Disney hosted its annual Dreamer’s Academy event last weekend. The Academy is an annual youth enrichment program that supports the dreams of more than 100 imaginative teens every year. The program was designed to immerse the students in creative and non-conventional career opportunities and was created for high school students who show promise – but may need a little motivation. However, all of the selected students share a trait: the power to DREAM.
The event drew many celebrities, including Kandi Burress (RHOA), Raven Symone and others. But, it is Raven who has created the most media buzz. She debuted her latest hair style – a weaveless, short naturally curly hairdo that is much different from how the public is use to seeing her. She told the media that she wanted to give her hair a rest and dawn her natural coif for a while, which is completely understandable. If a woman isn’t careful, excessive use and certain patterns of weave can cause much stress on the hair and even lead to hair loss at the tension spots. Now, I have seen pics of her since the event sporting another weave (hee hee) and another version of a natural style, but Raven looks absolutely stunning either way IMO. I have the same struggle with my own natural hair. I have been natural for close to three years and – before you applaud – I found out several things about myself that I am not so proud of, but someone has to say it:
1. I have an over reliance on weaves during this transition period. Probably more than normal. I am much more comfortable putting in a Beyonce-esque weave than wearing an Angela Davis ‘fro. I am in denial no more.
Yes, shame on me. Judge me. I am brainwashed into thinking silky hair is best. Yada yada yada. I actually hated weaves before this process began. I didn’t understand why woman preferred them, especially if they had hair. It just didn’t make sense to me. But, since being natural, I have had a plethora of weaved styles and….now, I am addicted. What’s really going on is that weaves, pressed, and relaxed hair are what I am used to (since the tender age of 14) and I am resisting change with every fiber of my being. My natural coil is very curly (not silky curly, but kinky (borderline nappy) curly) and I have yet to press it. While I get comfortable with this curly look, I choose to rely on weaves to rest my natural hair in order to allow it to grow. I am also 10 minutes from cutting all of my hair off and re-perming it so, if I am not careful, I will throw all of the the time spent transitioning down the drain in a snip (literally). I am trying to be patient in order to get my hair to a length that I am comfortable with. This transition is about to drive me insane though lol.
2. I often feel more beautiful with straight hair (e.g. I feel like a slave sometimes >> see pic of Harriet Tubman below).
Side note: The slave comment is made in jest. Hold your panties, people. I feel like a slave to my hair. Thanks, Management.
Going natural takes such a psychological transformation (in addition to a physical one). I am so ashamed to admit this (no judgements, please)! But, I am still trying to see my natural beauty. I definitely have a permed-hair mindset; I have been conditioned to think that straight, european hair is more attractive. My significant other even says that, although he likes all styles on me (he has to say that lol), long straight hair is preferred. I can’t even start with how that comment irks me, but I do consider his ‘opinion’ when making hair decisions. I just don’t think that natural hair looks good on me (don’t I sound shameful) everyday. Maybe I have yet to find ‘the’ natural hair style that works for me. This is just all so much to consider…
I feel like Harriet looks in this photo when I wear my natural hair 🙁
3. I also get easily frustrated with the fact that my natural hair has a mind of its own.
I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way, but I feel like my natural hairstyles look different everyday. It is so hard to replicate hair styles, maintain a healthy moisture balance, find the right products for my hair, etc. I know I have spent at least $500 – $1000 on natural hair products and styling in the past 3 years and countless hours twisting and braiding it. At least. I just don’t know what hairstyle I am going to get from day to day. I sleep very hard (not what you think) and it makes keeping the same hairstyle for 1-2 weeks nearly impossible. And, you suggest plaiting or twisting my hair up every night? Chile boo. I really was a solder for a while with this one but, after a while, it gets old – all it takes is missing one night of pin-up and I will undooubtedly look like buckwheat the next day. I can’t.
4. I am scared to death of straightening my natural hair
(this, admittedly, would probably help with issue #2) I have only worn my hair in curly styles. I pressed a small portion while wearing a partial sew-in and it dang near changed my curl pattern! Talk about traumatic! Heat has got to be like kryptonite to the black woman’s afro. Losing your natural coil is a huge price to pay for a quick press. And, if you are natural, but press your hair – doesn’t that defeat the point of going natural to a degree? I don’t have the type of hair texture that will allow me to convert from curly to pressed at any whim. My hair sends a clear message: you get one shot. one chance. kinky or straight. Choose your poison.
5. I secretly dream of copying Janet Jackson’s hair style in For Colored Girls.
I have never really had a short hairstyle, so I am so intrigued by this secret obsession to say forget it and chop my hair all off. (side note: there was this one mishap in high school where my friend’s hair stylist called herself “clipping my ends” and I left with a layered shag. My mother went off! And, if anyone knows Frieda, she cussed that entire salon out. It was horrible and I have a fairly large head. The end ‘short’ hairstyle wasn’t cute at all.) Now, back to Ms. Jackson.
Yes, so sexy! A relaxed, jet Black, short cut with smooth true red lipstick. I love it. I can picture it now – Mizani perm, taped neck, swooped bang, silky straight coils, jet black rinse, and Chanel red lipstick (with Bobbi Brown red lip liner). Don’t you see, natural hair has made me nearly delirious.
I think we need more detailed discussions on this – don’t you agree? 😉
The point of all of this is to commend Raven for stepping out and embracing her natural hair and beauty. She has always been attractive (she recently lost a significant amount of weight too), but it takes a lot of confidence to go from 16″ and 20″ inch, custom weft weaves to an inch of naturally curly hair. This is a media image that I can appreciate.
Update (4/8/11): I want to snatch this weave out of my hair. It is foreign, like a faux fur. Please. Sweet baby Jesus. Get it out. Thus, the cycle of my natural hair struggle continues. That is all.