The Most Ignorant Thing Someone Has Said About My Natural Hair

Can I be Petty LaBelle for a second? Cool? Ok.

So I’ve been blogging long enough that I’ve heard my share of silly comments regarding my hair, from people arguing about my hair texture to being confused how my hair grew so long when I got braids or a weave to saying my hair was ugly. Even in my personal life I’ve dealt with a healthy dosage of ignorance from all types of people. For example, my 5th grade classmates asked me, the first and only black girl in the middle school, if I knew how to Harlem Shake – I did, and proudly showed them too (this was before I knew the history of using black people for entertainment aka minstrel shows and such). I had a Nigerian guy at Shrine refuse to believe that I was really Nigerian because I looked and sounded American. Idk why he was so pressed because I wasn’t checking for him anyway.

Michelle Obama wine

But THIS my friends, this comment left on one of my YouTube videos, trumps all of those things. Why do you ask? You’ll just have to see for yourself:

May I ask, what is your ethnicity? I thought you were Nigerian, but your hair patterns seem more common with African Americans… I don’t mean to stereotype, just curious.

I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps a lesson on the fact that hair pattern has nothing to do with nationality/ethnicity, and there are Nigerians with looser, wavier hair (for example: Wunmi of WomanintheJungle), African-Americans with tighter, kinkier hair, and Latino women with afros.

patti labelle no time

Or I could begin debunking the myth that saying prejudicial, otherizing comments under the guise of curiosity is complete BS.

Or I could question the need – in 2015 – to create and emphasize differences between black people – whether born on the African continent or with ancestors dating back several centuries.

If I have any strength left, I might bring to attention the fact that my hair was blow dried and thus not indicative of my hair texture/pattern in the first place.

side eye fashion show

Girl if you’re reading this, it’s not too late. I am Nigerian, and my hair is kinky. My authentically African hair can be blow-dried, flat ironed, curled, and twisted to look however the heck I want it to look. As can anyone else’s hair. Heck, white women are now wearing afros so it REALLY doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is.

What’s the most ignorant or offensive thing someone has said about your hair?

*If you’re super petty and looking for this comment, you won’t find it! I’m not THAT petty ?

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Comments

  1. I love this post. People say the silliest things from a place of complete ignorance. I was told by more than one older black women, that the reason I went natural is that I don’t want to comb my hair. The irony is both women were wearing weaves. Honestly I can not understand how these people are okay with relaxed and weaves hair no matter how rachet it looks, but will be the first to throw a shady comment about the gloriousness God has placed on my head. Anyway now that my hair has grown people are quick to dish the compliments, but I can’t help giving the internal side-eye knowing full well how peeps were acting in the beginning. We humans can be so fickle.

  2. First, I LOVE this! I’m so tired of people asking me if I’m biracial simply because my hair is curly! BOTH of my parents are BLACK. And yes, I am a black woman with big, curly hair and, gasp, freckles. Lots of freckles. And neither of my parents are white. It’s truly insulting to me that when someone says this, they think it’s a compliment, when actually, I always wanted kinky hair!! And having curly hair as a black woman is not mystical LOL I’m still a black woman with curls and freckles. It’s even harder having freckles and being black though. I love being black. I don’t want to be anything else, so remarks like this…..make me feel petty. lol

    1. You’re not petty! People are foolish is all. Some people have a really hard time understanding that there is not a stereotypical “black” look. Go on ahead and be fierce with your freckled self!

  3. I haven’t had as many ignorant comments about my hair as I’ve had comments about my daughters’ hair! So when I got pregnant a lot of people were like “ooo your kids are gonna have good hair” (hubby is white) and I was like that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. My oldest daughter has coarser hair and someone said to me “She has that n*gger hair like us”. I almost pimp slapped her in her face. -_-

  4. My hair does that without a blow dryer so what .You tell me I’m not black enough now.the things people say but my spanish professor asked me once if I cut my hair because the day before I stretched my hair to it real lengths the next day a wash and go.My hair shrinks like most 4c and b hair does.I just said no.I couldn’t even begin to educate them but when another Hispanic in the same class asked that again.I educated her about my hair texture and why it does w hat it does.no one has asked me since about my hair in spanish class

  5. ???? A thousand side-eyes for the question, which, yes, struck me as utterly ignorant and completely unnecessary.

