Checking in at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for my return flight to Los Angeles following the holiday, I was wrapped up in natural hair love. As I approached the TSA agent to show my identification, she told me she “loved”my hair. I admired her locs as well. At the next station before heading to security sat a second sister, also with natural hair. Her hair was in a pretty corn rolled up-do. She asked, if I had been talking “hair” with the first sister. I smiled broadly before exclaiming, “Yes!” She admired my hair, adding that she may try my curly Afro style soon. Since traffic was light that morning we were able to share a four minute conversation on conditioners and moisturizers and what I did to maintain my style at night. If other airport staff minded our discussion, they stayed out of it. I felt nothing but love on a cold January morning.
That’s the way this movement has taken off. It is generating conversation. Folks are much more willing to approach me than they were when I loc’d for the first time in, 1999. I’ve been post- perm natural for over twenty years and I am simply loving the discussions and encouragement available to black women embracing their natural curls and kinks.
There are blog tips on products to try and those to avoid, styling tips and these virtual spaces serve as a source of help and inspiration from women sharing their natural hair mishaps, and their success stories.
One of the things I love most about the interaction are the kudos women receive from each other. It is empowering, a confidence builder. Natural sisters know, not everyone embraces us and our natural hair. While there are indeed conversations taking place around the globe (since black women are everywhere) there are those who don’t recognize our beauty and the courage it takes to step away from the mainstream.
There are professions where we get side-eyed when we are the first on the job to come into work in a style that says “I’m Black and I’m Proud!” There are Black men who will still throw us under the bus in favor of weaves and straight styles. We still catch it from family members, female and male who hope that our “experimentation” is just a phase and we will snap out of this “Black” thing.
Each nod of approval builds our confidence. It certainly helps, to have a support system that acknowledges our effort and helps us stay grounded in our decision to wear our hair in its natural state.
I may not see the two women who made me smile ear-to-ear again and that’s okay. They gave me a boost, and I hope I did the same for them. If you are starting the journey know that there is a community waiting to help you reach your destination of healthy natural hair.