Solange Knowles: Natural Hair Police, Just Because I’m Natural Doesn’t mean . . .

Solange Knowles natural afroI have written before about natural hair nazi’s, sorry, police in another post. You know the ones I mean, they think they wrote the rule book (that nobody read) about what it constistitues to be natural.

Most of the rest of us describe being natural as ‘hair texture that has not been altered by relaxers, texturizers or curly perms’. Apparently to these natural law enforcement officers, coloring your hair takes you out of the ‘natural category’ and into a black hole of not relaxed but not quite natural.

Some even worry that using henna revokes their natural credentials. *Trying not to laugh!*

Usually these naturals hang out in their dedicated forums where freedom of speech is an foreign idea but recently, Solange Knowles came under the scrutiny of these ladies in the comments on a post on Curly NIkki.

The post has 115 comments on writing this and while most are largely positive, you do see the occasional one that makes you cringe. I read the words ‘she’s nothing special’, ‘her hair always looks unkempt’, it looks dry’, ‘it needs a twist out’ etc.

After this supportive post about some ladies taking things too far, Solange went off on a tirade on twitter against the natural hair police, their criticism of her hair and how she wears it. Here’s what she said:

  • It is a rare occasion that I ever bring the conversation of “Hair” onto twitter or anywhere for that matter.
  • But just wanted to share something…
  • After noticing and pointing out the constant hair comments on my instagrams, someone sent me this ….http://modernemeid.tumblr.com/post/24577741089/are-we-going-too-far-when-it-comes-to-other-peoples
  • Im only going to say a few things.
  • I cut my hair ALL off 4 times in my life all for very different reasons….I only reiterate this because this is nothing new for me.
  • This 4th time did not define me, just as it had not the previous 3 times.
  • I’ve never painted myself as a team natural vice president. I don’t know the lingo and I don’t sleep with a satin cap…
  • However, I did noticed when I picked out my hair, I kept seeing feedback about needing a “twist out”. Connnnfesssioonnn: I HATE twist outs.
  • Correction, I hate the way they look on me. SO i end up always picking them/steaming them out.
  • Look, all i’m saying is. My hair is not very important to me….so i don’t encourage it to be important to you.

I agree with Solange obviously. We made a big hoopla when she decided to go natural but since then even though she has become the spokesperson for Carols Daughter products, she didn’t’ nominate herself as the go-to person for how to wear natural hair or the importance of satin caps.

Solange has never expressed a desire to grow her hair long, she only wants it to be healthy. Who is anyone to critisize her styling choices? Let the lady wear her ‘fro!

What this really shows is that even with the huge take off of the natural movement, many women who have gone natural only do so because they realize that they can wear their hair in anything but it’s natural state.

We may have decided en mass that relaxed hair is out but we are still caught up in the idea that frizzy afro hair is bad and the only acceptable way to wear 4a/b hair is either to define each of your curls to death or create curls with twist outs and braid outs.

If anything, Solange is more ‘natural’ than most of us. She dares to wear her hair unadorned and as it grows. The woman deserves praise not criticism!









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Alma

About Alma


Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!.I started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.



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12 Comments

  1. 1
    Ania45love says:

    Wow, where have I been? This whole fiasco must have passed me by. People have nothing better to do than troll online. I would looove to see the hair’s of some of these negative commenters, bet their twa’s don’t look too hot either.

    • 2

      lol. Too right, comment trolling is pathetic when you are not brave enough to put yourself out there with your own blog/hair or whatever.

  2. 3
    Jillian Markay says:

    I have to say this. Solange may not have the best afro out there but is there anyone who can take that crown? Its all subjective right? But she is definitely real. She is like a lot of naturals out there who go natural just to get back in touch with their texture. They are not chasing any particular dream or length goal, they just want to enjoy their hair as it is without worrying about ‘protective styling’ or satin caps etc. She probably never slept in a satin cap when she was relaxed anyway!

    It saddens me to see people who remain anonymous on the internet give such negative comments to someone who just wants to enjoy being natural.

  3. 4

    and then they wonder why our younger generation is confused and misguided…my daughter decided to forego relaxers and grow her hair back in its’ natural state she was ridiculed almost everyday…while she has yet to return to relaxers, she gave into the pressure and resumed wearing a weave and braids. it hurt my heart to see her struggle with her identity, all because she wanted to see what it felt like to grow her natural hair, which by the way was past her shoulders before I made the horrible decision to relax her hair as a child…the point is she got it from both sides the relaxed group and the so called natural stylists at the salon she gets her hair done at…I hope they see what their doing and how they affect others with mean words and mean attitudes…because teaching our kids to appreciate their blackness is hard enough without confusing them on how to do it…

    • 5

      Well said Tonya! I hope your daughter has finally become comfortable with who she is.

