In the recent years, we’ve all seen the movement of Team Natural going from a mere hashtag to a way of life. Women of color have traded in the pain of sitting in a salon chair for hours on end, hoping that ‘aunty‘ doesn’t burn your scalp with that ‘dark and lovely’. To nourishing their locs and basking in the freedom of their wild and kinky curls. Black girl magic has spread all over the globe!
Effect on businesses
It seems that the development of this movement is something that’s been felt in many areas of society. The notion of women ‘owning their crowns’ has caused the decline of many salon businesses. Across Africa, hairdressers specializing in perms, relaxers and other Eurocentric ways of styling are constantly struggling to attract clients. For instance in Ghana, stylists have attested to having lost over 50% of their clientele to the option of maintaining their own natural hair.
In terms of self-image, this reflects a positive change in our community’s. However, It doesn’t bode well for business owners with decades of experiences in straightening, teasing and weaving black hair. Those who have invested in various equipment and chemicals are failing to break even. This disconnect has resulted in a lack of sales of chemical hair products, which has badly affected its manufacturers. The trade has seen a 48% drop in the last 5 years, which clarifies the surge of natural hair products that are currently flooding the market. Companies have turned to creating products that cater to the masses.
Why the change?
In the past natural hair has been somewhat of a political statement. During the turbulence of the civil rights movement in the 60s, we saw the black panthers adorn their curls with pride, not just as a mere statement. It was an affirmation of their blackness. So whether it’s favor of changing the narrative and embracing our hairitage, normalizing black hair aesthetics or dismantling eurocentric beauty standards. There are many reasons to note as to why many women are embracing the potential of their natural hair.
When a person of color chooses to wear their hair out in its Afro glory, that decision is a way of taking ownership of his roots. For so long black hair has been a diminishing factor in society, nappy or woolly hair has never been the status quo. Although it remains radical to some, this sudden pride has normalized Afrocentric looks; women everywhere are rocking their curls in style. For me New York Fashion Week made this fantasy a reality, the runway was blessed with Afros of every shape and size with a dash of melanin!
Model Kelly Garvis went further to state that she feels ‘the most confident and the most powerful’ when rocking her natural assets. The only way is up from here as this sets an example for younger generations. Pushing such images through mainstream media works to demolish ancient beauty standards that demonize ethnic African looks. It’s no longer bizarre or unusual to flaunt your kinks and coils, which is something that the older generation never had.
Ultimately the team natural movement carries a unifying message of self-love and self-acceptance, which is much needed in the black community.
p.s yes, I said hair-ritage.