True Life: I Have Wavy Natural Hair

by Brittany Johnson, Guest Writer

My name is Brittany, I’m 23 and, as you can see in the photos above, I have naturally wavy hair. I am African American, as are both of my parents (I look too much like them to argue otherwise, haha), and my hair is wavy. This little factor has affected me my whole life; in good and bad ways. When I am out it’s not uncommon for strangers to come up with the same questions like, “Is all of that your real hair?” and “What are you mixed with?” My hair has naturally loose curls that are almost wavy, unless I’m somewhere with high humidity, then they tend to curl more tightly. I wash it daily out of necessity. I have never met anyone else with hair like mine, and my mother and I only have the knowledge of my great grandmother being Native American to explain things. None of my cousins, or aunts have texture anywhere near mine. I love who I am and where I come from, but as I mentioned earlier my hair has not always left me in the best of situations.

Growing up I didn’t have many black girls as friends, it was hard for most girls that I grew up with to not let ill feelings and envy keep us from a friendship. As many of you know when you are in school, whether it is elementary, middle or high school being different is never a good thing, no matter how small of a difference it is. Middle school was particularly hard because I went to a predominantly black school and according to the other girls I didn’t “act” black. Adding that difference to my hair did not make for a fun few years. For example I had a few girls come up to me on occasion and look through my hair shouting, “I know I saw her tracks, I don’t know why her mama put all the weave in her head”, or I would get dirty looks and and whispering while walking down the hall. Sometimes I would even hear stories from other girls about how they use to have hair like mine until a jealous family member did something to their hair to ruin it. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable around other black girls and to love who I am, but it made me who I am today and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so happy and proud to see other women of color on this site proudly showing off their beauty regardless of what hairstyle they happen to have. Maybe one day I will find someone like me to relate my experiences with, but if I don’t, oh well. I will still be here living, and loving life as the natural black woman that I am.

Interesting story! Has anyone had a similar experience? And do you think we sometimes make other women feel guilty for looking different?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, 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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122 thoughts on “True Life: I Have Wavy Natural Hair

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so unfortunate how African Americans in this country (or just people in general) can sometimes treat each other by coming up with all kinds of silly reasons to exclude someone who may have the slightest difference in character or appearance. Growing up I went through similar experiences even though I didn’t even have naturally wavy hair. I actually have medium length hair that is really thick and coarse. But back when I was relaxing my hair and even now that I straighten it with a hot comb a lot of people make silly assumptions and come up with comments that are similar to what you experienced. Hopefully there will one day come a time when we as a people can come together more and take the time to learn from the people who we see as being different from ourselves instead of trying to exclude them because only great things can come when we learn to except each other.

  2. hi my name is delmair and i thought i was the only african american girl with naturally wavy hair. im glad i found someone else because i was beginning to feel wierd.all my friends have naturally curly hair and ive tried to make my hair curly but no matter what i do my hair doesnt get curly it just stays naturally wavy. i love your hair by the way

  3. Uhmm- what in the world! There are so many african americans with ALL TYPES of hair textures NATURALLY!!

    Anyone who believes otherwise is IGNORANT!!

    Black People have all the genetics to hace
    light eyes, dark eyes, straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair and every version of kinky.

    Stop the ignorance with EDUCATION

  4. Hi Brittany, I have wavy, curly, and straight hair. It makes each day very interesting. Do mind sharing what type of products you use? I have a hard time finding products that are not heavy, oily, or dry my hair.

  5. Wow! I have never heard of anything like this in my entire life! I am African American, have similar hair type as yours mine being wavy and curly naturally. Being jealous of someone else’s hair I cannot comprehend it. I’m sorry struggled with that. I’ve gotten compliments from hair stylists-people telling me that I have nice hair or how it was a pleasure to style my hair. Hunny, all I can say is: over look certain things. Everything doesn’t have to become a battle. Pick and choose the ones that are worthy. Take care and God bless!!

  6. Im 50 years old and understand what you have experinced and still experience it today from black women. Yeah they want to look through your hair or ask if it weave. Get dirty looks and side glances and dont have one true black woman as a friend. Doesnt matter anymore its their problem not mine so i just live to be happy with who i am.

  7. my twin sister and I have had the same problem all of our life even until now I’m 50 years old soon to be 51 when we were growing up in New York we were tease a lot quotes,like you’re not really black or you are half black and half white you see in the
    70’s most people wore thair hair in afro and if you did not get your hair relax or straightened with a hot comb held over the fire, you wore it in its natural state, whatever state that was curly hair straight hair kinky hair blue black red all hair is beautiful all people are beautiful love yourself love your hair whatever texture it maybe
    and people stop hating one another and respect each other because nowadays you can put on weave and make your hair look anyway you want long short straight curly kinky you paid for it,be happy with it.again love yourself god bless you all

  8. My hair is fine, & tightly waved. Since, I was 3, my mother had my long hair straightened. I grew up befriending quite a few African-American girls (including my cousons) who all ranged from medium brown to very dark brown in skin color. And they had similar hair texture to this young lady. Some of them had one or two Indian grandparents. Others had one or two bi-racial (white-black) grandparents with fair skin/long wavey straight hair. It’s common among black Americans. we’re all ‘mixed.’

    • Sounds funny right? But I don’t see why they should lie about it, especially know how we are (as a group) about hair. I’ve known girls that have been attacked because of having long hair, remember the young girl whose hair was chopped off by other school girls because they were jealous of her hair, well to be honest, those girls do grow up. They grow up with the same nasty attitudes and would cut you down if they have to. I have experienced it, and so have other people I know. In fact I distinctly remember one time where I got the distinct impression that these women wanted to jump me because of my hair. When they saw my face, and I just stared at them both, they knew I was someone not to be messed with. I’ve even heard of girls getting on the bus, in fact one woman who had butt length hair, when she was ready to get off the bus half of it was bra strap. some joker decided that she needed to have her hair cut.

