my family for teaching me how to work it, and wouldn’t trade for anything.

  13. Black women, more now than ever, have an idolatrous relationship with their hair. Seriously, it’s just damn hair.

    “First world” problems

    Geesh

    • @Kelz: Don’t blame black women. It’s black *men* that have that idolatrous relationship with it … dating women just because they/we have “that good hair”, playing in it, remarking on it all the time.

      Look at how many comments just here hone in on how MEN respond to hair, and how that makes hair such a big deal for women, and then sit down and think before you just blurt out knee-jerk nonsense.

      #comeonson

    • @Kelz: thank you third world-er I lived in Ghana for 4 years and I saw a plethora of kitchen weaves and 2 dollar wigs. So it’s a world thing all races all classes of women

  14. Ladies, we men are forced to confront the B.S. early on in life.

    You are subjected to an unending barrage of images and suggestions
    that tell you that your natural beauty is inferior. We as men are forced to
    accept ourselves as-is much quicker and therefore adjust earlier.

    First of all, good hair is natural hair that grows and doesn’t fall out.
    Many of us give our little girls perms as early as 3 years old.

    That’s too early to put those dangerous chemicals in a little girl’s hair,
    but it happens every day.

    Little black girls prefer white dolls, and see them as beautiful and smart.
    They see the black dolls as ugly, stupid and bad.

    They see the black dolls as themselves.

    See the esteem problems our daughters have?
    70% of black children are raised in single mother homes.

    I know of some black mother who actually put chlorine bleach on their dark
    children’s skin in an effort to lighten them and make them more acceptable
    in society.

  15. Nappy Hair Nightmare

    It killed me to cut of all of my hair two weeks ago but I couldn’t deal with the constant tangles and breakage. Nappy black hair is a complete terror! No wonder blacks in africa cut it all of and go bald (like me!) Mind you, after years of growing my natural hair past my shoulders, I fell to sleep at a friends house and my hair was a disaster the next morning. Huge chunks of tangled hair fell out trying to detangle. Lets not forget about all of the stares and looks I received at the high-end events I attended. Nappy hair is a nightmare and permed/wigs/weaves are an embarrassment. I’ll just be bald from now on.

  16. Nice article, hilarious responses!

    My best friend and I went natural together in 2010. Now she has a big full afro, and I have chin-length shrunken ringlets… Despite me having the looser curl pattern, she ALWAYS gets more hair admiration when we go out! LOL, and I mean ALWAYS; from men and women, all races.

    I think her confidence, and just high self esteem and love for every strand on her head just shines through harder than mine..

    I’ve actually started trying to pick out my curls and fluff up my flat-ass hair to look more like hers.

  17. I have THE nappiest / kinkiest hair out there. Its beautiful to me ( and the many men of all races who compliment me every day).

    That said– it is VERY hard to take care of. Its much harder work than finer hair textures (It takes me 2 hours just to condition, comb and style it).

    I understand that others are frustrated. I’m frustrated and again– i Iove my hair! Just about once a week I consider perming it. I dont, but I consider it cause I just dont have the time to keep up with it to my satisfaction.

    That doesnt mean I hate my self, my blackness, my African-ness, or my natural black beauty. It means I am human. No lack of confidence or self love here… but I do wish my hair had a recognizable curl pattern– it doesnt– so I have found styling products and techniques that create curl patterns and styles that work for me.

    I dont think its fair to criticize others for voicing their frustrations. Not everyone can do the wash and go and not everyone has the time and patience that (especially very kinky) natural hair requires.

  18. Can we give it a rest and please be real for a moment?! Natural Joke was having a moment of pure honesty about how she feels about her hair. And you are ALL FAKING IT – if you say you haven’t felt the same damn way at one point or another. Healty natural hair can be both expensive and time consuming – if only for the fact that it is not yet mainstream for most Black women. This type of frustration exists with women of all hair textures as well, including my friends who have more fine hair, and myself and those who have more coarse hair.

    If we are unable to take off the masks and express our true self on a blog geared toward Black women, without being insulted or pegged as hating ourselves, then how are we any better than anyone else who diminshes, or attempts to abrubtly classify a Black female experince?

    While my natural path was one that I appreciate, and in no way regret – I wish others would stop stuntin like you felt fabulous every minute since you first chopped your *ish off and had to rock that twa. Your transition may not be the next person’s.

    • Saying that we’re all faking feeling fine from jump about our hair is an overgeneralization. I was raised to have pride in my hair and the first time anyone told me otherwise (and I belived them) Mom popped me one. I can’t say I’ve never been frustrated–breaking combs while trying to detangle is highly annoying–I’ve never hated it.