  4. 6
    Deitra Brunner says:

    Making a negative comment about someone else’s hair is as bad as making negative comments on their clothes, their make-up, their tattoos, their sex, their gender…their race. Doing so displays the low class of the commenter. How someone chooses to wear THEIR hair is THEIR business! If THEY like it, what does it really matter how the next person feels?

  5. 7

    Wow. This just confirms my belief that the self-loathing indoctrinated into black people from slavery days to present day is still poisoning the mindsets of so many. Add to that the media’s portrayal of euro-centric beauty as the only beauty worth aspiring to and we have this modern day cocktail of craziness regarding black hair and beauty.
    I think one of the comments in particular, about Solange Knowles, sums up the misguided mindset (of those blinded by the racist & media propaganda) just perfectly… They’ve simply said ‘it needs a twist out’ (!!) Omg… that could so easily have read ‘it needs fixing with a relaxer’ couldn’t it? The way so many – TOO many – black people view themselves is still tainted, influenced and distorted by a belief that our hair is somehow defective, lacking, truly at the bottom of the beauty pile in quality as well as ratings, etc.
    I’ve argued before that even the 1-4c hair typing system – although it has useful aspects – sadly reflects Andre Walker’s (and many others’) viewpoint that 4c hair is the lowest and can only be beautified by removing the integral texture. I’m not making this stuff up … please google him and his comments on type 4b/c hair.
    Interestingly enough in the UK, England the police use a similar classification/typing system for the demographic of society, which many black organisations & groups have objected to over the years. A white male is an ‘IC1′, working it’s way (down perhaps?) to a black male, who is classified as category ‘IC4’… What’s that all about? We’re inundated with negative stereotypes of black people; not least of derogatory feedback about our hair. Sad thing is…it’s from without and within.

    I’m aware this may come across as a heavy (maybe even paranoid) rant but it’s there, if you care to look. My question is, when are we going to wake up, smell the reality and acknowledge the problem – for starters – and then do all we can to reverse the hair-negative mindsets out there?
    I firmly believe you can’t change what you won’t acknowledge. There’s nothing wrong essentially with admitting there’s a deep-rooted problem in any situation; then doing all you can to face up to the challenge of dealing with it… no matter who feels uncomfortable about your exposing it for what it is.

    • 8

      Love this comment! You hit the nail on the head there. You can’t change what you won’t acknowledge. I think even the first step of treating an alcoholic is getting them to admit that they have a problem. Emily wrote a post recently saying that some of us have replaced relaxers with twist outs instead of natural hair and I think there is a lot of truth to that. While it may not be in line with our length goals to allow the hair to shrink up completely as it would naturally after a wash, there really is nothing wrong with undefined stretched kinks instead of curls all the time. We need to start a ‘real’ natural movement right? LOL, the only problem is when some ladies take it too far and become natural nazis. Sigh, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      • 9

        Thanks Alma. Amazing….I was thinking of adding the treating an alcoholic analogy too! (but was trying to keep it short). So glad I’m not alone in seeing that.
        Yes, I initially read Emily’s article as the title caught my attention – Excellent and insightful post. Then after browsing some more I came across this post on the whole Solange debacle. I kind of surprised myself and decided to comment (I don’t often bother) as it got me thinking more about this aspect of the topic. Despite my thoughts I’m choosing to see the glass as half full and take comfort in the fact that at least more people are embracing their natural texture, and even for those with a longer way to go…it’s possibly a step in the right direction I think. :-)

  6. 11
    Jessica2248 says:

    the biggest problem is people still want to be defined by their hair…whether it’s natural, texture (a b c’s and 1 2 3’s) relaxed, loched up, twisted, weaved, braided or a wig. if your hair is the most important thing in your life…you must not have much of one. people must be allowed to express themselves as they want…not as others feel they need to.

  7. 12

    Karen could not have said it better that even the way hair is classified is now a clear indication to me that as subtle as it may seem we will continue to suffer from mental interiority perpetuated by others but accepted and stamped by ourselves causing severe self stigmatisation in black people. I salute Solange. You have not become enslaved by your own hair as many of the “natural hair police” do not even know they are, enslaved by their hair!

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