Natural Hair: The Series 

I once heard an American student’s description on her school-based trip to a West African country. One thing that stood out to her was the fact that natural hair wasn’t as rampant as she expected it to be in Africa! Africa embodied blackness and strength to this student, and because of this, it was shocking that her image of Africa was not true. She wanted the motherland to showcase her fantasy, her representation of black beauty, but what is fantasy and what is reality?

It is true that some African countries practically worship the image of the relaxed hair. It is almost a passage way to womanhood in some cases. In some instances, a young girl’s lively afro is replaced with chemically straightened hair. Add a couple of hair weaves and an individual can see the exact image that the American student saw. So, this is the reality in many situations. Many African females, hair braiders, and stylists pull, tear, and strain hair all in the name of fashion. After years of hair torture (ok, maybe not to this extent) African women are left with little knowledge on the tender, love, and care that natural hair needs in order to be well nourished and preserved.

I have another incident of when my Cameroonian male friends and I were discussing (or perhaps they were discussing) some ethnicities that they viewed as the most beautiful of them all. Aside from the African continent, my friends ranked Indian women as very beautiful (well at least in Bollywood). If you think of many of these Bollywood actresses, they are equipped with luxurious, greek goddess-like tresses that are positioned ever-so-neatly on their shoulders. These ladies’ idealistic, fantasy butt-length hair leads me to wonder if this is a fantasy for the Contemporary African Woman? Well, yes and no. As African women, we may not all be capable (nor want to) grow hair down to our nyash, but, we can GROW our hair. It is absolutely possible for us to break the negative portrayal of strained and brittle African women’s hair stereotype one head at a time! We DO have beautiful hair. 1 Corinthians mentions the hair as her glory and glory is what it shall become!

By Chinedum Okandu

Ivery Arie
Author: Ivery Arie

5 comments on “Natural Hair: The Series 

  1. Dubem Onyejegbu

    Nice Positive vibes Mr.Okandu. I love women with natural hair and I want our ladies to embrace their natural hair. Biko stop treating your hair like a chemical experiment. We go dey see rainbow on top una head lol

    • Lmao😂😂😂😂😂. I agree with you! Even I, myself, need to start doing that. Say no to relaxer!

  2. Soooo… i agree that most African women tend to want to follow the occidental hair trend versus the natural African style hair. But that’s simply because somehow we have universally recognized that for some reason, that type of hair makes you more attractive and easier to deal with. Reason why more people do it than don’t.

    Now that been said I think that this hair problem goes beyond just a preference of straight hair or a denial of black hair, it’s a representation of how little ressources there are out there for treating and caring for black hair. So rather than just try to convince people to keep their natural hair, may be we should focus on doing some extensive research on effective treatments for African hair and then educate everyone on it. Ultimately everyone wants what easy and as long as natural hair is hard to deal with, people will keep taking the easy way out that is also more appealing to the eye.

    Very precise and well written article. Was a good read. Good job.

  3. Natural hair is not popular in our motherland because our mothers frowned on it and regarded it as unkempt hair.

    • This is very true! Plus they didn’t not explore ways to style and embrace it. It was easier to relax it and call it a day.

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