Imagine you’ve met an alien who knew nothing about YouTube, Facebook or the like. I’m sure you would tell them to enjoy the content, but stay far away from the comment section. As a natural, it’s not always easy to take this advice. Often times, commenters have great stories to share about a particular product/method. I usually always find something else to research from the comments. Other times, I am beyond pissed off because some high and mighty natural wants to come for me.
Today, I was reading a web story (I don’t like tossing “article” around lightly) about “black” versus “white” hair care products. I thought it was interesting because I touched on this topic a little in my last video. A lady (a stranger) posted on a thread and said black women purchase “white hair products” to look like white women. Then, she said black people need to purchase black hair products from the ethnic section of the stores. Pause. I realized the fallacy and generalization and simply wanted to share what I knew on the subject. That’s why forums exist. Here was my reasoning that I tried to express (without shade, as I am in “No Shade Anonymous” with Tamar Braxton):
1) Black products aren’t ALL great just because they say they are made for black hair. For starters, all black products aren’t even made by black people. For those that are, you still have to know what you are putting in your hair. You can’t just assume everything is going to work in your hair—even if it says it’s made for black hair. Case in point. My line sister and I were transitioning to natural (the first time) and she purchased Taliah Wajid’s gamut of products. The pre-poo in this set didn’t achieve the results she desired, so she gave the bottle to me. I loved it on my hair. As the saying goes, everything ain’t for everybody.
2) I don’t immerse myself too deeply in the hair typing hooplah because black women absolutely have all types of hair! Hair type isn’t loyal to any particular race. You’ll find a bit of almost everything in every race, if you open your eyes to see it. Black people can have textures that are more common to white women, Native Americans, Asian women (Chinese, Japanese etc. AND Indian), and then there are the tightly coiled kinks that people automatically recognize as black hair. If a great deal of black manufactured products cater to the latter, which is evident through names like Kinky Curly, why should women of other hair types use something that wasn’t made with their textures in mind?
3) Additionally, quality products that are produced by black people can be on the pricey side, compared to the mainstream products you can find in your local drug store. When I began transitioning, I had just finished college and was studying for my post-graduate degree. I only had an unpaid internship at that time, so my money was limited. Even after becoming employed, I didn’t spend more than $10 on any product for my hair. When you have to buy black business attire for multiple week-long trade shows, pay to board your dog during said trade shows, save money for a wedding, and pay your bills…umm, hair care products are not very high on your priority list. Additionally, I don’t think it’s in good taste to ever assume you know what’s in another person’s pocket. Why should people go beyond their means if what they’re using works for them?
A random lady jumps in and tells me I want to be white, I can’t comprehend what the previous poster said and basically that I should just dip myself in white paint. Then she goes on to say that my hair “isn’t longer than a ROMAN noodle [ramen noodle]…”
Dealing with black women/Tai 101: Don’t come for me—especially if you know nothing about me. I was a bit shocked. Not so much for the insult itself, but where it took place. It’s a natural hair forum! People should be able to rebut opinions in a forum—without feeling attacked. People should be able to agree to disagree in a forum of adults. Since it’s a natural hair forum, love for one’s hair should be fostered. That’s not what this lady did. She had her own “pro-black, anti-everyone who isn’t” agenda.
As I read more posts on the thread, I saw that she made personal attacks to many other people. One of which was a white woman who says she reads advice in the forum to help manage her curly and frizzy hair. I really got upset at the delusional lady’s response (that’s what I’ll call her for this post).
To understand what I am about to say, you may need to understand that my parents are foster parents, sometimes raising children of different races. You may need to understand that some of my family members and family friends are white and/or biracial. You may need to understand that some of the first friends I made in Maryland aren’t black. Maybe someone needs to know that biracial kids were a dime a dozen in my high school. You may also need to hear (or read) me say I love my brown skin. I do love everything about myself, my heritage, and my race. Yet and still, I am still a member of the human race and the Christian race. I cannot be those things and consciously make someone feel inferior. It doesn’t mean I hate the skin I’m in. I would hope my stance speaks on my character, because that is more important. Because of these things, the delusional lady’s comments got to me.
The delusional woman tells the white lady that she needs to leave the forum because she is white and no one cares abut her opinion. Where does she get off? I know for a fact that curly white girls have their own struggles with their hair. Thanks, former co-worker S. They are just as desperate as we are to find something—anything to maintain their hair. If they want to try “black” products or methods to remedy their hair issues, let them. Does it mean they hate their race? No. Is a black manufacturer going to say, “No, you can’t buy this because you’re white?” Probably not. The delusional lady, just like black women who attack white adoptive mothers of black children, need to kick rocks with open-toed jellies.
It would be easy to just report that user to the forum admin, but there are very many people who are natural hair bullies. I also had a similar situation on the My Natural Sistas Facebook page. These trolls are everywhere. They have YouTube channels. They write in the comment sections of Curly Nikki. They write in the comments for products on Amazon. They make you feel like you’re doing everything wrong because you’re not doing things their way. They hate to see your hair journey successes because you found another way to achieve your goals. They get mad because they think you’re taking money out of their pocket, when they’re the ones who aren’t hustling hard enough. They can’t sleep at night because out there someone is using a shampoo that has sulfates. They wreak havoc on the confidence of women with TWAs. They assemble and wreak havoc on the new and/transitioning natural’s regimen. Buy this. Don’t buy that. You NEED to co-wash instead of shampooing. Co-washing is bad for your hair. You need to blend guacamole and let it sit on your hair in a shower cap for five hours. This product is only good for the 4A hair type. The list goes on. Natural hair bullies can do damage that is way worse than split ends.
Above all advice I have given/will give on this blog, the main point is to do what works for you. I don’t know everyone’s hair (I barely know mine). I can only suggest what works for me. If it works for you, great! If something contrary to what I suggest works, great as well. As a woman in my mid 20s, I understand we’re often fish out of water with caring for our natural hair. I spent 15 years of my life with relaxed hair. This whole process is new to me, so I would never want to make a person feel bad for not knowing and/or experimenting. I know that some ladies out there aren’t as confident in their journey just yet.
I want so badly for women, particularly black women, to stop finding things that further divide us. Being a member of a sorority, I know we’ll find a lot in common—more than we think is possible— if we look past the superficial crapola. While I can’t promise you all a safe haven in the other corners of the blogosphere, I can promise that THIS blog will always be a safe haven.