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.

For proof, check out her soulful cover of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”, or my favorite video of hers, “Good Times.”Just let it do what it do, baby!

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!

Filed Under:


andrea says:
November 30, 2006, 11:36 am
Aaah, the definition of natural for black hair is free of chemicals. A texturizer is simply a relaxer that doesn't stay in as long. Natural is your OWN natural hair, whatever texture that may be. No additional hair bought from the Korean hair supply, just your own God-given tresses. I currently wear locs, and for years thought I was natural wearing my braids, but looking back, I got the braids to have long hair and be "beautiful." I shaved my hair intermittently and realized that for me, natural hair was almost political in the way that people reacted to my decision to wear my hair. When I shaved it, white women called me brave. When I loc'd it, black women asked me when I was going shape up that nappy mess. So for me, natural hair goes against the grain (no pun intended) and allows one to truly express themselves. Don't want to get too deep, it's hair, but I know some of you know what I mean.
Niki says:
November 30, 2006, 11:59 am
"Natural" hair by definition is hair that is free of any chemicals or any added 'enhancements'. just what grows out of your head, be your texture kinky, curly, or straight. Personally, I like to change up my look every once in awhile and will incorporate some length or different texture nto my hair style when I want to experiment with different colors or looks without doing a whole bunch of damage to my own hair. Right now, I am wearing my own hair, but I may rock something different in the future for awhile. I agree, though, that some black women are too "weave-dependent" and have not explored the possibilities of dealing with their own natural hair length or texture. Women like that may or may not have some deep issues they don't even know about. But for the most part, I think it is part of just playing with your look--for some it's different make-up, for others it's clothes or hair. Besides, we as Black women have a long history of enhancing our hair in many different ways, long before we were captured and brought to these shores. Like India Arie says, " I am not my hair"--I think it's wrong to make assumptions about a person's state of mind or inner life based on a hairstyle.
Julia_Claudine_Deveraux says:
November 30, 2006, 12:13 pm
Hey Bella Baby! Oy vey, you picked a highly touchy and controversial subject! Natural hair has many definitions. To me it means hair that is free of chemicals, including hair coloring. If you are wearing blonde dred locks, then you are not "natural" in my opinion, that's just one chemical over another. I used to be as the above poster stated "weave dependent". I cut my hair very short which was a VERY brave move for someone who'd worn weaves forever. I now wear my own on a daily basis but when I travel I opt for a hair piece or extension for the "get up and go" freedom. Since removing the weaves, I've fell in love with my hair and I baby it like I do my spouse and children. I personally do not feel there's anything wrong with weaves, wigs, extensions, chemicals etc..., It's all about being an individual and personal choice. But I can't lie and say that I wish more Black female entertainers would wear their own hair from time to time. These women are selling the younger generation of Black females a false fantasy with their false hair, false lives and their false faces and boobs. Experimenting with different looks is fun and harmless...as long as you realize your true beauty lies within and not with the length of your hair.
blackjade says:
November 30, 2006, 12:17 pm
Background: I cut it all off and went natural in college, relaxed it again, cut it off again, now I've been loced for 3 1/2 years. In Jr. High, girls are starting to play with their hair and come to school looking awkward, and over or under hairsprayed, black girls are doing the same thing. But after a few years, and many mistakes the other girls have figured out what works and what doesn't, while most of us have given up and gotten a relaxer (assuming a parent didn't start us on that path much earlier). So it's not until much later that some of us decide to "try out" our natural hair. But it's tricky, because now you have to go through the Jr. High "I'm trying to figure it out" awkwardness in your 20s and some realize that their "natural" hair isn't as full, or wavy, or Chaka Khan-esque as they'd hoped. (and that doesn't even take into account braids, or the larger social issues often attached to our hair).
