Is It Time to Reclaim the Word “Nappy”?

Is It Time to Reclaim the Word "Nappy"?

We have heard the time period “nappy” used as a adverse connotation for black hair. However is that that means evolving with time? On this op-ed, author Noel Walker explores the historical past of the phrase, its evolution, and the way folks view it immediately.

I’ve vivid childhood recollections of me and my cousins getting our hair straightened with a scorching comb at my grandmother’s home on Sunday mornings. I can nonetheless odor the hearth burning the steel comb on the range, smoking up the kitchen. The smoke detectors would blare out till somebody turned them off, and the road of women wrapped across the kitchen all the way in which into the solar parlor ready to get their “nappy” heads pressed would whine concerning the course of to themselves. However nowadays, such scenes are extra like a reminiscence than on a regular basis life, contemplating I don’t see scorching combs as a lot as I used to.

Netflix simply premiered Nappily Ever After, starring Sanaa Lathan. It is the position for which the actress famously buzzed her hair final 12 months. Within the movie, Lathan’s character Violet begins as a lady obsessive about straightening her hair with the intention to be deemed “acceptable” to just about everybody in her life. This contains her important different, who she thinks goes to suggest to her. When he would not, she begins to rethink every little thing, together with her thought of perfection. As a part of her epiphany, she shaves her head and permits her hair to develop again in its pure state.

Certainly, Violet’s story, significantly her large chop, is an expertise many black ladies within the West have had. Because the flip of the last decade, we have seen extra black folks embracing and celebrating their pure hair. The #teamnatural hashtag on Instagram has over 5 million posts that includes ladies with curls and kinks; styling them, washing them, braiding them, wrapping them up in stunning wax-printed turbans. YouTube has a military of pure hair influencers whose hair-care suggestions and styling tutorials are accessible with only a few clicks and keystrokes. On Fb, ladies talk about all issues pure hair in devoted teams. To say that these developments are all fantastic could be an understatement.

However now that naturals are embracing their texture, I am unable to assist however take into consideration the “N” phrase — no, not that one. Nappy. The time period is one which has been used as a adverse description of very tightly coiled, kinky black hair. “In its derogatory type, nappy is a adverse method to discuss with the dry, coarse, tangled traits of Afro-textured hair,” explains Shalleen-Kaye Denham, blogger and pure hair influencer. “It’s meant to insult what is exclusive, magical, naturally stunning, and wonderful.”

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