I absolutely love being a black woman. I love my dark brown skin complexion, my somewhat “difficult” to pronounce name, my big lips, Jamaican roots…and my super thick relaxed hair. That’s right, I do not have natural hair. I definitely consider myself to be a pretty “woke” individual and am constantly discussing race relations, race in America and social issues that we face as black women with my friends. I am proud and feel that right now is such an amazing time to be black in America. However, I also love having easy to lay edges and the ability to unwrap my hair while on the go in the morning. I think it’s time to change the conversation from Natural VS. Relaxed to Natural AND Relaxed.
When I was 7 my mom was raising me as a single parent while pregnant with my younger brother. She worked two jobs and commuted to work using public transportation. She did all she could on a regular basis to make sure I lived as comfortably as we could be – but one thing that just took up so much of her time was washing and styling my hair on a regular basis. My hair was extremely thick and difficult to manage, to say the least. So one day, on a whim she went to the store, got some Just For Me – and the rest was history.
Almost all of my girlfriends are natural – I believe there are like two or three of us still using a relaxer these days, but it doesn’t really faze my crew. I love women with natural hair—I love the texture, the way it smells, the varying curl patterns and the plethora of styles they manage to do on a constant basis.
I’m writing this all just to say that, there are still some of us who are addicted to the creamy crack and not for a lack of self-love, or in an effort to conform. It’s a look that works for me. Just like some women look great with a bob, or bangs – a relaxer that I can manipulate using a number of tools has always appealed to me.
One of the reasons I started this blog is because I noticed there were a ton of blogs catering solely to black women with natural hair, not one that really discusses beauty as a whole. Now, I get it, at a point in time there were barely any resources for women trying to maintain their natural curls, so I completely understand and appreciate our natural hair bloggers. I just also want us all to remember that there are still some of us ladies out here who are navigating the use of tools more so than products to style our tresses.
I understand the damaging effects of a relaxer and strongly feel we too need a broader range of products that protect our hair from heat damage, more deep conditioners, hair masks, oil treatments etc. Black hair as a whole is a miraculous thing – whether relaxed or natural, we all put in the work and time to maintain a look that is laid for da gawds – in our own unique way.
(photos by Steve Jackson)