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...

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
avatar
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… Read more »
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… 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… 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*

wpDiscuz