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

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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122 Comments on "True Life: I Have Wavy Natural Hair"

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Monique

Thanks for shar­ing this. Much love to you.

Dee (Durelene)
Hi, your hair is gor­geous. Your sto­ry is sad yet empow­er­ing, a lot of peo­ple have lack of edu­ca­tion hence the rea­son for all the weave/ethnicity ques­tions. In grade school the girls with what they would call “good hair” had the most pos­i­tive atten­tion. it’s sad because this is an ongo­ing thing, I am already prepar­ing myself for the­se same ques­tions once my hair gets past APL, it’s as though the Black race can­not grow hair past their shoul­ders and when its done we need an expla­na­tion for it. I am from the Caribbean island so i know those same… Read more »
Anonymous

I would have hon­est­ly thought her hair was a weave too. You just don’t see many dark-skinned wom­en with full fea­tures with that hair tex­ture. I com­mon­ly asso­ciate her fea­tures with beau­ti­ful, thick coily hair. I can under­stand the ques­tions.

AmberBrown

Grabs pick­les. (what? I don’t LIKE pop­corn. But I do like pick­les :p )

AmberBrown

Grabs sliced pick­les (…what? I don’t LIKE pop­corn. And I do like pick­les :p ).

CSI
Your hair is so gor­geous!!!! I thought it was a weave too. I live in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca where many wom­en of col­or have hair like yours. It’s the Indi­an in them that does that. I think it’s great!!! Have you even read about the girl in South Africa that was born black but both her par­ents were white as can be? After DNA test­ing she was proven to be theirs. That’s what you call a “kick­back” gene. lol We all come from Adam and Eve so you got your choice of vari­ety. Embrace it and enjoy it. I love your hair :)
Shones

I have a few friends with hair like yours, Brit­tany, so you are most cer­tain­ly not alone, though I don’t mean to in any way dimin­ish the way you felt grow­ing up. You’re right — the slight­est lit­tle dif­fer­ence can make/break you as a kid/teen/young adult. Your hair is love­ly, btw!

Anonymous

*grabs pop­corn*

Nappy Kitchen

@Ada

Wow, that was your house­mates out­er body expe­ri­ence.

Adriii

“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.”

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

I HATE those sto­ries!!! Why to they tell them?!! Is that sup­posed to make me feel better/worse/awkward? Bizarro. haha­ha!!! So glad it’s not just me.

Dee
Just like anon­da and Abii said, there are “black” wom­en with all dif­fer­ent kinds of hair every­where in the world. The first thing I thought of when I saw the pho­to was indige­nous Aus­tralian. They have wavy hair, and even straight hair. I also had a Sudane­se friend who had thick curly hair, but it was nat­u­ral­ly a very light brown. She used to dye it black because she thought it looked weird (com­pared to the oth­er peo­ple she was hang­ing out with). It’s sad that peo­ple just can’t accept that the HUMAN race is a huge mish mash. You… Read more »
Ada
all the­se peo­ple run­ning around here say­ing hair is hair should stop it. Espe­cial­ly in the black com­mu­ni­ty. The amount of emo­tion hair can stir up in females makes it a very seri­ous issue.  Your hair is beau­ti­ful Brit­tany. Its sad that you had to go through the iso­la­tion and name call­ing because of your hair. Hurt peo­ple hurt peo­ple. Most lit­tle black girls are not hap­py with their hair and are grow­ing to have a com­plex about it, that is why more than half of black wom­en are walk­ing around try­ing to cov­er it up(If it does­nt apply to you… Read more »
Onyx Rose

I agree Nap­py Kitchen. I’m con­vinced more and more every day that it’s not “just hair.” When peo­ple stop weave-check­ing, ask­ing “are you mixed?”, feel­ing envi­ous enough to cut the hair of oth­ers, then it’ll be “just hair.”

Any­way, I think it’s cool that she has wavy hair and no one else in her fam­i­ly does (oth­er than the Native-Amer­i­can great grand­moth­er she men­tioned). Great arti­cle and thanks for shar­ing your sto­ry!

Lady Jaye

Of course this adds noth­ing to the dis­cus­sion but Your hair is love­ly!!!

anonda

Beau­ti­ful hair Brit­tany! I think your sto­ry high­lights that grow­ing up is tough and some­one will always have some­thing neg­a­tive to say no mat­ter what.I know many wom­en from the Caribbean (undoubt­ed­ly black wom­en) with nat­u­ral­ly wavy hair. My best is friend is from Trinidad- a deep love­ly plum-choco­late com­plex­ion with very wavy hair. It’s not near­ly as uncom­mon as one thinks when you trav­el. Peo­ple with nar­row expe­ri­ences have nar­row views.

Abii
Wow! Brit­tany, your hair is gor­geous and don’t let any­one make you feel bad or guilty! Its a shame that when peo­ple see black women’s hair that doesn’t fit their con­cep­tions of what black nat­u­ral hair looks like, the first ques­tions asked are “Is that your hair?” and “Are you mixed race?”! It’s beau­ti­ful, every­one should love and embrace all nat­u­ral hair whether waves, curls, coils, kinks, what­ev­er, there is no hard and fast rule on the type of hair black wom­en can have! There is no rule that if you’re black (par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re dark­er skinned), you must only have… Read more »
Nappy Kitchen

Weave check­ing? This is why I some­times give peo­ple the side eye when they say that hair is just hair. Some­times hair isnt just hair in the black com­mu­ni­ty.

fluffy-in-flight
why should you give peo­ple the side eye for that! For them it may be just that. They are speak­ing to you from their own per­spec­tive and expe­ri­ences in life. For me it is just that. I grew up around peo­ple who didn’t put a great deal on hair, we all had the same type of hair (not relaxed) and there was nev­er an issue about it, we did what we want with it, when­ev­er we want, how­ev­er we want, we went to school with kids whose hair tex­tured var­ied, yes, and and our rel­a­tives had the same kind of… Read more »
ghd

*grabs pop­corn*

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