By Rashad Phillips
After publishing a hair magazine, I learned about the “Natural Hair” debate. Some African-American women are concerned about ‘going natural’ because they think that men prefer women with relaxed hair. In the past, I was on the fence about this issue. But, everything changed when I attended my first Natural Hair Care Expo in Raleigh, NC.
At the hair expo, Taji, a natural hair stylist invited me backstage to capture some photos for her salon. When I walked behind the curtain, I felt like I was transported back in time. I wasn’t in Raleigh anymore. I felt like I was at Fela Kuti’s Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria. These beautiful women had to be more than just natural hair models. I’m certain that they were members of Fela’s world-renowned stage performers. Their hairstyles didn’t look like anything that I had seen before. The Cowrie Shells, Afros, Bantu Knots, Cantu Twist, Cornrows, and Twisted Locs had me mesmerized. Their gorgeous natural hair put me into a trance. Most men (myself included), don’t usually spend much time checking out women’s hair. Usually, it’s a quick look at her face and then rapid eye movement to search for her curves. But this experience was different. My eyes were focused on their hair, face, and eyes.
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After watching Taji and her team of natural hair stylists’ prepare their models to grace the runway, I was no longer on the fence. The natural hair goddesses had completely won me over. During my drive back to Charlotte, I couldn’t get these beauties out of my head. I called a few of my friends, but they didn’t understand my experience. After I posted my pictures on Facebook, my buddies were ready to join me on my next road trip to Raleigh.