Andre Walker, Mr. Kinky Hair Should Be Relaxed, Is Now Selling Kinky Hair Products | KlassyKinks.com

Andre Walker, Mr. Kinky Hair Should Be Relaxed, Is Now Selling Kinky Hair Products

Originally written for blackgirllonghair.com

Remember Andre Walker? He’s Oprah’s hairstylist, famous for creating the hair typing system many women use today that puts Type 1 hair at the top, and Type 4 hair at the bottom. I’ve personally commented on the inherent discrimination against kinkier textured hair in his numbering system and I’m not the first to do so. Proving my point, Walker has thrown mega shade towards kinky hair in the past, calling it “the only hair type that I suggest altering with professional relaxing” since it has “limited styling options.”

But that’s old news. What’s new is that Andre Walker has seemed to recognize there was money to be made on natural hair move on from his old views and created a haircare product specifically for kinky hair: the Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee. He’s made no mention of his past remarks, but in a recent interview with  with Naturally Curly, Walker said “it used to be that people looked at natural hair as unattractive or militant. It had all of these negative connotations. People wanted straight hair – the straighter the better. If you had kinky hair, that was bad hair. Today, kinky hair is considered beautiful. It’s something to be embraced.”

One of the BGLH commenters made a GREAT point about how if Andre Walker had realized when he first came out with his hair typing system in the early 90s that natural hair shouldn’t be dismissed, he’d be a billionaire and the leader of the natural hair product movement. Here’s the comment:

Andre Walker is my favorite example of what happens when you stay stuck in the past and ignore potential opportunity. Back when the online natural hair community was still in its infancy — I’m talking about the late 1990s, before YouTube, before blogs — Andre’s system was THE ONLY measurement by which natural hair was evaluated. (LOIS and all those other ones came later. Yes, there were and are others, lol.) Despite the fact that some of us, myself included, emphasized that it was subjective and not based on science, it’s still considered influential to this day…all because of a stylist whose only claim to fame is that he cares for the hair of the most influential black woman of this era. If he had been paying attention and taken us seriously BACK THEN…can you imagine what might have happened to this “movement”? Because so many black folks still hang on any celebrity’s word (no matter how sketchy that celebrity may be…another subject for another day)…an Andre Walker product line would have been huge (assuming it was any good, of course…the Internet can bring you into this world and it can take you out, lol) and any future developments he might have come up with in terms of styles, styling tools, etc. would have been big money-makers. He could have even been a modern-day version of Madame CJ Walker by taking his show on the road, so to speak, and training stylists to accommodate the growing natural hair consumer base. Sadly, none of that happened…because like so many in the traditional black hair “care” industry, Andre didn’t take natural Afro-textured hair care — the hair texture MANY of us have whether we want to admit it or not — seriously. And like so many in the industry, he’s finding out (maybe not as harshly as most because, after all, he’s an O employee) the consequences of ignorance. And now — again, like so many in the industry — he’s trying to play catch-up. To which I say, with all sincerity, “Good luck with that…because the Internet never forgets.”LBell, BGLH commenter

Do you think Andre Walker screwed himself over by making derogatory comments about kinky hair in the past? Can he redeem himself or is it too little too late?

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Comments

  1. I think like most of us he was conditioned to see beauty only in one type of hair. He’s isnt the first to publicly make statements like this. When I first went natural my own mom made negative comments. We can’t be ahistorical about our hair and beauty politics. Eurocentric conceptions of beauty has dominated mainstream space/media for years and that has subconsciously impacted us. I’m still not buying his products but if we’re going to boycott him we need to do the same for the countless other companies who are now all of a sudden making products to cater to us. Even dark and lovely is changing their tube and making products specifically for kinky textured hair that’s not a relaxer. They may not have made statements publicly such as he did but to me all these new companies and stores such as Walmart and target are just as bad. They didn’t support the movement until they started seeing dollar signs. They need to do more than carry products. Help my community, promote images that look like me ect.. Ill stick to small black owned business that not only make products for us but support us as a whole.

  2. It’s so true. Love your post. I think is trying to get a share of the pie. I think it’s an hypocritical attitude. Wouldn’t want to support a person who denigrate black hair in the first place.

  3. Yes, I do hypocrite. As long as Oprah was rocking straight or perm hair,he was on that hype. Since she’s natural he wants us to support him. Well I say no because it’s my money.

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