is natural hair only for black women or nah?

natural hair blog curly nikki has been in the natural hair game for a minute. helping to build the natural hair movement, both the website and its founder, nikki walton, have increasingly gained national attention over the past few years. ebony.com writer jamilah lemieux fired shots at the popular blog last week after it featured a white woman’s natural hair journey (pictured below) on its website. Curly Nikki

in an article titled “white women on #teamnatural?” no thanks,” jamilah stated:

community is important.  black spaces are important, and in the era of self-proclaimed “new blacks” and the gentrification of both black popular culture and neighborhoods, they are increasingly rare. so when the sacred sanctity of black girl space was violated via the inclusion of a white woman on a natural hair blog, it should come as no surprise that a number of people were disappointed. and i’ll admit, i was one of them.

throughout her opinion piece, jamilah was very unapologetic about advocating for spaces uniquely for black women.  she goes on to speak about the commodification of the natural hair movement and cultural appropriation writ large.

not surprising, nikki walton responded on her site; here’s an excerpt:

now, unless you’ve been in the natural hair game for less than 15 minutes, you know this whole argument is old as hell. i’ve come down clearly on the side of inclusion before.  the reasons are simple, but i’ll state them again. success in the natural hair movement is defined by the total acceptance of our hair by ourselves, and then ultimately, others.  i and other bloggers have been working hard to make the natural hair movement popular. it’s obvious now that our impact on the hair care industry and popular culture has been tremendous. generally, this has led to good outcomes like a crap load more product options, and a warmer reception among friends, family and colleagues. without popularity, none of this would have been possible. however, we can’t have popularity without sacrificing privacy. is it worth the trade? hmmm…who knows. as a practical matter, what i do know, is that it is difficult to try to make something popular and accepted by not sharing it with others.

as an attorney, i’m not often neutral in arguments. in fact, i typically choose a side just to argue for sport, but this one is sticky. what say you politics and fashion family? is the term “natural hair” only for black women or nah?

 

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3 comments

  1. AS a latina with super curly hair I say the natural hair movement is the black woman’s domain. It’s a movement born of tears, discrimination, oppression and is very political.
    For those of us with curly “unkinky” hair, we have a choice that has no historical legacy or ramifications such as that of black women.
    Inclusion is a wonderful political spiritual concept yet it’s okay for there to be separate arenas for different cultures. It’s OKAY!

    Like

    1. I love your perspective Rebeca because it reminds me of the power present in visibility. Many Black women, myself included, only went natural after finding spaces online that celebrated our natural hair texture. Great comment!

      Like

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