STYLE CRUSH - NATURAL HAIR

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - celebrities, models and many high net worth persons, natural hair rave, Nigeria being the giant of Africa, defining features of a true African woman, The average Nigerian girl in the 90’s, girl in the magazine with smooth, straight silky hair, relaxed hair styled with gel, looking all smooth and sleek, hair in flat twists, Mohawk, corn rows and crochets hair styles.


COMMON STEREOTYPES ONLY THE 90’S KIDS KNOW ABOUT NATURAL HAIR

I met a young man while I was visiting a relative some time ago. He stared at me curiously for a long time before walking up to me, “Is this your hair?” he asked. The surprise and admiration on his face said it all when I answered “Yes”. He left me with a statement that has since struck a chord in my heart, “Don’t you ever perm or wear weaves again.” This is one of many compliments I have received since I decided never to ‘relax’ or perm my hair again about three years ago.

Over the last couple of years, celebrities, models and many high net worth persons have joined the natural hair rave. It is no news that Nigeria being the giant of Africa has somehow spearheaded the bold fashion statements made on nearly every red carpet. African natural hair which is often called kinky, nappy and curly has become one of the defining features of a true African woman.

Amazingly, natural hair in the last decade was greeted with negativity and harsh stereotypes. The average Nigerian girl in the 90’s would rather perm or chemically ‘relax’ her hair than leave her hair natural even when it was detrimental to her health. My dad once made a joke about how my mom ended up bald in the early years of their marriage because she wanted to have ‘permed’ hair. What changed? Why is natural hair the new talk on most fashion news? Here are some common stereotypes attached to natural hair before its victorious homecoming.

 
1.       NATURAL HAIR IS FOR KIDS!

Growing up, my mother kept my hair natural.  When we came of age, my sisters and I celebrated our independence by buying relaxers and perming our hair. We proudly watched our ‘big full gravity defying hair’ fall flat; it was like a rite of passage. If you were born in the 90’s you would know that it wasn’t very popular wear natural hair then, all we wanted to do was look like the girl in the magazine with smooth, straight silky hair. We forgot the girl in the magazine didn’t even look like the girl in the magazine. We badly wanted to fit in and felt much more beautiful with our hair ‘permed’. We concluded in our narrow minds that only kids wore natural hair because of strict parental control.

2.       NATURAL HAIR AND DEEPER LIFE WERE SYNONYMS!
I was very guilty of this!  If you were born in the 90’s, I’m sure you are not left out! A typical Nigerian figured the girl with natural hair belonged to a religious sect called “deeper life”.  It was such a basic assumption that often times we failed to see the girl in question for who she was. We rather saw her as an offshoot of an organization that typically wore natural hair.
Gone are the days when natural hair was attached to a religious sect or political movement; Natural hair is trendy and back! I still hear people use this hilarious synonym; however, it’s not as frequently used as before. There is hardly any basis for the use of this phrase. Everyone deserves to be seen first as an individual and then a part of an organization not the reverse.

3.       NATURAL HAIR IS OLD SCHOOL
Guess what? Old school is back! Back then we didn’t only want ‘permed’, relaxed hair, we also felt natural hair was old school. When preparing for a birthday party as a child, we preferred relaxed hair styled with gel, looking all smooth and sleek. I always felt awkward wearing my natural hair to birthday parties; it was simply unfashionable and unacceptable. I wanted to be trendy so I took the front row on a journey that left me nearly bald. It was a horrible experience for me.

It has become fashionable to wear natural hair in flat twists, Mohawk, corn rows and crochets hair styles. Natural hair is no longer on the wrong side of fashion; it has made a name for itself in the world of fashion and style.

4.       IT CAN NEVER BE STYLED TO PERFECTION
During the 90’s, Technology kept offering better options for us in different areas which somehow led to impatience. We didn’t even have the patience to care for our hair the way we should have. Permed hair offered a fast alternative and we gladly went for it. We simply forgot that like fine wine, natural hair gets better with time.

Different styles of natural hair cover the front of most fashionable magazines these days. Natural hair has evolved such that it has become an entity of its own. People strut down red carpets wearing their hair confidently. It might be difficult for you and I to admit, but it was an issue of self-image in the past, most of us simply lacked the confidence to wear our hair naturally. We wanted to imitate what the media was selling to us, and blindly we became the needed catalyst to boost the ‘relaxer industry’. If we were brought up to believe that our hair was the beautiful just the way it was, would we have ever contemplated ‘frying’ the life out of it? My guess is as good as yours!

When people ask me about the natural hair trend, my first response is, “It’s not a trend”. I am sure you will agree with me that what you are born with shouldn’t be subject to fashion trends like clothes, shoes and bags. Natural hair is a matter of personal style statement which allows every single individual choose their medium of expression. Nobody can take it away from you when you decide to wear that hair confidently and make the world your runway.

It will be a beautiful thing if every young woman grows to love her hair without having to identify with any religious sect or political movement. We don’t have to hold rallies to wear our hair! The confidence you exude when you wear your hair like that is contagious. Put on that big smile and walk the street like you own it!

THE END

Written by:
Hope Obamwonyi

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: STYLE CRUSH - NATURAL HAIR
STYLE CRUSH - NATURAL HAIR
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - celebrities, models and many high net worth persons, natural hair rave, Nigeria being the giant of Africa, defining features of a true African woman, The average Nigerian girl in the 90’s, girl in the magazine with smooth, straight silky hair, relaxed hair styled with gel, looking all smooth and sleek, hair in flat twists, Mohawk, corn rows and crochets hair styles.
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