Monday, April 15, 2013

What Chimamanda Really Meant About African Hair

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Chimamanda made some comments about hair the same day I published the post about texlaxing my hair for easier management. I decided not to join issues with her comments, which she's of course entitled to, but to focus on my own hair and what works for me. Some other bloggers not only reported on the comments, they embellished it with their own biases and raised a firestorm on FB and Twitter against Chimamanda. To the extent that she had to respond in an article titled ‘Of course I never said African women with Brazilian hair have low self-esteem. That’s absurd’. Read more...

Please read my interview with the Observer to know what I did say. I love my hair, its kinky and dense and coily. I love playing with it, trying hair butters and oils, wearing corn rows and afros. But sometimes I get tired of it and want a break. So I add extensions. I like extensions, but I always look for extensions that look like my hair. For me, the best compliment for extensions is the question: is it your hair?

Many of us say our natural hair is too hard, too difficult. But that’s because we weren’t taught how to care for our hair.  (I have discovered the wonders of coconut, castor, shea, even honey for softening hair. Trick is add it when your hair is wet! You get wonderful softness!)

Relaxers are not about softness. They are really about texture. Otherwise there are ways to soften hair without permanently changing the texture of hair.

Of course African women don’t want to be white, but we live in a world where the mainstream idea of beauty is straight hair. Magazines, films, popular culture all show straight hair as ideal. My cousin wears a wig to the gym because she says her natural hair underneath is too ‘ugly.’


Our hair is not straight. And so we have internalized the idea that our hair, as it grows from our heads, is ‘rough.’ We force our hair to do what it was not made to do – and our hair falls off at the temples until we have no choice but to use weaves endlessly. Kinky hair is rough only in comparison to straight hair. Kinky hair is beautiful. (Never mind that my Lagos hairdresser always asks, ‘Ah, Aunty, when will you perm this virgin hair?’ And I tell her, ‘Ah, this is how the hair came on my head o. Did God make a mistake?’)

People often think natural black hair must ‘mean something’. Maybe you are hard core black, an angry black, authentic, a soul sister, poetic etc. But sometimes natural black hair just means you like your hair the way it grows from your head.

I want us to talk about the choices women are forced to make. I want us to push back against the idea that to be professional or glamorous, to go for a job interview or a wedding, requires us to have straight hair.

I want natural black hair to be as equal an option as anything else. Not something to hide. Not something we have to ‘do something about’. I would love it if black popular culture figures wear a long straight wig today and wear natural kinky hair tomorrow. And for both to be thought of as equally beautiful.

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4th Estate)

What do you think about her expanded comments? It makes me think she might not be as fundamentalist as her initial comments made it sound, and let's be blunt, her extensions in this picture at the top of this post are blond/colored and look nothing like her natural hair. On changing up hairstyles and adding afro and natural hair looks to one's repertoire of hair styles, I totally agree.







69 comments:

  1. I'm sorry but the expanded comments is just a way to salvage what has already been passed across in a too focused manner.

    I have finished reading the book - Americanah. The whole theme of "natural hair" and its "beauty" was not a subtle nor a gentle undertone.

    Anyway, like every individual, she has a right to her opinion and a right to write whatever she pleases in her book. That opinion must not be accepted by all.

    But, did it come off as "natural" is superior to "relaxed"? a very big YES is the answer.

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    1. On a totally random and unrelated note, Beautiful please update your blog biko. I've been waiting oh lol!

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  2. Yes, natural hair is superior to relaxed. Easy logical answer - it is your hair. Spoken as someone experimenting with protective styles while maintaining my natural hair. I've not used relaxers for two and a half years and my hair is the best it's ever been! It breaks less, has returned to its soft texture after three decades of relaxer abuse.

