There’s been fervent discussion as of late regarding the widening disparity between the 3’s and the 4’s–as in curl pattern 3, which is a loose curl that a lot of mixed chicks rock (2/3 of my girls are included in this group) and the 4’s–who have a kinkier and more common zig-zag curl pattern that most of us “regular ole black girls” have. I’ve been a natural for over a decade and have been following the online forums, bloggers and video bloggers in the natural hair community for just as long. I even wrote an article for Ebony.com about it years back before the site revamp, but I’ve only been able to find it here.
I’ve seen the old ghost of “good hair vs. nappy hair” insinuate itself in a movement meant to be so purely empowering and rooted in self-love and self-acceptance and I’m truly broken hearted. I’ve seen women who CLEARLY have looser textured hair due to genetics (and maybe some help of some chemicals) take front-and-center lead in representing the swarms of companies rushing to flood the market with products geared mostly to tame our ‘fros. I’ve also seen those that possess the kinks, zigs and zags the majority of black women have be pushed to the side, too.
And you know what? We have no one else but ourselves to blame for this gross inequality. We are simultaneously the perpetrators and victims of the remnants of white supremacy that purport that the lighter you are, and the less kinky your hair, the more beautiful and acceptable and alluring you are, and therefore worthy of sponsorships, travel tours around the world, and campaigns with your mug front and center.
Too many black women are still in the mirror wishing they were just a little lighter, their hair just a little looser, because if it were, the world would be ours. The boys would like us. The girls would want to be us. Were you that girl?
The long-haired “exotic looking” black(isn) girl is still getting all the perks, but there’s really no one to blame but us. Understand that the consumer marketplace is void of emotion, history or political affiliation. It’s only goal is to make money. Marketers are looking at all the likes, views, and shares of the woman who’s hair type is most celebrated BY US and gravitating to her. We are so damaged by our own perceived inferiority that the devil has left the building but we are still here doing his dirty work.
I’ve seen this play out in real life with my business partner, you might know her as “African Export” on YouTube get passed over for lucrative sponsorship for other v-loggers because while she is incredibly beautiful, she’s a dark-skinned black woman with 4-type hair–never mind that it’s mid-back length. She simply does not get the support from US…YES US…the way Taren Guy does. And to her credit, Taren does acknowledge this disparity.
Bottom line, we are the consumers. We make the buying decisions, and WE are the ONES creating this divide and perpetuating colorism and good-hair-ism. We hold the purse strings, and there is no one else to blame but ourselves.
Embrace and accept your hair texture. Learn to care for it, and stop coveting like that little black girl in mirror. Recommended reading, The Science of Black Hair.