Isis says:
November 30, 2006, 12:37 pm
I have worn...braids...dreads...and afro and all types of natural hair styles....i currently have dreads with some added hair...i will be cutting these soon for sisterlocks...I use to hate when women looked at me as less..because I had added some hair to my locks...implying that I was not a real " natural "...I am a natural woman..sister....friend...and I have come to the conclusion that it is not defined by my hair...but my heart
nattygirl says:
November 30, 2006, 1:20 pm
To me natural hair is in fact your own...I have been wearing my hair natural for most of my life, in fact I feel sexiest when I shave off my hair! I have been growing it for the past 3 yrs. I cannot imagine myself rocking anything else but my natural tresses....I believe that my choice of hairstyle definitely defines part of who I am and what I stand for!
bella says:
November 30, 2006, 2:31 pm
I really appreciate the input, especially from readers like you Isis and Niki! I am not in ANY way trying to make a judgement on what anyone does to their hair. It's your thing, do what you wanna do! But I am just curious about how people identify themselves, and that the word "natural" seems to mean different things to every afrobella. India.Arie did say it best, we are not our hair. It's all about who you are inside, that's what counts and if you're confident in your beauty, then I say "go, girl!" My point in writing this was out of worry. I get e mails from readers who say "my hair is too "nappy" to let it be natural." I just got an e mail like that this week! And I'm finding it hard to choose an ideal Afrobella of the Week, someone who wears their hair as is, with no added locks, extensions, or wigs. And that's because most celebrities don't totally go au naturel. I think it sets up an unrealistic gold standard.
ileaveyouwords says:
November 30, 2006, 3:59 pm
greetings bella, once again, a thoughtful article! i have locks (2.5 years) and have worn my hair chemical-alteration-free for about 8 years. "natural" is one's own hair, free of any added hair (artificial or human) and ingredients that alter the hair's organic texture. while my current shampoo (creme of nature) has chemical products in it, my moisturizing oil does not (all of the ingredients in my oil are found whole, in nature). so, despite occasionally using shampoos and conditioners that have artificial ingredients, i consider myself natural because my hair retains its organic texture: curly and gritty. i do aspire though to only using products on my hair and skin that have virtually no chemical-based ingredients. that would be the life! peace.
Coffy says:
November 30, 2006, 4:07 pm
i totally agree with Bella & Isis. natural can take on so many definitions. i know for myself i try to make sure that i am not falling into the idea that if you don't do what i do then you aren't really natural. my girlfriend wears a nappy weave and she says she is natural. if you like it i love it. i think beautiful hair is hair that is hydrated and healthy and whatever form that takes(permed, natural, loced, colored)is cool to me. i don't believe any hair is too nappy to be natural, i think we may have hopes of how we would like it to be, and as it grows our hair may be telling us that is not our reality.
Mz.Foxy says:
November 30, 2006, 4:42 pm
Hey ladies, I was wondering if one of you could point me in the direction of finding help for my locked hair. Lately they have been getting thin in gaps and breaking off, help!
Jocelyn says:
November 30, 2006, 5:22 pm
I'm a little confused. I read an article in a magazine I think it was a Sophiticates Black Hair mag I'll have to go back through my stacks but in the interview Lela James stated that she maintains her natural with lots of conditioning and she has her ends trimmed every 6-8 weeks. She never mentioned her hair being a weave. I'm a research junkie and I feel it's my duty to uncover the truth in this matter. Her fro is my inspiration. I stopped relaxin last year in October '05, cut the permed hair out in June'06 and have been wearing a curly natural. My brother bet me that my fro would never be as big as Lela's. He's beginnig to eat those words. I blew my hair out 2 weeks ago and my fro stands tall and reaches to my shoulders already.
Your Girl says:
November 30, 2006, 5:22 pm
I'm so hurt reading that a woman feels her hair is too nappy to wear it natural! That's awful because there's no such thing as "too anything" when it comes to wearing your hair the way it's intended to grow out of your scalp!!
bella says:
November 30, 2006, 5:45 pm
Jocelyn, I'd love to read that interview! I was looking all over for information about her real hair, and I was told by many readers that she's rocking a weave. Now I'm wondering if they were all wrong. Her hair is definitely magnificent and thick, which made me think it was all hers. Then I saw the video for Good Times which made me think it was a weave, or a wig because she switches to a straightened look that looks like the best hot-iron job of all time. Help me solve this mystery!
Ella says:
November 30, 2006, 5:49 pm
i define natural hair as free of chemical and extensions. since deciding to go natural, i've wanted hair as big as leela's-but having had short hair for the best part of my life, i am not prepared to take the BC, so i'm considering wearing the blow-out afro weave until i achieve something close to it.
brittaney says:
November 30, 2006, 6:49 pm
To me being "natural" is wearing your hair free of relaxers and texturizers. I don't agree with the assumption that if one decides to dye or highlight his or her hair then his or she isn't natural. But to each his own! I am natural and lovin it!
