Throughout my transitioning phase, I made a habit of always reading the interviews of newly naturalistas on Black Girl with Long Hair and various other natural hair websites. The question that seems to be asked most outside of “what is your hair type?” is “Why did you decide to go natural?”
I always read everyone’s answer to this question and I noticed that the answer is usually always something along the lines of “because relaxers damaged my hair”. This saddens me a bit. I feel as if the relaxers had not damaged their hair, then they would continue relaxing their hair. I feel as if they were just forced to go natural and it was not of their choosing. In a way, I almost think asking someone this question is offensive. Why would I not want to go natural? Asking such a question makes it seem as if I shouldn’t. Like “Why [on Earth] did you decide to go natural?”
Relaxers never damaged my hair. Before my transition, my hair was about collar bone length and perfectly healthy. It was straight, flat, and boring. I wore my hair like this ever since I first started getting relaxers. I can’t remember what age I first got a relaxer. I think it was around 7th or 8th grade so I was probably 11 or 12 years old. I remember being so unhappy with my hair if it was always salon “perfect”; “Perfectly straight and neat with a proper cut”, my mom would probably say. I wasn’t happy with my relaxed hair until about a month in of wearing it- when it was a bit unkept and unpredictable. Sometimes I would even purposely ruffle my hair right after I walked out of the hair salon. I would never roll my hair up at night in hair rollers because I was too lazy and my parents would always get insanely mad at me for it. They would argue: “We spent $60 on your hair for you to look like this?!” But I was happy with it.
I remember during our yearly visits to Missouri, I would watch my grandma roll and wrap her hair up every night religiously while watching her favorite murder mystery shows on tv. I blame her and my mom for my obsession with horror movies, forensics, reading books about serial killers, and all things morbid. She would do it so precisely. I swear she put about 100 rollers in her hair every night and every morning her hair would be “perfect”. She tried to teach me the same trick, but it never worked out. Again with my laziness.
Like most young girls, I grew an interest in modeling, singing, and all things to do with fame. I had singing contests with girls in my neighborhood and, in my mind, I always won. I started reading teen girl magazines like Cosmo Girl and Teen Vogue, and I would study the faces of all the models. “This is Gerren Taylor!”, I would say with the pride of knowing her name when no one else did. It wasn’t until I discovered a model by the name of Wakeema Hollis that my life started to change and my perceptions of “perfect” hair went out the window. Modeling agents discovered her years before I did, but, in my mind, I was the first to witness her perfection.
The first picture is the one that sparked my interest, the second picture is the one that put it into action.
Wakeema Hollis is my main inspiration, but these are others who inspire me in my natural hair journey as well:
No one really knows about her much, but they should. This girls hair (and body) is fire.
Is there any natural who doesn’t have Napptural85 as their inspiration?!
And a bit of Janelle Monae
In short, what I’m trying to say is this:
“My reasoning for transitioning are are very simple: I think natural hair is beautiful.”