21.Aug – { #TeamNatural } by Tina Nagbare

Osay.-2

There can be a thin line between encouragement and harassment…… like a very thin line. And #TeamNatural toes that line a lot. To be clear, this is not an attack against #TeamNatural or Naturalistas, but more of a request that you all find your chill. #TeamNatural can be your best friend or a hornet’s nest (just ask Solange) and one is never quite sure what will set them off.
Most alarming to me is the division within #TeamNatural. I’ve seen too many arguments, debates, blog posts on who is “truly” natural and who is not. I think the general consensus is if you have chemically-treated hair by way of texturizers or relaxers, you’re definitely not #TeamNatural. But there are also fringe groups (not unlike the Tea Party) with a message for all of us.
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Some expand that definition to include hair dyes, rinses, and anything that changes the color of your hair.
Some have expanded further to say if you continue to have your hair straightened (not chemical relaxers, but flat irons folks), you’re not natural.
Some in #TeamNatural don’t have chemically-treated hair, but proudly rock wigs and/or weaves faithfully…. *side eye* *sips tea*
Some say if you wear braids with extensions you can’t be counted amongst the number.
NOW some are saying your hair don’t count unless you have a Black Panther-esque afro – meaning if you “manipulate” your hair texture with twists, braids, etc. you’re not truly natural. Others will also note that your fro should still have *some* type of definition.
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Ma’ams PLEASE!
You all are doing the most. Maybe you should elect a board and call a meeting to clarify the definitions for membership and even then — I’m not interested because….
It’s hair. Is it really that serious? It’s confusing to me that the same group that proclaims “I am not my hair” also judges other Black women for how they choose to style their’s. It is hair. Literally it is just hair. And no, it’s not always as deep as you all try to make it. A Black Woman with straight hair is not always “struggling with her authentic African identity and succumbing to the European standards of beauty”. Some simply prefer to wrap their hair at night instead of twisting it because that’s easier for them. Some just want to keep their jobs. There are pros & cons for straight and natural hair for each woman; what’s “easy” for one does not hold true for another. And each woman makes the choice that makes sense for her. That should be ok. And while your insight and occasional encouragement on daily care, maintenance, and products are welcome — it should end there.
I’m not one to tell someone else how to live their life. I may offer insights and suggestions if asked, but ultimately what you choose to do is up to you. Quite frankly I don’t have a dog in the fight and I’m too busy trying to get/keep my own life together to be overly concerned with yours. (Love you though! *muah* *air hug*) I am a firm believer that we cannot afford to be divided — especially over hairstyles. There is simply too much going on in this life for one to have to justify their hairstyle decisions. And that is why I choose not to identify as a member of #TeamNatural.…because it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if my hair is – Straight or Curly (4c, 3a, or 9q…). Relaxed, Texturized, Hot combed, or Flat-ironed. Twisted or in Locs. Dyed, Rinsed, or neither. Wigged, Weaved, Braided, or with Extensions. Faded, Layered, or Long. Side part, Middle part, No Part, or all parts with Bangs. It is mine (naturally or purchased) and it’s none of your business.
So to my friends over at #TeamNatural – Please make a right, travel north for about 5 miles, then make a left at the light, and make another left at the stop sign. THERE you should find your chill.
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Personally, a relaxer has not touched my hair in 1 year, 8 months, 1 week, and roughly 4 days (I’m not counting or anything) – in the process I have tried no less than 5 different hairstyles. It has been a long, hard road and for now I’m enjoying working with my natural hair. HOWEVER, I reserve the right at ANY time to throw a chemical treatment should I ever get tired of it. And I won’t feel bad about either. And I don’t want to hear nary a word from any of yall if/when I do, unless you are also volunteering to come into my home and do my hair everyday. (cues: These curls ain’t loyal.)