Annie says:
November 30, 2006, 7:43 pm
I think that natural ( as it relates to hair) means hair that is not texturized,dyed or relaxed. However,I dont think natural means preservative free because the oils that serve as the base for many moisturizers that are used must contain some level of preservative/antioxidant or they turn rancid. I think you can be natural and use products that have preservatives to maintain your hair in its 'natural' state.When you use chemicals to change the structure of your hair ...then its no longer in the state that 'naturally' grows out of your scalp.
Zee says:
November 30, 2006, 7:46 pm
I think natural is free of chemicals and such. I have what my beautician calls "virgin hair". I have never had a perm and have never colored my hair. I don't even remember the last time my hair was touched by a pressing comb and I wouldn't be able to go in to a beauty supply store to choose weave tracks. I do, however have kinky twists with extensions mainly because it pretty much matches the length and texture of my hair and makes it a bit fuller while helping me shave time off my morning beauty regimen. For the better part of my life I've worn my hair in braids or just rocked an au natrual ponytail. I have a hectic work schedule, a needy husband, and an ACTIVE 2 year old, so the twists work for me. My sister has sister locs and I'm thinking about swinging that way too for the new year. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, I do think my hair is natural.For me it's all a state of mind. Like one postes said "If you like it, I love it"
Bella Anais says:
November 30, 2006, 8:20 pm
I really wish performs would wear their natural tress. When I say natural I mean the hair that grows out of their head in the texture that God gave them. But then I would have to say I can understand why they might choose not to. That would be because as a perform a lot of stress is put on the hair to style constantly and that could be damaging to the hair natural or not. Janelle Monae is an artist who appears to wear her natural God given tress. http://www.janelllemonae.com
SlumBeautiful says:
November 30, 2006, 9:33 pm
Having "natural hair" means just that, hair in its natural state free of chemicals. Being "natural" does not and should not define who or what a person is, and that is where a lot of nappturals get it confused. I was actually introduced to being nappy by a nappy-nazi, and being young, I really fed into all the crap about what I am supposed to be now that I am natural. Unfortunately that is where the thin line becomes transparent and where most nappturals go wrong because they need to be defined. Somehow, that natural hair definition crosses over to a judgement of someones character and that is pure bs. I love being nappy, 5yrs and counting, however, I hate to be put into any box and my creativity will not let me just be. I've dyed my hair, cut it all off and started over again with the intentions to dred up but took those out, wore every braid known to man, had a texturizer, and now I have a huge full lace afro wig that I love and I wish someone would try to define me by that. Don't judge me and I won't judge you. I don't wear false nails, eyelashes, makeup, contacts or any other thing that most people will call un-natural, but I could care less if other people do it because that does not define them. I love to recruit people and tell them about my life as a nappy girl but I don't feel any superiority over anyone else nor do I think that I am more real than anyone else. "Natural hair" is just that, natural hair. India.Aire really summed it up when she sang: I am not my hair I am not this skin I am not your expectations (no) I am not my hair I am not this skin I am the soul that lives within Sorry for the long post.........
Imani says:
November 30, 2006, 9:39 pm
First I think of natural as being both chemical, and weave free. This is really a touchy subject. Because as women, and in particular black women the history with our hair is very much tied to the image of beauty, and how we see ourselves. I think most of us have either experience or heard the self-hatred when it comes to black people's hair. For a lot of us...the negative nappy, pea-headed, napps, references to kitchens, and edges have all effected us or some one we know male or female. The whole good hair/bad hair thing. This negative vibe can be very low key or on blast. I understand we are not our hair but with our relationship and history regarding our hair....going natural is going against the grain. I think it is being bold, beautiful, defiant and nonconforming to the "norm" of beauty standards in this society. So when I see a sista with any kind of natural it brings an inner smile to me. It makes me feel she has fought tooth and nail to love herself that much more. Therefore with our history, I think in most cases it has to definitely start with a state of mind.
