The conflict between women with natural hair and women who get relaxers is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve seen YouTube videos complaining about natural fanatics, people hating on Gabby Douglas, and weave shaming images go viral. Even though I personally have nothing against women who relax or straighten their hair, the growing conflict between naturals and sistas with relaxed hair is something that concerns me.
Part of what I love about the natural hair community is the sense of sisterhood, support, and understanding that comes with sharing our natural hair journeys. That feeling of love is something I want all women to experience no matter how they style their hair. Personally, I do not judge women who relax their hair. I understand it since most of my life I had relaxed hair. I try to remember that everyone’s journey is different and that I did not start out where I am today – loving my natural texture. I also try to remember that it does not matter what you do to your hair, as long as you love it the way it is and keep it healthy.
I do not want to address the reasons why people are against relaxers, or why women relax their hair, I think we already know the arguments. Instead, I just want to send the same support I have felt from the natural hair community to all my sisters who get relaxers. So this letter goes out to all the women who have relaxers, are proud of getting them, have no problem with getting them, and will make no apologies for it.
It’s me, Jane.
I see you with your relaxed hair blowing in the wind. I think you look fly so please don’t think I’m throwing you shade! In fact, I’m sorry if you have felt judged or critiqued for your hairstyle choice. You see, I understand the desire to straighten hair that can seem very difficult to manage. I also know what it is like to want to look like Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, or Olivia Pope! I know how hard it can be to wear a style that your co-workers think is unprofessional, family members do not understand, and significant others may not like. At the end of the day, who has time for all of that extra?
I’m writing this letter because I wanted you to know that I will not judge you because you relax your hair. You are entitled to wear your hair any way you chose. You do not deserve to be shamed by anyone. Instead, I will send you and all the other sistas with relaxed hair nothing but L-O-V-E.
When you are waiting at the salon so you can get your touch-up, I send you patience. When you shake your hair in the wind after getting that touch-up, I will compliment you. If you get a burn on your scalp from that relaxer, I will pray you heal quickly. If it is raining outside, I will help you run for cover! If you decide to go natural, I will be glad for you. And if you change your mind, I still love you anyway. Because the fact is, we are sistas no matter what you do to your hair. I got nothing but love for you!
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