Dear Natural Hair NAZI’S: GO F*^K YOURSELVES

In the Black community there are two very prevalent camps: The IGNORANT and The INFORMED. The Ignorant is comprised of Black folk like the ones who make fun of Gabby Douglas’ hair, folks who bleach their skin to look whiter while framing dark skin as a horrible and ugly quality, and folks who have no general idea of WHY they should be proud of their “Blackness.” On the other hand, you have the INFORMED, who have an appreciation for all shades of Black and Brown under the rainbow, all different types of kinky hair texture, and who are very in touch with the concept of LOVING your SELF – a concept many Natural Hair wearing Black women thoroughly understand. But there’s a group of the INFORMED who are acting so WILFULLY IGNORANT, disrespectful and destructive to the BLACK STRUGGLE, I can pointedly say I HATE THEM – and that’s the Natural Hair NAZI’S.

Hate may SEEM like a strong word, but allow me to explain why it is apropos. In the Black community, the IGNORANT can be broken down into two separate categories: Those who don’t KNOW and those you don’t CARE. The people who don’t care are the ones who say BULLSH*T like “All dark skin girls are ugly!” and then when an INFORMED person checks them, they lash out and go in EVEN HARDER in a fit of utter niggnorance [Yes I wrote niggnorance]. The people who don’t know are the ones who simply have yet to be educated about concepts of self love. It’s EASY as HELL to be ignorant about why you should love your Black skin and kinky hair, because [up until VERY recently] there have been VERY few outlets to hear that message. Forget school and pop-culture, many of our own media outlets, like BET, rarely showed dark skin or natural hair in it’s true, beautiful light, so many of us grow up NOT KNOWING. We perm our toddlers hair and put weave into third graders’ heads and never ONCE analyze what we are REALLY doing and WHY we are doing it.

But here’s the thing: The VAST majority of the INFORMED, were once IGNORANT. The INFORMED are no BETTER or SMARTER than the truly IGNORANT, we are just LUCKY to have met someone who opened our eyes to the HUGE problem of self-hate in our communities. I was 12 years old when I first heard Marcus Garvey’s infamous quote paraphrased as: Remove the kinks from your mind, not your hair. In the mid 90’s I decided to read up about our history and instantly took a passion for it. I changed my life, name and outlook, NOT because I wanted to be BETTER than anyone else, but because I wanted to share this highly-unknown knowledge with all my brothers and sisters. I have been actively doing everything I can to support ‘The Struggle’ of Black folks here in North America at every turn I get, along with MANY great men and women fighting for the very same causes.

And then the natural hair thing blew up. My sister went natural, my close friend Bee went natural and a lot of other women all around me embraced their kinks – as well as the concept of self love. They embraced their cultural heritage like never before, their skin tones like never before and even started to promote the concept of LOVING YOURSELF to other women. It was a beautiful sight to see – until I got MORE into the Natural Hair Movement, and learned that there was a sector of women who were NOT about advancing our fight against oppression, but MORE interested in being divisive – the Natural Hair Nazi.

A Natural Hair Nazi is a Black woman who believes that HER naturally kinky [usually VERY kinky] hair is the epitome of “Blackness” and women with LESS kinkier hair are NOT entitled to share in her struggle, while also propagating the ideology that if you DON’T wear your hair natural, you are a self-hating DOUCHEBAG who is ruining the race. These women aren’t concerned with who truly love themselves, as their sole focus lies in whether or not you are LOVING yourself in a way THEY deem to be acceptable – and they are FULL OF SH*T.

But what these Nazi’s don’t understand is that before this natural hair craze picked up steam, the INFORMED members of our society have been fighting for equality, civil rights and fair and equitable treatment for ALL of us. These people were VERY aware of how our looks were stigmatized in this society, from our skin colour being used against us in the legal system, to our names and addresses being used against us on job applications, right down to our HAIRSTYLES being used against us at work. Great men and women like Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr. fought for ALL of us to make sure we had EQUALITY. And that’s what these Natural Hair Nazi’s DON’T understand – the struggle they are JOINING, is NOT to make every Black woman in the world wear her hair natural – it’s about making society EQUAL enough that Black women [and men] can wear their hair ANY damn way they please without being profiled or stigmatized.

