Why I Love Natural Hair » VSB

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Why I Love Natural Hair

[I’m speaking on a panel entitled, The Men’s Perspective Panel, on Sunday, August 3, about men’s opinions on women and natural hair. I figured I might as well get a few thoughts out in advance spread my wings a bit. The panel is apart of the Naturalista Hair Show happening in Silver Spring, MD, on both August 2nd and 3rd. You natural haireded women out there, take note.]

lauryn-hillLike most things in my life, my introduction to all things natural hair started with my older sister. Or at least I’m going to give her credit for it. I went to high school in northern Alabama and I can’t for the life of me think of a single person in my high school with locs or anything resembling what I come to think of as natural hair today. Then again, natural hair wasn’t a “thing” back then like it is now so I’m sure there were a lot of “naturals’ running amuck through my high school hallways.

But my older sister was five years older and one of those open-minded individuals who went to college and gave a lot of things a go in attempts to find herself that trickled down to my life. In that role, and briefly, she started hanging with people named Air and Hakeem so there were lots of ankhs, headwraps, and locs in her cirlce when I joined her back in Atlanta for college. By the way, the dude Air (a real person beeteedubs) told me the DUMBEST story of the African American experience and existence ever only for me to realize MID-STORY that he was recounting to me The Lion King…which I pointed out and he copped to. I never saw Air again after that.

Now, at that point, I’m sure I noticed but didn’t really think much of the folks with the sheen-so-shimmery afros and locs and any other hairdo that would fall into the “natural” category. I just knew they were doing a “keeping it real” type steez of sorts.

[Clearly, I”m not an expert in what makes hair natural short of it ain’t been hit with the chemicals of despair or something. Most of the women I know are natural – or at least most of the women I hang with and are apart of my cirlce – so in my life, it was never a thing. I had no idea the wars that existed betwixt the creamy cracksters and the natural knights of the hair table until the Internet was founded in 2012.]

All that to say, my older sister exposed me to “the hair”, but I’m guessing that it wasn’t until I fell for the woman who would be queen if she weren’t 10 crazy that I really developed my true affinity for “the hair”.

My boo, Lauryn Hill.

There was a solid two year stretch where you could not convince me she wasn’t the baddest thing in a b-cup and two legs on the planet in the history of creation. I didn’t even love Miseducation, but I loved the woman responsible for it. I loved her style and grace. Her smarts. Her confidence and realness. And especially, I loved the way she wore her headwraps. And her locs. Lawdjeefus. Oooooooooooooh…I just wanna lay in her hair. I was enamored with her whole essence and loved her hair especially. Or did. Like 112 sang for Bad Boy who then said to 112, it’s over now. But ’98-’99 Lauryn Hill? All Century Team in my book.

Not to mention I went to college in Atlanta during Lauryn’s heyday at the real bastion of Black wonderfulness, the Atlanta University Center (AUC) where I ran into women from all over the country who had all types of bad ass hairdos who all seemed to be inspired by Ms. Hill. From Seattle to Brooklyn, super bad women were out in full force. It was there that my affinity truly blossomed and it remains today. While I know all women swear they aren’t their hair (while totally being their hair), I found myself attracted to a particular type of woman and she always had a particular type of hair and it was always natural. Obviously, I didn’t always date women with natural hair. But I was always super attracted to it. Like a super bad chick is one thing. A super bad chick with locs?

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiign me up.

And it wasn’t just locs. It was chicks with huge hair. Like flowing to da gawds style hair. And an HBCU (well certain HBCUs anyway) is a buffet of women with big ass hair. So is DC, and the northeast for that matter. No matter where I goooooooooooo, I see the same styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyles which is a win for me in so many facets. So since I was in undergrad, I’ve constantly been surrounded by women with big ass hair, afros, locs, and twists which is all hair that I assumed made it natural. Until I found out that womenwith natural hair also just straightened their hair too, which…*mind blown*.

This was also the point I think I quit caring. And by caring, I mean caring about trying to figure out who has natural hair versus who doesn’t, etc. I got to a point in my life where as long as your hair doesn’t look at hot damn mess than I can rock with you, even if you are un-beweavable.  Which I’ve dated. The funny thing is, while I know what I like, I’ve also found that I have no effin’ clue what folks are really doing with their hair. I have been told somebody had a weave and I was like, “really?” It’s not that I couldn’t tell, I just never thought about it.

Seeing as your hair or lack thereof is an extension of who you are (usually) I just felt like what people chose to do with their heads was their business. While I can’t really get down with a head full of red hair straight out of the Kool-Aid pack, I also can’t be mad at you for doing you to your own head. Whatever makes you happy, boo.

