So recently there has been a DELUGE (I like that word) - an INUNDATION (like that word too) of naturalism (this is not a real word) :-).
I know more naturals now than I've ever known in my life - and my life has been 21 years long. So many of my friends are going natural, even people who I thought would never rock the natural look. I'm happy, pleasantly surprised, and relieved that people are beginning to see the natural light. Or are they??
I've been natural all my life, so I've never had to 'transition' per se, but the mental transition that I undertook on the road to accepting my hair was definitely a big one.
At 14 years old, when I decided I was going to wear my hair in a throwback Angela Davis style afro, it definitely wasn't the norm. I got laughed at by friends (mostly male friends), had stuff thrown in my hair, and was told by teachers at school that I wasn't 'there to make a statement'. There definitely wasn't a natural community that I felt was rooting for me. I had to constantly fight the straight or long lose curl ideal that was pushed at me constantly.
As I got older, and learnt to take care of my hair better, I usually got nothing but love for my hair from people, but it was still seen as something very unique, out there and a bit quirky.
Now, celebrities, corporate CEO's, doctors artists - everyone, is going natural. I'm glad that people going natural now have better products, a bigger support base and more positive affirmation (although we've still got a long way to go), but I'm hoping that the mental transition that I had to undertake when I went on the journey to accepting my unique texture is an experience they have also.
My qualm is that when something is extremely popular, it's easier to not think about the meaning behind it as much.
For example, the afro of the 70's was political statement for many, but was also a massive fashion trend. The 80's came, and a lot of the revolutionary 'black is beautiful' seemed to be left behind in the decade before, as everyone jerri curled and relaxed their afros. Even women who I respect tremendously for their part in the civil rights movement of the 70's such as Elaine Brown, (former leader of the Panther Party) I've seen recently with relaxed hair. I don't necessarily think they 'de-enlightened', themselves at all, but it just goes to prove my point that something like natural hair, can become a trend jut as anything else can.
I guess what I'm asking is, is it a problem if someone goes natural, not from a massive journey of self acceptance, but just from a simple - I like afro's at the moment, that's my look for this year?
Strangely, I have less of a problem with it that one might think. I think any period of time that black woman is not using a relaxer, for any reason is a good thing. Creamy crack is whack.....
Having said that, I really hope that the 'trend' we're seeing at the moment is much more than a trend for the next couple of years, but a mass awakening that will help little black girls look at their Mum's natural hair and say - 'Mummy, when I grow up, I want my hair to look just like yours'.
Peace, Love and Hair Grease folks! xxx