Natural Hair Politics: When Nappy Still Isn’t Good Enough

Black women all over the country are embracing natural hair. That’s awesome! I was rocking natural hair before it was  a trend so I’m pretty geeked about that. I relaxed my hair for all of five years from the ages of 14-19. I am 41 now. You do the math. I have been in the “natural hair” game for a minute. I have a 3c/4a hair curl pattern. My daughter has a 4a/4b curl pattern. My sister, mami and niece have natural hair as well. Across the board, we pretty much share the same hair types.

Among latinos, tenemos “pelo malo” which translates literally to “bad hair”. I couldn’t care less though. However, the texture discrimination among black women is ridiculous. The natural hair movement invited sisters to embrace their “nappy” hair. Nappy isn’t a bad word by the way. It’s DOPE. It just feels BLACK when you say it. Don’t you agree?

Teyonnah Paris is happy to be nappy.
Teyonnah Paris rocking her 4c natural hair texture in a swoon-worthy fro.

If you scour Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram- there are scores of naturalistas displaying their bouncy-curled spirally coifs for sisters to adore. Yep, you read it correctly. Bouncy spirals that prance when you turn your head to see who called you. That’s what it seems that sisters are looking for when it comes to natural hair. They aren’t checking for the nappy 4b/4c sisters. It’s completely hypocritical. Texture discrimination is at an all-time high. I’m calling you out! How the hell are we IN a BLACK SPACE but nappy still ain’t good enough? It wasn’t anything that I had given much thought about until a few years ago when I just started doing wash and go’s. Previously- I was a twist, afro, bantu knot kind of girl. I would pick or comb the curls out until it looked like 4b hair.. THEN I would style it. I, also, preferred to do it dry because I didn’t want the curls to show through. I needed it to be fuerte and big. Nobody praised me for loving my nappy hair. In fact, sisters- most often asked, “What made me do THAT?” Ironically, NOBODY had an interest in my fro’d hair but as soon as I started rocking wash and go’s-EREBODY AND THEIR MAMA wanted to know what products I used to get “my curls like that”.

The hair that natural girls "dream of". Photo courtesy of the natural hair projectI didn’t pay that any mind back then. To be honest, I knew so few naturals that I thought that everybody’s hair was like mine. I didn’t get the fascination but NOW- I do and it sickens me. Here, we have sisters spending endless dollars on products to stretch, define, and make their kinksless kinky and more curly (erase the black) because deep down inside many of my sisters are full of shit. They talk a good game about “going natural”. They talk a good game about “loving their hair”. All the while, they are  high-fiving, liking and sharing the pics of the all naturalistas with long curly , bouncy hair in natural hair forums while wiry bushes and beady crops go ignored. I see you. This is not about dividing sisters either so don’t get it twisted. 

What this IS.. is a wake up call because even though some of you have taken “the chains” off of your hair (creamy crack)-you are still wearing the chains of the effects of colonization.

Let’s LOVE US WHOLLY!  Celebrate US, WHOLLY,  from the Curly Sue’s all the way down to the Bush Babies!



K. Araújo, a native Detroiter, is a cross between Claire Huxtable, Rosie Pérez and Millie Jackson. Widow, professional dragger of filth and Mami to the dopest Ethiopian EVER, she is the Editor in Chief of “Negra With Tumbao” and a Staff Writer for “The Urban Twist”. Keka has been known to shake what her mama gave her, is the hell and high water, an expert salsera and cussologist with a penchant for the finer things in life and is and forever shall be- unapologetically black.

  • CozyVon

    GIRL!!! You better say ALL of this. As a proud 4c who ain’t never had “curl definition” or “baby hairs” (evev as a baby) and ain’t looking for none, all this obsession with curls (and don’t even get me started on the obsession with length) just goes to show that we can pump our fists all “happy to be nappy” all we want–but a lot of sistas are still on the plantation & this ain’t nothing but some repackaged “good hair” quest. It’s too the point I really don’t have anything to do with the so-called “natural hair community” because a lot of them are on that bullshyt. I just rock with like-minded natural sistas who embrace their hair as is, nurture it & ain’t trying to spend hours in the mirror & 2 large tubs of gel trying to get their hair to do triple backflips into some ish it was never designed to do in the name of a still-brainwashed notion of what’s “cute”. Chilllle….????

    • “this ain’t nothing but some repackaged “good hair” quest.”