Kinky chaos: Natural hair community split at the ends

Kailah Lee | Staff Writer

I hate to admit it, but the natural hair community has become toxic. The natural hair movement started as a way for women and men of color to get to know their complicated coils a little better. People were finally understanding their crowns, finding the right products and bonding with like-haired people. However, while the movement transgressed into a community of hair love and self-appreciation, it quickly made room for natural hair discrimination, otherwise known as texturism.

From loose curls to coils and kinky follicles, hair texture has always been a larger part of a Black women’s identity. Black hair is a sensitive topic, but that’s a part of the reason the natural hair community became louder and more prevalent. Natural hair was no longer this social taboo or mystery. However, the natural hair movement stirred away from uplifting all natural hair types and more to idolizing a bouncier, looser curl.

Textured or afro hair—type 4 hair (4b/4c)—has a bad reputation for some, including some Black women.

“I just hate nappy hair. Some people can pull it off, but it won’t be me,” said Evelyn Williams, a hairstylist from Richmond, Virginia. 

Some sisters feel that their textured natural hair makes them less valuable.

“I feel less beautiful wearing my unmanipulated natural hair,” said Ebony Jackson, a natural hair advocate. 

However, when examining how natural hair products are marketed, it’s usually represented with imagery of bigger, looser curls—type 3 hair. 

In an article with HuffPost, Afronomenal, a 22-year-old from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reiterates that “A lot of the natural hair companies are really showing you this image of bouncy 3c/4a curls and never type 4 hair,” and thus women buy these products because they “had been sold this idea that this product would make their hair look a certain type of way.” 

This perspective is unfair because hair products are not magic potions. Type 4 hair can exist without a curl pattern. There is such a thing as straight 4c hair. There’s just too much emphasis placed on having defined curls instead of the diversity of natural hair. 

“Honestly, we should focus on the health of the hair rather than the curl type…damaged and neglected hair should be how society sees a healthy textured woman,” said Bernice Jones, a Virginia resident.

Through years of societal manipulations, type 4 hair is looked at by some as unprofessional, unkempt and unattractive. 

Mayowa Osinubi, a filmmaker, natural hair advocate and host of the YouTube channel “Mayowa’s World,” talks about getting “dragged” by the natural hair community for putting textured 4c hair on display. Osinubi was called “dirty “and “ugly,” all for taking a picture with natural, type 4 hair.

“I feel like I’m not considered a natural hair person because I don’t fit the image people were hoping to see,” Osinubi said.

The natural hair community has been contradicting itself over the years, and the stigmas placed on type 4 hair have divided the people even more.

What started as a way to unify Black hair mutated into a monster allowing underlying feelings of colorism and texturism to thrive.

“I love all my natural hair sisters, but I have more love for my sisters with the comb-breaking, bicep burning, job losing—thick, thin, dirty and unkempt nappy hair white women used to make us shave… I ain’t a part of a community selling me solutions in a bottle…I am for me, and my healthy, ugly hair,” poet Krystal Davis said. “All of our progress happens within us, not from natural hair companies owned by white families.”

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