By: Rhadamés Julián via TribeCalledCurl
The natural hair explosion at hand is often referred to as a movement, but I’m reluctant to call it that just yet. Although in the commercial world, the ‘movement’ is thriving, it doesn’t quite have the same feeling in Hollywood or in the Deep South yet. Yes, we are seeing many products marketed to us and yes, we are seeing more advertising with natural hair styles, but does this really equate to a global paradigm shift in regards to natural hair?
As a man, I think that returning to our natural hair state is of the utmost importance. This is why I consistently encourage women to return to their natural hair state rather than simply ‘go natural’. Aside from being grammatically incorrect, going natural implies that the kinky, curly and wavy hair growing out of our scalps is somehow there by choice. Indeed, it is not. As people of color, our hair represents more than just a style. Whether we like it or not, our textured hair holds hundreds of years of history that have been stripped from our collective lives. In other words, the follicles that can connect us are/were used to separate us. The good news is that the current natural hair resurgence gives us a place for us to unite. I mean this metaphorically and also in an economic sense. We’re giving women and men of color a platform to create businesses to support our growing natural hair movement.
I see returning as the first step in accepting ones’ true self. When we return, we make a very bold statement to the world. We declare that our hair represents us and we are free. This matters, especially in western societies. There is much to be gleaned from the natural hair ‘movement’ at hand like women’s economic empowerment and a renewed sense of health. But the act of turning a cold shoulder to the common straight hair European aesthetic is also equally powerful. There is nothing wrong with being proud and using your hair as a tool to express this renewed sense of self. It matters.
Rhadamés believes going natural isn’t a valid choice. Do you agree or disagree?
[author image=”http://tribecalledcurl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Rhadames-600×360.jpg” ]Rhadamés Julián was born in Puerto Rico, and raised in Texas, but his parents are from the Dominican Republic. In 2006 he graduated with a BA in Communication from the University of Texas at Arlington. After working as a public school teacher, in television, the fashion industry, high-end retail and as a professional male model he realized that he was very confused not only about his path in life, but also his identity. His experiences and world travels have inspired him to make Follicle. In the film, hair and imagery are the two barriers that he focuses on. Rhadamés is traveling the world trying to get a deeper understanding of how these two barriers construct identity amongst people of color with in the African Diaspora.[/author]