Natural hair is a huge discussion happening in the black community as well as on our site. Our pieces featuring natural hair and the controversy surrounding it always elicit not only the most responses, but the most fervent responses of anything that we feature.

The New York Times is catching on to the importance of the discussion and today, a feature titled “‘Going Natural’ Requires Lots of Help” ran, featuring blogger Maeling Tapp of NaturalChica.com. Before getting to the matter at hand, it is amazing to see a women of color being featured in such a positive way about a topic that really is so central in our community today. The piece is definitely a departure from the film Good Hair, which sought to enlighten everyone on natural hair. This piece really speaks to black women and informs those who might have been searching for ways to connect with more natural-haired women.

Maeling recalls seeing her mother and sisters wearing their hair in its natural state and she was inspired to do the same. Her first attempt did not succeed and she returned to relaxers because of her lack of knowledge of how to care for natural hair, as well as just a lack of knowledge of natural hair altogether. When she did finally go for it again, she learned by watching videos of women styling their natural hair and using certain products. This inspired her to create her own Youtube channel, Natural Chica.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t I just document my own journey to help keep track of what’s working for me?’ I wanted to contribute to the wealth of information that’s out there.” – Maeling Tapp

Other bloggers featured in the article are Alicia Nicole Walton of CurlyNikki.com and Kim Love of Kimmaytube. Alicia started her blog to not only appeal to women with natural hair, but also to rally for women who felt societal pressures when it came to straightening their hair. She is also a psychotherapist, thus she is able to really delve into the minds of women of color who are struggling with self-esteem and their image. Kim is a force in beauty for black women and a go-to for new products and literature. Like Alicia, she believes that gathering together to discuss and educate is crucial.

“How much of that multibillion-dollar industry for African-American hair care is education? Very few people are talking about the science of our hair and how to handle this fiber that can grow long with the right treatment. People are debating about products, but I’m trying to show the tools and techniques that will work for our hair. Stylists, products, educators — this is a big industry and there’s room for everyone.” – Kim Love

Naturally (no pun intended), this will lead to more discussion about natural hair, but hopefully it gives those who are uninformed and misinformed the foundation to start thinking about choosing it as an option, as well as thinking about it in a new light.

Visit www.newyorktimes.com to read the full article.

What do you think of the New York Times discussing natural hair? What are your experiences with it?

-Faith Cummings

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