    As far as the most ignorant comment I’ve received about my curly fro, I sadly wish there weren’t so many to choose from. But one takes the cake: after big chopping my hair three years ago, I was informed by a friend that no man would marry me because of my short hair. I was at a loss for words. She continued to repeat this statement even as another friend stepped in and proclaimed that to be the craziest thing she’d ever heard. Me? After recovering from my shock, I smiled at her, shrugged, and kept it a-moving. There are some comments that simply do not require the effort to form a reply, as far as I’m concerned.

    I should add that she had short hair. And was married.

    Whew….girl….

    1. So would I. I wouldn’t even try to explain why my hair is the way it is. Some people don’t need to be entertained……just ignored.

  6. Hmmm…not defending ignorant comments but I think this might have been an innocent comment. The reason I say this is because my own mother who is also 100% Nigerian and has loose curly hair (isn’t genetics wonderful?) once asked me “how did you get your hair to get curly like that?” She asked this because I have been relaxing my hair since I was a teenager and prior to that, she didn’t really do our hair. She sent us to a hair salon to get it done. I had to explain to her that in addition to inheriting some of her hair, I have gone natural which means I no longer add any form of straightening chemicals to my hair and as a result, the curl pattern is a little tighter.
    I think the person asking this question likely was asking because she assumed like my mom that most Nigerians have the same type of hair which is often tighter curls.

    I have THANKFULLY only received POSITIVE feedback on my hair and I’m quick to tell anyone who asks that I am a LAZY natural. I was never good taking care of relaxed hair so being natural has actually be good for me because I tend to not do much to it and it still grows.

    I am only commenting on this because having spent the first few years of my life in Nigeria, I can see how this comment may have been an innocent one but didn’t translate the same way electronically. :-).

    With that said, I LOVE your hair!!! And I love your tutorials on YouTube. Oh and congratulations on your engagement. Have you decided on how you’ll wear your hair? I’m sure it’ll look absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story and insight! I left out part of the story – and without getting too much into it because I don’t want to put people on blast TOO much, this wasn’t the first comment the person made which questioned my hair. I have many YouTube videos where they could’ve (and to my knowledge, have seen at least one) seen how my hair typically looks, and a Natural and Nigerian video and vid about me getting my hair braided in Nigeria for her to know that I’m Nigerian.

      That said, I think there’s a big difference between asking someone how they got their hair to curl, and questioning someone’s ethnicity based on what their hair looks like. One is like, “oh tell me how you got that style”, and the other is more “your hair isn’t supposed to do that because you’re ____”. I see innocence in the first type of comment, the one your mom made, and a value judgment in the latter.

      Anyway thanks so much for watching my vids!! I have no idea how I’ll wear my hair yet – I don’t even have a date picked! lol

      1. Ah. I didn’t know she had made an ignorant comment in the past. SMH. I agree with you. It is one thing to not know and another thing to act ignorant.
        LOL on setting a wedding date. We had a 16-month engagement so I can certainly understand. It takes about that long to save up for a traditional yoruba wedding and a “white wedding.” And planning a wedding in the US is NOT cheap. Especially when our folks want to show off their daughter. But it is a WONDERFUL experience and it made me SO PROUD to be Nigerian. I love our culture!

        Oh and I actually laughed out loud when I read the line about the guy who was giving you shade cause you didn’t sound Nigerian. I get that too. I spent the first 7 years of my life in Nigeria and the next 20-something in Boston before moving to the D/M/V area. I have had comments like “nah, you can’t be Nigerian” to “o ma shay o…you can’t even speak yoruba?” Yup…its been fun!
        Then they meet my husband who is white and it goes downhill from there. I love to laugh it off though cause life is too short to live based on other people’s opinions.
        http://myjjdiaries.blogspot.com

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