Coffy says:
November 30, 2006, 10:15 pm
i believe these women also are wearing natural looks: Amrl Larrieux,Cassandra Wilson, Vivian Green, T'Keyah Keymah. what is really interesting is that many women chemically staighten their hair, yet in the media it is usually seen as shmeful and purely a "Black woman's issue". however there are many Latin, Jewish, Italian, Greek, Lebanese,women who struggle with their curly hair. when reading articles many seem to have the same internal conflict about their hair that many of us have experienced. to straighten or wear curly, i don't look like the ideal woman in the media. there are some thing that are universal and nappy hair seems to be one of them. Sorry for the use of the word nappy but it just fit.
Coffy says:
November 30, 2006, 10:16 pm
oops Amel Larrieux
Desery says:
November 30, 2006, 11:41 pm
luvin the site. just too add my 2pence I feel natural is indeed straight from the root,. However I'm rocking braids at the mo, but I am still natural! When the braids come off, Ill be back to a fro
Carolyn says:
November 30, 2006, 11:48 pm
Natural to me means not touched by chemicals (texturizer, dye or relaxer) and it grows out of your own head. I don't get fake hair, fake nails, fake breasts, or fake eyelashes. But then I'm natural to the extreme compared to most women. I don't wear ANY makeup and prefer fragrance free toiletries (when I can find them). I used to wear enough make up and do up my hair in a way that would make RuPaul feel plain. But one day I just gave it up. I think I look best without adornment. I don't knock women beautifying themselves, I just hope they realize that they are beautiful without the extra stuff too – one look is not better than the other - just different.
lovelyjd says:
December 1, 2006, 12:15 am
I love your site. I too, believe that natural means no chemicals, weaves..etc...not to be confused with the natural "look" those wearing "natural looking" weaves, hairstyles..etc. I am currently trying to tranistion into wearing my hair natural and just cut most of my relaxer off. In the interim, I am wearing a "natural look", double strand twists with afro kinky hair added in for length. But I Absolutely LOVE the fact that as a Black women, I can rock a variety of styles...that is one of the many fab things about being a part of the black sisterhood...rock on bellas. :)
afiyaa says:
December 1, 2006, 2:04 am
I love your site-it's so mod! My litmus test for natural is simple: Does the texture on your head match the texture "down there"? Those who consider themselves natural while wearing braided extensions, afro-kinky extensions, etc. over relaxed hair remind me of the so-called vegetarians who "only eat chicken and fish."
Mahogany_Butterfly says:
December 1, 2006, 2:35 am
I thought that Leela James was completely natural, I remember reading that same article as Joceyln... I'll see if I can find it I might still have it. I love her fro and it's been my inspiration as well. As for your question being natural is being free of all chemicals (relaxer or color)and being napptural is being free from relaxers but still coloring. I think I said those right.
Mahogany_Butterfly says:
December 1, 2006, 2:40 am
I just watched the video and I really think that she has a press and curl on her natural. I flat iron my hair sometimes and a lot of people can't tell that I don't have a relaxer.
lalita says:
December 1, 2006, 9:42 am
I think natural is just how bella says it . When it just comes straight out of your head and you dont have to put anything on or in it .
Jocelyn says:
December 1, 2006, 10:54 am
Hey everybody, I'm still on the search for that article. Bella I know the straight look you're talking about in the video. I transitioned by having my hair blown by a Dominican stylist for 9 months and noone knew that I didn't have a perm. That Ionic Pro hair dryer with the concentrater attachment aint no joke. I just assumed she had it blown straight. I'll say this much if thats a weave whatever company manufactures it deserve an award for Most Authentic Replica. Her hair reminds me of Rudy's from the Cosby show when they would blow it out and put the headband on it. My hair looked like that when I was her age but my mother thought it a deadly sin to send me out of the house with all that hair all over the place. She'd let me run around the house with out but when it was time to go out. I either got the 4 sided intersection(1 braid on each corner of my head)or the dinosaur. three braids connected together running down the center of my head :-)
Nana says:
December 1, 2006, 12:30 pm
Well I also believe having natural hair is not having anything "permanent" done to the hair God gave us. I just went natural 2 weeks ago and decided to just go ahead and chop all the relaxed bits off. My hair is now about 2 1/2 inches long. However, I put it straight into braids until it gets a little longer because I do not think really short hair suits me. I also plan on wearing weaves once in a while even if my hair grows to be 20 inches long! I feel it's just a change of look. I will not do anything permanent to my hair and it does not mean I love myself (or my hair) any less. It was hard enough deciding to go natural and now I have to deal with not being "natural" because I'm wearing braids? By that reasoning, dyeing the hair is not "natural" either because it's permanent, no? I think everybody's gonna have their own opinion on this. On a side not, I don't know if anyone can help but I've had alopecia (an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicles) since I was 15 (I'm 23 now) and it was a major factor in me almost not going natural. It's mainly around the back of my head and around the temples. I've always been able to hide it by not tying my hair up or pulling it back. It started to grow back last year in places but the new hair is growing back white, which my doctor assured me was normal. However, after cutting my hair off I don't think I'll be able to hide it as well. Can anybody give me any hairstyling tips? This is also part of the reason I intend to wear weaves sometimes as it does a great job in covering up the bald spots. Any help at all will be appreciated as I'm a little scared now :(
Jocelyn says:
December 1, 2006, 12:50 pm
Nana I'm not knowledgable about your condition but I just wanted to shout you out and congratulate you for having the courage to go natural. Its a big step but don't be scared. whatever you decide to do with your hair remember your attitude determines your apptitude. Love your hair, Love yourself and own your style. I'm a witness if you hold your head up high put a smile on your face throw on some fabulous earrings noone can deny you. I get more compliments from women with weaves, and perms and caucasion women. Go figure?