Which brought me full circle. See, while I’ve always been attracted to women with natural hair I’ve managed to achieve Master Spliner status at the “Do You Boo School of Whatever The Fuck Makes You Happy”. If you look bad as hell, you look bad as hell regardless of your hair being natural or nah. Which is why I’ve often been surprised at men who are vehemently against natural hair. Hot is hot. I can understand not liking a hair style, but some cats are like anti-natural hair, actively. This has befuddled me. Hair upkeep is a ho for everybody, even if you don’t have hair. AXEMEHOWIKNOW. So I’m not even sure what the deal is, but to each his own and God bless the child who has got his own.

I also don’t understand the Hair Wars that exist between women. But I can dig a good educated woman chick fight like the rest of ’em so I’m like all my perm-chicks to the left, all my nat-ur-al chicks to the right, they like she gon’ stop lookin’ at me before I knock that *CENSORED* out like fight night. And I’m here for it.

I wrote all this say, basically, I love natural hair and stylings. I like to touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it, turn, leave it, stop, format it. It makes me happy. I will almost always notice a woman with a natural hair do and almost always wonder about what our lives could be like together. Then I will snap back to reality quickly as I realize that just because you have natural hair doesn’t mean you’re favorite singer isn’t August Alsina. Who I like, but nawwwwwwl, *CENSORED* I said nawl.

To my natural hair sisters out there, I see you and I love you. You make me happy. All of you.

The rest of y’all are aight.

(I’m playing. I love you all. Really.)

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • I love that picture of Lauryn Hill.

  • Shout out to CNotes though! Ricky is here for his natural haired women. Love y’all immensely. Afropetite can take a preemptive curve before she tries to insinuate that I only like 3c or looser hair.

    • Lol you ain’t here for the 4a/b ladies though.

  • laddibugg

    You do know a lot of those women with the huge ‘fros are wearing wigs or pieces right? You still probably have trouble telling whether someone has a weave–it’s just curlier and corser this time around….. Just saying.

    Anyway, I’m ‘natural’ I guess–no relaxer at all in my hair– but I don’t really subscribe to the trendy frenzy about unrelaxed hair that’s going on now. I’m not natural because I needed to find myself, or because of any kind of pride. It was simply getting too expensive and time consuming to relax my hair.

    I actually kind of shy away from using the term ‘natural’ to describe myself. I don’t chase the curl–my hair is nappy as h*** and laughs at products, and I have better things to do with my time then spend an entire Sunday washing my hair. I have products, but I also have a ton of makeup and clothes and shoes so that’s not out of the ordinary. I might look up a technique–such as how to do a faux mohawk–but that’s to enhance what i’ve got, not to force my hair to do something it’s not naturally inclined to do.

    • SweetP

      I agree w/ you. I went natural not because of this new trend, actually I didn’t even know there was a natural movement going on bcs I wouldn’t have joined it. I went natural bcs a) my hair was getting thin from relaxing & b) i loooooove color. I’d rather color my hair than have a relaxer.

    • Val

      “You do know a lot of those women with the huge ‘fros are wearing wigs or pieces right?”

      Not all though…

      http://31.media.tumblr.com/70ed1733cd1146df6e2d99603023c106/tumblr_mwaairiW8n1sknivpo1_500.jpg

      • Before I forget again!

        http://blackgirlsrpretty2.tumblr.com/post/92101840369/black-girl-in-paris-2013

        When a down on her luck aspiring writer runs out of money after moving to Paris, she meets a street-smart prostitute who takes her on a whirlwind adventure of passion, self-discovery and uninhibited sexual freedom.

        • Val

          Yep, I’ve been wanting to see this. It stars one of my favorite actresses, Tracey Heggins. She was in Medicine for Melancholy. I think this is an HBO film so I’m trying to figure out how I can see it since I don’t have cable.

          Thanks for the heads up though, Malik. I appreciate it.

          • menajeanmaehightower

            One of your friends has HBO. Get their HBOGO password. This is how i stay connected through my roku box.

            • Val

              I’ll look into that. Thanks, Mena.

  • Troy Eichelberger II

    why are yall having a panel about hair when ni**as dying left and right in chicago????
    this the ish Im talking about.
    our priorities are so fudged.
    or maybe im just in a mood.
    wtfever.

    • Damon Young

      Why are you leaving comments on digital magazine comment threads instead of handing out food at a homeless soup kitchen? Or researching the cure for Ebola? Or on the front lines in Chicago, mentoring, teaching, and preventing violence?

      Or maybe you’re doing all of those things. Because it’s possible for human beings to have multiple interests and do multiple things at the same time. Our brains are funny that way.

      • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

        It is funny how that’s possible. In fact, I’m on the phone, cookin-cookin…

      • Troy Eichelberger II

        I work in public health (mass production food) ,Im a lab tech and trust when my salary gets a little better imma put in work.
        But a panel on hair?? All that time and energy could be place somewhere else.
        accept yourself and lets make this world a better effing place

        • Heal the wooooooorld……make it a better plaaaaaace ????

      • damn you multitasking negroes.

      • Val

        Welp.