But what do these jackasses do? They create more DIVISIVENESS within a community that is already TOO divided. They attack women who wear their hair natural but relax it, then they attack women for being 3C instead of 4C, and then they attack Black folks who are ignorant about the Natural Hair Movement – and UNDO all the DAMN work that the people who paved the way BEFORE them, worked tirelessly to build. And this is where I get PISSED OFF, and this blog post is my stand against these anti-intellectual IDIOTS. For the sake of the struggle please STEP. THE F*^K. OFF. You are NOT helping progress our community, you are just HURTING it. You are NOT spreading love [the only thing that can TRULY overcome ignorance] which will UNITE our broken community, you are just spreading HATE and ANGER and BITTERNESS and leaving it WORSE-OFF than how you’re sorry-ass found it.

To all the Black women who have natural hair, you’re beautiful. To all the Black women who DON’T have natural hair, you’re beautiful too. And to ANY Black woman who would JUDGE another woman’s intrinsic worth based on her NOT rocking her hair as kinky as YOU NEED IT TO BE, please remember THIS about ALL of our sisters:

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.

30 Comments

  1. lincolnanthonyblades

    10/09/2012 at 5:41 AM

    Ladies & Gentlemen, Do You Believe That There Are Some Members Of The Natural Hair Committee Whose Fervour Is Actually HURTING The Black Community? Or Do You Agree With Their Approach As Being Helpful For The Community?

    • Mm82

      10/24/2012 at 2:42 PM

      This was a great article. Natural Nazis take me back to my younger days when I use to be attacked because I was lighter toned with long hair. I was often pre judged because I was always called stuck up until people actually got to know me. Same thing now with Natural Nazis, No I do not plan on going natural but it doesn't make me any less black. I face the same challenges as the next sister . There will always be a way to divide us if we let it and Natural Nazis stand in the forefront of this division. I can care less what the next woman looks like, the only concern I have is whether or not she's friendly .

  2. Smilez_920

    10/09/2012 at 6:43 AM

    I think grown women need to stop worrying and focusing about what other grown women do to there hair unleashed asked. Just cause you have natural hair doesn't make you any more , self confident , beautiful , smart Afro centric than the women with permed or weaves hair . Yes some women do certain things to themselves because of self esteem issues ( bleaching skin , wearing weave , getting ass shots) . But some women just want to wear their hair how they want.

    I swear as women sometimes we find ways to seperate ourselves. I also wish we would stop writing 80 blogs about why someone else needs natural hair. Let that person come to ther own conclusion .

    Yes my hairdos natural ( I'm growin out my perm) but trust let me see a Sista with a fly weave or fresh touch up, it's nothing but love.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:38 AM

      What I would like to see happen is Black women NOT aligning a woman with relaxed hair or weave immediately to someone who hates herself. I know women with natural hair who occasionally DON"T rock their kinks natural, and it doesn't mean they hate their black skin and heritage.

  3. GrandCentral

    10/09/2012 at 6:48 AM

    Oh Lord! Who was she and what the hell did she say to you Lincoln??? LOL

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on the divisiveness. I went natural in 2000 for no reason. I wasn't the most conscience or in tune with the struggle. I want to say the Jill Scott and India Arie CDs are the reason I did it. However in 06, I couldn't keep up with natural hair and the corporate look I was going for, so I relaxed. In 07 I went natural again and have been since. I did once meet a super natural person (that's what I called them) and the discussion of hair came up and she went down the road you described. She told me I wasn't really a natural because I relaxed in 07, and as a natural today I'm still conforming to white European standards of beauty because I put a blow dryer and flat iron to my head. I had a very heated discussion with this chic and learned that day on to NEVER engage in the natural hair discussion. This chic has an entire system of logic (bullshit) that she attempted to spit on me. So the divisiveness does really exist.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:40 AM

      It's sad that women like the one you meet can turn people off from even HAVING the discussion of natural hair. Just imagine what they are doing to the minds of IGNORANT people who could really use some education, but instead get talked down to?

  4. NotNatural

    10/09/2012 at 7:19 AM

    I truly dislike when people throw in this "conforming to European standards of beauty"
    If I go natural, I'm now conforming to whatever natural means.
    It's my hair and I am entitled to do whatever I please with it. My choice, and no one has the right to come to me and play Natural Nazi.
    I remember telling someone that being natural does not mean you have Kinky hair, there are plenty people with straight hair who is not using a relaxer and there are plenty European people using a perm to add kinky to their hair.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:41 AM

      Agree completely and very good points.

  5. Paul B.

    10/09/2012 at 9:07 AM

    I'm going to put it like this: Some "naturals" along with other segments of the population don't want to be simpky accepted, they want to be exclusively preferred or have clear and total superiority. You can tell by how they act when given a chance to remotely seem to be on an equal footing. They were once knocked for being nappy headed (which some really were because their presentation was horrible), and now they seek to do the same because natural is now the "in" thing.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:44 AM

      Good point. Some people ACT like they just want to be included in the love, but the truth is they want to be considered BETTER than everyone else.

