Do We Have An Obligation To Convert Others To Go Natural?

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When I decided to go back to being natural, it wasn’t an easy a decision to make. The process is an intimidating one for many young women who decide to transition, particularly for those who have worn chemically-relaxed hair since their adolescence. There are many who find that it’s not an easy decision to make ourselves. For people like us we look for inspiration from others such as friends, family, bloggers, vloggers, YouTube channels of people who are openly natural. We dig into their history to find out what made them come back to being natural, the first steps they took, the difficulties, the setbacks, the comebacks and much more. It’s exciting and helpful to see the wondrous “before and after” images, the diy mixes, the hairstyles and techniques on that person’s natural hair journey. We want to know how that person got back to their natural hair and became comfortable in wearing it out confidently. It often makes us question ourselves “can I do it just like she did?” What I learned from the natural hair journey of others I followed when I was deciding to become natural again convinced me of my decision to go natural. We know that at the end of the day you have to decide for yourself, however, the decision can be greatly affected by the information we learn through those we consult with on our conquest of being natural again. Can one say that those who are natural is therefore obligated to convert others to go natural? Well it all depends.

I never knew I would be natural. Like others, my hair stayed chemically- relaxed every 4- 6 weeks without missing a beat. My hair was lifeless and it hardly looked lustrous unless I went to the salon. When I did go to the salon I always walked out feeling like a “Boss” and twirled all the way to my “boss” car. Which at that time was a Mazda Protégé (don’t laugh, it was a BMW in my head.) I never could see myself as natural because well it wasn’t in my environment and it had a negative connotation attached to it. Also, because I am Nigerian, the only way I thought I could go natural was to cut all my relaxed hair off to a TWA. This was not going to work for me. There was also my attachment to weaves which was another reason for me not to entertain the idea of going natural because weaves gave me an alternative and straight hair was my norm. It was all I saw and it was all I knew at the time. When I finally decided to come back to my natural hair, it was a decision I could not have made on my own. As mentioned before, I never entertained the idea so I couldn’t picture it happening, yet it was on my mind.

Nandi One day I did a fresh sew-in on my hair and I was definitely feeling glamorous. You know how we ladies get with a fresh sew-in of 20 inch hair, runway. Well, my handsome older brother came over and as soon as he walked in he said these impacting words to me

“You’re not you behind that weave or that white stuff (relaxers) that makes your hair flat like paper. Just be natural, it’s you!”

I looked at him in bewilderment. Thinking why did he say that when my weave was clearly on fleek? However, I did understand him it’s not the authentic me. The authentic me is who I needed to feel right with. It sparked in me to begin my natural hair journey. I immediately grabbed my laptop and googled “how to go natural”. So many blogs, vlogs and videos popped up of people sharing their natural hair with the world. This is where as a natural hair influencer we have an obligation to those who are not natural but are curious to convert to being natural. Our obligation is to encourage them through the authenticity of our natural hair journey we are sharing openly online. Now wait before you jump up and smack your lips like Shanae-Nae and say “I don’t owe nobody nothing, my hair is my hair”, let me explain. I believe that natural hair influencers who chose to revert to social media to blog about their journey holds a obligations. When we begin to video blog, post pictures, write articles about our natural hair we are doing so in order to reach out to other naturals and inquiring minds who are considering to convert back natural. Our obligation is to encourage viewers to go natural by being authentic with what we share. This obligation is heighten the moment you receive an inquiry from a curious follower of your social media presence asking you “How do I go natural?”

At that moment we realize this journey of our natural hair we share online is reaching the souls of others and through it you are converting people back to natural. I think natural hair influencers have more of an obligation then those without a social media presence. We have more of an obligation because we have decided to open our journey to the world therefore, we are sending our viewers a message that “if I can do it, you can too and here is how I am doing it.” With each “read this post”, “click this link”, or “watch this video” we are indirectly converting someone and it’s our responsibility to be truthful in what we share about our natural hair journey. It matters to not just ourselves but our viewers. The ones we see comment and share our post consistently and the ghost viewers who remain silent but encouraged.

On the other hand, there are naturals who do not publicize their journey on social media. You prefer to ride your natural hair journey alone in the privacy of your own four walls and just around environment. Believe it or not, you have a different type of obligation. You are obligated to be true to the natural you. If while doing so you happen to encourage someone to embrace their natural hair to the point they convert back to natural. Then kudos to you. Just know that your journey is always recognized by someone whether you share it on online to the natural hair community or keep it personal to yourself. Someone is gazing and is in awe over your natural asking themselves “Can I do it just like she did?”