Shit Bougie Black People Love: 25. Natural Hair » VSB

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Shit Bougie Black People Love: 25. Natural Hair

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If you ever happened across a Bougie Black Person at a gallery crawl or a blogging conference and you wanted to make them happy, ask them about natural hair. If it’s a woman, ask her to share her “big chop” story, and pull up a chair as she regales you with a 30-minute-long tale that includes words and phrases like “after the breakup” and “texturizer” and “Mekhi Phifer.” She might even add how her great aunt threatened to disown her. If it’s a man, listen to him express how he “really wasn’t into natural chicks like that” until he heard some track on “that Common album where he’s rocking a hoodie in space on the cover” and has been hooked since.

And, if you can find no Bougie Black People around to ask about natural hair, don’t be too concerned. Just create a flyer for a “natural hair meet up” with a predetermined location, drop a couple at each of your city’s Thai restaurants, and they’ll eventually find you!

While the day party is the Bougie Black Person’s shrewdest invention, the natural hair movement is their best. You see, Bougie Black People love making statements. Preferably statements about themselves. And what they love even more than making statements about themselves is making statements about themselves without even saying anything. They often accomplish this by doing things like “wearing Teespring t-shirts” and “joining Black Girls Run” and “marrying White men,” but nothing does it as well as an affinity for natural hair does.

To wit, having natural hair — or being with a Bougie Black Girl with natural hair — says each of the following things:

1. “I’m embracing my Blackness!

This allows BBP, occasionally self-conscious of their standing with regular Blacks, to do things like “go to harvest festivals” and “attend Phish concerts” without anyone questioning their true cultural allegiance.

2. “I’m aware of the effects of colonization, and I’m rejecting them!

This allows BBP a subtle expression of their hate for White people while simultaneously climbing the corporate ladder at predominately White corporations. (This seems like a paradox, but it is not.)

3. “I am educated, and I have refined cultural and aesthetic standards”

This allows BBP to do things like participate in game night twerk contests while not feeling self-conscious about people questioning their judgment. (This also seems like a paradox. And you’re right. It is.)

4. “I am not my hair! My hair doesn’t define me!

At least, they think they’re saying “My hair doesn’t define me!” But, by spending dozens of hours each week shopping for hair products and watching YouTube tutorials on using them, regularly attending and/or speaking at natural hair panels, professing only to date natural women, and silently shading those who haven’t gone natural yet, they’re actually saying “My hair definitely defines me!

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Keisha

    “Just create a flyer for a “natural hair meet up” with a predetermined location, drop a couple at each of your city’s Thai restaurants, and they’ll eventually find you!”
    LOL…good one! :-)

    • Charlisia Nwachukwu

      I would be caught in that trap surely… Drunken noodles and coconut soup yes!

  • Hello, my name is Todd, and I’m a boogie Black person.

    I convinced my then-fiancee to do the big chop because I liked how her natural hair looked and she wasn’t willing to even take the money for a better weave. The end result looked very nice. Of course, I earned the permanent enmity of my then in laws, with whispers that I made her go natural, and that she’d really wanted a process. (The truth was when I brought it up to her, she was with it, but needed a cover story for her family.) Then again, I can hold moral superiority over them for things like visiting family in the psych hospital and not having drug related shootings in my house.

    Anyway, during a visitation pickup, I noticed my ex had gotten back on the creamy crack. Ah well. At least I know she won’t try to bring that old thing back. But I do have a soft spot for natural hair. Now fore to find some Thai food…

  • Ashley

    Number 4 is going to have #naturalistas rioting in the streets…. but as a black women with relaxed hair..that ain’t non of my business. What I will say is that having natural hair doesn’t mean that you’ve arrived black women…it doesn’t mean your more enlightened or that your transcended to being a “better black women” It just mean you’ve decided not to rock a relaxer and I’m ok with that, I hope your ok with that… but the constant bragging about being better than and testimonials about how your “natural hair journey” changed your life is….a lot. You are not your hair ;)

    • Yeah, I am not a fan of the #teamnatural and #teampermedhair… scratch the competition, just rock what you like and let that be it. I am now a natural, but its only because I plan to loc my hair in a few months.