  19. I love my hair and I love myself. I am a natural Diva and men and women always complement me. My hair is not long and is not thick but I keep it up as well as my makeup and clothes. I am married to a African man who loves me because he says I always look good. I think that we all have to love ourselves and fellow sisters and admire and support each other. I have a friend who looks at my head and my girlfriend’s who is also natural and said that she loves long hair and she just can not do it and she does n’t want to look like no African. At first I was upset with her and then I said I still love her. See, she was raised by a grandmother who said don’t marry dark cause you will have dark babies. Me, on the other hand was raised by a mom and Auntie who called me Black Angel. So our experiences are different. I was raised in Chicago with a rich African American culture and she was raised in Minnesota and suffered a lot of racism. So, as I get older I continue to be proud of who I am and teach those coming behind me to be proud of themselves in side and out. I try to be the best role model possible. I am not my hair but my hair is a part of me than I love.

  20. You have to first love yourself, in the image the good Lord made you. Hair is hair, regardless of grade! Americas idea of beauty and our idea of beauty varies alot! At the end of the day just be grateful and thankful that your hair is growing and not falling out due to some deadly disease! People have to have a stronger backbone about what God gave them than worry about what someone “feels how badly their strand is” Remember we are beautiful shades of blackness! Each shade!

    • Well said.
      We have become too superficial and silly and that’s what turns people off not the hair.We’re all human and want to look good and feel happy about ourselves but you also feel good when you fill your life with richness of purpose and live outwards,
      Then your passion and energy excite and attract other persons .
      If you don’t know what to do with your hair, donate it to make a wig for someone who has cancer and thank God for your life. .@Ms Brownskin:

  21. LS, I see your point and I agree. In context, Natural Joke is expressing the overwhelming challenge of trying to figure out the hair care routine that fits our hair’s unique demands. You have all these forums singing the praises of this product and that only to try it and not get any where near the results you hoped for. In that moment you really do wish you had another hair texture that was easier to handle.

    To add another perspective, I think we as black women fail to realize that every woman of every ethnicity has hair envy at some point. Curly girls want to be straight, straight girls want to be curly, brunettes want to be blond, blonds want to be redheads, etc. I remember as a teen, a white woman with adopted daughters (1 white, one black) would pay me to come style her black daughter’s hair. I would do everything from braids to twists to afro puffs. One day, the white daughter was watching me braid her sister’s hair and she said “I wish my hair was like Mo’s so I could do all those things to my hair. My hair is boring”

    Needless to say i was shocked. Turns out girls are taught how to feel about their hair and if we were all taught better, maybe we would love nappy hair as much as this child seemed to.

    • @Gigi: It’s true!! I’m a white woman with bone straight hair and I’m always jealous when I see twists, knots, interesting rows/braid patterns and the whole gamut of things black women can do. Afro hair is beautiful & versatile! I have empathy for the amount of time it takes, but I think it’s worth it for the beauty it adds to the world :)

  22. @Karen handled the tomfoolery best, but the problem I see (no CARe or have time to address, not being a liscened therapist) is that you people keep saying that you did the big chop and then your hair was not loose or curly. *blinks* UMmmm WHO said it would be? A lot of us perm our hair for so long, or even brush it and twist and braid it, that we have no idea what our curl pattern is. But should we put a trashcan on our head if it doesn’t look like Traci Ellis Ross? It took me 3 years to fiigure out a wash and go. I have 4b hair. Kinky, curly. Not flowy like my West Indian and mixed friends, but curly enough that self-hating black women ask me what I do with it to make it curly (put water and gel in it) And guess what…it will never grow to my shoulders in it’s curly state, I have to manipulate it to make it “hang” in any fashion….and men still are attracted to me. I would suggest you stop trying to attract men who hate yourself as much as you do. You never know who you’ll attract until you stop it. On my nappiest, shrunken of days some white man will tell me how beautiful my hair is, because I’m OPEN to receiving compliments and not sulking like this is the effin Bluest Eye. Please release your shackles. I wish my hair grew like a weed, I wish I was 20 lbs thinner…but is nappy hair ugly? NO. You can think yours is but leave me and the rest of the healthy mentally balanced naturals out of it, @Natural Joke. Now if you care to actually learn how to take care of the hair you DO have.. keep reading these blogs. Otw go away, no one needs you to try and make us hate our lot in life as black women. Please.

