Why I Love Natural Hair » VSB

Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Why I Love Natural Hair

Lauryn Hill (Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

 

[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.]


Like 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.

  • @bakaripace

    I remember the day I watched Dave Chappelle’s Block Party whiling falling deeper and deeper in love with Eryakah Badu’s huge fro.

    And then she literally ripped it off her own head. During the show. On stage.

    Scarred me for life.

    • tgtaggie

      Are you sure it was her fro that you were fallin in love with………..

    • Lashuntrice

      This is hilarious.

  • SweetP

    Good article. It’s nice to see that not all Black men need you to be silky straight. Now if you would all get over the nightly head scarf then we’d really see progression :-)

    • silly little thumb

      Wait. Men actually have problems with the scarf??

      • kidvideo

        Boys might have an issue, not grown asre men.

  • TheH

    I hope this natural hair crap will die a SLOW death soon!!! Many of us that CHOOSE to wear their hair straight or weave is because of a lifestyle choice!!! I have a full head of dirt black West Indian Coolie hair, long, healthy and proud yet I LOVE rocking my weave, jumping on planes, running to meetings and going SWIMMING on vaykay without having to worry about restyling my entire head!!! Long Live WEAVE!!!! And like you said: a hot ugly mess is a hot ugly mess wether natural, weaved, permed, loc’ed, doesn’t matter!!! Luckily the West Indian Gods blessed the kid, (thanks Mummy & Daddy!!), so I’m cute no matter what!! Weave has NEVER stopped me from pulling some good brothers, trust, they don’t care, just don’t have no CRAZY looking hair!!!

    • Rachmo

      Erm. You should take a deep breath. I don’t even know what Coolie hair means. And lots of women that don’t relax use weaves and wigs. So…what are you saying here?

      • miss t-lee

        Nothing….lol

        • Ms TLC

          See…this is what I meant. SMH!

      • BeautifullyHuman

        I’m not all that certain what “Coolie” entails, but I think it’s a “good hair” type of equivalent or something in the West Indian community. I was told it has negative connotations, but basically the individual has a Melanie Fiona or Tatiana Ali quality…if you understand what I’m hinting at. Smh

        • Khaleesi

          West Indian here… “Coolie” is definitely the equivalent of saying good hair in American. People also say “nicey” hair.

          • BeautifullyHuman

            Thanks for the confirmation. I’ve asked some West Indian coworkers of mine what the word meant, but they seemed hesitant to explain. I was able to glean that it correlated to a particular look.

            • Guest

              “Coolie” means Indian – it’s somewhat derogatory to West Indian Indians (with a dot), but if a black West Indian says they have ‘coolie’ hair, they’re basically saying they have ‘good’ hair, like Tatyana Ali (as mentioned) or Chili…

              • Rawtid

                exactly

              • PunchDrunkLove

                Folks still saying “good hair?” We’ve come so far from the days of being categorically placed in the “good hair” category, or not. Nowadays, for the right price, you can get good hair sewed in…lol Shoot, folks in my salon spend a grip getting “good hair” sewn in, most are none the wiser. I think I’d rather be on #teammakethatmoney and just buy the hair I want. I don’t wear a weave, but I can buy one…..if I want.

                Good hair??? LOLOLOL That is hilarious. Hadn’t had this term in forever? I don’t think I’d recognize “good hair” if I saw. I don’t check for that kind of stuff.

              • PunchDrunkLove

                Chili still does the “baby hair” thingy?

        • Rachmo

          Oh *rolls eyes* So she has “good hair”. I guess I’ll give her a cookie.

          • BeautifullyHuman

            That’s exactly what she was implying lol.

        • Rawtid

          its not really about hair–its actually a derogatory term that speaks to being mixed with east indian blood.

      • SailorMoon

        Coolie means Indian. So if this poster has Coolie hair she has Indian hair which is typically not curly or kinky, and not hard to maintain.
        That is why I’m confused.
        Unless she means Dougla (which is black and Indian mixed) and can vary from type 1a hair to 4b hair.

        • Rachmo

          Thanks for helping me out there. I guess good for her?