    • MostlyMax

      Cosign. I can’t front like I’m suddenly a revolutionary because I can grow a fro. I also can’t pretend like 5 years of weaves ain’t get me to said fro either. The fly shit about our hair is the options so if other broads wanna do different stuff then good on them. Who am I to judge when I was doing the same thing?

    • Rachmo

      I think the longer I’ve been natural the more meh I am. If you want to relax your hair do it. Is your weave “on fleek,” if so then I’m in. Maybe I’ll relax my hair again me no know.

    • Brendee

      Yes! I’ve had natural hair for a few hairs and was on a blog for a giveaway recently. I went back and forth with another who was saying she was confused about how we ever thought relaxers are cute. I had to tell her that relaxers were and are cute, it’s just a different look. I’m like…don’t act like we were walking around busted or something. I still have fly friends with relaxers. No better, no worse.

    • LadyIbaka

      Girrrrrrl, do you!!!!!! There are days I miss relaxers. I miss the softness, and I could give a phakk about someone else’s thoughts. Those are the days, I’m completely over finding ways to manipulate my mane to cooperate.

    • jess-s

      “it doesn’t mean your more enlightened or that your transcended to being a “better back women” …

      I chose to stop relaxing my hair because I was having breakage issues. As I wore
      my hair in its natural state, I received so more attention from black women commending me on my “confidence” and black men now addressing as a
      “sista.” My choice was solely based on having healthy hair.
      But I do owe a lot to the community, because it did show me that I did not have to
      relax. I now have tons of choices, and weaves are also a choice that is ok.
      Being a “better black women” has nothing to do with your hair.

      • “My choice was solely based on having healthy hair. ”

        Ditto. My choice stems from wanting healthy hair. I always took very good care of my hair but my last perm caused breakage and a very itchy scalp. In addition to that, my hair was shedding like crazy. I had to back away from the perm.

    • Rawtid

      OMG ALLLLLLL of this!

  • Rachmo

    5. “My hair grows faster when natural and I’m really bad at styling straight hair”

  • LeeLee

    Yass @ #4!!!! And don’t be chemical free underneath but wear protective styles (braids, etc) ….oh the shade to be received when one sports a wig or weave! I stand with India, #iamnotmyhair

    • “And don’t be chemical free underneath but wear protective styles (braids, etc) ….oh the shade to be received when one sports a wig or weave”

      I know a woman who has rocked natural hair for years and is not afraid to proclaim just how “black” she is because of it, and loves to frown upon women with permed hair. What I don’t get it she wears wigs and weaves religiously. She doesn’t like to show her own her because she doesn’t know how to keep it up e.g. wash/condition, put moisturizer in it, get a trim. So she thinks by putting a wig on she doesn’t have to keep up with what’s underneath.

      • LeeLee

        Girl, everyone’s got an opinion nowadays about women and what we should be doing. How to wear our hair. Our clothes. Hell, just how to ‘be.’ I will say its sad when women do it to other women. I’m natural. Wear wigs. Braids. Weaves. But hair is and will always be an accessory for me. It doesn’t make me more or less black. More or less beautiful. More or less human. There’s room for natural, permed, colored, straight, wigs, weaves and toupees at my table! Whatever you got, have a seat. Just be good peoples and its all good. I wish everyone could get to that place, but I also believe in unicorns so…………….

      • MostlyMax

        It prolly looks like pestilence under that wig

  • Shout out to CNotes fro though! I wish she’d stop by more. I an a fan of the kinky fluff. Its their hair and women can style it however they wish. Its not a frivolous decision though considering black women with natural hair are regular denied jobs and considered unruly if their hair isn’t straight. Not to mention reading several stories last year with teachers bullying and even cutting (!) little black girls hair off because their natural hair was seen as a “distraction”in class.

    • CNotes

      “Shout out to CNotes fro though!”

