I want to begin this post with one word: assimilation. The dictionary defines it, in anthropology and sociology, as the process whereby individuals or groups of differing ethnic heritage are absorbed into the dominant culture of a society. The reason that this is important is because I am going to talk to you all about relaxed vs. natural hair.
What prodded me to do this is the natural trend that is becoming increasingly popular with black women. Relaxed hair was made popular by Madame CJ Walker when she created the business for relaxed hair. Walker created a cream that helps restore and grow black hair. In 1919, Garrett Morgan invented the first chemical relaxer. During this time, blacks were recently removed from slavery and entering the workforce and their appearances followed suit. Achieving straight hair was crucial to being taken seriously. Fast forward almost 50 years and blacks entered the era of “Black is beautiful” and Black Pride. Many men and women took to wearing afros without relaxers to show their love for their culture and heritage.
A similar trend seems to be occurring right now. Many black women are transitioning and wearing their hair natural for different reasons: health, finances, or because the way they were raised. My question to you is which is better? Relaxed or natural? The PABPG team and my line sisters have asked me what stops me from going natural. Some would say I stay relaxed because I prefer resembling the European standard that American culture has presented to me. Others may say because I hate my African roots. I say I choose relaxers because in my young adult life it has been the best and healthiest choice for my hair.
If I think back to my earliest hair memory, I remember the time I begged my mom to do something different to my hair because I wanted it to look more like the girls’ in my class. I went to a private school so all the girls in my class were white. My mom did the normal things to my hair as a child: hot combs, plats, braids, etc. I will say that at this point in my life I wanted to ASSIMILATE and fit in with the girls at my current school. When I was 10 or 11 my mom took me to the salon and I got my first relaxer. I remember the excitement I had when I looked in the mirror and saw shiny, bouncy hair. Fast forward 10 years and I’m still getting them. Not because I want to resemble someone else but because I love what it does for my hair.
Looking at the PABPG team, I love seeing how they compare hair styles, tips, products, etc. I love how the natural trend is becoming more popular and it is a reason for black women to come together and help each other for a bigger cause. I love all the different styles and ways black hair can be done. Black hair is unique in its own special way because no two black women can have the same hair style or type. That’s what makes ALL of its avenues so versatile and awe-inspiring. To answer my previous question, I don’t think any one method of black hair care is “better”. From relaxers to weaves to braids or whatever, choose what suits you and keeps your hair healthy, happy, and beautiful. Black is beautiful and so are you.-Candice, CFO of PABPG Inc.