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I read this article this morning with no small measure of dismay. 

Even on the Natural Nigerian groups facebook page, a member, Nemerem Egbukichi left a thought provoking statement on the issue months ago.

It is something I have been thinking about a lot and now I am finally going to say something.

Every time we (Screwy Haired Girl, Sherese Ijewere and I) organize a meet up, my fellow organizers and I get questions about whether it is an event strictly for natural haired sisters or not. I guess that is expected but, I have come to realize that some of the people that are asking are doing so not casually, but from a real fear of being kicked out if they show up. Shocking right? Think I am exaggerating?

Read what Ladi of Fulani hair wrote on her blog about the advice she got regarding attending (Naturals In the City 3) NITC3.

The organizers are also welcoming happily relaxed girls like me which was a serious concern. My friend told me to lie that I’m transitioning in case someone is vexing, lmao.

Sounds strange? Let me tell you one stranger. Someone once questioned our use of relaxed hair presenters at NITC. According to her, we had no business allowing non-natural haired presenters even gather with, much less address natural haired ladies. Yes, we were just as shocked as you must now be and of course, we threw those vituperations into a bin labeled “insignificant crap”. For the record, everyone is invited to the meet ups – it is not an esoteric gathering. 

This army is not invisible. It is made up of people like you and I. Let us reign in our thoughts and stop before we criticize another person’s decisions. We need to be more tolerant of others. That doesn’t mean that you need to agree with them, you just need to respect the fact that everyone (not just you) is entitled to choosing what path they want to go down.

I will not absolve myself of blame in this. I once questioned the rationale behind being relaxed and at the height of the team-natural/team-relaxed arguments, left one comment on a blog which I now very much regret. 

No-one person can make hair rules that everyone has to live by. If we begin to go in that direction, there will be no limit to what the rules will be. One such one could be that if you have natural hair and use natural products on your hair but eat processed food then you really can’t be natural. I have quite an imagination, lol!

Seriously though, some things are more important. World Peace, Famine/Drought, Poverty, Corrupt governments….shall I go on?

27 Comments

ajiri

I’ve always had a problem with the way a lot of ‘naturals’ (especially when they use to relax their hair) look down on girls with relaxed hair. I find it very pretentious. It’s like people always need to have something to make them feel superior and now natural hair is becoming one more of such things.

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Natural Nigerian

It is not an attitude that is reserved just for those that have relaxed hair. Hopefully, we will all come to the realization that it is just not that important.

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Boombraidsetc

Ajiri Is this really an accurate observation or imagined you said ….”a lot of ‘naturals’ (especially when they use to relax their hair) look down on girls with relaxed hair”, REALLY, did you experience that?

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Ladi

Lately, there was an intense back and forth between #teamrelaxed and #teamnatural on Bellanaija. Considering all the other issues we can be arguing about that add value eg. fuel subsidy probe,boko haram or why we (Nigeria) haven’t won any Olympic medals.

While natural is clearly healthier, its just hair really- one portion of our entire body. Like you said, if you still eat processed food, your coils KENT make you any more superior in the health department.

People just need to learn to be comfortable in their own skin and not be pressured to go natural because that is what black women should be doing to emancipate themselves. When I decide I’m ready to be natural, I will. Until then… I do me.

ps. I do look down on discolored, thinned out relaxed hair that is clearly a HOT MESS. If you fall in that category,* side eye* hahaha

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Ladi

Yes! Not succumbing to pressure. I’m still figuring out this relaxed hair. But one day… maybe.

Thanks for this post. We can’t be tearing down and bullying each other but encouraging regardless of preference.

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lil

It’s about time someone talked about this . I loved my hair when it was relaxed and love it even more now that it is natural.. because now I have thicker hair and going natural has taught me a lot of new things about hair.

I see a lot of naturals with all these ruuuuuuuuules and I wonder if this supposed natural hair movement is turning into a cult. I read sometime in a forum that if your hair is natural and you still rock extensions or even braid with them, you are OUT of the movement and other bla bla bla.