      I wish you could see me blushing right now! Thank you :-) I have become a bit of a lurker these days. I must do better.

      • Damon Young

        “I must do better”

        agreed

    • Freebird

      yes sir.

    • you say lots of things that i like. keep saying things.

  • pls

    i went to my university homecoming a couple weeks ago (PWI) and ALLLLLL the chics were natural.

    natural hair nazis get on my last nerve tho. it’s funny cuz those same people will talk ish about blue-ivy’s natural hair and wonder why it took them years to get their edges back.

    • #facts on natural hair being a PWI thing more than a HBCU thing. Those White people actually prefer Black people looking sloppy. LOL

      • Sir ima need you to not conflate natural and sloppy. Boy bye!

        • Ms TLC

          This mentality runs SOO deep, I don’t even think folks realize what they’re saying. But I hear these “slips” ALL the time.

      • Ms TLC

        “Those White people actually prefer Black people looking sloppy. LOL” –Wooooow! So much wrong here… natural=sloppy and “being natural” =white acceptance?? WTF??

        • SororSalsa

          I don’t find that to be the case at all. Whenever I straighten my natural hair, I get so many compliments from white people about how amazing and “professional” I look. Not saying folks aren’t entitled to their opinions, and I did give one former coworker the business for daring to say it and then watched her squirm why trying to justify that backwards-arse mentality. And attention from guys is ridiculous. Seeing this comment makes me sad that this mentality persists.

          • You reminded me: one thing black people have to stop thinking is that white people do everything right.

            It’s a pernicious belief that crops up even among progressive people. No, white men do not appreciate my natural hair more. No, white people are not less homophobic than the black church. No, black men are not the only ones who abuse women and kids an’ $hit. Stop givin them white folks a pass black people!

          • MostlyMax

            I may or may not have been fired the week after wearing the most glorious fro to the office. Their discomfort was on 10 & my damns were on 0. You never lied about the coded language used to describe our hair. And the not so coded language from folk who look like you.

    • Damon Young

      i was at a birthday party a few months ago. 20-something women were there, and every single one of them was natural

      • I realized this was a thing when I emailed about 11 homegirls for a BPP function (probably a brunch, or Grits and Biscuits, or a day party) and it dawned on me err one of them bishes was natural-haired. It was not like this just 3-4 years ago!

  • As a newly natural-haired sistah (big chop on November 15, 2014), I approve this message. Drop selfie here:

    • Freebird

      i approve this message as well.

      *flys away*

    • Lea Thrace

      gurrrl. Werk!

      but why you so pretty. Love the glasses!

      • Aww, thanks doll! The glasses are Essence Kiara Black

    • Rachmo

      Looks good!

    • LeeLee

      Very pretty! Beautiful smile.

    • Natural looks great on you, Tiana! Congratulations.

  • Matte Black

    Not all natural women are bougie but 12 out of 10 bougie black girl will have natural hair

    • Damon Young

      tu motherf*ckin shea

  • Detroit Skater

    i read the other day that some don’t consider loc’s natural not sure why but to each his own. been rocking loc’s for 8yrs and before that was chemical free for about 10. to me natural hair was easier to take care of.

    #2 >>> *snicker*
    #4 >>> to each her own. he!! i loc’d b/c i lost my braider and didn’t want to look a complete mess after working out / running. best hair decision i’ve every made. :-)

    • “i loc’d b/c i lost my braider and didn’t want to look a complete mess after working out / running. best hair decision i’ve every made. :-)”

      I hear this from a lot of people… care to elaborate?

      • Detroit Skater

        for me, not much to really say other than i was not willing to sacrifice my workouts/runs for my hair. those 10yrs before i loc’d i wore my hair in corn rolls. i didn’t trust everyone to put their hands in my hair so loc’ing was the next best thing. loc’s are semi-low maintenance and low cost which was perfect for me.

        • that’s good to know. thanks for that. and your locs look amazing, btw

          • Detroit Skater

            thank you!

            when you do loc trust me if you trust nothing else YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THEM! enjoy the journey :-)

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