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Natural or Curly Community: Who you wit?!

Natural or Curly Community: Who you wit?!

As a natural hair influencer I’m often front row to the differences in the curly hair community as I scroll social media and attend social events. Constant hot topics arise as we discuss anything from products, curl types and textures, hair care tools, all the way down to porosity. Buried even deeper in this space, something most aren’t even aware of, is the idea of a curly community vs natural hair community.

 

At the surface, when you think of our community, the overall curly community comes to mind. Pages upon pages on social media of women, men and children displaying their hair, various styling techniques, marketing their product lines and adding in new editing trends. The goal is to showcase their curls. The curly community brings to mind bubbly and camera friendly influencers of all shades, backgrounds and hair textures. These influencers have one goal in mind…bring acceptance and inclusion to ALL curly hair. The curly community represents a group of individuals who just want to focus on embracing their curls.

 

If you go a bit deeper into our space you will find the natural hair community. Like the curly hair community, we too desire acceptance and inclusion, but this desire goes deeper into who we are as individuals. The natural hair community draws a connection between black women and men wanting to be accepted for who they are and the desire to be connected to their culture, hair, and history.

 

The natural hair community brings to mind women like actress Viola Davis. She was a hot topic in the media for her decision to wear her natural hair at the 2012 Academy Awards. Davis tied the need to constantly wear wigs in her acting roles with ‘hiding our true selves’ that can be directly connected to roots in systemic racism where our natural hair was historically, and to this day, deemed inappropriate. Slave owners often shaved the heads of men and women who were enslaved. Often, our culture and cultural traditions were taken along with these shavings. We were forced to accept Eurocentric culture and style as the baseline for what is considered beauty.

 

In 2020 actress Tiffany Haddish shaved her head in an effort to get to know her body better, an absolute display of self love and acceptance. What a comfortable space for Tiffany to find herself in mentally and emotionally, that regardless of the industry around her and its desire to focus on how we look, she was able to make a drastic change all in the name of love of self.

 

Most recently, we’ve seen the back and forth debate surrounding Jada Pinkett’s shaved head. Jada Pinkett, actress and wife to Will Smith, has been very open about her struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. After a joke was made at the 2022 Oscars that was interpreted as mocking Jada’s health condition, a great debate ensued on true self acceptance. Some say if the natural hair community wants to celebrate self acceptance with a ‘live free’ and ‘we are not our hair’ mantra then no offense should be taken. Others say there is no laughing matter, self acceptance or not, when it comes to alopecia and hair loss that is out of one’s control.

 

Beyond the big screen, we’ve also seen an intentional outpouring of love for the natural hair community in books such as ‘Hair Love’ by Matthew Cherry, ‘Big Hair, Don’t Care’ by Crystal Swain-Bates,and ‘Bedtime Bonnet’ by Nancy Redd. All books that aim to show the children of the natural hair community, at a young age, the importance of self acceptance. This is hopefully before the world around them makes them feel otherwise.

 

It takes courage and intention to be a black in the natural hair community as we demand the world around us to accept us for who we are. We often struggle to accept ourselves and reclaim our identity. From our diverse skin tones, down to the natural textures of our hair, this journey is both deep and personal among us.

 

See Also

If you’re part of the curly community or have natural hair and pride, it’s even more reason to align and sign The Crown Act. The Crown Act is a bill that prohibits discrimination based on a person’s hair texture or hairstyle if that style or texture is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin. The Crown Act was essentially birthed from the issues seen within the natural hair community seeing that our hair is and has always been very political. To learn more about The Crown Act, and help push our legislation to pass this bill into full federal law, head over to thecrownact.com to learn more. You can also sign the petition at https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/help-make-hair-discrimination-illegal.

 

So, are you team natural or curly community? No matter ‘who you wit’, be sure to show some love to each and every curly girl/boy you encounter. You never know what it might have taken them to rock their curls today!

 

Xo,

 

Tabitha Wiggins

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