The producers of the documentary series True Life are looking for African American women who are ready to do the big chop. (For those of you who may be new to natural hair lingo, the big chop is the process of cutting one’s relaxed hair off and leaving only the natural kinky curly hair to become officially natural.) This is a major milestone for the natural hair community. MTV has millions of viewers from diverse backgrounds that will now be educated on what it means for a Black woman to go natural. This is not only a great opportunity for other races to be educated on black hair, but most importantly African Americans. When a woman goes natural, she often receives the most negative comments from Black people, especially those in her family. When I shared that I was going natural, a family member told me, “You know you don’t have good hair so you might not want to do that”. Going natural can be a very difficult and emotional journey. Often times, boyfriends have threatened to break up with their partners when they reveal their plans to stop relaxing or straightening their hair. There are also many women who fear having a difficult time gaining employment and not being viewed as attractive if they were to go natural. Hopefully, this episode of True Life will help African Americans learn to support those who decide to go natural and to embrace their own natural hair.
It is not just hair for African American women; it goes much deeper than that. For years we have been taught that our hair is difficult, unattractive and “needed to be fixed” but many of us have rejected these teachings and have decided to embrace our natural kinky, curly, and coily hair. Many natural women now embrace the word “nappy” and they will no longer allow the word to make them feel shame.
My hope is that MTV accurately illustrates what it means for a Black woman to go natural. It is not about vanity for most of us, it is about self- acceptance and self-love. I truly stand by Marcus Garvey’s quote, “Don’t remove the kinks from your hair. Remove them from your brain”. I encourage any women who are transitioning to natural and ready to big chop to apply. If you appear to be between the ages of 15 -28 and would like to document your transition to natural hair, send an email to email@example.com and tell them your hair story. You must include your name, location, phone number and recent photos of yourself. It is time an accurate voice is given to this often misunderstood movement.