Jan 9, 2012

Discussion: The "Team Natural" Draft

If you are a part of the online natural hair community on twitter (by the way, follow us at @NaturalinNash), you have probably seen the hash tag #teamnatural floating around. I'm sure you have questions about #TeamNatural - well so do I. Here's why:

Picture it: While shopping, I noticed of a woman whose hair appeared to be relaxed. It was shiny hair and flowed to her bosom/middle of her shoulder blades. It was bone straight, silky, long and GORGEOUS! I fawned.

A natural haired sister came behind the counter and gives me the “Hey, natural girl” look. I have seen her before and the length of her hair suggests she's less than a year into her journey. I’ve seen her quite a few times and each time I wish I had the chance to make conversation, maybe, casually bring up some hair care tips. But that opportunity presented itself.

Anyway, I complimented 'Silky' to ease the tension of my fawning. But after I complimented her about her long and straight hair, the other girl, the #TeamNatural member, looked at me as if to say, “How dare you compliment her!!?”

I complimented Silky because her hair was beautiful. But there was something in the naturalista’s demeanor that let me know that she felt that I SHOULD have complimented her hair, too. That’s when I realized she had just drafted me to #TeamNatural.

I understand, for some, carrying a #TeamNatural banner may provide a sense of unity when dealing with issues that concern natural hair. Must this membership come automatically? If you are a proud member of #TeamNatural, then go for it. But automatically drafting someone into #TeamNatural and expecting them to put/choose your natural hair over everything is a bit much. It becomes reminiscent of The Godfather and the “Never go against the family” mantra. No one should be blindly loyal to anyone because of hair (nor political party, nor other affiliations).

It’s fine to embrace the natural hair community, but even women with natural hair are still individuals. Part of embracing this natural hair journey is embracing the uniqueness of our hair, and the uniqueness of US. There are enough people trying to put us into boxes. Drafting curlies to #TeamNatural only creates another box for us.

Can you think of a time when you have accidentally drafted someone to Team Natural? Have you ever been drafted?

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