    No one said it was easy but Chimamanda has a point. We should all educate ourselves on how to care better for our own hair and we may just find that relaxers should have their place in the past. We should learn to appreciate our own beauty more. Natural oils are a blessing. Just wash, condition with virgin olive oil and coconut oil. All I need. Tons of information out there. Read and find out what works for you. I look forward to natural hair saloons and 100% natural products for black kinky hair springing up everywhere. There is a natural hair industry waiting to be tapped! Entrepreneurs get on board!

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    1. I'm sorry, Adura, not even your explanation cuts it. Unrelaxed hair is NOT superior, and it is NOT untampered. It is what we come into this world with, yes, but just as 'naturals' like adding butters and oils, or twisting, bantu knotting, corn-rowing, or using heat to change the texture, the 'relaxed' simply prefer using chemicals. Faster and more time saving.

      I would go back to my tight curls in a heartbeat for my hair or overall health or a less chemical lifestyle, or to be a model to a young child. But trying to form superior over other grown women who have made their choices, some even more informed than myself? That's a deplorable complex if you ask me.

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    2. Dear Myne,
      I don't know about forming complexes and I can't even believe you would stoop so low as to accuse me of that just like you slagged off Chimamanda for adding extensions to her hair and you've been corrected below!

      I maintain my stance. It is simple logic, okay. Commonsense. Adulterated olive oil or virgin olive oil. Which is better? Take your pick. One has something added to it. The other is in its natural state with no 'additives.' Abi which oyinbo you wan make I take explain the logic to you now?!!!

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    3. You know some people are allergic to even extra virgin olive oil, abi? Others simply prefer groundnut oil.

      And to be clear, I did not 'slag' off Chimamanda for wearing extensions, I simply pointed out her inconsistency. On the one hand, she said she uses extensions that look like her natural hair, but the one she's currently wearing does not.

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    4. Acura, girl bye! Natural oils my left leg! Why don't you just use water on your hair.

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    5. And I rest my case! Allergies do not make a product inferior if it is natural. Not that anyone should feel the need to defend their choices as I mentioned earlier. But people should stop taking it personally when someone says there is a need to educate ourselves on the appreciation and management our own natural hair. There is no need to go up in arms because you texturise or relax your hair. Self abuse is not a crime in most countries. And with that comment, let the drama recommence! There is a rhyme in there somewhere and it is sweet o! People take themselves way too seriously. Everything is about them! World war 3 would be fought and when it comes, it is their horsehair and relaxer that will be in the refugee camp first. *Adura dusts her poetry note book and sashays out on footwagon*

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    6. Maya, dear! You are too much. Three much sef! Why don't you cook your relaxer and spread it on toast? I love you really!:D :D :D

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    7. You know how to get one laughing, thanks for the engaging discussion sha :)

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  3. What I meant was natural hair is superior to relaxed because it is hair in its natural (untampered, non-processed) state.

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    1. Wth really? My hair is relaxed and I love it and no your own unprocessed hair isn't superior to mine. I don't even use ur soon called protective hairstyles because I am inlove with my hair. Relaxed or not, it is MY hair. It is growing out of my hair and I mostly use rollers to curl it so no, I don't prefer straight hair.so why put all these oils to soften your hair. People just like to put others down. Rubbish.
      Its no ones fault your hair couldn't survive relaxer. Relaxers are not for all hair types

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    2. People have a right to express an opinion without you taking it personally. I've not got the energy for drama so kindly respect yourself. If people are talking about a preference for natural hair, I don't see why you should have an issue with it. And keep your 'rubbish' talk to yourself ok. There is no need to be rude. Learn some manners!

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  4. Relaxed hair is still YOUR hair. The fact that its relaxed does not make it someone else's hair. I wouldn't even get into this.

    The fact that one person prefers natural hair to relaxed does not mean it is automatically right. Can't we just leave people to have whatever hair they want to have? Why do the naturals keep going on and on about it? Enjoy the natural hair in peace and let others live.

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    1. Thanks my dear. I really can't stand these natural hair nazi's everywhere. What nonsense. Wonder why hey didn't go natural ever since. Its almost like they feel the need to insult other women to make themselves feel better.