jazmin says:
December 1, 2006, 1:07 pm
i have a question (anyone that can answer PLEASE DO!!) about two years ago, i dyed my hair for the first time and (im embarrased to say) way too many times afterwards, to make a long story short, my hair became over processed so i deciced to cut to about chin length (before it JUST touched my shoulders) and keep the dye out of it and try to nurse it back to health. the texture of my hair has always been very fine and/or thin with more a curl then corse, but after the over coloring it became very dry and brittle. i really had it in mind to try getting it indiviual braids, but with my hair texture individuals NEVER last, my hair gets fuzzy immediately (and looks as if i had it in for months) no matter how well i take care of it use or hair net and tye it down, its just the type of hair i have. so i opted to try a weave, and a good choice for me because i was still able to curl and style the hair and even though my hair got fuzzy underneath you couldnt tell by looking at it plus it grew very quickly. anyway ive been wearing a weave for a year and now my hair nearly touches the middle of my back and VERY healthy. about two months ago i took it out to try and style my hair to find that the texture totally changed, it became a lot thicker and a little corse. i attempted to but a hotcomb through a little section it pressed a little but IMMEDIATELY shrunk right back up and my hair has never done that unless its wet! i asked my aunt about it shes says its normal for a person whos worn their hair braided for a long time to change texture, and that it should be back to its normal in a about a week. is this true? p.s thanks for posting about kinky curly, im thinking about ordering some of that curling custard :-)
CATeyez says:
December 1, 2006, 1:22 pm
Thanx Bella for this topic and I LOVE YOUR SITE. I basically agree with Isis and SlumBeautiful. The term "natural" is applied differently to everyone. As mentioned before, you should not express yourself less because someone else does not think that it is all "natural." Do you. SlumBeautiful I am thinking about getting a lace wig, can you give me any info?
Von says:
December 1, 2006, 2:33 pm
Nana...I had to stop reading the comments to give you a shout out! You go girl! Like Jocelyn said...hold you head up high and smile. I remember when I had a TWA. I didn’t tell anyone that I was cutting my hair, including my husband. When he came home he fell over from the shock of it but his best compliment by far was “I’m so proud of you for making such a bold move. I don’t know any woman as brave as you.” It's also true that Caucasians women celebrate my hair quicker than my sisters do. That's weird to me. Everyday I get a complaint from my Caucasian co-workers.
KaTrina says:
December 1, 2006, 2:45 pm
Hey Bella! :) Ok my views on this topic which I agree with some is a touchy one. I think everyone wants their hair to be considered natural whether they have extensions or rocking their own. I myself like you have very tight, spiral, curly hair. I rocked my short, spiral hair for a few years. I then got bored and now I have extensions. I know it's not my natural hair (grown out of my scalp) but it looks natural. :) Which to me is a plus! I must admit I hate over exaggerated extensions that you can tell is fake! It takes the fun out of people wondering if it is natural or not. I can say for the most part of it I wear extensions to play around with my look a little! I'm also trying to grow my hair. I have gotten very comfortable with having extensions and now miss my curly fro! I plan on rocking it again for the summer! It should be nice and BIG by then! :) Love the site! Keep up the good work on keeping us in tune!
