I love my hair. I love to touch it (Lord save me!), I love to think about it, and sometimes it magically finds its way into my mouth. (No, I’m not disgusting.) Sometimes, I look at my thick, black, full, gravity-defying hair and just appreciate the awesomeness of God. But at the end of the day, it is just what it is-a bunch of dead cells.
It is no news that the #TeamNatural movement has been trending for a while now. Many women of colour all over the world have ditched the creamy crack and silky weaves for kinky afros, looking up to goddess Solange as the ultimate source of inspiration. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Instagram pages, Facebook and BBM groups have been created for women to come together to share hair tips and tricks, and give one another support.
Now, I see nothing wrong with all of this, if that was all there was to it. Sadly, these groups that make up the natural hair community have just created another avenue for division among women. The #TeamNatural vs. #TeamRelaxed fight is the most common avenue. Even among women with natural hair, those with looser curl patterns are often said to have ‘good hair.’
Dear #TeamNatural, relaxers are not poisonous. They consist of chemicals, just like that hair dye you just bought. Relaxed hair is not equal to unhealthy hair. It is very possible to have chemically treated hair that is well taken care of. Biko having un-permed hair is not the solution to life’s problems.
The #TeamNatural vs. #TeamRelaxed beef is so much that on some of these natural hair groups, members are forbidden from putting up pictures of their hair if it is relaxed. Some groups won’t even accept new members if their profile pictures are not of them with their natural hair. Can’t they also learn how to take better care of their hair on your group without being silent members? Why are you pained that they choose ponytails over puffs?
Dear #TeamNatural, my hair has nothing to do with my self-esteem or lack thereof. How is having ‘SU’ hair now equal to confidence or courage? Confidence and self-esteem are inward virtues. Choosing to wear certain clothes or make-up or wearing your hair a different way does not change a single thing about who you really are. The real problem is in looking to these outward things to make you feel better about yourself.
Dear #TeamNatural, if I wear a straight weave or wig, I am not betraying anybody. Is it not on my own head? I don’t know why you want to carry my pot of beans on your head. It is not ‘our hair.’ What I choose to do is entirely my choice. Respect my choices, and keep your opinion to yourself. Thank you.
Notwithstanding all this, I still think the natural hair community is necessary. Our African hair is really not the easiest to take care of. We still need to exchange all the tips and tricks we possibly can. Most importantly, we need to stop finding ways to tear one another down. There are enough forces trying to do that already *eyes Nigerian Senate*.
#TeamNatural or #TeamRelaxed, your hair can still look good and be very healthy. But if you choose to be #TeamUnhealthyHair, na your pocket e dey.