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  5. People have a right to express an opinion without you taking it personally. I could have hit the reply button but didn't for obvious reasons. I've not got the energy for drama so kindly respect yourself. If people are talking about a preference for natural hair, I don't see why you should have an issue with it. It does not automatically equate to yanking off your hair, does it? Why are you so angry? Has anyone come to yank off your relaxed hair?

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    1. Not when your opinion is a prejudice. And we are grown people, not everyone who disagrees with your degrading opinion wants Drama. You didn't state a preference, you stated it was superior and that's not the same. I prefer wearing dresses doesn't mean I'm superior to someone who doesn't.

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    2. Please go choke on whatever it is you drink! You're anonymous. No backbone. If you feel degraded, it is because you're degrading yourself and you're doing it right here. Scram!

      I don't see why you need to justify your own choices. The fact that you feel the need to justify them says a lot. It is in fact laughable. you should take a look at yourself anonymous Maya. LOOOOL.

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    3. Okay . I'm done. Every word I type in reply to you lessens my IQ

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    4. Yep, default to zero. Easier for you!

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    5. Adura girl simmer down, I don't know who hurt you or called you ugly, but who ever made you so angry and to feel like you're not worthy, leading you to believe that your entire identity lies in your hair, just let it go breath whoosah. There is no reason for you to be going around insulting people and claiming that's you're being attacked. All this noise is unnecessary if you had just stated your opinion in a rational relaxed manner, nobody would have to call you out, you're not the only one here with natural hair. ps are we we with anonymous profiles somehow "inferior" if so sorry oh.

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    6. Dear Ndonna,

      I don't know where you get off with all the assumptions you have made but I'll put that down to ignorance!!! Kindly get your facts straight before you leave a comment. Yes I was personally attacked because I said natural hair is superior to processed straight hair. Hair ok...the hair we are born with will always be superior to whatever you get after messing with it. I'm not talking about me being superior to you or anyone else because I choose not to use relaxer. I'm talking about your own hair in its natural state before you add relaxer to it. Understand? Did you get that? Some of us make the choice to keep it as it is. People are free to make their choices on what works for them.

      Why do relaxer users feel that someone is putting them down because the advantages of keeping natural hair is being shared? This is the issue. Relaxer sistahs are the ones that need to chill! You call natural hair sistahs 'hair nazis'. Well I'm proud to be a natural hair nazi. The hair I was born with is beautiful. I own it like that. Own your relaxed hair or weave and be proud too. Don't try to shut me up when I'm showcasing mine, okay. There are people out there who would love to go natural and they should not be discouraged by putdowns like 'Natural hair nazi' or 'Miss Superior'. You have already made your choice. Let others make theirs with the information and support they can get to decide what's right for them. That's my point!

      I can understand that the comment thread makes it difficult to see who started the insults. Myne started off the rain of insults by saying I had a deplorable complex. Then Maya and her friend Gretel weighed in too. You guys know I give as good as I get, if not better. So let this issue lie - get the point and move on!

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  6. To those that are being hard on Chimamanda for her stance on natural hair, i understand your plight. One thing that people dont understand is the fact that there is always a lens with which we percieve issues around us. And this lens is influenced by our experiential knowledge. Yes! the slave trade has ended, but the whites would continue to do anything to keep Africans in their chain of opression. They do this by defining what ought to constitute 'normality' for you. Everything that is strange with them is considered 'crude' which needs to be gotten rid of. Unfortunately for Africans, starting from our family system to our body structure, not excluding our hair, are all in the 'crude' book of the whites. They use their advanced media power to let us realized how disadvantaged we are to be what God has made us to be. This is the area that is passionate to Chimamanda; her message isn't for her black sisters; it is actually directed to the myopic whites who will not find anything good outside their own. In clear terms, Chimamanda is saying everything that God made is good; 'straight' or 'curly' should not define 'beauty'. For the world to become a true global village that the media is claiming it to be, people should be ready to accomodate others' peculiarity, not to deny its existence. Yes! whether white or black, we are all humans, but a lot of differences still exist. Considering the fact that variety is the spice of life, the more people realize that it is not a crime to be different, the more peaceful world we build. Personally, i do not think Chimamanda's message should offend anyone, it ought to serve as an eye opener.