  6. Henri

    10/09/2012 at 10:08 AM

    I always find it funny when people use external factors to justify their expression of self. Regardless of how you wear your hair, or what music you listen to, or what books your read, if you want to uplift the black community it will be shown through your involvement in the community and helping your brothers and sisters overcome adversary.
    I started wearing my hair naturally about 15 years ago, and I remember the disapproval of my family and out siders. Luckily, I had the confidence to know what I wanted and why, so I kept doing my thing and everyone else just had to live with it. I think these women experience this same disapproval and instead of using it to make them stronger, have gone on the defensive to attack those who aren't apart of "their struggle". Although they are informed they need as much help as the ignorant.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:45 AM

      Good point. I know there's a lot of pain in these women's hearts, but I genuinely hope they can learn to let it go because being bitter is turning people off to their struggle.

  7. iluvwhoiluv

    10/09/2012 at 10:13 AM

    Wow, Linc, I'm curious as to what events happened to generate the heat behind this post (can't quite wait to get the fill in)…

    As far as my take, I can share a bit of my story. I did go through a bit of my struggle to embrace my hair, since growing up, the "in" thing was to chemically treat the hair. So from 7th grade up until about 2000 or so, I had my hair permed. I never got comfortable in perming my own hair, but I was very particular as to who could do it.

    When I didn't have my hair permed, couldn't find someone who I trusted to do it, or didn't have the ends, I opted to have braids put in my hair. I liked how they looked. I rocked the "Poetic Justice braids", the micro braids, even crochet and kinky twists.

    I fully stopped perming my hair in 2001, and since I deem being natural as "the absence of chemicals to alter it from its' natural state", I have considered myself natural since 2001. Even when I was having braids put in it, I did nothing to alter the state of the hair with the exception of how it looked to others.

    In 2003, I decided to stop wearing the braids. I had a baby afro and did baby twists from time to time all up to about 2004 when I decided to loc.

    There are some people who have always been advocates of the Natural Movement. There are others who are jumping on the bandwagon just because it's the "in thing". I don't think the advocates should be in judgment of the ones who are just being trendy, nor do I think the trendy ones should throw salt at those who are the advocates.

    Overall, I think we should be thankful if there is one person out there who sees the beauty (even if it is briefly) in one's own natural tresses.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:48 AM

      Yeah I feel you, and I'm definitely not about throwing shade at the trendy, BUT by campaigning against self-hate and acting like you are part of the struggle, means that you inherit the duty of maintaining the struggle and not worsening it.

  8. mena

    10/09/2012 at 10:13 AM

    Hair is an accessory. Dye it, blow it, flatten it, do whatever you like. It is simply an accessory. I like my relaxed hair. I love the way the wind blows through it, i love playing in it, and i love shaking it. I keep it short just so it can have a more messy look to it. I also compliment those who have natural hair that rock blow outs, buns, twists, all of it in its nappy glory. I want to go natural, i have thought about going natural, but for right now, i am digging my relaxed look.

    Natural is now a fashion statement. I want to believe that a lot of women go natural to go against conforming and i do believe that it started that way but now, it seems like more of a way to fit in with what is popular.

    Wear your hair the way you want to. I love seeing a beautiful cut relaxed head of hair as much as i love seeing a beautiful fro.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 11:49 AM

      I prefer women with natural hair, but I would prefer a woman with fake hair and a real attitude than the reverse.

  9. RYE

    10/09/2012 at 12:44 PM

    As Andre 3000 put it, "is every n*gga with dreads for the cause? Is every n*gga with golds for the fall? Naw. So don't get caught up in appearance, it's just another black experience"… Same thing with the natural vs relaxed debate. My hair is natural but I don't have anything against anyone that's relaxed.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 3:13 PM

      Shout out to Aquemini!

  10. KemaVA

    10/09/2012 at 2:23 PM

    I find it problematic that, as a group, most of us have felt the need to change one of our core characteristics. I dont have a problem with relaxers (unhealthy but we do a lot of unhealthy stuff). But you have to see something is up when for the majority this is the norm. It sometimes makes me wonder what conversations we would have if the norm was to lighten our skin.

    I am natural but I am not a 'natural nazi' and really dont care how others wear their hair. In a similar manner I like to work out & care about health but really dont care if someone else stuffs their face with Micky D's everyday.

    • mena

      10/09/2012 at 2:33 PM

      I feel you Kema but i never felt the need to change. I was given a relaxer to manage my hair and have worn one since i was probably 12 or 13. I think that going natural is now more of a fashion statement the same way that jheri curl was a fashion statement back in the day.

