Over at UrbanBushBabes (my new favorite eHangout) yesterday, they queried a query that I ask myself all the time: Is natural hair just a trend?
I participated, in the comments section. Dis what I said, in response to dat thurr question:
”I wonder about this all the time. I think part of the recent surge in popularity has to do with an overall increasing awareness of healthy/organic/green lifestyles. Nowadays, pretty much everybody knows that fast food is unhealthy. But, as recently as 15 to 20 years ago, plenty of people might not have realized that a Big Mac is not the best choice for your lunch. I think that eschewing the chemicals in perms (and to an increasing degree, hair care products in general), is becoming prevalent as an offshoot of a heightened amount of attention paid to living healthfully. Even Tresseme and L’Oreal have products that boast they are “sulfate free” and so on, which indicates they are paying attention to the demands of our community. I’m all for that.
Still… When it comes to hair, I wonder if it may be a bit of a trend. Just like marketing a window cleaner as “eco-friendly,” curly hair has become a bit of a gimmick or marketing device. I’m not so crazy about that.
Further, the prevalence of “natural hair” in media and marketing is often limited in scope, since I usually see racially ambiguous women who have curls and ringlets that are strikingly dissimilar from what’s on my head. So, in a sense, I still feel very much disconnected from “natural hair” as it is typically presented in the mainstream. Truthfully, I just don’t see that many actual afros, twists or braids. I’m not surprised by it. Since I’ve never had a perm, I’m pretty used to my hair texture and staple styles being “unpopular,” and I guess to some degree, they still are.”
Now, I’ve ranted and rambled fairly recently about how my particular experience is not the typical one, and why it leaves me feeling a bit leery of the semi-sudden “Kumbaya, let’s all embrace ourselves as we naturally are!” sentiment. I mean, of course we should do so. That’s why my mom never permed my hair, in the first place. So then, why is it that the ubiquitous afros of the 60s and 70s came and went?
At the time, the afro was much more tied to politics than it is today, but I feel the underlying sentiments that tied the afro to said politics are more or less the same. The notions of self love and acceptance, along with refusing to kowtow to the beauty standards of another race/ethnicity were at the core of the 70s afro just as much as they are tied to the twistouts of today, if you ask me.
And, in both cases, there is still an inherent sense of doing something revolutionary by refusing to perm and/or straighten, which I find…strange. I just don’t get why leaving my hair alone (you know, like nearly every other ethnic group does), is typically considered the more drastic of the two options. To quote Confucius, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”
There are so many factors and issues tied to this question, I could (and may) explore all the different facets I’ve touched upon here in their own posts. But, with regard to the initial question, I do think I will see more and more and more fellow ‘fros as the years go by. While I do think it may be a trend/trendy at this moment, I think it is here to stay, as people become more committed to healthy and natural lifestyles. And if that includes a side of self acceptance, then even better.
I’m just loving this designer, so consider this a continued celebration of Lola, after yesterday’s post. Like before, these are just my favorite looks; but, this time they’re from her new collection for Fall 2011:
I’m feeling so inspired by these! Thanks to HighSnobette for sharing the lookbook, which I found via the amazing and wonderful Naturally Beautiful Hair.