    And NOOOO!......I AM NOT chimamanda's PA

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    1. LOL...I think people were hard on her when they thought she targeted those who use brazilain weaves and labelled them people with low self esteem. This statement I think clears the air. And while it certainly adds to the conversation, you surely don't think all women know nothing about the issue of hair that her comments should be "an eye opener"?

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    2. By "eye opener" i mean the issue that chimamanda is raising transcends just hair. The low self-esteem stuff manifest in different ways which could include anger with own hair texture, skin colour, body structure e,t.c Or how do you describe someone who is as darkskinned as you can think of wearing almost a floorlenght brazilian weavon.Though i recon with the fact that it may not be that all thepeople that uses weavon have low self-esteem....let the truth be spoken...majority of them are guilty of low self-esteem.

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  7. "and let's be blunt, her extensions in this picture at the top of this post are blond/colored and look nothing like her natural hair"... AWWW! Myne! as a former naturalister, (Your texturelaxation has earned you the degree "former")i do not expect such statement from you....For the records, natural hair is hair that is not straightened by chemicals, In other words, 'chemicalising' the hair to make it look like the oyinbos' own is what makes it unnatural, not adding extensions.
    Hope this clarification helps!

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    1. Chemicalising isn't always to make it look straight. Whoever goes to relax their hair so it can look Oyinbo I am yet to meet. All Oyinbos do not have straight hair so :s

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    2. In this same statement, Chimamanda stated she chooses extensions that look like her hair, that was what I was referring to, not whether adding extensions makes hair unnatural. And no I don't agree with you on that either.

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  8. "and let's be blunt, her extensions in this picture at the top of this post are blond/colored and look nothing like her natural hair"
    Myne dont be an hypocrite.it does look like her hair only dat it is colored.d texture isnt bone straight lyk relaxed hair.

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    1. Not all relaxed hair is bone straight, and no, that extension is not like Chimamanda's hair.

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    2. I actually thought it was her natural hair. Anyway, people will always defend their choices. Whatever makes you feel good. I usually say, there's your opinion and my opinion, then there's the right one. Let's just keep going back and forth, shall we?:)

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    3. The kinky twist that she used for her hair in this picture looks so much like her natural hair....for the color, i have met a lot of naturalisters with full long natural african hair who highlighted the ends of their hair with colours..if the hair is made into this style, it would look exactly like this...(check them on you tube).So this look natural enough

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    4. then u must be blind myne...

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    5. @ Myne, if not all relaxed hair is bone straight, then why get relaxer at all. The purpose of a "RELAXER" is to RELAX or TAME the natural (which in anthropological terms refers to PRIMITIVE) hair. If you do not understand the colonial discourses inherent in black hair, then I cannot help you.

      You can defend your choices of texturizing or relaxing your hair, but your choices are informed by your surroundings. The way the world is structured is against black women and their beauty regimens. Our hair takes work, but we have to find the time to accommodate it. But choosing to relax your hair and defending that choice behind "its my choice", "I am grown enough to decide" "its just hair" will not change the perception of black women and their beauty in regards to white women and their beauty.

      No wonder African artists are now using oyinbo people in their music videos. Why use a black woman with "ian" ( Indian, Mongolian, etc) hair when you can get the original, superior one?

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  9. The fact that people on both sides of this unnecessary natural versus relaxed debate get so emotional and repeatedly miss the point PROVES that there is an iota of truth in each perspective. The point is not that relaxed or natural hair is better than the other. The point is MOST OF US WERE RAISED WITHOUT NATURAL HAIR AS AN OPTION. Since we were girls, most of us were either relaxed or longed to relax our hair so we could have ponytails like the cool kids in our school or like our mums. There were and still are very few natural hair role models. It's like relaxed hair became the norm and our natural hair wasn't.

