My First Natural Hair Event – Going Natural Discussion Panel


I attended my first natural Black hair panel event a few days ago, hosted by Honey B Creations.  I attended as a hair model.  I have a frohawk with two strand twists that were done in bantu knots.  I have to take it down before my next work meeting but I do get to keep it for a few days.

The event itself was very interesting.  I have never attended any of the natural hair meet ups until now, despite going through a 2 year transition from relaxed to natural.

The discussion centered around cultural assimilation and self-esteem issues and how it must start in the home.  The conversation surrounding our kids being brainwashed was somewhat upsetting.   Most of you have probably seen the “doll test” where young children are asked to select between a White doll and a Black doll by giving good and bad traits to each doll.  The results, even as recent as 2011, show children associating the White doll with being good and pretty and the Black doll with being bad and ugly.  I personally did not have such experiences in my home.  I had Black dolls and when there were no Black dolls to purchase, my mother had them made for us.  I still remember my Black “cabbage patch” doll with the lavender flowered dress and kinky brown hair made from yarn.  No, the Cabbage Patch team did not sell this doll but my mother was not about to bring their version into our house.  One panelist mentioned that she had never relaxed and she attributed that to growing up watching her mom manage her natural hair.

A few women commented that they are natural because they want to show their daughters that natural hair can be beautiful too.  One woman’s story stands out because she mentioned being with her little girl in a store when another child (Dominican or something) walked by with long, flowing and straight hair.  Her little girl was immediately upset and wanted hair like this other child. She is now on a mission to show her daughter that natural hair is just as beautiful.

One woman commented that in her culture people bleach their skin in order to assimilate.  The result is lots of women with skin cancer who still continue to bleach their skin despite the dangers.  She was relaxed and recently stopped using weave; however, she did state that she never thought that getting a relaxer and wearing weave was a big deal since she was not bleaching her skin.  I had to agree.  I never felt that getting a relaxer or wearing weave was somehow expressing self-hate.  Nonetheless, I did realize that making the transition from relaxed to natural was not only physical but mental.

Another woman who recently did the big chop for the third time said her mom always told her she would never find a man because she was too dark and now with short, natural hair she would never get a man.  She admittedly gave in to her mother’s demands and relaxed more than once, but this time she said she was determined to stay natural.

A teacher (male) commented that some girls do not show up for school when their hair/weave is not right.  These children are so concerned about their weave; presumably thinking it will help them attract boys, that they forego getting their education.  These are the same children who stare in awe when his wife drops by the school with her fabulous head full of natural hair.

A comment that sticks out to me is that maybe in 20 years we will look at women with relaxers like we currently look at people who smoke – you know that look like “why are you paying to get lung cancer?”  The woman who made the comment mentioned that her sister would get physically ill for a few days after relaxing which was later attributed to the sodium in the relaxer affecting her body.

It was an enlightening event.  I hope to attend more events like these and maybe something geared toward men and children.

The goodie bag aka “swag bag” included samples from Jane Carter, Curls, Honey B Creations,  CurlPrep, Jessicurl and others. Check out the photos.