  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    Big hair DO care about this post. Awwww, Panda. We love you, too. Not me tho… I hate you. <3

  • Sylqué

    I am so tired.

    “I
    wrote all this say, basically, I love natural hair and stylings. I like to
    touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it, turn, leave it, stop, format it.”

    So this right here is a prime example of how PJ talks in RL, and I have a habit of reading his posts in his voice in my head complete with cadences and rhythm. And now I’m exhausted.

    But I still enjoyed the post, naturally.

  • natural hair is awesome. i love when a woman embraces the hair that naturally grows out of her head. as long as it looks good on her i’m with it. won’t turn this comment into a put down on women who choose alternative hair options but i’ll just say that i love natural hair and i’m not too much of a fan of other stuff.

  • Detroit Skater

    Great post! Loc’d up for 8yrs :-)

  • Ms TLC

    I love looking at natural hair (thank goodness for Tumblr, Pinterest, and Insta) but TALKING about it..eh it always devolves into ignorance

    • Keisha

      “but TALKING about it..eh it always devolves into ignorance”… sad, but true. :-/

  • Damon Young

    Was with my wife (Damn. It still feels weird saying that.) at a friend’s birthday celebration a few weeks ago. 15-20 Black women were there. All between 25 and 35, and every single one of them had natural hair. Granted, this wasn’t exactly a random sample. It was largely a population of transplants who either moved to Pittsburgh for work or grad school. But, I don’t think, even 10 years ago, you’d have such a high percentage of natural Black women with that same sample.

    I think this is at least partially due to the internet. Maybe a woman can verify (or refute) this, but I feel like the existence of the hundreds of thousands of hair blogs, message boards, videos, etc show people there are more natural options that just an afro, twists, or locs. In turn, it gives women more confidence to make that move.

    • Keisha

      I agree…although on most days, I wear a twist out. I classify myself as a “lazy” natural. My hair is healthy so I don’t see the need to waste good sunny days stuck in the house fooling with my hair. It was cool for a minute, but the excitement has worn off and conversations about what products I use have gotten old. My advice to anyone is just to figure out what works for you and roll with it.

      • Rachmo

        #Twistoutgang

      • Man, when that twist out gets untwisted…it’s like the clouds unfolding and heaven being revealed with all the sun rays and beams and bright smiles…
        *sighs*

        • Keisha

          LOL…I may just untwist my hair tomorrow morning just because of your comment! I usually wait until the weekend, by my hair seems to be yelling, “Give us, us free!” ;-)

    • Ms TLC

      “I feel like the existence of the hundreds of thousands of hair blogs, message boards, videos, etc show people there are more natural options that just an afro, twists, or locs.”

      BINGO!

    • jolly

      Totally. The internet. & call me a former lazy natural but also why I respectfully bowed out of the natural hair lifestyle (for now). I can’t dedicate hours to sitting in front of a YouTube tutorial to style my hair, take a risk at a failed attempt, or play the product game…and the literal trauma I caused my scalp in the interim.. The best part of black hair I’ve decided is that we can switch back from perm to natural to braids and back again. That desire for versatility is in my blood. I’ve heard that most men prefer consistency in terms of hair styling though? Brooklyn Jamaicans taught me otherwise…

    • Shay-d-Lady

      I kinda wish my natural hair was a result of the internet. it wasn’t it is the result of a bad perm, scalp dermatitis and Knuck if you buck and laziness.
      I went natural because I had too and locc’d because of the song and the sheer appeal of .. “so I seriously don’t have to do ish to them but where a bonnet and cleanse my scalp between twistings??!!
      I should be ashamed. but I aint. and at this point. its a lot easier to put these locs in a pony tail than it was to wrestle my fro into a puff or some sort of “thing”
      and my locs are long enough now where I only have to re twist them like 3-4 times a year.

      • Rachmo

        Not everyone has a “natural hair journey;” Some people just don’t feel like doing their hair (helloooo locs) or are terrible at styling straight hair (that’s me_

        • Shay-d-Lady

          lol it was still a journey and process .. but it didn’t start as a journey to “find self” or no ish like that. I didn’t wake up and have a hair epiphany.. and chile I was devastated the first time I looked in the mirror after the “big chop”.

          • Rachmo

            After mine the first morning I definitely cried, pulled myself together, and found a great outfit.

            • Shay-d-Lady

              lol I think I cried and had a few tequila shots and went to sleep. that’s typically how I deal with ish.

      • AlwaysCC

        how do you get away with twisting them that infrequently?? even when mine were long i still got them retwisted about once a month *sigh* i could’ve done it myself, but i don’t believe in that DIY life when it comes to hair lol

        • Shay-d-Lady

          My locs are small about the size of standard individual braids. so too much twisting thins them out. so that might have something to do with it. I notice people with thicker dreads tend to re twist more frequently… also when I am heavy into exercising and have to wash them more between twists I do have to re twist more often.

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