Coffy says:
December 1, 2006, 3:01 pm
@Jazmin, it sounds like your hair may not be hydrated. did you continue to deep condition your hair while wearing the weave? it sounds like you need to incorporate a deep moisturizing shampoo and a good conditioner. did you use a heat protection product before applying the pressing comb? from what i have read it is best to use a flat iron with a control setting, that way you can control how much heat you apply. there are flat irons that go to four hundred degress so you can achieve the look you want. i'm going to let some of the other ladies chime in with their suggestions, meanwhile i will try to find some products that will aid you in your hair health.
Bygbaby says:
December 1, 2006, 3:25 pm
According to Merriam-Webster Online Natural (10)- Existing in or produced by nature : not artificial. Natural (13) - a : closely resembling an original : true to nature b : marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint c : having a form or appearance found in nature ---- I have seen Leela James in concert & love her music but was turned off by that weave that she wears. From the video I thought it was all her & was really proud but last year, I confirmed that it was a weave & under it it looked as if her hair was processed. I am not hating on weaves but I get turned off by "FAKE" natural looks outside of braids.
flygyrl72 says:
December 1, 2006, 3:54 pm
Natural is your OWN hair, rocking your OWN God-given texture & length. Period. Anyone who tries to say otherwise, is just playing w/ semantics. It is what it is. I rock a big fro, my own, no extensions, no hair dye, nada. If you do rock extensions on your natural/locs/whatever, then you can say that you're Afro-centric, but I don't consider chicks that do that stuff to be in the same category as me. However, I think you can still describe yourself as somewhat natural even if you dye it, as long as it's all your own texture/length, cause to me, the term "natural" in regards to Black hair seems to be more associated w/ textures, not tones. So for all of you who do get a little help from extensions or whatever, I ain't mad at ya. To each her own, but I don't regard it as the same thing that I do. Not better or worse, just different.
LBellatrix says:
December 2, 2006, 8:28 am
As has already been said by many, natural hair is the hair your follicles are programmed to produce. That means whatever texture and color your DNA is set up to put out. If you haven't diddled with that, then your hair is natural. Now...natural hairSTYLES are styles that are done with one's own natural hair. That's different from chemical-free hairstyles, which may involve the use of "other people's hair." All natural hairstyles are chemical-free, but not all chemical-free hairstyles are natural. I don't have a problem with what folks do as long as they aren't trying to pass off their fake or altered hair as real or unaltered. Tyra Banks is one celebrity I can think of who's always been upfront about the fact that her hair is fake. If you're going to fake it -- whether the fake involves chemicals, extensions, or weave -- at least be honest about it. Sadly, the deep, culturally-based hair insecurity that many black women experience prevents them from being fully "real" about what's going on on top of their heads.
rkj says:
December 2, 2006, 9:51 am
Can O' Worms. I knew while reading this entry that there would be a ton of replies. Not too interested in jumping in the the natural vs. not fray (enough msg boards cover it ad naseum). However, I wasn't sure what was up with Leela's hair. I couldn't see that hairstyle being easy to maintain night after night. I can't blame any artist who goes through frequent costume/look changes for using a weave. Makes sense to me. Whether it's a "natural" weave or "straight hair" weave -- you're portraying an illusion. But -- I guess wearing contacts gives off the illusion of 20/20 eyesight, right? Dowhutchulike © digital underground
newnaps4me says:
December 2, 2006, 10:13 am
greetings from Cincinnati yall!!! Been napptural 3 years in Jan 07'. Love my hair...colored it...and still am napptural. I feel that being free from a chemical that literally "melts" a hair coil into being straight is not napptural by any means. However, adding hair to your naps...braiding your hair and wearing a wig in the winter to save your naps from the crucial elements is fine...just being strong enough to not relax is a state of mind. Black hair is beautiful in any napptural form...to each it's own....cause the way society has it...we would all be relaxed and a size 2. I will not conform.
jazmin says:
December 2, 2006, 3:58 pm
hey coffy thanks for replying :-) did you continue to deep condition your hair while wearing the weave? everytime i washed it i made sure i left the conditioner on my hair for at least 10 minutes with a cap on and after that i'd use tea tree naturals scalp serum and massage it into my scalp, so yea my hair was very well conditioned. when i tried to hot comb a small portion of it the oil that i used did have heat protection as well as the conditioner, so i really dont know whats up. in a couple of weeks im going to take my hair down and see how it acts maybe if i wait two weeks like my aunt says hopefully it will go back to normal
Coffy says:
December 2, 2006, 4:26 pm
@jazmin, many of my girlfriends have worn weaves and they made the mistake of not conditioning the hair under the weave, and this actually changed the texture of their hair. are you using a leave in conditioner? during your two week hair break how about increasing your conditioning time maybe to 30-45 minutes, and adding olive oil to your cinditioner. i look forward to hearing your results.
