I read a post on one of the natural hair forums on Facebook yesterday. The lady posted some photos of her hair and claimed she had been natural for 36 months. Turns out she started transitioning in September 2012.
Now I realise Maths is not my strong suit but even I noticed the numbers didn’t add up. My first thought was to point out that she has actually been natural for just 24 not 36 months and I was going to say as much when I stopped myself. I stopped because I had visions of all the comments that would follow. Comments that would accuse of me of not being supportive of a fellow natural. Of being one of those black women who take delight in putting other black women down. I’ve seen it happen before. Someone posts a photo or says something about their hair, someone else comments and says they don’t like it, then come the abuse and accusations.
It’s as though in becoming natural, one surrenders one’s rights to personal opinion and preferences. Because we wear our hair a certain way, suddenly we must all think and reason alike, have the same world view irrespective of background, upbringing and personal experiences.
This natural hair thing has become just like Alcoholics Anonymous. “Hey, my name is Nkem Ivara and I’ve been natural x years.” Cue applause and back slapping as I collect my coin. Women who have successfully weaned themselves off the life-threatening, disease-causing creamy crack should be applauded. They should have support groups where they can discuss their addiction and life post-addiction.
Women have become so militant about how they wear their hair, it’s almost a burden to have natural or any type of hair at all. Frankly, it’s exhausting.
As the Igbo proverb says, ‘Egbe belu, Ugo belu, nke si ibe ya ebela, nku kwaya.’ Roughly translated, it means, ‘Let the kite perch, let the eagle perch. Whoever says the other should not perch, let his wing break.’ Now this is not me saying anyone’s
wing hair should break/fall out but can’t we all just get along? You know, live and let live?