    • You shouldn’t be, because this sort of thing happens. It makes perfect sense: African-Americans have a common skin color and hair texture complex. Girls with “pretty hair” used to get this kind of treatment all the time growing up. I used to get it for “talking like a white girl,” getting good grades, being in band… Anything that set me apart from other black girls. Cruel reality. Don’t be so skeptic.

  9. i am from the seychelles islands. the population is of mixed races, african, european, chinese, indean… here there is nothing strange with black people with straight hair, blue eyes, white skinned people with very kinky hair…its all so beautiful. i dont think this has ever been an issue of discussion or it being strange. ingnorant people will always have something to say. peace

  10. Your hair looks normal to me, I know plenty of people who are Black with that hair texture. Some are Black and Hispanic, but identify themselves as Black because Hispanics so have a large African Descent. Some are most likely “mixed” with other races, but aren’t we all? Sorry that you had to deal with hate and jealously growing up. I spent the better part of my teens explaining to people that Dominicans are Black as well…very silly, I know but as I’ve gotten older I have realized that not everyone is as knowledgeable in the topic of history and geography, so I’ve learned to laugh it off!!

    My niece has a similar texture to yours and she finds that weekly avocado/olive masks help her in the Winter months and a light overnight use of Argan Oil does the trick. She also braids and detangles her hair at night to make it easier to deal with in the morning.

    Good luck and HHG!!

  11. wow that is really sad smh. But I know I have had that experience and still do. In high school I knew this one girl I thought was my friend but she was secretly jealous that I had super long hair (mbl). When ever I would flip/swing my hair to the side to get it out of my face she would say something. Like our freshman year someone started a rumr and claimed I said something about her (which I didn’t) tried t make that a reason to fight me. we got over it and I foolishly became her friend again our sophomore year then the same thing happened. After that I deleted her out my life. Our senior year(last year of February, when the natural hair movement became big) I decided to cut my my almost WL hair to a little twa. Boy was she happy to finally have hair longer than mine lol but when I decided to use a little gel in my hair to define my curls. She became sour AGAIN this time because I have naturally curly hair. And there were so many other girls at my old High school just like her. Mad when I had long hair, happy when I cut it all off, then mad again once they realized it was curly and STILL mad realizing I have cut my hair 3 time(3rd time was a fade) almost a year later I have hair touching my shoulders(10 months of growth from fade). I even lost a few friends because of this sadly. I also have mixed lineage in my family on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side.

  12. My hair wasn’t even that long in middle school. I relaxed it one day (tired of black kids calling me names over my hair ) and it came to about arm pit length. And that was enough for girls to say “Oh you think you pretty ” or “Humph, my sister has longer hair”

    I stay away from black people to avoid these headaches.

  13. Hmm. Honestly this just sounds like typical messy high school girls stuff. In your case it was long wavy hair but if not that those kinds of bi$%&es would have found something else to start crap with you about. I think any girl who a lot of the boys find attractive is going to get backlash.

  14. I believe this girl, that is her natural hair texture due to the fact her great grand mother was native american. A dark skin black girl can be born with straight hair, it’s possible but it doesn’t happen too often. That’s like a one million. This is rare case because usually dark skin blacks have type 4c hair texture even if they have a white or native american grandparent, they tend to have type 4c hair.

  15. Hate to admit it but I have had so many experiences like this growing up. My memories of elementary school is being bullied. I remember washing my hands in the bathroom a girl said (as if I wasn’t there) “She ain’t got nothing but her hair, other than that, she ugly!” I still go through taunts as a 45 year old woman. At work, another Black woman walked past me and hit my hair as if she were fighting it and said, “I don’t have this!”. I spent 4 years at that job being tormented by the 1 black woman who had women of other races gang up and bully me. My new job, another black chick tried to get me fired. When we first met she brought up how her hair is very coarse. I was focused on work and she starts talking about hair. Never returns my greetings. Then 2 years later (last month) she told her boss I was causing her trouble. I started as a temp for 2 departments but was told they didn’t want me in her department. I’m sure she was quick to put in a bad word. Two other black women (in cubicles right across from the director’s office) asked me what I put in my hair. I told them I use the In Styler. Then they asked what shampoo I used. I said Palmers and they shouted “White people stuff!”. Really? I was so embarrassed. The director got up and closed his door. My boss told me to be careful who I associate with….They don’t realize I go through the same trials and tribulations as all black women and don’t need it from them.

    • Australian Aboriginal? Did she say she was from Australia? Hair texture is about genetics. There are black people from all over the world with different hair textures.

      • She may not know it or not have looked into her DNA ancestry. Most people haven’t done so. Would be interesting to hear her results on that front.

    • Agreed. I thought the same thing too. Some type of Aboriginal ancestry looks likely, especially with her facial features & skin colour looking Aboriginal too. Not so unusual down under – gidday!

  16. I had the same problem growing up, only my hair was long,thick,and type 4b. Girls hated me and my story is identical. Back in the 60s there were no weaves, so people thought i had the secret to growing nappy hair. I didn’t, so they would beat me up. It was a tough life and it was all because of protein. Thankfully, we type 4s now all can discover the secrets of growing long hair: it’s called YouTube.

    • You touched on something big there. People still think type 4a/bs have the ‘secret to growing nappy hair’ and they subscribe in droves & set up those who naturally have that hair type as gods & gurus! It’s ridiculously crazy and only serves to lower self-esteem further.

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