So my partner and I (@Juss_Shakira) were talking about different aspects of the natural hair community after we sat down for two separate interviews that spoke to us as if we were natural hair care “gurus” which is an extremely odd term for me to be called or to call someone else. After these two interviews and several conversations with people on the outside looking in at our brand we came to a very startling conclusion: No one cares about us, because we have average natural hair, and no one cares about average natural hair. Harsh statement I know but it goes a bit deeper than that. Just look at the social media world for example. Though we make our very best effort to highlight every type of woman, every shape, size, color, curl pattern…etc we still find ourselves trapped putting up the “same type” because that is what our followers want to see. Don’t get us wrong we love every single one of our followers, and we love taking the time out to discuss and share what interests us be it in fitness, fashion, or natural hair. We genuinely love the whole outer concept of it. Its the inner workings of the community that give us pause. Why?
I never gave it much thought or looked into it too deeply however Shakira had a great epiphany so to speak as to why we don’t gain followers or subscribers as quickly as others delivering similar messages that started around the same time that we did. She said it had nothing to do with a lack of hard work or marketing/promoting the brand it was more so that we were uninteresting or unappealing to the average eye that wanted to see above and beyond just the plain old average. I found this strange/hard to believe because I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept. I came into this more doe eyed than I thought and was slapped down back into reality when I thought about my own Youtube clicks/subscriptions and Instagram follows. People often want to see the end result of a journey, or follow someone’s journey that they wish for themselves rather than accept their current reality.
It’s true we’ve all been there… shoot sometimes I’m still there when I catch myself searching through Youtube or Instagram thinking about whats the next product I can use/buy to achieve “so and so”s look even though I know that my hair doesn’t look like that, and quite frankly may never look like that. It can often lead to feelings of discouragement or inadequacy if you stay and wallow in the fact that you want this particular look for your hair and it is literally beyond reach. It was then I stumbled onto a Youtube personality @Jouelzy which I never heard of or saw before. I don’t even quite remember how I landed on her page or what was the first video I watched. All of that information I guess became irrelevant in comparison to the greater picture of her channel.
I subscribed to her channel a few weeks ago just out of pure interest. I then watched a video she posted today about her frustration with the natural hair community. I watched it twice. The first time I watched it I kind’ve shrugged it off and went back to my former thinking of putting in the time and effort to gain your followers, build your rapport with your community of followers, and then turn your brand into a business that will flourish. Then I watched it again… and realized she was saying the same exact thing Shakira was saying… the pure unadulterated truth! People do not want to see or watch others that look like them. They’d rather look/follow what they aspire to. Which is perfectly fine in a sense, however can be extremely disappointing when the hard work, the time and effort, and the quality are put into the backbone of the brand and even with skyrocketing numbers it isn’t respected as it should be because you do not fit the mold.
Shakira keeps saying/repeating that people will care a year from now when our hair is big beautiful and amazing. Well what if they don’t care next year? Or what if our hair never gets big, beautiful, or amazing. What if I think my hair is already pretty amazing the way it is? What if I choose to leave my hair at this length because it is comfortable for me, or shave it off and rock a TWA for a few years. Does that mean my efforts behind my brand will all fall on deaf ears because I don’t have the desired curl pattern that most naturalistas want? It’s an interesting topic/discussion to bring up in these natural hair events or even amongst your other natural friends. In a community that was built by us for us, the dissension in the ranks so to speak can be seen as heartbreaking. It goes beyond just hair when looked at on a greater scale doesn’t it? Will the continuous exclusion of other aspects of particular categories in life ever decrease to the point where people who are “different” will feel like they are represented in some way some how? Will we ever be able to truly embrace what we have without the validation of others being necessary?
Hmmm… a question to make you ponder!
Thanks @Jouelzy (PS: That side chick Sallie Mae is something else isn’t she!)
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.