contestants in the 2007 Nigeria’s Next Top Model competition

Ok, I’ll admit it.
I stereotyped Africa. I did.
I thought that on a majority and indigenously black continent, natural hair would be celebrated and commonplace.
For a whole week on this blog, we displayed and discussed styles from “the motherland”, which I guess I kinda put forth as the cradle of natural hair ingenuity.
Which is why I came to a screeching halt when I read this in my interview with Miss Fizz (a native Nigerian now living in Ireland.)

“When I think about it, I realize how sad it is that the United States has a larger natural hair culture than Nigeria.”

Nigerian ladies, if you’re out there, break this down for me. PLEASE break this down…

***update @ 12:01 p.m. Monday… I am amazed at the discussion this post has sparked. I won’t be updating today, so that the post can get its due attention.***

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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136 Comments on "Natural Hair Not Hot in Nigeria?"

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Lita

South Africans have a different recent history, and my guess is thats influenced the natural hair scene. There are tonnes of locs among SAs I’ve met.

Lita
I don’t know that getting a job is difficult with afro hair in Nigeria. I have a lot of aunts and distant relatives who wear their hair natural, and as long as its ‘styled’ there isn’t a problem. I think wearing a bit ‘fro might make you stand out (and standing out is the problem), though ironically, I’m sure a big afro wig would be fine. I know that when I was last there, people thought I was from a deeply religious family, and respected as such! The bottom line is that ‘fashion’ is followed to fatal fault. I could… Read more »
BeautyinBaltimore

Half African-American half Nigerian here. Yes we Nigerians don’t seem to be that hot on natural hair but that is slowly changing. There is one popular Nigerian actrss whose name escape me now but she has locks.
There is the belief that those with natural hair don’t care for their hair,are crazy etc..

eccentricyoruba
i’m Nigerian and i also have natural hair. to be honest when i decided to go natural i could only meet like-minded people online. my family reacted horribly to it telling me that Africans don’t ‘carry their hair like that’ and my reply was always ‘so what were our ancestors doing to their hair before relaxers were invented?’ i’m now in my second year of being natural and what i hear from other Nigerians is that i don’t look Nigerian any longer…apparently i now look Batswana or South African because of my hair. i’ve not seen many nigerian women with… Read more »
Sugabelly
So this is a big sigh for me. And I see my friend MellowYel has already commented on this but let me just add my own two cents. To have natural hair in Nigeria is to burn and die. I kid you not. Walking around in Nigeria with natural hair, you won’t get more than twenty feet before some random person that you don’t know from Adam tells you to go do something with your hair “so you can look like a human being” Also if you’re aspiring to work in a bank, you WILL NEVER get work if your… Read more »
lsaspacey

Not Nigerian, just shocked. Also I wish someone would put that version of the show up on YouTube. I would love to see the experience there.

mellowyel

Another interesting thing: this isn’t the case everywhere – I saw this video over on the blog Jezebel, and it made me SO happy: an embracing of African beauty, even in the midst of war. http://jezebel.com/5193842/in-the-congo-a-bit-of-whimsy-that-cant-be-contained

And I agree with what Jc says: if you happen to have looser curls and/or really long hair, people usually assume you have non-black ancestors.

mellowyel
*Sigh – the million dollar question. So this is the way I think about it – others can correct me if I’m wrong. Colonialism meant for Africans a forceful push in the direction of Western standards of beauty: light skin and straight hair. Little black girls in Nigeria, like little black girls in the US, also played with Barbies with long blond flowing hair, and wanted long hair like the people on TV. And like other people have said, when people in the US and other countries created the hot comb, relaxer and bleaching cream, we embraced them, not specifically… Read more »
Anonymous

‘when i think about it, i realize how sad it is that the US has a larger natural hair culture than nigeria’….i could not disagree with you more. there is so much ‘weave’ oooops i am sorry you like to call it protective styling natural hair…i say to each its own

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

@ Jc… so then america is the #1 world power — even when it comes to natural hair?! seriously, this is really changing my view of things!

JacqueRoxx

Unfortunately this is true. Both my parents were born and raised in Nigeria and when I decided to go natural neither of them liked it. My mom always says that a woman’s beauty starts with her hair and she didn’t think my afro was beautiful (I say “was” because it’s in braids now). And a lot of Nigerian women that I know (whether here in America or over in Nigeria) wear wigs. So from my experience natural hair isn’t accepted, at least not in the mainstream.

Jc
I went to a British school in Kenya and I think two girls(sisters) had natural hair (yep age 3-19 and two girls in a school body of about 250 girls). Both girls had waistlength hair. We always attributed it to past Indian relatives (of which they had none lol). I agree, natural hair is not popular among urban women. In rural areas, natural hair is the norm and it is usually cut into a short style. A huge afro or bantu knots/knot out would stand out. Interestingly, I think the reason for this is actually black people in USA (and… Read more »
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