Today I’m featuring a very special young lady that I met a couple weeks ago at the ‘Spring Is In The Hair’–natural hair meet up in Brooklyn hosted by Natasha Gaspard of Mane Moves TV & Imani Dawson of A tribe called curl. Her energy was EVERYTHING and we hit it off instantly when we started talking about hair! Check out what Jouelzy has to say about her personal struggles with her natural hair journey.
natural before New York Times deemed it worthy enough to corroborate the trend.
Before the existence of YouTube, the rapid feeds of Twitter and Tumblr and
before I was old enough to drink. The first time I was in 10th
grade, 15 years old, and I just couldn’t figure out how to properly relax my
thick coarse hair. I couldn’t get it to take without burning the crap out of my
scalp. Then I had to toil through the burning process every 3 weeks. Why
couldn’t I be like the other girls who only relaxed their hair every 2-6
months? So I chopped it and went natural with a brush, water and some Blue Magic.
This was in 2000 and I had few resources to turn to with a dial-up connection
and mother who had been horrified of my naps since age 3. As she puts it,
she woke up one morning to just find my big curly baby fro had gone *poof*
nappy…she’s been in despair ever since. So, I did haphazard twists and
variations of braids. Then a boy in my computer class told me, well really he
told the whole class, that I looked like a “burnt match.” Two kicks to my
self-esteem. I reverted back to the relaxer within 8 months. College, after
processing blonde, I cut it all off again, this time getting a proper shape-up
from my father, which lead to my mother in tears. It’s hair it’ll grow back and
I just knew now that I had seen other girls with natural hair that if I played
it right I could get my hair to be manageable. Only problem was manageable
equated to having shiny, curly coils…hair that was effortless springy and big.
So, to avoid the burnt match and Aunt Cellie references, I played like I was a
Philly Muslim when I returned to campus and picked up a good collection of
headscarves. I even had the nerve to walk up to a girl on campus, who had the
beautiful lush coils that I was gaming for and asked her how she got her hair
like that. She laughed at me and informed me it was just her hair. Silly me.
forward past a permed Mohawk look to shaving my head (again…Mom sniffles)…I’ve
been natural for the past 6 years. As the natural hair scene explodes and
becomes part of the mainstream I’m still the lost girl I was 12 years ago the
first time I took the natural plunge. Up until the past year, I thought I was
doing something wrong because of the texture of my hair. I never saw images of
my hair as beautiful and healthy. It wasn’t until someone pointed me to a hair
chart that I realized my hair just is what it is. 4C hair. I don’t have the
natural hair that is spread across the internet, not the hair of popular
YouTubers who show you how easy this product makes their curls bounce. I rarely
see similar representations of my hair coming across my Tumblr, Instagram or
Twitter feed. Occasionally it happens, but it’s always in that big, wild
Amazonian stage. I get it, big hair is beautiful…my hair just isn’t there yet.
There’s more to my hair then just texture, I know. But it’s factors that are
identified with texture that I have been trying to achieve along with a bevy of
other woman who just don’t see anything close to OUR hair in the folds of the
wonderfully beautiful world of natural hair. I have no baby hairs to lay. A bun
do is not so simple for me, my hair doesn’t ripple into waves as it’s pulled
into a bun. There is no feasibility of a wash ‘n go. No amount of product will
produce a natural curl. My hair stands up straight and won’t budge. And most
significantly, my hair does not shine. Ya know, that shine that people identify
as soft moisturized hair.
I know this
feeling escapes a lot of women. They might scoff or roll their eyes at my
laments. You don’t sit in my shoes so I don’t expect you to understand. But I
do ask that you meet me in the middle, have some patience with other women like
me. Women who have that much more fragile, brittle, extra kinky hair, that
they’ve been trying to define by all the images they see of soft, shiny curls
fresh out the shower or blowing in the wind. We sometimes ask silly questions
and reference how your hair is different than ours. We may initially dismiss
your style advice, because of the frustration we have experienced and no one
valuing how we deal. Give it time. And my 4C + beyond homies, stay open minded
too! As this natural hair scene gains even more steam, I hope to see a bigger
place in the imagery for women with coarser textures. Z patterns are just as
beautiful as the curlies.
Our hair is
definitely manageable, it just takes patience with realistic expectations. I
threw out all my shine misters last week. I’ve accepted that people will touch
me hair and tell me “it’s much softer than it looks.” Soft is about touch not
looks. I’ve gotten it moisturized and not breaking off at the touch, I have
come a long ways. I can define my “curls” with flat twists and perm rods. Use a
headband to make my bun look sleek plus baby hair sounds silly anyways. I
continuing to find pride in my coarse hair and I hope to spread that pride to
all hair textures.
Thanks so much for sharing your personal hair journey, Jouelzy! Check her out, beauties! She has an amazing youtube channel about saving tight budgets from bad hair days. Weave, wigs or natural. http://www.youtube.com/jouelzy
How many of my 4C curlies out there feels Jouelzy?? Take a minute to share your frustrations & triumphs below!
Jouelzy is a purveyor of all things
Black Hair Care through her YouTube and as a beauty writer for MadameNoire. She
also spreads her beauty journeys with a dash of snark on Facebook and Twitter.
Great piece!! I really enjoyed her narrative and she has beautiful hair! Off to YouTube to check her out!
Great piece. I think that natural hair, no matter the texture is beautiful. We should embrace what God gave us and rock it with confidence because is beautiful thing!
Great piece I'm going through a hair rut right now and really like when I see stuff like this, truly inspirational!
this is good, and her hair is beautiful!
I applaud this article. I've been natural for 3 years and my 4b & 4c (majority) hair has taught me to love myself more every day, I'm age 30 and Im excited to have healthy hair and say its all mine. No more hiding under wigs and wasting my $$$ on perms & Salon visits. I love the fact that my 4 month son can see what his mother really looks like. High five to my 4c Divas! LOVE what God has blessed you with. – Texas
Rarely if ever am I moved to comment , but I think Jouelzy has been privy to my thoughts since 1995 when I first went natural– Even before Youtube, the internet when the only natural hair role model was Thelma from Good Times.
How many times, have my frienf offered advice on how I could make my hair "shine". Even my well meaning husband told me I should get a black rinse to make my hair less dull. But when he touches it , he too is amazed at how soft it is and the length that is always hidden.
Ill admit that it is painful to watch other naturals effortlessly grow their 3s-4a's hair to shoulder a year after BC with stressfree styles like wash and goes and buns. I wish I could wear a wash and go.. but after 17 years of being natural starting from before Nappturality ..I have finally come to appreciate that my hair is different. Not bad..Just different — And to cope , I call to mind my fathers words of wisdom. "Its just hair–don't you know what its for — to keep you head warm"
I feel you Jouelzy!!! I loved the article..It hit a nerve.