Leela James is fierce. She’s beautiful, and she’s redefining R&B. She speaks from the soul, and I only see big things coming for her. I adore her voice, she’s got a beautiful, bruised melodious instrument that really captures the listener’s ear.
But I wanted to highlight this video for a different reason (unfortunately my video embedding software is acting the fool, so click on the link above to see it). This was the video that made me realize – ding, ding, ding! That fabulous mop of curls apparently isn’t Leela’s real hair. **
That just goes to show what was so obvious in my Conya Doss post – I am wig and weave illiterate.
Although, let the record show that in this interview with VH-1, Leela says “I started growing it out two years ago. My hair has pretty much always been either braided up or something that’s really easy to maintain. One of my stylists wanted to play around with doing something different and I’m always open to whatever’s funky and free and fly. It’s easy to maintain. There’s nothing to do.”
I want to make it clear, I don’t have an anti-weave agenda! But I am kind of fascinated that women who could well have beautiful curls of their very own would choose to wear artificial hair. I really hope to hear from some weave-wearers today, share your experiences and explain the natural-looking weave phenomenon to me.
Now I don’t mean to take Leela James to task at all, I just love big hair and I think she wears it so well. She reminds me physically of a young Chaka Khan, a petite dynamo with a righteous mane. But I see her picture posted in many of my readers’ Fokti pages as a “natural hair inspiration,” which got me to thinking – what exactly does natural mean, anyway?
I know many women who define themselves as natural also wear human hair extensions, braids, sisterlocks, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
I had a friend in high school who insisted that her hair was natural, even though she admitted to getting it “texturized” with chemicals every three weeks. Um, ok. To this day I can’t figure that girl out. (I stopped trying years ago).
But perhaps natural is more than that. Maybe natural is a state of mind that only begins with shunning chemicals. To me, natural has always meant no chemical fire cream, no purchased locks to be attached, just the hair that grows from my head. To me, natural means no additives or preservatives.
So I want to know how my fellow afrobellas define natural. What does it mean to you?
** edited at 8:00 a.m. on December 1 – Some readers are asserting that Leela’s hair is 100% her own. I personally do not know either way, but if the opportunity presents itself to interview Leela James, I would love to! Holla at your girl, Leela!