Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Natural Hair Community: Does it exist?

I have been out of the youtube loop for ages now (generally avoiding the pointless beef). I did go back to a few channels this week and found that the new subject is about the natural hair community and whether it exists or not as well as how supportive it is.

This is my view. The natural hair community does exist online but like many families it is quite dysfunctional. You will always have

1. The matriarch - The person who tries to take care of everyone, generally very positive and wants you to achieve whatever goals you have with your hair. Also a peacemaker, discouraging fights.
2. The boastful one  - The one who has to chew your ear off about how perfect their hair is and how your hair could never be as cute as theirs.
3. The drunk uncle - The person who says they are not high but you are not really convinced since half the things they utter do not make sense.
4. The drama girl -  Rude, loud, obnoxious, likes to be in and provoke drama for the sake of it.
5. The stirrers -  Work in conjunction with the drama girl to drive arguments further instead of stop them. Generally enjoy prolonging drama..
6. The normal ones - Focused on getting information on techniques or hairstyles. Usually, polite and courteous. The ones who comment are generally supportive.
7. The know it all - The  person who knows what is good for your hair and if you do not take their advice you will be bald tomorrow.
8. The more natural than thou -  You know the story - natural hair is the best, relaxed hair is selling out, colouring hair will give you the mark of the devil, one pass with a flat iron will lead you to hell and damnation. 
9. The jealous one - Makes spiteful comments about other people generally because they are insecure with their own hair/appearance.
10. The indecisive/'whatever' one - Natural today, relaxed tomorrow, natural the day after. Throws away all the rule books, happy to experiment with 'whatever!'
11. The liar - The one who is always running some type of con game whether it is trying to convince you that the weave is their hair or that something they mixed up grew their hair.

In truth a good 90% of people fall into the more positive categories (normal/matriarch) spiced with a little of the others. You may not see them because they do not comment on the madness, just shake their heads and keep sailing along.

The natural hair community does exist but it is not perfect. It is not always supportive, empowering and kind. Some places mostly have these attributes but intermingled you  will find the characters who you would rather did not exist. We have to accept that online, people say and do things that they would never do in real life......don't take it personally.

In real life, some places are just not welcoming at all (whether it is a meetup, a town or even a whole country). The truth is if you have a purpose and reason for being there, don't let the blank stares or rudeness prevent you from getting whatever it is you went to get.

What is your view on the natural community? Should we just peg back our expectations?

20 comments:

  1. I thought this was HI-larious. But oh-so-true

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  2. Very good article. I love how you categorized the personalities. Funny but very true. You know, I used to be all about the "Natural Hair Community" but I have stopped. Not that I am not down with unity, it is just that there is so much information as well as misinformation that it can be a little overwhelming. To keep a clear head and to stay away from the competitive nonsense, I just focus on myself, my clients and my peers who work in similar circles as I do. I do believe the "Community" exists, but it is to each it's own. I make a point to celebrate all forms of Black Hair. I guess I am the matriarch. ;-) Thanks for sharing this post.

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  3. I have been discouraged from visiting certain sites because of The Nappy Mafia (I am actually working on a blog post about them). These are the natural than thou.

    Next are those who do not allow anyone to make general comments. If, as a Zambian natural, I make a comment about being natural in Zambia, does it mean that every natural person in Zambia has had my exact same experience? No. Does it mean that I speak for every natural in Zambia? Again, no. But, neither does this make my comments any less valid nor any less representative of being natural in Zambia. 7 billion people and somehow, everyone is supposed to be the exception and is completely different from the next person. How possible is that?

    Lastly, I can never get over how rude some people are. Whatever happened to disagreeing with someone without insulting them, looking down on them or disrespecting them?

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  4. interesting review!

    i think i am number 6- very supportive generally. However i do get overwhelmed with a lot of info..i also get jealous sometimes (not like no 9!) when i visit some youtubers with LONG hair but doesn't mean I hate them. I'll say I envy their hair length...

    I have decided to just stick to a few hair blogs (like yours..lol) and few youtubers so i don't get confused..and yes learn what works for my hair of cuz

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  5. The Nappy Mafia - lol Masuka. I am looking forward to reading that - good luck with the 3in6!

    Aloted - well done for your honesty and envy is not a bad thing, sometimes seeing someone with your goal hair length is a good bit of inspiration for you to start doing more to get your hair there! I think it becomes bad when it turns vindictive (you know like the people who comment on how thin someone's hair is, how they have no hairline, how their hair is a loose curl so their achievement is not worth celebrating etc.....to me that is just sour grapes)

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  6. I love this post so funny but true!That sums up the personalities you meet in life in all settings.LOL

    In my opinion the natural hair community has good and bad points.
    What i like is the information provided that helps me out and what i don't is the pressure to be a certain way(i.e curly girl,no heat etc..)

    What i'm learning is to to be HAPPY with what i have to keep the envy monster at bay and that works for me. :D lol

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  7. I actually love this post, it's all so true! I sometimes think that the way that people behave online reflects their behaviour in person because most blogs and youtube channels, websites, forums etc. are extensions of peoples lives.

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  8. The boastful one - The one who has to chew your ear off about how perfect their hair is and how your hair could never be as cute as theirs.


    ^^^ I see ALOT OF those. They and their hair are gorgeous and they just make videos so you can tell them that. They aren't saying anything.

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  9. I like this... and how true it is. I had to un-sub to some vloggers. "The Liar" running their con-game... want you to purchase THEIR products.

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  10. "The truth is if you have a purpose and reason for being there, don't let the blank stares or rudeness prevent you from getting whatever it is you went to get."

    Exactly. I have been thinking of deleting my accounts at some hair forums because of pointless drama and the tendency for other members to flat out ignore me when I use correct English instead of a string of slang to ask a question but I've decided to make those forums "read only" instead.

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  11. Spot on. But No community is perfect, I just wish we weren't so spiteful. I let go of YouTube a while ago, and now to hear there is beef, sheesh. I thought we were trying to help each other, not hurt each other. Damn. I learned a lot there but I understand now why some of the original players quit making vids.

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  12. the more natural than thou a.k.a natural nazis. i do like d fact that there are people who will do everything to help others.

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  13. Your post is spot on.

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  14. OMG I loved this lol. So true. I would read blogs and go on YouTube (still do actually) to obtain information and maybe get inspiration on a cute style but that's it. I was not looking to be part of a "community". I am all for people supporting each other as part of a natural hair community but I don't get caught up. I get my info/inspiration and keep it moving.

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  15. Could not stop laughing when I read this post!!! This is so true.

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  16. Good one JC!

    I'm definitely one of the head shakers who just sails along. I expect nothing and receive it all for what it is, give it the attention it is due and keep it moving :)

    On another note: I love your blog and have a tremendous amount of confidence in your information so I will be sharing it on my new FB page dedicated to hair. Stop on by anytime and keep up the awesome work!

    -Ms.Amena

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  17. What a true article and after I saw all the drama through the comments, I just took the info I needed and decided, most of these folks are probably young enough to be my daughter and since I don't like drama, thought it best to forget about "hair friendship with strangers"

    Can't stand the Napturality site because after creating an account, it never worked and I could never have my vital questions answered when I first became natural!

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  18. How ironic I should stop here after posting something about some BS in the "natural community". It is getting to be too much for me; juvenile, dysfunctional, bitching and bickering, division. OMG how ridiculous. Its a turn off for sure. Great article, thanks for sharing.

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  19. JC,

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your post, the objectivity of it all. Thank you!

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