  23. By the way I had a friend when I was growing up.We had class together from the sand box to 3rd grade. I never knew her nationality but she had “gorgeous” hair. Dark, soft & curly. I remember she would wear 3 ponytails everyday with huge ball barrettes at the end.Her twists came down to her waist. I also had long hair myself(not nearly as long as hers…but a little past my shoulders)however, I was jealous.I grew up in the 90′s when pantene pro-v & herbal essences were on the rise. I always saw these white women swinging their har.My friend didnt have to swing hers her twists bounced as she ran around at recess.I wanted that silky smoothe hair with the baby edges that laid down & made little waves & curly q’s….but I didnt have that & I still dont. I always had long thick healthy hair & people always complimented it…but thats the time in my life where you woulda thought I was bald because I so wanted her hair.Now as a grown woman I’m natural again.My grandmother relaxed my hair at 8 because it was so thick & she had to work & couldnt be fooling with it all day.She never relaxed it bone straight.She only touched my roots so that my hair was manageable.But she never, or no one around me ever embraced natural black hair.She never said negative things about it….but she never said positive things either…she was neutral.So I thought getting a relaxer was like a rite for a black girl.I thought we all did it & it was just a part of life. I wore that relaxer all the way through high school. I kept it healthy & still got great compliments….but I got bored. The natural craze had just begun…so I said hmmmm I wanna try that. I did & Im never going back. I loooove my natural hair & I’ve accepted the fact that It wont & wasnt made to swing like the pantene girls.It will bend & poof & spiral & coil & kink & knot & frustrate the hell out of me. My edges will fly up & my hair will never be straight unless flat ironed. But I prefer it this way.Its a treat.I still see mixed girls like my friend I honestly admire their curls….but I have accepted my own hair so I dont trip off anyone.I have endless options of what I can do to my hair things that no other race in the world can do.What race can rock braided, twisted updo’s, cornrows, flat twists, puffs, locs, two strand twists, individual braids(extensions), coils, straw curls, and straight hair?….NOT MANY. I never get bored while everyone else is doing the straight everyday, curled under, flipped, spiraled, or ponytail hair(those are the options lol)….IM HAVING FUN!!!

  24. First of all everybody’s hair GROWS. It just doesn’t sound smart to suggest otherwise. But not everyone’s hair grows as fast as others and when you’re hair is damaged it breaks off so it doesn’t retain any length. It’s easy to grow hair when you’re not relaxing it and heat damaging it. I’m fully black and my hair is waist length when straightened.

  25. i find it interesting that people assume that just because a woman doesn’t like a certain feature about herself, people then to go lengths to conclude that it must needs mean she doesn’t like ALL of herself, or that she has self hate. i might not care for my acne, even though it’s apart of me, or my scalp psoriasis (which is genetic, by the way, as is my acne), but it doesn’t mean i hate myself just because i might consider those things to not be my best attributes. Or if i go to the extreme of considering those things my worst attributes- it still doesn’t equate to “i hate myself”. that’s a very strong sentiment. I think it’s very possible for a black woman to hate her hair, her texture, or whatever, but still love herself “in spite of” that feature. Sure, would it be nice if she loved it? absolutely! but hating your hair and hating yourself are two totally different things, and i would encourage anyone carelessly slamming that loaded phrase upon someone’s psyche to tread with caution, because the truth is that you don’t know this woman. and at the very least, i’m willing to give her credit for her honesty. i go through periods several times a year where i absolutely loathe the texture of my hair, because it’s so uncanny and unpredictable. Then i have periods where i’m in love with it and find it breathtakingly beautiful, seeing it as an added accessory. it’s easy for me to separate my love/hate with my hair from my love of myself (or perceived hate of myself, given what you guys have to say about it) because to me hair is simply an accessory. if i have too many days in a row where i’m fighting with it or we’re not at peace for an insufferably long period of time, i’m liable to go from loving it to hating it with all that is within me and even wishing i had white girl hair up to contemplating cutting it all off. Then about a month later, after i’ve either done just that or i’ve flat ironed it, i’ll settle down again and go back to treasuring it for all that it is. at none of these times do i hate myself or the culture that spawned me. it’s not as grave as all that, and to suggest otherwise is silly and basically says that whoever would think such a thing must therefore equate self-identity with hair. which i do not.

  26. Rai, if you are so proud of your fluffed hair and brown skin. Why is your icon a white male with straight hair? Ironic

  27. Goddess Nancy

    Try Shielo’s Smoothing shampoo & conditioner. It has a hair oil in the product. My husband started using it and my children (my son has very sensitive skin, but he has no problems with Shielo). They are mixed babies and their hair likes the extra moisture.

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