  • A few asides on this “natural” hair thing-y..

    1) I honestly miss when I was the only person in the bar whose hair wasn’t chemically straightened. I HATE the “natural hair police”. I hate curl categories. I hate that people actually think it’s ok now to say “natural ain’t for everyone”. I hated that period where it seems everyone’s natural was over-styled and my wake-up-and-walk-out had me feeling like Blue Ivy. I miss when men who didn’t like my hair just didn’t f*cking TALK to me. I love y’all, though.

    2) Since I style my hair seasonally I get different reactions year-round, but I have to say… men that *like* hair that isn’t chemically straightened (as opposed to those that are indifferent) are just FUN. Like, when your hair is straight they’ll kind of pet it and run fingers thru and ish..but when that Leela James is out they get IN there. Just mushing your puff with their hands and all massaging your scalp and…um…I gotta go.

    • Rachmo

      Well natural really “ain’t for everyone.” It takes so much time to do and for a lot of people relaxers are easier.

      • Not in terms of maintenance, in terms of aesthetics. As in, “the hair that grows out of your head doesn’t look good on every person the way it grows out of their head”, lol.

        • Rachmo

          Ooooh. Well my hair doesn’t look awesome how it grows out of my head. it shrinks like crazy and mats. Bless up for hair products and a twist out!

          • LOL beyond that. There are literally people who say “natural hair ain’t for everyone” to mean some people NEED to wear it straight to look appealing, not “they need to style their natural hair better”.

            • Rachmo

              Oh I don’t really dig that deep. If they don’t like my hair don’t date me. *shrugs*

        • Rawtid

          i dont think its for everyone in that respect either. people will/can/should do what they want to do but we all know everyone as at least one “look” that really really flatters them. it isnt always the “natural” one.

      • Rawtid

        truth

  • LadyIbaka

    I’ve always been of the school of thought, that it’s just hair, not political. But, eh there are folks that see it different and ummm, I have to say Jesus may currently be residing in my heart, because I sorta underatand see why some women be Drakeing over follicles that grow straight from their heads.

  • silly little thumb

    Natural hair stresses me out, man. I mean, I enjoy being natural, but all of these conversations and panels and YT videos and websites over complicate something that was meant (at least for me) to make life simpler. I have to take a mental break from all of this. That being said, I notice I get a lot more male attention when I wear my natural hair out. It works for my face and who I am. Those who don’t like it aren’t relevant.

    • This is exactly what I’m talking about. I appreciate the new styling options…but the need to categorize and capitalize on “the movement” just has me tired. When I started all I has was S-curl gel (it works, IDC IDC), some baby oil and a scarf and just walked around with a giant pouf. Now it’s “definition” “anti-shrinkage”, “4c”, “twist/two-strand braid-out bouffant”, man I just wanna sleep.

      • Amber

        I know I went natural 12 years ago while I was in college. This guy with locks in the Black Student group I was in talked about how he thought I would be so cute with my natural hair so yeah I cut my hair. Back then there was no “big chop” or at least I didn’t know about all these new terms. Yes I used Care Free Curl activator on my little fro. But now I have a love hate for the natural hair movement now because it has become so restrictive and ridiculous. Like why do I have to become a chemist just to do my hair?

      • Rawtid

        yea its pretty annoying

  • Kema

    *flips hair* Yes… My hair is awesome!

  • Medium Meech

    Man, I love natural hair on my Nubian Queens. That’s why I never understand why they choose to sully their temples with those lacefronts and synthetic weaves. Stick with what God chose to grow out of a human scalp and splurge for that good virgin Mongolian weave. Umoja.

    • Rawtid

      i have never worn a lace front—but am known to slap in some braids and recently embraced sew ins…sometimes you just need a damn break from your own hair–and it from you. Really, its just that simple for many of us.

  • Rachmo

    Men with locs…*swoons*

    • …..hairlines fade to black #wavegang #hailCaesar

  • Vanity in Peril

    To each his own. Most days I just go “I love my sexy natural hair. Get like me.”

More Like This