Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Best Friend: The Hair Racist!

This may not be funny to you guys but I was talking to my best friend, Shinae, the other night and she made a comment that wasn’t really funny at the time she said it but as she went on to explain, it just became hilarious to me. 

We were talking about our favorite natural channels on YT. As we were naming them, Shinae said, “I do not watch anyone’s channel if they don’t have the same hair type as me”. Needless to say, I’ve heard this from many other people many times before but I asked her why. She went on to say, “Because they can’t teach me anything.” So I said, “why can’t they?” This was her argument.

“I have extremely thick 4C hair. So, I do not watch people’s channels if they do not have the same hair type as me because the styles they can achieve are not achievable on my hair and the products they use may not work on my hair. Plus, it gives me a false look as to what my hair will look like when I’m fully natural. My hair is extra thick! People with thinner hair don’t go through the same struggles as me and someone with a totally different hair type can’t teach me a thing. Our hair just ain’t vibin!”

I think the last part was what made me laugh the most. Maybe it was the way she said it. IDK. But she was right. Her hair is like a jungle! And while her points were all valid, I couldn’t help but wonder…Once we figure out our hair type, do we all develop a “prejudice” against hair types not like our own? Do we totally dismiss videos, blogs, and advice given by people who don’t share our hair type? And is this helpful or detrimental to our individual journeys in the long run?

Personally, I haven’t tried to put my hair into a category yet for the simple reason that I’m still transitioning. The majority of my hair is still relaxed with the exception of about two inches. My hair is still being weighed down by the relaxed ends and there is no way to correctly specify my hair type. After my BC, maybe I’ll consider putting my hair into a category.

With that being said, many of us (especially us newbies) watch hours upon hours of YT videos. It’s only human nature to want to see someone who resembles us. Me included. But occasionally, I do come across a video made by a fellow natural who has a totally different hair type than mine but her advice and tutorials have helped. For example, I learned to do my twist and curl from a natural on YT who has 3c/4a hair. My curls aren’t as loose and bouncy as hers but it fits me. I also learned how to do a frohawk from a natural with 3a/3b hair. My curl pattern is a bit kinkier than hers but it came out just as cute. Of course, it took a bit of tweaking but her technique worked for the most part. The moral of these stories are, just because the hair type might be different, doesn’t mean the technique always is. The same can also apply to products.
I don’t think that we should be in a hurry to dismiss someone’s advice especially when they have gone through or are going through the same journey as we are. At the end of the day, our struggles are very similar. Think about the very first bit of advice you give a new transitioner about moisturizing, sealing, co-washing, heat usage, deep conditioning, etc. Does that advice change because her curl pattern is different.? No it doesn’t. This is because our hair essentially needs the same things no matter the type. Not saying that we can all achieve the same styles with the same products exactly as the next person but experimenting can open doors to other styles and regimens that work for you.

We must remember that everybody’s journey is different. Even down to the person who you may think has the same hair type as you. Many techniques work no matter the hair type. This journey involves loads of trial and error. However, don’t write a natural off because her hair type is different. The bottom line is, if a technique works, it works. At times, this transcends hair type.
So my fellow newbies, I leave you with this advice. Don’t be in such a hurry to judge a natural by her hair type.


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