Natural Hair Fighting Words

I love my natural hair and I love encouraging others to embrace their curls.  I am the first to speak up in defense of natural hair against ignorant comments like those made by celeb stylist Andre Walker and ridiculous advice of JoAnn Robertson in Type F vids.  But can we also be honest to say that natural hair women can be OVERLY sensitive in regards to their hair.  I have seen it time again on twitter, message boards and fb.  Someone states their opinion on natural hair and they are darn near lynched being called everything but a child of God.  

The most recent victim is actor Isaiah Mustafa aka the Old Spice guy.  According to a post on Black Girl Long Hair in a television interview Mustafa was asked if he was dating anyone and what he was looking for in a future mate.  Mustafa commented that he wanted to date a woman with “good hair….because [his] hair is nappy”. He also stated he wanted his “kids to have nice hair”.  Yep that’s fighting words.

Oh no he didn’t say the two most hated terms in the natural hair dialect: “good hair” and “nappy”.  Who does he think he is? In the words of John Wayne: “Fill your hands you sonofabitch!”

But in all reality, guess what: people are allowed to have types and preferences.  We all have them.  They help us determine friendships, mates, team members, etc.  and apparently Mustafa just doesn’t dig girls with kinks.  So what? I think he’s an attractive looking man, but he ain’t my cup of tea either.  I like my men tall 6′ or above, head full of locs and chocolate skin like this pic *swoon*. Am I now going to be attacked by an army of short, light-skinned, guys with fades?

The point is something can only offend you if you let.  Words solely have the power you give them.  I don’t find the term nappy offensive, in fact I use it to describe my own hair. I don’t want to beat the proverbial dead horse, but nappy is the new “n-word” for naturals and in my opinion we need to build a bridge and get over it.  Mustafa did not attack anyone personally or degrade them he stated his preference using terms that where widely understood.  While I don’t agree with connotation associated with the term “good hair”, I am not offended by its use.  Not everyone is going to like my natural hair and that’s okay because truth be told I didn’t like it much either.  It was not until a few years ago that I was challenged to love my natural curls and it has been a battle but I do love them.  And while I think Mustafa’s goal of having children with “nice hair” is silly, its okay because that is his choice.  As for me and my naps we’ll be over here doing something important like perfecting the flawless twist-out.


34 thoughts on “Natural Hair Fighting Words

  1. He actually apologized: @blackbuttrfly I couldn’t agree more, my apologies. Please look 4 my interview w/@abiolatv. We talk about those comments and relationships. I have not watched the interview. But even though it sounds ignorant, it is what it is. Everyone has preferences. Maybe as a kid he was teased/bullied because of his nappy hair so in his mind he “needs” a woman with a looser curl type to offset his hair because he doesn’t want his children being treated the way he was. I think the majority of people have these issues – they are just smart enough not to publicize them.
    I was talking to a guy friend two days ago who is very dark skinned, but had the nerve to mention that another female was too dark for him to date & I was appalled. I referred him to a picture of him and four of his friends too which he was obviously a lot darker than everyone else and he had the nerve to say “I was in the shadow”…in his mind he is brown skin but of the lighter side. Anyhoo, I am digressing…My point is that people cant get mad at a person preferences, we all have them.

    This post was sweet, have I told you how awesome your are lately!?!

  2. Wasn’t offended either, but there comes a time when we have to start holding people (especially those that make the news) accountable and demanding that we collectively move forward in our thoughts and perceptions of ourselves as well as the language that we chose to use. Otherwise, when will better come about? With him saying he wants “good hair” that’s better than his nappy hair, what is he saying? Even if it wasn’t on some self-hate ideology, the terms and what his message implies is something some of us are fighting to change in the media and want to move forward from. Or at least diversify the sentiment towards black natural looks. Nothing wrong with him liking “good hair” but goodness, there is a much more intelligent and less damaging (yes damaging) way to say that. And I am aware that a better way to communicate his preference will require him to probably gain a better historical context of his word choice. How about lose coil/ tight coil instead of good hair/ bad hair? Still two words, sounds a lot more EDUCATED AND AWARE, and still pretty much defines his preference without putting any of his fans down. Mind you, good-hair, nappy, high yellow, and all those negative connotation terms we use to compare ourselves are ANCIENT as well as the lingering, silly, hindering mind frames we’ve developed from chronically and continuously utilizing them. There has to come a time when we should demand more and admit that it’s time to move forward even in language. So yeah, he didn’t offend me and I love me some Mustafa, but come on, it’s 2011.

    • The terms were definitely antiquated but it did get his point across because people still use them. The term good hair has evolved into other ridiculous terms like mixed or bi-racial hair which means nothing yet ppl understand the connotation of it. Honestly I don’t think most men know how to accurately describe things like hair types (or colors, or clothing or patterns) and we are giving them way too much credit in assuming they do.

  3. Not offended, but men have said that to me and it’s a deal breaker, because I don’t date men that ignorant. Especially since the child’s hair can absolutely still come out “nappy.” Dah well, we all have our preferences, lol.

  4. Erica via FB: He has a right 2 his opinion, however ignorant it may be. I can’t believe he actually said that on TV! I believe that any hair that is healthy is “good hair”, but really he dated Kathy Griffin? He obviously does not have any taste cuz that chick is still ugly After all her plastic surgery. She & all the other white girls can have him cuz he’s not my type anyway. Brainwashed & sad, we should pity his self-hatred. SMH

  5. Sry… what did you say after “…like this pic.”??? LOL!

    Seriously, generally speaking, us as a race have GOT to do better in uplifting, encouraging, and embracing one another. smh What does that say about their views on their BLACK mothers? Sure, I believe in the to each their own theory, but for real tho’, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

  6. I think before going natural I would have taken offense to this comment…But honestly..what is good hair? I consider myself to have good hair…it’s’s growing..and it’s not breaking off. You are right though..everybody is entitled to their preferences..I know I surely have mine!

  7. @ Wynter re: “If you respect his right to have a preference, why the name calling?” I didn’t call him any names so I am not sure what you are referring to. But in general I will say that you can respect a person’s choice and decision but you don’t have to agree with it.

    • yep i feel what you are saying. I was (and still am) a huge John Mayer fan and his comments got an EXTREME side-eye from me. However I like him for his music and I am not trying to be his boo so i just let it go. Method man is always saying dumb stuff so that was not surprising. As for Seth McFarland and Daniel Tosh I’m not up on these controversies but I’m sure they like the others said some the out of line and people probably started some letter writing campaign about it…

  8. Well, he probably won’t be having any blk children so he won’t be able mess up some blk child’s self esteem…That’s Great!

    I feel like I am watching an episode of Kids Say The Darndest Things, when some to these men are interviewed.

  9. Pingback: Dare To Be Natural: The Radical Threat of Authenticity | derby city naturals

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