Wanda says:
December 3, 2006, 2:03 pm
I wear Sisterlocks and consider myself to be 100% natural. I'm curious as to those that don't consider it natural. I started my lock journey with 2 inches of natural growth and relaxed ends, but as my hair started locking the relaxed ends were cut off 8 months into my locking journey. There's no added hair, extensions or the like. I've been locked 5.5 years now and it's all my hair. I feel that weaves, extensions and the like are not natural, but that is my opinion and no one else has to agree with me on that. I just saw your post and that some consider themselves naturals with Sisterlocks and didn't see any other responses about that. That strikes a chord in me, as the only difference with Sisterlocks is that you can start locks with relaxed ends but they do not stay. Some people may start their loc journey with added in hair, but that's not what Sisterlocks are about. Those are individual choices, not how Sisterlocks are recommended to be started.
idot says:
December 3, 2006, 2:43 pm
hi! i just got a tex-lax (texturing with mild relaxer) after being "natural" for over a decade. my hair is still frizzy/kinky, just softer and breaking-less. hope that doesnt make me a complete traitor, but i am much happier now. i can wear my hair out in a fro more often without any "bad hair" days. but before i put the chems in, i did much research on nappturality and long hair forum and i now know how to take care of afro textured hair after years of ignorance. so i am betting, i am gonna be finally enjoying some good length in the future. i hope! at least i look good, and therefore i feel good - that's the bottom line. and there's nothing like an afro, moss haired, black beauty. love it, so i am not trying to contradict my beauty preference, just trying to manage and maintain;-) cheers! idot.
Coffy says:
December 7, 2006, 2:21 pm
hey Bella, i found a new site(at least new to me)it is www.happycurls.com. this is a hairboard that has less politics than most boards, and i find it refreshing.
LOLA says:
December 13, 2006, 5:49 am
Missy says:
December 15, 2006, 12:00 am
@Jasmin: Try Organic Olive Oil for a conditioner. I know it sounds kind of weird but it works. Just work it throughly in the hair. Leave in for 30 mins to an hour and a half. And shampoo as usual and rinse out the natural conditioner. Any natural oil is good for Black hair(check out Carol's Daughter her ingredients are full of natural vegetable oils).
A Nappy Girl says:
January 1, 2007, 3:08 am
Weaves are great for protecting the napps, during the winter time. I usually always weave my hair up, for the winter season — although I didn't this time. I chose to basically wear it twisted, and only "out" when it's not too cold. I also usually avoid the "what is natural?" debate, because I think it often sows discord, among black women. It never ends. You got the nappturals who say if you heatstyle your napps, you're not "really" natural. It's exhausting, and I'm not about to let my own folk trip me up, after deciding to be free of the dominant culture's view of what is attractive and stylish. It's too much like trading one set of shackles for another. If somebody says I'm not "natural" cuz I color or use a dryer, then that's their opinion, and life goes on. But it doesn't move me off my square. I think the bottom line is loving how God made you, without being locked into somebody else's issues regarding how that love should manifest itself. I can color/straighten my hair, and not necessarily have a "self-love" deficit.
Vetta says:
March 3, 2007, 4:46 am
I was reading everything everyone said ...and I had started growing my natural in the beginning of 06 its been a year now...and like three weeks ago I threw a texturizer in it because some DUMMY told me it wouldn't take it out of its natural state but now I regret it.....but my hair still is VERY VERY kinky..you guys think I ruined my natural journey..I will never do this again.
conza says:
May 21, 2007, 7:55 am
i am so disappointed learning that leela James's hair is not the real deal. she was here in South Africa last month and she said that the only way she maintains her afro is by braiding it at night and comb it with her fingers in the morning. she says she never uses a comb. i am so disappointed.
