Natural Hair Sisters Have Redefined The Average African Woman
Tuke also called this article ‘Evolution Of Hair’ and we agree. Who is Tuke?
Adetuke is a lifestyle blogger at www.tukesquest.com. She is also a freelance saxophonist, who has performed at weddings, proposals, romantic dinners, churches and a wide variety at events (yes, she is that good). She is a natural hair enthusiast, Afro rocker and a food lover (check her blog, she isn’t joking about that either), theater aficionado, model and voice over artiste.She has a bad case of wanderlust, especially for African countries. We are glad she took out time to write this.
Read and enjoy.
For the longest time, Africans wore their hair in its Natural state. However, things changed when Slave Trade began. The white slave masters called the Natural, Kinky hair “wool” and Lighter-skinned, Straight-haired slaves were sold at a higher price at Auctions. The mentality of dark people with Kinky hair started to change and they thought they were less attractive and had a lower value because of their physical appearance.
When Slave Trade ended in the 19th Century, Black women who wore their hair in a Straight form were treated better. “Good Hair” was a prerequisite for entering certain schools, churches, social groups and Business Networks. The use of a Hot comb became more popular because of this.
Black women wanted to be treated as equals and many women thought they weren’t pretty if their hair wasn’t straight. Some of them also complained that it was difficult to manage their Natural hair as it was too coarse. Hair Relaxers were invented at the beginning of the 20th century by a guy called Garrett A Morgan. He called it the G.A. Morgan Hair Refiner Cream.
The cover girls of magazines had straight hair and so did the models in them. Many Africans and African Americans wanted to conform to the European look and so they relaxed their hair and had a touch up every 4-8 weeks depending on their hair texture.
Things changed at the beginning of the 21st century. Chris Rock released a movie “Good Hair”, in 2009, which gave insight into the negative effects of using a relaxer. 2010 marked the 100 year Anniversary of Hair Relaxers and at this time many women started creating Natural Hair Products.
The Natural Hair Movement originated from African American Ladies who were doing the “Big Chop” and documenting the process and their Natural Hair Journey on Youtube and blogs. The fact that Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister started rocking her afro also gave many African Ladies the courage to cut off their relaxed ends and stop perming.
Many African women who are succeeding overseas rock their Natural Hair too and it gives off this authentic African Vibe e.g. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie and Kenyan Actress, Lupita Nyongo. The accumulation of these factors led to the boom/growth in the Natural Hair Community. There has been a great rise in the number of people going Natural these days.
At first people wondered if you were natural just because you didn’t have money to relax it or because it was one of the rules of your church.Now it’s becoming more common, especially among creative and artistic individuals who express their individuality through their hair.
There is a sense of camaraderie among Natural Haired sisters, some bond is formed because we choose to carry our hair in the same way. We talk about products, our regimen, our struggles and issues we’ve faced, techniques that have worked wonders and those that haven’t been too great.
With Natural hair you care more about your appearance, spend more time getting ready in the morning, use a bit more makeup, make sure your eyebrows are properly shaped too so you don’t end up looking like a tomboy especially in the early stages of your hair growth when you’re rocking a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro)
Not everyone is going Natural though, some people don’t have the energy to deal with kinky hair or they love rocking their hair straight, like Kim Kardashian. The Natural Hair Movement has nonetheless caused women to put more effort into their hair and develop a healthy hair regimen. Some people have switched to Texturisers and they stretch out the duration of the time before their next touch up.
You can say that the Natural Hair Fad has led to a Hair Revolution as people are more aware of the potential their hair has and they also know the Negative effects of using Chemical filled Relaxers, also called “The Creamy Crack”.
The average African woman is more conscious of her hair, she spends time on the internet researching hair regimens, she attends hair events, she uses food products on her hair, she now sleeps with a Satin Bonnet/Satin Pillowcase to prevent her hair rubbing on cotton. She dries her hair with an old white tee, not a towel. She knows the effects of different oils and understands the importance of water & moisture.
She rocks her Hair with pride and encourages/inspires the younger generation too, so they know their hair is beautiful. With time and trial, you will understand what your hair likes, what makes it grow, what causes breakage and what products work best for it. There is nothing wrong with Protective styles like Braids, Weaves and Wigs, these help with length maintenance and protect the Hair during the Harsh Harmattan Season .
We have Nigerian Models like Nikki Anyansi and Uju Marshall who rock their Natural hair on the runway & in magazines and they rock it beautifully.
Our Hair is unique, with different textures & different lengths. Bloggers like Berry Dakara, Sisi Yemmie, Tosin Alabi, Dee Mako, Mide Coker and myself rock our Natural hair with pride. People are watching and I always get so shocked when a blog reader or Social Media follower tells me I inspired them to go Natural.
Many women in the Rural area aren’t educated and don’t have access to the internet. They are not aware of the damaging effects of Relaxers when used too often or used in the wrong way. They also may not know that it is possible to take care of your Natural Hair so it is easy to manage. I encourage Brands to not just use models with straight, sleek hair but to show a diverse range of hairstyles including Natural Hair.
If you have thought of going Natural, I would encourage you to give it a try as your hair texture will surprise you and you’ll undoubtedly learn a lot about yourself and your hair when you embark on a Hair Journey.