Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Your daughters don't have REAL nappy hair!"

View Video


  1. Its along the same line of "grades of hair". Its all nappy, just depends on how you manage it. I understand what she means also, and its just the way our culture thinks. I hate, HATE hair typing and I think nappy hair should refer to any african american hair that is not relaxed, no matter the texture or tightness of curl or coil. Perhaps one day we will have what it takes to have a clear cut definition of a lot of the things we do defined. Its very thought provoking, thanks for sharing!

  2. First of all, let me just say that's pretty cool how you could do such a great video blog while in a moving car. :-)

    We have 4 sons with different hair types, perhaps because of the diversity in my husband and I. My dad is black and my mom is mixed. My husband's mom is Asian and his dad is African American. My eldest son has hair like his Polynesian grandmother. The strands are silky with a very loose curl. Yet I see the "black" in his hair in that it needs much more moisture than his grandmother's waist length hair ever needs, even though their hair is so similar in look and feel. Just glancing at him walking down the street his hair would probably not be characterized as nappy, yet the longer he grows it the more I see how its needs are very similar to the needs of my hair though in appearance it looks more like his grandma "wash and go" hair.

  3. That should have been:

    his grandma's "wash and go" hair.

    Sorry. :-)

  4. I too hate distinguishing between "good hair" and nappy hair. To me, nappy hair is curly hair that has to be detangled, whether it's tight curls or loose curls. My daughter had very tight, kinky hair. If I don't keep it moisturized, detangled and braided or twisted, it's unmanageable. My granddaughter who happens to be the same age has long curly hair that is finer in texture. If her mom doesn't keep it moisturuized, detangled and braided (or flat ironed) then it's unmanageable. So to me there is not difference, nappy is nappy!

  5. Thanks for your thoughtful responses!

    It was fun filming the video on the long drive back--wasn't terribly long but anything can seem like forever when you're tired.

    Hope my point came across that there's a spectrum of textures we can consider nappy. Here are a few common characteristics:
    1. Hair that shrinks in response to moisture.
    2. Hair that grows up and out.
    3. Hair that struggles to retain moisture.
    4. Hair that sheens more than shines (when coiled up).
    5. Fuzzes/frizzes sooner than later.

    All may apply or just some--the variations are so interesting to me---and a reflection of a creative maker. While some of it may be explained by race mixing, I think some of the diversity just is.

  6. I had my "big chop" at a natural hair salon over 11 months ago. I later emailed the link to my web album with pictures of my new 'do to some folks. One of my friends viewed the pictures for the first time while we were on the phone and commented, "Oh, you have that GOOD hair!" We laughed heartily about it, but I got the impression at one point that while I was laughing at the absurdity of that categorization that lingers with us from slavery, she was only half-joking, which saddened me a bit. I believe that if the hair on your head is growing and not falling out or not growing back because follicles are closing, that hair is GOOD. I highly recommend that folks who haven't quite come around to this understanding read the book Hair Story by Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps.

    EXCELLENT post, Tosh. This is a very necessary conversation!

  7. Congratulations on your big chop Ife--I have such fond memories of my TWA. Truth be told I have so much hair just 3 years later. Yours is beautiful!

  8. Loved this post. I can't even sit in the back seat of a moving car without feeling nauseated and here you are riding AND recording (beautiful scenery too). On to the topic...

    That whole nappy v. not nappy conversation is akin to the Oh, I'm half-French/Puerto Rican/Scottish/Indian conversation. It is a covert way to promote one's value by minimizing any African/black heritage. (And how can ANYONE be half-French anyway? Isn't France a nation? It is certainly not a racial phenotype, and in no way identifies a particular group. Remember Surya Bonaly ?

    Women and girls with nappy/curly/kinky/wavy/non-straight hair destroy their treasure by trying to remake it into something else. Straightened, relaxed, pressed, flat-ironed, fried hair that is beaten into temporary submission is NOT attractive.

    Those poor children in Louisiana who drowned a couple of weeks ago elicited hundreds of comments about black children and the fact that most never learn to swim. Many pointed to urban poverty as the reason why most AA children don't learn to swim, but I beg to differ. What nappy-headed girl wants to spend all day getting her hair done only to "ruin" it by getting the hair wet? How sad.

    OMG, Natacha, I could go on for hours. Suffice it to say, you are a beacon of hope for those of us who try to swim against the tide.