Pia Small says:
June 17, 2007, 2:40 pm
I, too, am discovering just what it means to have natural hair. I had relaxed my hair for years thinking that this was what I'm supposed to do! Natural hair was not acceptable and meant a lack of personal pride. When I decided to stop using chemical straighteners, I received much criticism from my family and friends. It's a learning process, but I finally broke down all the mental conditioning and psychological programming that we as black woman have been force-fed from birth! I understand that my real hair is beautiful and that I don't need to "European-ize" it to feel like a woman. I define my hair, not the other way around!
Jane says:
July 4, 2007, 4:20 pm
Entertainers entertain, they don't wear their real hair, they act, sing, they play dress up...now if you want to talk bout people wearing their real hair then how about talking about politicians and things like that. Condoleeze wears her real hair a press and curl with but no weave (lets be honest it's not about the texture, its about the lenght, this isn't mississippi circa 1950, nappy, straight as long as it's long)...the irony...lol...
Gina says:
December 20, 2007, 12:18 am
If you're looking for lace wigs make sure you get the authentic ones. They have the lace wigs in Afro texture at http://www.myhair24-7.com. And it's a woman thang...all woman of all colors wear them.
kinda says:
January 9, 2008, 1:42 pm
Well, natural means chemical free as my sisters said before, but I'm not against adding braids,weaving or coloring locks.I'm a hairstylist and I never put in relaxer in my hair,but in my island(st-maarteen west-indies) people tend to think that u cannot do anything with nappy hair,which will look decent,It's been 10 years now, that throughout the many hairstyles I'm creating in my own hair(dread locks,coils, cornrows...),each year I'm convincing my clients to go back natural, and to believe that u can be classy,natural n beautifull.However, the process aint that easy ,so I have to say that adding breads, or weave in my work has been an alternative for my clients to accept their own hair,I really do hope that one day my siters from all over the world will cherish their natural hair and that they won't need all this to be proud of their roots,Bless ya all Love this website
A.G. says:
October 5, 2008, 7:20 pm
I consider myself natural and I wear braid extensions. Two years ago, when I started the natural transition I did wear it out and played around with it. Braids help my hair to grow. I love taking the braids out and seeing how much it has grown. To me natural is both a state of mind but also about being chemical free. While in braids I have been reading and watching videos to learn how to take care of my natural hair. I've been using herbs, oils, and have even gone vegetarian. It's a journey for me and I don't think there's anything wrong with experimenting with extensions.
ella says:
February 12, 2009, 7:14 pm
Over the last 30 years I cut all of my hair off from time to time (every 5 years, went natural) but only for 3 months max then relaxed again when it became too difficult to manage. I have been natural- short afro - since July 08 & decided to keep it like this for a much longer period, however, I wanted to find out what was going down with natural hair as I noticed some great hairstyles on the street but was too shy to ask about them! When I bought black hair magazines (in the UK) hoping to find a large section on natural hair, judging from many people I saw around me, I was horrified to find that it did not even get a mention and most of the styles were for weaves & a large percentage of adverts were for skin lightening. I cannot believe that after all these 200+years since emancipation black women have not come to terms with our skin colour & natural hair. It does not bother me how other people look or think of me so I am happy to be nappy when I eel like it. Also, the problem seems to be with us black people as my white or other colleagues do not treat me any different because of my hair. I'm not saying I won't do something different in future, however, I feel that if black magazines had the bravery to put models with natural hair on the covers or in the main body of the magazines on more pages giving them equal coverage, instead of hiding them in small sections in the middle of the magazine or making a passing reference to them as if they were ashamed but were obliged to mention it, perhaps we would learn after all these years to stop being such slaves to weaves, wigs etc... and be ourselves and in the process enjoy life more!
MsLala says:
December 22, 2010, 11:23 am
I think she does in fact have lovely natural hair but being in the entertainment biz she probably uses wigs and weaves to give her hair a break and to add versatility. Atleast she is rockin' a natural looking texture regardless. Her style is fab. I have long natural hair but sometimes I use wigs for that very reason but I don't think it makes me any less natural.
Keesha says:
October 3, 2013, 12:16 pm
Hi there every one, here evgery one is sharin these familiarity, thus it's good to read this web site, and I used to go to see this webpage all the time.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *