I am NOT my hair!

Dear Reader,

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It’s 33 days into 2017, nevertheless, Happy New Year! Better late than never right?

The Natural Hair fever has been around for quite some time now and its quite the rave especially in Nigeria. Seriously, sales on hair relaxers have taken a mild hit.

These days, in every five ladies you know, three of them are naturalistas (growing their hair naturally). From the use of shea butter oil (ori), coconut oil, argan products, silk scarf and all the plenty drama with having natural hair, it’s impressive to see a good number of Nigerian ladies making a go at this.

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…and then I wonder..

What happened? I remember clearly when those with natural hair where looked at as those from a particular social class. It was assumed they probably couldn’t afford to buy a hair relaxer. No joke. Also, natural hair then signified a certain religious standing- either you’re “Deeper Life” or you’re some kind of highly spiritual church member. To date though, some Christian churches still prohibit permed hair.

I went natural for about 8 months at different times twice. Naturally, I have really thick and full, somewhat long hair. By the 7th month in the first round, the undergrowth I had was so well grounded that the hair tangled up to form small locks. I raced to perm. Decided to try again, braced myself for the challenges but it didn’t ‘werk’. The second time around before stretching the hair from here to China, I realized with a certainty that…

Natural hair is not for me.

I was in a conversation some weeks back with a couple of people who are now ‘professional natural hair brand ambassadors’. As if natural hair needs any defense attorney, they will just tie wrapper on top of natural hair matter. To them, this is what makes the African woman. I tried to make them see that the natural hair is just a look not an ideology.

Truly, I really love to see African women styling their natural hair either Afro or retro. The look is amazing! I know for a fact that this is a valid expression of our identity, but…

I am not my hair.

I will and can identify with the African woman in other areas apart from being a naturalista. In body structure, African women are blessed beyond measure. I could have all the necessary curves in just the right areas and have melanin popping uncontrollably out of my skin but it doesn’t change my real “Africana” mentality. My point is, being an African woman goes way beyond skin color and hairstyle. It is a mindset that is full of strength, character, vision and willpower that may or may not decide to be expressive with physical characteristics. I could dress up in frolic coats and fascinator hats everyday but this doesn’t make me a Brit. It just simply means that I dress British. Same way, if you like wear all the Ankara fabrics and twist all the bantu braids on your head, it just makes you look African. What makes you African is the way and manner you carry yourself knowing that your rich and culturally diverse heritage is a part of your destination.

I am not my hair jor! Mbok, I rest my case.

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…There is always always so much more to a person than meets the eye..judging a book by its cover only limits your reading  -Nkembuchi Melaugha

Peace and love.

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