    When Nigerians see me with natural hair, they ask me "why" or "how come" or "won't I relax this hair" like it's some kind of abnormal or revolutionary decision. This is what Chimamanda was saying. People assume it is some kind of political/social activism but when a woman has weave or relaxer, noone assumes she's a radical feminist, lesbian or whatever. There are all these unnecessary connotations that come with our hair in its natural state which do not come with relaxed or straightened hair and that is VERY ODD.

    Also, I feel like I have to make this point. This whole gist "pinches" relaxed people a bit. Why??? Because of these vehemently angry reactions. If some "Natural Nazi" (love that term, by the way) is harassing you for having straight hair, your answer should be "SO WHAT???" not some defensive tirade. At the end of the day, IT'S JUST HAIR. Yes, there are notions of beauty and social conditioning attached to it but IT IS JUST HAIR. If someone's comments about hair can get that far under your skin, there might be something that is really getting to you.

    The same thing goes with natural girls. You can decide to wear your afro in all its glory without being an irritant. I have been natural now for a while and I simply prefer this fuller texture to the flatness of relaxed hair. Am I on a crusade to rip Brazillian weave of people's heads? NO. BECAUSE IT'S JUST HAIR. I like it kinky. Some like it wavy. To each his own. Every time one side gets so worked up about the other, it just shows that all these deeper issues related to hair are alive and well. If you really didn't care about it, why would someone's comments send you on a social media crusade? Did she curse your mum out??? Abeg.

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    1. Totally agree with you. The unfortunate thing is that the nazis on the unrelaxed side often start the war. Point me to one wig wearing or bone straight relaxing woman who gave an interview denouncing natural hair and those who bear them, or wrote a whole book or made a movie about it.

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    2. No myne I DON'T AGREE... i have seen plenty relaxed babes start this so called hair war.. or insult natural sistas.

      I personally have received enuff snide remarks cuz of my natural hair..it is not until they write a book or do a movie about it...

      Both sides need to CHILL!

      IT IS JUST HAIR!!!

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    3. I see your point, Aloted. TBH, I never got any snide comments on my hair, but I know many "naturals" complain about that.

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    4. I keep my hair natural too...even though i reside with the whites: they seem not tto have problems with my hair: yhey actually enjoy seeinng something new or different from theirs. But my black sisters are the problem...they seem to enjoy taking pills for my headache...They are usually " worried' about the pains of managimg the hair on my behalf...
      In their frusration, they say nasty things to make me want to relax it...I pity their concerns.....but i guess i have got my hair (sorry ..my life!)

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    5. Aloted and Anonymous have just taken the words out of my mouth. Natural people get all kinds of crap for their hair ALL THE TIME. People asking you how come you haven't "fixed" your hair like there's something wrong with it... People asking when you will "finally relax this hair" like natural hair is some kind of abomination...

      AND IT'S ALWAYS BLACK PEOPLE. WE are the ones who have issues with natural hair. Other people find our hair unique, interesting and lovely. I even get questions from people of other races about how to get their hair to look like mine. People like Chimamanda are simply asking why we have such an issue with wearing our hair in its natural state.

      Most black hair salons don't know how to deal with natural unrelaxed or unstraightened hair. Yet, they can put in relaxers and fix weaves in a heartbeat. There is an information imbalance: we know more about caring for straight hair than our natural hair. Having one book or one blog somewhere championing the natural cause does not outweigh the general social attitude that many of our people still have towards kinky hair. There is obviously a difference between bashing others and simply trying to address this information imbalance but noone can tell me that talking about natural hair is some kind of unique assault on relaxed hair when a lot of black society similarly attacks or shuns natural hair.

