A popular YouTube personality, who has been chronicling her relaxed healthy hair journey for about three years online, recently announced her decision to transition. She is a favorite among relaxed women because of her determination to reach her goals and the ease (or so it seems) of which she does so; and of course her relaxed, mid-back length hair is nothing short of gorgeous! So needless to say, her announcement sparked a lot of discussion and interesting reactions among the online hair community. One comment I see repeatedly from both naturals and relaxed women alike is the question of whether or not natural hair is a trend. Some feel people are going natural just because it is trendy, some people wonder if natural hair will still be this popular in ten or more years, and some state they feel pressure to transition just because it is so trendy right now.
My question is – why do we speak of a “natural hair trend” as if that is a negative thing? Haven’t all hairstyles been trends? Nobody questioned whether the afro was a trend in the ‘70s, the jherri curl of the ‘80s, or the mushroom and asymmetrical cuts of the ‘90s. When they came on the scene strong and we jumped on the bandwagon, whether we had the style or just appreciated the look, we never felt the need to defend that AFROS OR JHERRI CURLS ARE HERE TO STAY! When one trend faded and a new one emerged, it was accepted as a natural part of the beauty industry –because that is what looks do, change!
So if I decide to transition from my healthy relaxed hair to my lovely kinky virgin hair solely because I want to join in on the trend, why is that a problem? Do I have to have a deep philosophical reason? Do I have to have had a bad experience with or a negative view of relaxers? Must I feel that natural hair is more beautiful? Or can I just decide that I want a change and want to be trendy? And if I state that as my reason, why would I (most likely) receive a bunch of criticism for that being my main reason? Why do relaxed women feel disappointment when another online hair vlogger or blogger decides to transition and act as if someone has died? I can understand wanting to see women with healthy, long relaxed hair because it serves as inspiration and lets you know that it is possible – but if a woman has achieved that and decides to change, why do some relaxed women go into mourning? And vice versa regarding the feelings of natural women when long time naturals decide to relax?
Natural hair may or may not be a trend. In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter – it is beautiful to see and I appreciate that more women are deciding to rock their naturals. However, if in a decade, it isn’t as strong that would be okay with me too. Because just like with any “trend” once a new one emerges, there are always some women who stick to the old one. There are women who still get “curls” and some never left the 70s afro behind. So even if it is a trend, the presence of natural hair will never fade completely away regardless of whether or not it is as popular as it is right now. And that, ladies, is a wonderful thing, trend or not.