The war rages on with inequality within our world. Our world is not perfect nor equal and as easy as it is to admit this, it’s easy to admit there is inequality within certain sectors of a community. All communities have their deep dark secrets that sometimes come to light and as the Natural hair community grows to sweltering numbers, our deep dark secrets are becoming clearer and more pronounced. We got issues Naturals. There is a war on inequality within the natural hair movement and that inequality is older than you would think.
There is a fight over who is being properly represented. Your texture, your reality is not always celebrated to or by the masses and as we find ourselves surrounded by natural hair superstars that are taking their hair to higher greatness by sponsorships and rewards, some of us are not feeling a kinship or a connection with them because our tresses don’t match. “Not everyone is beautiful”, is the message some are hearing because they cannot find that many women who look like them or have hair like them getting the opportunities to be a natural hair superstar. Is that reality or is that bullshit?
I’ve spent most of my life in New Orleans, LA…yea, light-skinned capital of America if ya ever been there you already know. There is a damning history of colorism in New Orleans that is deep and painful if you are brown and have kinky hair. As an acquaintance once told me…not everyone is lucky and some are just “Lucky Bright”. Lucky Bright means you were lucky to be light-skinned because you don’t have the whole package with your nappy hair. The whole package would be light-skinned and have curly hair. This was not coming from a white women. This woman was black and as she made me aware of a division I found alarming and upsetting, it made sense why some darker-skinned women feel neglected by their own people.
Are some of us lucky to be light-skinned? Are some of us lucky to have curly or coily hair over kinky hair? Is that even LUCK?
The natural hair community is booming and as we are finally being seen as valued consumers many big beauty brands are plastering our images on their marketing materials in order to cater to us and earn our power dollars. It’s a great feeling to be valued but, just with the power of imagery we see an underlying meaning that is a poor representation of our truth. This image is not equal or accurate. It seems that lighter-skinned women with curly hair have more supporters, more opportunities and more value. Is this the house slave vs. field slave yet again creeping up and damning our psyche? Are we being pitted against one another for profit?
To answer my own questions, yes, there is a driving division but it’s because curlier textures are more valued than kinkier ones. As some natural hair superstars rise to boundless magnitudes the kinkier textured superstars feel stunted or slighted and let’s not even discuss the non-superstars who merely want to feel represented. Whose fault is it? Ours for propping that lighter-skinned, curly-haired sister up and giving her the subscribing numbers to justify her position or marketers who see this value and are merely capitalizing off of it? I feel it’s a domino effect that we created by not valuing all black women no matter what color they are or the texture of her tresses. We give that lighter-skinned, curlier haired woman her clout.