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    6. Funmi! in fact chop knuckle...instead of bashing each other we should educate each other. and you are so right..the reason you see a lot of natural blogs and books is because the information is not available not because it is some cult or an attempt to attack relaxed chicks...

      i still don't get what the bashing is about..if u want to relax your hair feel free! as for those of us that love and want to keep our hair the way we were born with it- LET US BE.

      drops mic.

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  10. Someone did mention that she liked how u "cleaned up" with ur tex laxed hair. I thot that was interesting. I agree with Chimamanda.

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    1. When I cut my hair, people also commented how great I looked. And I think that's the beauty of choice and variety.

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    2. Looking good and cleaning up don't mean the same thing but then again my understanding of English might be quite limited these days. I don't know why there always has to be fights about natural vs relaxed hair.

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    3. Honestly you're right, and I did try to resist the first time around. But fights can be enjoyable once in a while, right? LOL...just teasing you :)

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    4. I don't understand when you use the word 'cleaning up' ....is natural hair 'dirty'?

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  11. I didn't read the previous article so I wouldn't know the kind of impression Chimamanda left with her comments. In this one her comments do seem reasonable. I totally agree that our natural hair as black women shouldn't be something we should hide or be ashamed about. Yes, God did put it there. In that regard, we do reorientation.

    Whatever the case, I do think we should be openminded about these things. There's the tendency to feel one's 'camp' is the best and look down on those who keep their hair natural, or who relax it, or who texturize. Every woman has what works for her and puts her resources, schedule, and time into consideration. For some it's the easiest routine they look out for, and they do their best with that. I think most adult women would think deeply about her hair needs at any point in time- and those needs can and do change as time goes on. So we should accept that and not make nasty comments, or judge.

    I'm all for changing up hairstyles to make things interesting, though. Natural, straight- versatility works! It also gives a woman the much-needed oomph of a new look.

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  12. I really can't believe how much argument this thing is causing. The first time I read her interview I didn't see anything wrong in what she said so imagine my shock when every tom dick and harry blogger was responding and making it seem like she was anti-relaxed hair.

    Like I said on egodujour's blog then, she isn't saying relaxed hair is sent from the devil but that natural hair should also be an option, like Funmi above pointed out.

    And from someone who has always relaxed her hair, I must say that the fact that most females are vexing over this matter so much might actually be a sign of 'insecurity'.

    If you know you don't have a problem with your hair why is someone elses opinion of it bothering you so much ('you' here being a general reference)

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    1. I don't know about others but Peoples opinions shouldn't be made to belittle others. Acura above was stating that by saying relaxing makes one inferior.

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    2. When I initially read this piece this morning and the first line of Adura's comment above "Yes, natural hair is superior to relaxed. Easy logical answer - it is your hair," I had a clear understanding of what I "assumed" her point to be. I maybe wrong but this was my interpretation of that comment.

      Anything in its natural form is always superior (or maybe I should use the word best) because it is in its original state. We can examine this statement in the context of food and other natural substances and there should be no argument. We get the most nutrients out of foods when they are consumed in their most natural form. I believe that's why we prefer to eat vegetables, fruits, (even raw meat/fish "carpacio/ceviche"), milk in their most natural form - with as little processing as can be managed. We generally accept this to be true.

      Relating to body parts now, I for instance may comment that my natural lips, with/without lip balm or lip gloss (lip balm/lip gloss/lipstick here serving as enhancements to the natural appearance/state of my lips) is superior to someone else's botoxed lips. I am in no way condemning the use of botox or other forms of cosmetic/manipulative enhancements (my natural breasts are superior to someone else's artificial enhancements, my body in its natural state looks best as opposed to the clothes covering it lol! just kidding but you get my point); I am only expressing a view point that something in its natural state is usually best. This of course excludes people who have to undergo procedures for medical reasons unrelated to aesthetic goals (cancer, skin eating bacteria, acid/fire burn, etc).

