Article Review | NY Times ‘Going Natural’ Requires Lots of Help

Debra's Hair (Braidout)

It’s time for me to confess! Hair care blogs are my guilty pleasure. I discovered the world of healthy hair care three years ago, right before I started law school. Shortly after that time, there was a steady, rapid increase in the number of African-American women “going natural.”

Apparently, the NY Times has yet again decided to write about this phenomenon. A new article in today’s issue features several popular bloggers/YouTubers on the natural hair scene. I’m familiar with all three of these women and I’ve followed their work carefully over the years, although I am not natural. (I have grown out my relaxed hair.) The article discusses how naturals need “lots of help” going natural. I would imagine that some naturals will take issue with those sentiments because they once again re-enforce the notion that natural hair is difficult, time-consuming, and costly. While it is true that many new naturals spend a lot of time and money on hair care, some do not. Many African-American women have never had relaxers, so they have managed their natural hair without “lots of help” for many years.

For the most part, the article was well-written. The author could have left out the reference to “Good Hair” because that movie was more of a mockumentary of the black hair experience than a documentary. The movie didn’t really discuss natural hair at all. It focused more on weaves and relaxers. Chris Rock also failed to acknowledge the healthy hair scene which was already in rapid bloom at the time the movie was developed.

Back to the NY Times article, one interesting angle covered in the article was money. While the love of natural kinks and coils is surely motivation for bloggers and vloggers to help other women, money is a big motivating factor as well. There’s money in beauty and when it comes to natural hair, women and companies are willing to pay up. Women are looking for the next best product. Companies are looking for the next best blogger to help them advertise.

All in all, the article was interesting. As an African-American woman with relaxed hair, I’ve moved away from the now natural-hair dominated hair blogs and forums, but I think they are a great resource. I didn’t care for the description of relaxers as “caustic paste” – more propganda, in my opinion. But, you can be the judge. Check out the article for yourself.