The truth is that relaxers weaken our hair, but I have also seen a lot of relaxed girls with healthier hair than a lot of naturals…the natural journey is a PERSONAL journey, if after many years, my daughter(now 3yrs old) wakes up one day and decides that she wants her hair relaxed…I won’t throw her out of the house naa….haba ..

Another one is the ”no cones, ”no sulphate” ,”no heat”” no mineral oil” ”no this , no that”…..a friend of mine is a ”pink oil ” fan, and that’s all she uses on her hair, NN, you need to see her hair…I bow ….hair health and hair length ..all fine..and she blow dries and flat iron her hair anytime she need a different look.

I really can’t wait to come home and attend one of the NITC …..keep up the good work jare

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Aee

hUUUUUUUH? It’s a movement? I didn’t get the memo o! I just got tired of relaxing my hair and I love my kinks…I rocked locs for a bit. Now i’m just happy with my ‘fro.

And I flat iron when I wanna. It isn’t that serious na…shuo.

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ahdedayo

As someone who’s always struggled with my hair; I was very happy to read this post. You see, I’ve never had healthy hair (no need to feel sorry for me, I’ve come to accept it). Because I’ve always struggled with my hair, I developed a deep interest in hair products and with the ‘natural movement’ (lol); I’ve tried to transition as much as possible to natural products. However; I don’t intend to stop relaxing my hair, simply because I LIKE having relaxed hair. I like that time after you just get a touch up and your hair is all soft and smooth and straight and easy to manage. I also like weaves. I like the way they make me look. I said this to a friend recently and she told me I had “a slavery mentality” and that I’ve been brainwashed into thinking I should look like a Caucasian! At this point I pointed out that I also like natural hair and that I find that I like it on other people much in the same way you would wear a two-piece bikini and I can say “oh wow, you look good” but would certainly not attempt to follow suit because I realize that it simply isn’t for me. Does that mean I have a “fat mentality and have been brainwashed into thinking post-baby belly + two-piece don’t really equal hotness?” (Unless of course you’re Heidi Klum I guess). I did come to one of the NITC meet –ups and I slinked into the compound, bought some products very quickly and got out of there fast as I could. It didn’t even occur to me that I would be welcome inside. So I want to thank you NN; for liberating we relaxed women, who do want to use natural products on our hair and skin as much as possible and would very much like to be accepted with our sheabutter and coconut oil-managed Brazilian weaves. YES I said it. Shoot me.

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aloted

but it is just hair fa!

All these teams- team natural, team relaxer, team weaves, team braids, team brazillian, team wigs

it’s just hair o…

One love y’all x

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curiouskinks

up until NITC3, I too use to think the event was for naturals, transitioners and may be those thinking of going natural. It’s really important to emphasize the inclusivity of the event. I think the major problem is many still haven’t grasp the meaning of “Natural Hair”. Last time I told my sister i’m thinking of dying my hair, she said dyes=relaxers, so my hair won’t be natural anymore. And one time I told my mom I wanted to go get cornrows with extension, she said she thought I wanted to keep my hair natural. And like Ladi, I too look down on grown women with messed up weaves and hair, like seriously?

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Natural Nigerian

Ah, that means that you will look down on me and my not-too-successful attempts at styling my natural hair :)

Your advice on emphasizing the inclusivity of the event is noted. Thanks!

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Ladi

Well the name ‘Naturals in the City’ already sounds exclusive so will naturally attract only naturals, transitioning ladies or natural-obsessed people like me who will have cold feet.

Not suggesting a name change because NITC is now a brand itself so it will be great to re-emphasize inclusiveness.

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Maki

Hair is nothing but just that – HAIR. I chose to go natural because my hair is very weak, it still is. My friends relaxes hers and she rocks beautiful weaves, it’s her choice and I love her regardless. We shouldn’t judge!

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