Shrinkage. Koily. Nappy. Kinky. Curl patterns, types, and high porosity. I love it all.
Wash Day, shampoo, conditioner, silicones. Things that in see discussed in the natural hair community, at length. Think pieces, Facebook updates and instagram photos of bomb twist and curl outs.
Seriously, I love everything about my natural hair. I don’t complain about shrinkage, I don’t fight my texture and I take as many selfies as I see fit, because at the end of the day, no one is going to love my hair the way I do. And while there are those that use wig and weave as protective styles, it’s not what I do. I don’t hate that, and I think those that do look fabulous. I know there are many who think that they wear wig and weave because they hate themselves, but it’s really about preference.
As much as I love my natural hair, there is one thing that I’m falling out of love with…..
The natural hair community.
Now before some come for my edges, hear me out. Because there is a valid reason for our falling out. And maybe, after seeing all that melanin win at the Emmys a week ago, we can be better.
I’m still waiting and holding my breath.
We constantly say, as black women, that we need to cheer when one of us wins. That we need to encourage and motivate each other so we all win. On the surface, I would say that’s admirable, and what we should all be doing. But I can speak from personal experience, we want to see women in the same circles win.
Here’s an example.
I have a friend, she owns a business. I’ve worked with her for a few years now, and she’s finally getting to that point where she’s getting recognized for her work. But she doesn’t flash it – no fancy car, doesn’t have the newest gadgets, cameras……she actually had someone interested in what she was doing.
Then they saw her car.
Swerved harder than a poor man avoiding the collection plate in church.
My friend has helped me immeasurably in not giving up on my blog. And while I can’t completely afford her services, I do benefit because we share ideas, we rant, we help each other be better.
See that’s the key that’s missing for me, the inclusivity. And the fact that I’m not a part of the community because I don’t hang in the same circles as others in order to be seen as influential, valid, important, is what leads me to fall back.
Contrast that with a meeting that I had this weekend with some ladies. We were all from different backgrounds, different experiences, skin tones, hair types, and we all had one thing in common, our natural skincare and makeup business. We shared laughs, tips, ideas, hugs, and information. None of us feeling that if one was successful, there would be jealousy, cattiness, or opportunities for continued outreach.
Success is contagious, not exclusive to people who you think will help you look better. Yes, we all want to associate with those that share the same goals…but sometimes it comes in a Toyota, not a BMW.
So, what can the natural hair community do?
1. More small meetups geared towards helping smaller, not as well known and popular bloggers to gain an audience.
2. Share statuses on pages. Cross promote business, especially if you’re also about healthy living. There’s a huge market as women transition to natural hair, and it goes into taking better care of ourselves…..wraps, health and fitness coaching. It’s all a part of the bigger picture of making small business grow.
3. Watch the snark. Especially if you have followers who are looking at your business as a potential networking opportunity. I know I don’t like it, because if you’re talking about others like that, how are you going to talk about me?
4. Keep your business and personal social media seperate. This helps people identify your business and will help in the snark patrol. I’ve found that I’m actually much more cognizant of what I post on my personal page. Not that it’s any different in tone. I just pick carefully when to be pissed and when to let it go.
5. Don’t be afraid to challenge information you have questions on. If you ask questions, and you get “read this, read that” or my personal favorite, “Google It….”.step cautiously. I know I can Google it. I know I can read, but things get missed and that’s why people ask questions. Answer your potential client, partner, networking opportunity. Trust me, this is huge for me. I’ve unfollowed and have cautiously chosen to limit contact with business who’ve approached me in a way that makes me feel like I’m wasting their time.
I mean, it’s a community, not a country club. If we are going to use what Viola said seriously, in quoting Harriet, about opportunities, we are going to have to carve out and create them for ourselves and others, because they”re not going to be given to us by those we are trying to gain a foothold with.
So, I may be on the outs with the community….we haven’t broken up.
Here’s to rebuilding relationships.