      You bring up a good point about skin lightening which is common in African countries. I guess for me, my mother never made my hair a big deal (besides telling me it should always be done no matter what) and she (and others) always made me feel that i had beautiful skin. It's how you are raised and programmed i guess.

      • KemaVA

        10/09/2012 at 2:44 PM

        I was given a relaxer at 5 and my hair pretty much fell out due to overtreatment. Then I had a Jheri Curl in the 90's (Ugh!). For some women a relaxer can help them maintain their hair. However there are too many kids with bald patches and damaged hair to think this is the reason it is done for all. For many of us its treated like a rite of passage. Thats the part I would want to change.

        Oh and Mena… You have gorgeous skin!

        • mena

          10/09/2012 at 3:33 PM

          Thanks :-)

          I agree with you on the kids with the damaged hair. After i saw Good Hair with Chris Rock, i was just shocked that the relaxer was that serious. I also see your point about the right of passage as well

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 3:15 PM

      Good analogy. As long we strive to educate but not bully or intimidate then it's all good.

  11. Lia

    10/09/2012 at 3:02 PM

    It reminds me of the pro-breastfeeding movement that's been going on in recent years. In both situations, there are some women who are informed of the benefits of their choice and simply wish to inspire other women, letting them know their options. On the other hand, we also have women who feel as though their decision is best and look down upon those who do not make the same choice.

    I do not wear my hair natural, but I have heard of some of the best hair care regimens from women who do. I respect what they are willing to do and appreciate their wealth of knowledge. But just like anything, there is more than one reason to do something. Just like there's no one way to define blackness, there is no one way that defines the way a black woman should wear here hair. Some of us wear our hair natural or relaxed because it's the way we like it. No extra thought put into it. Then there are others who have more complex reasons for doing so. In either case, it is nobody else's business.

    It can hurt us in the long run because it shifts us from one extreme to the other, and in the end we would still be placing ourselves in a box. All black is beautiful, there are many different definitions of that.

    • Lia

      10/09/2012 at 3:06 PM

      *her

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      10/09/2012 at 3:17 PM

      That last paragraph is TRUTH

    • KemaVA

      10/09/2012 at 3:19 PM

      Yes! This is very much like the breastfeeding movement. If you really think about it breastfeeding is the best choice for most (some cant for medical reasons or implants). However, I would never criticize someone's personal choice.

  12. Ises

    10/09/2012 at 4:04 PM

    lol lol lol lol. I've been "natural' since 1997. At first i was so happy to share information with my brothers and sisters. Let everyone know that its the answer to all the hair problems. But eventually over the years it became apparent that the ones who did care, or didn't know could care less to really learn or understand it. For the most part they dismiss me and say "well you must have coolie in you, or because your trini, thats why it works". huh? I have also heard 'your hair is not as nappy as mine", "you have patience for that" on and on and on! I agree with you Mr. Blades on the superiority complex that being natural can give you. I just think that when a person gets over themselves they can be helpful to others, instead of condescending.

    Beautiful hair is something that comes with care and attention. There is a mistaken belief that natural hair, and locked hair is low maintenance and easy. Its the same amount of work as relaxed, colored or weaved hair. I look forward to the day when beauty retailers learn to promote proper hair care products for all textures. Next time a natural nazi starts their foolish chatter, let them know that no matter how nappy they are its just curly hair. All women go through struggles learning how to manage curly hair. If they are black, white, Indian, Asian, mixed race, it doesn't matter. Even the straight hair females go through concerns looking for the perfect mane. I also am seeing that online blogs are posting information to give proper explanations for the why's and how's of hair texture.

    I have received compliments and ridicule about my hair. I still love being natural and I love being a woman. That means that if i want to wear an Afro, a press and curl, a wig, a ponytail, nail tips, make up, jewelry, pretty underwear, sweat pants, dresses etc. I will.
    http://4.naturallycurly.com/site/page/view/textur

  13. sabine

    11/01/2012 at 9:20 AM

    Sorry i am just a girl from eastern Europe and dont know much about your stuff but Is it just a joke or are you really arguing about hair?!

  14. Naturalista82

    03/31/2013 at 10:22 PM

    It should not be a big deal of what and how you wear your hair. I think it is absolutely absurd that people are making an issue out of it. If you want be nappy embrace it, love it and keep it moving. If you want to be relaxed, wear it, love and keep it moving. Stop hating on each other and talking bad about one another, it's just hair! It's time to love another and support each other.

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