1nat·u·ral: \ˈna-chə-rəl, ˈnach-rəl\ Function: adjective
Definition: 1 a : being in accordance with or determined by nature b : having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature 2. occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature 3 a : closely resembling an original : true to nature b : marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint c : having a form or appearance found in nature
Well, that’s how the dictionary defines natural, but when speaking about natural hair, what does ‘natural’ mean exactly? This is a question that has been coming up more and more often in conversation these days. For many, the term “natural hair” may conjure images of a large-and-in-charge, picked-out, supafly icons of the 70’s.
Don’t get me wrong, I think these vintage heads of hair are gorgeous and I am well aware of the statement that an afro made during this period of social revolution. However, here we are in 2010, in the midst of another, perhaps even larger (and what I believe permanent) movement of natural hair becoming more popular among the masses and I think that we need to redefine what exactly natural means to us now.While natural still refers to the wide world of non-chemically altered curls, coils, kinks, and waves, since becoming an active part of the natural hair community through this blog and on forums, I’ve learned that natural hair can be represented in so many more ways than just the aforementioned afros. Naturals now have TWAs (Teeny-Weeny Afros), BAAs (Big A** Afros), locs, twists, braids, knots, straw sets, buzzcuts, roller sets, presses, and more. I’d like to give a shout out to Le Coil for beautifully documenting the diversity and versatility of modern naturals.
As we’ve seen in the Pomp and CURLStance series, people with highly textured hair, whether it be the curls the size of pen springs or larger waves, all have had to deal with similar challenges of managing their hair and making their texture thrive, no matter what ethnic background they may come from.
To have natural hair means accepting the way your hair naturally grows out of your scalp and embracing it as a part of your own individuality. To me, natural means true self-awareness, real self empowerment, and honest self-expression, in whatever form that may take. Today, natural is less about making a political statement and more about just being.
What do you think? How do you define “natural hair”?