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The natural hair movement is focused on encouraging women with African ancestry to celebrate and enjoy the natural characteristics of their kinky, curly, hair texture.

The natural hair movement is represented by a group of African women that provide encouragement, advice, product reviews, hairstyle tutorials and much more to other women that are interested in leaving the creamy crack and going natural.

The Term Nappy is Often Considered a Pejorative

“Nappy” is a term that’s been used to describe natural hair since the days of slave trading. When used to emphasize the difference between natural hair and European hair, it took on a derogatory meaning. Today many African American women are reclaiming the word.

There are some women who identify themselves proudly as “nappy girls” and have given up relaxers and other extreme treatments in favor of growing their hair out in its natural state.

The potential hairstyles available to naturals range from the very simple TWA to more sophisticated styles like bantu knots. Braids (e.g., box braids and crochet braids), hair twists (e.g., Senegalese twists) and dreadlocks are also common styles.

As you can see opting for natural hair doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning cute hairstyles or even flat ironing your hair. There is no hard-and-fast rule about which products and styling habits are “natural” and which aren’t natural.

nappy hair

Historical Perspective on Natural Hair

It’s useful to examine the complex relationship between women of African heritage and their hair in a retrospective way, working in reverse chronological order.

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2005 saw the promotion of an underground, independent documentary titled “My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage” The film won many awards on the independent film circuit and played widely at colleges.

The documentary used years of research to uncover the deeper meaning of the term “nappy.” Covering more than 400 years of history, My Nappy Roots culled the highlights from 200 hours of footage to paint a realistic portrait of Afro hair culture and its journey from Africa to the Americas via the slave trade.

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