      It was this reasoning outlined above that led me to my conclusion/interpretation on Adura's comment. Perhaps her error lies in her word choice, or making the assumption that everyone would interpret her comment applying the reasoning above. I think it is unfair to say that she was trying to belittle others and she definitely did not write relaxing makes one inferior. I believe some of these "counter - comments" have stemmed from unresolved earlier debates with other "natural nazis" and Adura has borne (rather unjustly if i dare say so), the brunt of it.

      Dear Myne my impression has always been that the hair butters/oils and SOME hairstyles (twists and bantu knots) that are the preference of naturals, can be adapted for processed hair. I actually used to twist the texturized and relaxed hair of my sisters-in-law and that of my nieces and the hair oils/butters and other products we used were similar to if not same with what most naturals use. Some of these products I believe were designed to suit the "colored" hair type period.

      Healthy debates are nice and welcome when we all keep an open mind and make the effort to understand both sides of the debate.

      I apologize for the epistle.

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  13. Dear Anon,

    Kindly get the name right next time! You wouldn't want me to get your no name wrong now, would you?

    In reply to your comment, anything you do to change the natural state of your hair (and we are not talking natural butters or oils) makes your hair different to what it should be. Anything natural would always be a superior quality to something artificial as long as it is not dead!

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  14. Seriously!!!! All this about hair!!!!! Like oga charlie boy said we've perfected the art of focusing on irrelevant things!

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  15. Adura Ojo,you are trying too hard to be relevant oh! LOL! Nobody is interested in your superiority.

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    1. Kindly keep your thoughts to yourself, Miss Nasty!!! I'm trying hard to restrain myself from cussing you out cos I'm sure YOUR MAMA taught you better. We already know you have issues from previous dealings!!!! If you want to know my final thoughts on the matter - check it out here:

      http://adura-ojo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/im-not-my-hair.html.

      If anyone wishes to speak to me, come to my blog or send me an email. If I see it, I will reply. If I don't, assume I didn't get it. Only cowards cower! I'm done on this blog...for now!!!

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  16. Just for clarity, I think people are getting caught up in semantics. When people talk about "straight" hair being a prescribed norm of beauty, they are usually describing non-kinky or European textured hair. The kind that grows downwards and allows combs to glide through. They don't literally mean straight as in bone straight. This texture of hair comes can manifest in different curl patterns BUT it is a definite hair type that is different from our kinky tresses which tend to grow upward afro-style.

    This natural hair discussion simply asks why kinky hair is not seen to be beautiful and why we know more about caring for hair in a non-kinky state when that is not what we are naturally born with. Let's look at this another way. Wouldn't it be strange if white people knew more about cornrows and caring for afros than they did about perms and curls? Yet, most black hair care salons can tell you more about caring for your weave than they can about your natural hair.

    The issue here is that there is a recurring, reinforced image in our society: the hot girls always have flowing weave in a non-kinky texture. I think it's possible to have this discussion without being a "Natural Nazi". Noone is saying you should chop off your hair and start wearing an afro. We are just trying to address the norms of beauty that dominate our society.

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  17. Lmao! Adura Ojo stays refreshing. You get Pikin ni? LMAO!

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  18. ok let's all calm down. Hair is hair, relaxed or natural. I ve had natural hair most of my life till i went to uni and relaxed it. Did i become lesser than before? No. But completed uni last yr and my relaxed hair era too, back to natural. Do i feel more/better now? No. I do all the things i used to do when i had relaxed it from rasta to weaves. People should stop worrying about what others are doing to their hairs before these hair squabbles before it turns into something elsd. STOP THE HAIR PRESCRIPTION.

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  19. I really hate that hairstyling of all things is such a hot topic, 1) natural hair is not always better than relaxed hair and vice versa 2) the key is choice, if someone want to have blonde hair, green or blue it's their choice. Yes some "research" has shown relaxers to be unhealthy but even as Myne pointed out, people can have allergic reaction to so called natural ingredients. I have unrelaxed hair, this is only because I have found a way of managing my hair without needing relaxers,that takes a lot of time, trial and error it's really not for everybody if any hairstyle makes you uncomfortable you shouldn't be vilified for opting for something else

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  20. What's all the fuss about. I think as long as you feel good in your skin, then, rock it girl, relaxed or natural. I have natural hair and I wear wigs and extensions as well. However, I think if we can learn how to do make-up to look good, we should learn to care for our hair( relaxed/natural).

