Natural Hair Awakening

Taji Hair Salon 6

After becoming actively involved in New Growth Magazine, I learned about the Natural Hair debate. Some African-American women are concerned about ‘going natural’ because they think that men prefer women with relaxed hair. In the past, I was on the fence about this issue. Outside of my high school crush on Lauryn Hill, I didn’t feel connected to the natural hair debate. But last year, everything changed when Jamel Jones invited me to attend Malaika Tamu Cooper’s Natural Hair Care Expo in Raleigh, NC. He asked me to hang out with him backstage and take some photos for his wife’s salon. I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but I agreed to travel to Raleigh for my first hair show.

After walking around the venue and meeting several vendors, Jamel took me backstage. When I walked behind the curtain, I felt like I was transported back in time. I wasn’t in Raleigh anymore. I felt like I was at Fela Kuti’s Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria. These beautiful women had to be more than just natural hair models. I’m certain that they were members of Fela’s world-renowned stage performers. Their hairstyles didn’t look like anything that I had seen before. The Cowrie Shells, Afros, Bantu Knots, Cantu Twist, Cornrows, and Twisted Locs had me mesmerized. Their gorgeous natural hair put me into a trance. Most men (myself included), don’t usually spend much time checking out women’s hair. Usually, it’s a quick look at her face and then rapid eye movement to search for her curves. But this experience was different. My eyes were focused on their hair, face, and eyes.

So I decided to use my camera to my advantage. I was going to allow my camera to become my decoy so that I could get close and communicate with these beautiful natural hair goddesses disguised as hair models. After watching Taji Shabu and her team of natural hair stylists’ prepare their models to grace the runway, I was no longer on the fence. The natural hair goddesses had completely won me over.

During my drive back to Charlotte, I couldn’t get these goddesses out of my head. I called a few of my friends, but they didn’t understand my experience. After I posted my pictures on Facebook, my friends had a much better idea of what I was talking about. After they viewed the pictures, I received the following questions: “Where are these women from?” “Are these kinds of women in Charlotte?” “Are you going back next year?” “If you go back next year, can I come with you?”

I am not the only guy who has experienced a Natural Hair Awakening. After recent conversations with most of my friends, I am confident that African-American men are becoming more receptive to women with natural hair. A small minority of men still prefer only women with relaxed hair, but women should not allow a small group of closed- minded individuals to control their hair preferences.After becoming actively involved in New Growth Magazine, I learned about the Natural Hair debate. Some African-American women are concerned about ‘going natural’ because they think that men prefer women with relaxed hair. In the past, I was on the fence about this issue. Outside of my high school crush on Lauryn Hill, I didn’t feel connected to the natural hair debate. But last year, everything changed when Jamel Jones invited me to attend Malaika Tamu Cooper’s Natural Hair Care Expo in Raleigh, NC. He asked me to hang out with him backstage and take some photos for his wife’s salon. I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but I agreed to travel to Raleigh for my first hair show.

After walking around the venue and meeting several vendors, Jamel took me backstage. When I walked behind the curtain, I felt like I was transported back in time. I wasn’t in Raleigh anymore. I felt like I was at Fela Kuti’s Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria. These beautiful women had to be more than just natural hair models. I’m certain that they were members of Fela’s world-renowned stage performers. Their hairstyles didn’t look like anything that I had seen before. The Cowrie Shells, Afros, Bantu Knots, Cantu Twist, Cornrows, and Twisted Locs had me mesmerized. Their gorgeous natural hair put me into a trance. Most men (myself included), don’t usually spend much time checking out women’s hair. Usually, it’s a quick look at her face and then rapid eye movement to search for her curves. But this experience was different. My eyes were focused on their hair, face, and eyes.

So I decided to use my camera to my advantage. I was going to allow my camera to become my decoy so that I could get close and communicate with these beautiful natural hair goddesses disguised as hair models. After watching Taji Shabu and her team of natural hair stylists’ prepare their models to grace the runway, I was no longer on the fence. The natural hair goddesses had completely won me over.

During my drive back to Charlotte, I couldn’t get these goddesses out of my head. I called a few of my friends, but they didn’t understand my experience. After I posted my pictures on Facebook, my friends had a much better idea of what I was talking about. After they viewed the pictures, I received the following questions: “Where are these women from?” “Are these kinds of women in Charlotte?” “Are you going back next year?” “If you go back next year, can I come with you?”

I am not the only guy who has experienced a Natural Hair Awakening. After recent conversations with most of my friends, I am confident that African-American men are becoming more receptive to women with natural hair. A small minority of men still prefer only women with relaxed hair, but women should not allow a small group of closed- minded individuals to control their hair preferences.

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