When I read interviews of naturalistas on the big natural hair blogs based in the US, they always ask what the natural hair scene is like in the interviewee’s community or country as the case may be. I began to look around and wonder how I would describe the scene in Jamaica. It’s a little difficult to describe, as the “fad” of natural hair in my opinion is all the rage overseas now, but our elders here have always been wearing their hair natural. My grandmother and my mom was the one to introduce me to a hot comb. I’m not sure if my grandmother ever got a relaxer but my mom has tried every hairstyle under the sun. Jherri curls, relaxers, braids, weaves, natural, colour, the whole nine yards. She’s now back to natural. I think I would sorta describe the scene in Jamaica as evolving. Our elders always wore natural hair and always used things like castor oil and grease in their hair. Us youngsters (calling myself a youngster sure feels good LOL) may have had relaxed hair ever since we were babies or may have grown up and experimented with it when we were allowed (as in my case) and are now embracing our natural hair and researching new spins on old ingredients that our ancestors used.
Now, this is just my observation, but that’s where I think this natural hair phenomenon stands in Jamaica, maybe the Caribbean. I mean, in the US, its sorta the norm for girls to have a perm. In those same interviews one of the questions is always “When did you decide to go natural” and few of them reply “I’ve always been natural.” Here in Jamaica I’m not sure it is the accepted norm. There were a whole lot of natural hair girls at my high school, myself being one of them. We got our hair twist/plait/canerow or what I guess would be called “protectively styled” on a Sunday and kept it in all week until we could manage it ourselves or put it in a bun. Mine was always in a damn bun. I don’t want to try and speak for the whole nation though, please join in the convo and let me know what your hair journey was like growing up. I decided to get a relaxer for graduation, simply because. I had no big reason, it was just a thing to do for graduation. I didn’t go to a professional however and the results were disastrous. I had to cut it all off right away. Hence, this ugly bob thing for my graduation.
So that was 12 years ago. At almost 30, I was only a relaxer head for 12 years. Not my whole life. I can’t believe people put relaxers in the heads of 3 and 4 year olds. The burns I used to get, I cannot imagine! But I guess those kiddie versions aren’t so harsh?
I went to a natural hair meet-up put on by Curly Centric Jamaica last weekend and it was quite interesting. It was cool to see all these women sharing, learning, interacting. It was nice. And to see so many natural hair providers touting their products was good too because one of the complaints I have is finding some of the ingredients I read about here in Jamaica. I picked up some essential oils in support and was pleased to see people there who made their own lines as well. Between me and you I have been knee deep in research trying to develop my own line simply because I make these things for my own hair and have totally fallen in love with certain ingredients and think I should be making them in larger batches and sharing them with the community.
What I appreciated a lot about the meetup were all the different textures, all looking so gorgeous. A lot of people see my hair and the first comment out their mouth is “you lucky you have pretty hair” and I smile and wave because sometimes I really can’t. I believe that all our textures are beautiful and just need a little love, not a harsh chemical, to be great but some people don’t want to see it this way. Look at these pictures, aren’t they gorge?
Pictures from the Curly Centric FB Page. This weekend is another natural centric event! The natural hair scene in Jamaica is banging! Fashion and Mingle, right up my alley. Will you be there?
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