I promised one of my Instagram followers that I would talk about the recent protests occurring in South Africa at the Pretoria High School for Girls in Pretoria concerning administrators telling their students to “fix” their hair”. Fix can mean a magnitude of things depending on who was involved. Some were told to use chemical straighteners while others were insulted and told certain styles were prohibited because they wear corn rows or dreads, normal styles for many naturals,for example. I was planning on expressing my feelings sooner but It took me a little longer to gather my emotions and thoughts to share with you all then I initially thought. However, after reading about the shaming that Vlogger Taren Guy faced recently from an organization that prides itself on “[motivating] women for action while embracing their authentic beauty”. I found the words to express how I feel about both situations as well as my stance on what being a natural means to me.
Many of you that know me personally know that I am extremely passionate about women’s health and basic human rights. As a natural hair ambassador (Thank you Vaughn for bestowing this title upon me) and as a person who strives daily to inspire others to believe in themselves and stay true to their individuality, l was DISGUSTED with the comments made towards CHILDREN by administrators about their NATURAL GOD GIVEN HAIR and I was DISAPPOINTED with the portion of the natural hair community that attempted to condemn Taren Guy. Excuse my French but it’s all bull! Personally, I have never experienced more than taunting and teasing from mean kids and berating comments from family members about my hair, stuff that’s easily brushed off. So I felt that I couldn’t speak on either of these topics as well as others could which is why I held off for so long. But enough is enough!
I am embarassed to say that when I was around their ages I felt embarassed by my hair texture. I used to sneak and use my grandmothers hot iorns to straighten my hair. I did not have their courage. These days when I reflect on my childhood I realize I didn’t always believe in myself.I sought the approval of others far to often. The hate that the young ladies at Pretoria High School have faced breaks my heart especially because they are kids. Kids are supposed to have it easy. Kids are supposed to be oblivious from the problems adults face. They shouldn’t be subjected protesting the right to be themselves. Sadly we live in a world where this is okay. A world where we can’t continue to believe race is not an issue. I wish that I could give each and every one of them a hug for their bravery. I want thank them for for sticking up for their rights when no one else will.They are exemplify who I wish I had been at a younger age. Confident in myself, in love with my skin, and proud of my curls. They have inspired me to keep inspiring you, my readers, by highlighting hardworking natural women in the community. If you have not already click here to check out my influences section. I feature naturals because I hope that by showing our babies that natural hair is amazing, versatile, and appropriate for whatever..whenever; they will in turn love themselves unconditionally. Although the young ladies at the Pretoria High School have had their education disrupted by the continued push for European beauty standards in an African Country (I want you to pause and retread that last part, marinate on it please) these young ladies are learning the importance of standing up for what they believe in. I stand firmly with them as well as with Taren.
Prior to last Saturday I honestly had no idea who Taren Guy was. I came across a post about her on BlogLovin concerning her decision to pursue free form locks. I remember thinking to myself after I read and watched her video this is amazing!! Although free form locs are not for me it was inspiring to listen to her speak about where she is in her natural journey. This was my first time hearing anyone speak so passionately about their choice to loc their hair so immediately shared this post with a close friend with locs. I never thought that a few days later I would learn that her decisioned would be shamed by those that say they exist to empower women of color with all types of hair only to show that they actually only support a single type of natural.
DEAR NATURAL HAIR COMMUNITY: Transitioning into locs has really shown me the tremendous love and vulnerability that women of color posses with words of support, wisdom, relatable testimonies and hopefulness of one day letting go of those things that keep them from moving forward in their truth. I've also experienced the B side of the online natural hair community that I was aware of but still sort of blind to. A side that has truly turned this beautiful space into a commercialized industry. My locs haven't even been a week old and I've already been canceled for a NATURAL HAIR event due to my hair change as it "doesn't fit the demo and audience of the attendees" nor does it sit well with sponsors. I'm a bit disappointed, not because I won't be attending, but because a space that was created to empower women of color with ALL types of natural hair has turned into a show that only support one type of natural. This post is not meant to be negative… It's just real. And it's a problem. Shout out to all of the beautiful women out there who celebrate their uniqueness while empowering and supporting women trying to do the same… Women who are keeping this beautiful space alive with the intention to educate, inspire and express themselves freely!
Unlike the young ladies in South Africa she is not dealing with oppressive European standards instead she faces ridicule from her own community. Seriously, what’s wrong with her hair? Their hair? My hair?
Now of course those in charge of this natural hair event have every right to pick and choose who they want to participate with their brand. I am just slightly confused as to why it is implied that there is something wrong with her choice to move along a differernt path as a natural. I thought that being natural was about embracing each and every natural person uniqueness as well as my own.Why do women of color have to fight these fix your hair mentalities both within our own community as well as outside of it too? This mentality is what lead me to experience SOOO much confusion about the definition of being beautiful as a child. My roommate and I had a brief discussion about this because it bothered me after I showed her the post’s on Instagram.. I sought her advise as a loc queen and we came to the conclusion that as a community we cannot continue shaming one another. We deal with that enough as it is. Although we may not approve of certain style choices others make we as a community need to uplift each other! Below I have added links about both young ladies at Pretoria High School for Girls, the bloglovin post I initially read about Taren guy, and a link to a post written by Tamara founding editor of Natural Hair Rules because she goes in more detail about the email Taren received as well the comments that followed after Taren posted them to her IG account. Needless to say there is enough hate in this world already and I am fed up with it. I challenge each and every one of my readers to compliment someone on something that you find unique about them. I don’t care who the person is or what they look like just take a moment and spread some love. Until next time