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  21. Funmi's opinion resonates with my recent post on this issue. I also understood it as Chimmy trying to challenge the norms of beauty that has become acceptable among those of African heritage. Our first default should be natural not relaxed. But it is what it is. Personally I have none no other look but the relaxed for 20yrs now but i love that the natural hair movement means that my daughter can choose to wear her God given hair in some distant future and be considered Hip and fashionable. That should be the motto of the natural hair movement "putting the ooomph back in African hair". *big grin*

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  22. Reading all the comments has left me weary. I was going to say something about hair but it would be too long because everyone has a point. So girls, do what makes you feel good, do what you can always defend and you will be fine.

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  23. The issue of natural hair/relaxed/weave is very touchy. As a weave wearing/natural hair girl, I definitely understand both sides. Personally, I rock weaves because I like to change my hair every now and then. I also rock my natural hair because I am proud of it and I don’t think straight hair/weaves should be the default hair for black women. Truth is most black women don't feel glamorous if they don’t have inches and inches of hair sewed to their scalp! I have been natural for 4 years (recently cut my hair though) and in my relaxed hair days, I never had a natural hair sister ask me about my choice. However, since I have been natural, I get all sorts of ignorant comments. Just this past Friday, a secondary School mate of mine came to my house and proceeded to ask me why I had natural hair, my response to her was "I dont quite know how to answer that, It's like asking me why my skin is black". She then went on to bash natural hair. Her argument was that natural hair looked rough and one had to be extremely pretty to pull it off. She also mentioned that natural hair ladies compensate for their rough hair by dressing up and looking extremely stylish. She then went on to show me pictures of weaved up girls on BellaNaija and she goes " Ehen, this is what women should look like". I was utterly shocked at the ignorant and stupidity this girl was spewing!

    The other day my co worker who is Peurto Rican made a comment about her black Latina friend has nappy unattractive thick hair. I was about to come back at her with some unpleasant words and then I realized I had a 16 inch Brazillian hair on my head! How the hell was I to tell her I was proud of our "nappy unattractive thick hair" when I had hair from another continent on my head??At the end of the day, subconsciously or otherwise, we weave wearers are validating Caucasian hair as the standard of beauty!

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  24. oh my goodness, I cant believe women spent time on here to argue and insult one another about HAIR... o_O...Kai... The way the devil gets to us shaaaaa..

    OK BYEEEEE

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  25. Truth be told, ladies from the weave and relaxer camp do put women with natural hair down at times. Perhaps this controversy will help them see how unfair it is to be judged for one's hair choices and lead to mutual respect in both camps. Having said that, Chimamanda does seem to contradict herself quite a bit. She says "I love my hair... But sometimes I get tired of it and want a break. So I add extensions." However, isn't it odd that in the majority of her publicity shots she appears to be 'taking a break' from the natural hair she claims to love so much? It's a free world of course, but she would be a more convincing 'natural hair fundamentalist' if she could be seen with her own natural hair at least half of the time. And no, afro extensions are not the same as 'natural hair'. TY Bello and Nneka are more authentic ambassadors of natural hair in my view. As Chimamanda is mostly donning scarfs or extensions, she should perhaps conquer her own insecurities fully so that she can serve as a better model to those who find their natural hair 'unbearable'. Just my 2 cents.

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    1. You do realize that TY Bello's "natural hair" is a weave?

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    2. Ah, I see. Thanks for the update. In that case, we have little or no authentic ambassadors of natural hair in the media spotlight then. Sad. But at least it's the truth. Just think about it, if the 'natural hair fundamentalists' could preach less and wear their natural hair more, it would do great justice to their cause. Actions speak louder than words.

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