The rebranding of the Weave vs Natural debate

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Last Saturday 25th October the Divas were invited to sit on a panel to engage in a discussion entitled ‘weave vs natural’ hosted by the Young Ladies Club. Offering a No Heat hair extension alternative whilst selling natural products makes us an interesting panelist choice for such topics.  Thefore this was not the first time that we have been asked to voice our opinion on this heated debate. Our earlier appearance prior to Saturday was live on BBC radio alongside Natural November founder DebRose Brown and Cindy Martins, director of a well known hair extension company, which swiftly became a battle of the textures. This time we were hoping for a more constructive discussion which would unite the room, after all the event was called ‘Black girls let talk’; talk not demoralise.



Upon our arrival we noticed that there were very few 'naturals' in the audience which created an intrigue as to the issues that would be raised in the impending debate. I have placed the word naturals in inverted commas due to later revelations that the majority of the audience were in fact natural but just like me (yes im rocking our Heat Free Diva collection in the pics!) protective styling under a weave. This seems to be the trend right now which raises the question: Is this on-going debate still worthy of its title? Additionally what hairstyle defines the status ‘natural’?

We were joined on the panel by hair guru Valley Fontaine from the BBC, Mary Oluwawo director of Papachichi style hair extensions and wigs and Rianna Henry, Toni & Guys only afro stylist.



The debate was opened with a screening of the trailer from Chris Rocks documentary ‘Good Hair’. If you have not watched this you should look it up when you can as although it’s light hearted humour there are some important subliminal messages amongst the witticisms.

The discussion trail was no different to previous events attended, despite the audience demographics. Comments such as 'wearing a weave equates to not loving yourself' or 'naturals believe they are above you' were being rippled across the room like a Brazilian wave.

Conversely however the lead topic of weave vs natural seems to be fluctuating. Due to companies like ourselves offering hair extensions mimicking our own texture it now seems to be more socially acceptable to add an extra kink or 2 to your natural tresses.  Adding body or length until you reach your desired goal could be what averts transitioners relapsing to the creamy crack.

To us the prevalent argument has always been the subliminal message portrayed to society and more importantly our young impressionable daughters. By rocking a 26 inch Indian weave do we desire to conform to society’s acceptable image of a European woman?

Perhaps this debate should be rebranded as natural vs relaxed (another questionable topic) as the argument has become very texture specific. Some may say that we as Divas wear a controversial hat given that although we are proud naturalistas we wholeheartedly advocate the usage of weaves especially as we offer a Heat Free Diva range of extensions.

So just what is our opinion on this heated topic? So long as it's healthy and you’re happy, it’s your hair so rock it proudly. Comparing a weave to bleaching or the accusation of the desire to appear anything other than of African heritage is just another way of allowing a hair style choice to create a segregation within our community.

What we find overwhelming at each debate we attend on this topic is the amount of women who have the desire to go natural but don’t know where to start or the ladies that try and fail so revert back to a relaxer as its ‘easier’.

Ladies (and men) lets adjourn the submission to society of an inter-race conflict and unite to offer a community hub for advice and progression. Maybe then we will gain more control over OUR booming hair industry.

If you require any hair advice please contact askadiva our new Q&A service and remember; Executive extensions or naturalista we are the Mane Divas for you!

Mane Divas Big Chop

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hey guys, this is Tam here.

Sorry it's taken so long for part 2 of the blog, but we've had so much going on the past few weeks that time has just gotten away from me. We've been so busy living it, that we haven't had any time to write about it.

Soooo..... What's been happening that I need to fill you in on? Oh ok, firstly the amazing launch....

As most of you will know because you came down and saw us, our launch in the Liberty Shopping Centre in Romford was a smash hit. We met some great people and hopefully imparted little nuggets of wisdom with everyone that we spoke to.

Directly after the launch was the first free hair clinic. Thanks to those who came down, and to those who didn't make it, you missed a good afternoon, and hopefully we'll see you at the next one.

In the following weeks from the launch and clinic we have been making our presence felt at so many different events its been unreal.

We were lucky enough to exhibit at Curlvolution, where we met some great people; customers and vendors alike (hello to you all....). On a more personal note, those of you that visited Curlvolution last year, you would have witnessed the Big Chops live on stage. This gave me motivation to put myself forward for the big chop (I hear the gasps in the audience....) Unfortunately, the organisers this year decided not to do big chop, but it was too late by then as the seed of the idea had already been planted. Even though my hair was not damaged or breaking I had always wanted to start a fresh and go natural and short but Ive never felt brave enough. Be it the imaginary disproval from society or the mere discouragement from my ex partners and family that made me put it off for so long I just didn't feel ready. That and the fact I work in such a male dominated sector I incorrectly felt my hair symbolised my womanhood.

However since managing Diva I have met so many inspiring women like yourselves that showed me I had nothing to be scared of. By the time curlvolution was here I was more than ready, so imagine my disappointment when Bukky told me it wasn't happening this year!

As fate would have it, our stand at Curlvolution was directly opposite a hair dresser Steven, who worked for session stylists Design Essentials. I told him what I was planning on doing and he said that he could do it for me if I was going to be at Afro Hair and Beauty In The following days.

So after a successful day at Curlvolution, we then wanted to let our hair down by visiting and not exhibiting at Afro Hair and Beauty on the Monday. Still with Steven's words ringing in my head, I decided that I was going to go for it. So at AH&B the first stop was the Design Essentials stand to make an appointment.... That was it, the die had been cast, my hair was all coming off....

As nervous as i should have felt, I surprised myself by feeling the total opposite. I was excited and exhilarated and couldn't wait to see the new me. And a short 30 minutes later, there I was.

I immediately raided our stock room for organic coconut oil, Tropic Isle living leave in conditioner and our newest product Aloe Vera Juice! These products are a god send especially in the Egypt heat which I flew to the next day!

All of my before and after pics are up now, so feel free to leave us a comment on Facebook, twitter or even Instagram telling me what you think of the new look :-) I have since coloured and been experimenting with gels to create little curls. I love it!

Surprisingly enough everyone around me absolutely loves the new look as well. Going straight to Egypt allowed me the opportunity to get used to it, so the shock on everyone else's faces when I got back was purely amusing to me. Even my work colleagues praised me on how great I look, telling me that I have the face for it (whatever that means...). One of the greatest things about the short look is that it's given me the confidence to experiment with accessories and make up. I never realised just how much I hid behind my hair, but now without it, my whole face is on show. My jewellery; particularly earring collection has literally trebled in a few shorts weeks and I'm currently thinking about new make up techniques that will set my face off.

Cutting my hair has literally changed my whole style, and I love it.

Anyway, enough rambling about me. I think that's you all up to date for now. Look out for the next blog from Trina as we have 2 or 3 very exciting events that we're showcasing and speaking at in the next couple of weeks. Also check out our latest article written about us in Afro Cosmopolitan online magazine; the number 1 Afrocentric and Black Magazine.

But until then, remember.... "Executive extensions or naturalistas, we're the Mane Divas for you..."