Drum roll please…
The answer is No. Hell No. Nope.
Let’s be real here. It’s 2017 and Black women are still being shunned around the world because of a simple thing like hair.
Heck, I’m an Afro-Latina and have rocked natural hair for more than 12 years, and I still get snide comments from family members saying I need to “tame” my wild hair and “relax” it again so that it looks nice. I’m proud to say I can laugh those comments off now, but in the beginning of my natural hair journey I couldn’t.
The natural hair movement isn’t some new hair trend. It’s a journey that Black women are taking to reclaim who they are and take back what society stole from them. Afro-Latina’s like myself are so grateful for the Black women who fight to create a space where we can feel beautiful and not zero-in on our flaws.
Like Black women, Afro-Latinas are still fighting to embrace, encourage and normalize natural hair. So there is no room for White women when Black and Afro-Latina women are trying to unpack decades of self-hate, and reaccept what they truly look like.
Black women are pushing against the grain to make society understand that beauty comes in all different curls, coils, kinks, shapes and sizes. The natural hair movement isn’t just about hair either. It encourages people of color, including Afro-Latinas, to embrace their skin, their features, that Western society deems ugly and unworthy of being beautiful.
There is no room for whiteness in the natural hair movement because it is the source of so many Black & Afro-Latina women’s pain. Many of us may not want to admit it, but it’s true. Whiteness is glorified and anything else is made to feel “other.”
So to all the White women out there who want to join the movement, please don’t and understand that it’s about more than just hair. It’s about Black women building self-love and trying to heal as they embrace themselves.
Credit: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
How many times have Black women been told that their hair is unprofessional or ugly? That they’re nappy headed, or that their natural hair is just not good? The answer is thousands of times. How many times has a White woman walked into a hair supply store only to find a small ass product selection hidden in the beauty section?
My point is we’re already made to feel like others in almost every aspect of our lives, from the way we talk, walk, dress, the music we listen to, the books we read, etc. Black women are fighting in these spaces to show we exist. We use this movement to reclaim our time. So no, there is no room for our White sisters here.
Aren’t white women tired of stealing the shine from Black women yet? Or does it not get old? Y’all been winning for years! You can rock your hair straight, curly, frizzy, colored, however, and nobody will question its authenticity. Your hair is already normalized. For Black women we are trying to change the narrative and embrace our natural hair, which Western society tells us we should hate.
Don’t get it twisted though. In no way am I claiming that White women can’t go natural.
If you’re white and you want to rock your natural hair, that’s great! The more the merrier! But please don’t try to piggyback on to a movement that means so much more. Can we live, please?
Editor’s Note: The original headline of the story mentioned Black and Afro-Latina women as two separate people. The intention was to honor what the author wrote, and to make clear an understanding of the different experiences of Black women in American and Latin America. However, it’s come to our attention that the headline implied a stripping of Afro-Latina’s identity as Black women, and that’s something we would never want to do, and we see the problematic nature of it. We deeply apologize for that. The distinction still appears in some parts of the piece to honor the author’s story.