One of the most frequently asked questions, frequently addressed topics, and hot button issues in the natural hair community, is the issue of hair growth. It’s the fuel for blog posts and epic message board threads, and sparks flurries of product purchases for special hair challenges. It’s something I get asked about ALL the time, and the answer is usually not what people want to hear. So when I saw that brilliant video blogger, comedian, and writer Franchesca Ramsey (AKA Chescaleigh) made a video titled The Secret To LONG Natural Hair! I knew I was going to LOVE this.
Chescaleigh took the idea one step further. Not only did she create a parody video about the whole concept of products that can spur hair growth, but she involved some of the hottest, most popular, successful, instantly recognizable naturalistas in the game, Taren Guy, Hey Fran Hey, the gorgeous ladies of Urban Bush Babes, and Myleik (the creator of Curlbox) makes a cameo!
I LOVE the sisterhood behind this. I think the video is brilliant, and from the moment I saw it I knew it was destined to go viral. (Chescaleigh has a knack for that, obvs). Of course, brilliance attracts criticism. I also expected it to garner some negativity, as is so often the case with natural hair videos and anything satirical in general. This video has been posted everywhere from BGLH to HuffPo to The Root, and the variety of response has been interesting to say the least. I reached out to Franchesca for exclusive response to her latest video that’s sparking controversy in these natural hair e-streets.
Afrobella — What inspired you to make this video and what message do you hope people get from it?
Chescaleigh — I get a lot of questions about how to grow long hair or if it’s possible to skip the “awkward baby loc phase” and have long locs without the wait. Time and again I remind my subscribers that it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year for hair to loc and the only way to bypass short hair is to either get extensions or just be patient. I’ve made two hair timeline videos, a FAQ hair video and even added a FAQ hair page to my site to encourage and remind my viewers to be patient, but I found that the message wasn’t really hitting home. So I started toying with the idea of a making a comedic video about the importance of patience but I just wasn’t sure how to execute it. One day over lunch, Cipriana (from Urban Bush Babes) suggested we make some sort of hair product parody and thus the idea was born! The main message I wanted to convey was that you can’t rush hair growth with expensive “miracle products” and you shouldn’t compare your hair or personal journey to anyone else.
Afrobella – This went viral fast, and now there’s some criticism popping up online, what would you like to say to those people?
Chescaleigh — Is it officially viral? I dunno. I think we need a few more views to be deemed viral, but I’m excited that it’s doing so well. If there’s one thing I learned from “S*** White Girls Say…to Black Girls” it’s that criticism can help fuel views, so I say bring it on! I think it’s easy to find something negative to say about anything if that’s your goal. There are some people online who don’t like me or the ladies in this video and are going to have something nasty to say no matter what we post. You can’t please everyone. Despite their opinions, I appreciate them watching and taking the time to share their opinions. So thank you!
Afrobella – On a personal note, I’m seeing negativity within in the natural hair community and it bothers me. What are your thoughts on that, and how can we get over it?
Chescaleigh — It bothers me too, which is why I wanted to make a video encouraging women to stop comparing themselves to one another (the anti-envy spray) and just to enjoy their natural hair journey. Last week I did an illustration about the divide between women with natural hair and relaxers, encouraging both sides to refrain from passing judgement. Alas, some people had negative things to say about that! At the end of the day, some people are happy being unhappy and having something to complain about. It’s unfortunate that so many of us struggle to accept and appreciate the differences in our hair, bodies and even skin tones. My hope is that by continuing to make comedic content that addresses these issues in a creative and fun way, I can encourage people to think about these divides and hopefully move past them.
Food for thought from Chescaleigh. And for real – yes there are products that will work well for your hair and maybe make transitioning easier, and you may see growth from using more or less of a certain product or ingredient…but patience and love are the most important tools on this natural hair journey. Patience is in short supply, and it’s tough to cultivate. But the results are guaranteed.
BTW the title of this blog post was inspired by one of my favorite Guns N Roses songs. Who remembers?