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!