It’s 2008 and 19-year-old me has just announced to my university housemates that I will be “going natural”. The reactions went a bit like this:
“What why? Your hair is fine the way it is, you don’t need to go natural, your hair is nice. I don’t get what you’re doing that for.”
“You’re actually crazy Latoya”.
At that point, we all chuckled and laughed off another one of my crazy ideas, under my cornrow but still relaxed hair I’d have no clue that 8 years later I would ACTUALLY keep to my natural hair texture. I would often go natural for a year then revert to my relaxer schedule but this time was different, I was sticking to the plan.
At 20 years of age, I didn’t predict that #BlackLivesMatter would be a thing or there being a growth in natural afro textures but here we are.
I often would focus on street style in the run up to London Fashion Week but this time I wanted to do something different and something that was really close to home for me. In the media, I have noticed that afro hair has started to become a topic of debate more so then when I was younger and feel as though with an increased movement in black people using their natural hair there seems to have been an increased counter movement to force black people to have their hair in styles that doesn’t support their afro texture.
Did that sound like a harsh statement? Perhaps, but when you start to remember that people are rejected from jobs because of the hairstyle that is very similar to mine, it hurts. When a school child that looks like my future daughter is sent home because of a hairstyle that I’d practice on her hair, it cuts. When people who see my hair straightened against my natural hair and say if I look prettier with straight hair, it burns.
Oh yes and I do know that not every person with afro hair has their hair natural and I don’t think that natural hair is any way superior to relaxed hair. I know through personal experience that you can still maintain long and strong hair that is chemically straightened if cared for correctly. I chose natural over relaxed because of I simply wanted to drop off the chemicals… I’m exposed to enough as a Londoner!
Not all black people have a kinky afro texture growing from their scalp as I have friends that have voluptuous silky hair that can be classed as Type 2. I just wanted to do a photo series that shows the beauty of my afro hair, take a look at my picture story to better understand my view on hair.