The Lack of Representation for 4b-4c Natural Hair

A picture of what natural 4c hair look like.

If you have noticed, more and more black women have been going natural, myself included. Now there’s many reasons as to why, such as the quest for healthier hair, a new look, or simply just to embrace their natural hair texture. Rather it’s coils or curls, every black woman natural hair is different and beautiful, from 3a-4c.

But unfortunately, women with natural type 4 hair, aren’t on the forefront of the natural hair representation, especially 4b and 4c hair. From YouTube, to hair products, to media in general, 4b-4c hair is being ignored.

YouTube

YouTubers(AlyssaForever, NaturalNeiicy, ChiziDuru, NappyFuTV)
YouTubers (AlyssaForever (Top Left), NaturalNeiicy (Top Right), ChiziDuru (Bottom Left), and NappyFuTV (Bottom Right)

I think everyone could agree that YouTube played a big part in the natural hair craze. I’m sure we all have seen a natural hair video in our suggestion category, which made us curious on “the natural hair lifestyle,” so we clicked and watched.

Now there’s hundreds of channels and videos dedicated to black women, and natural hair. From tutorials on different natural hairstyles, to videos on how to take care of your hair, to information on how to find out what hair type you have, etc. But have you noticed that most of the popular natural hair videos are of women with type 3 hair to 4a hair? Videos on how to get the “most beautiful twist outs” or bantu knots, are typically the most popular video categories. The women with a type 3 hair, tend to have more views than a women with 4b/4c hair. And 9/10 they’re using the same method to achieve that look, the only difference is the hair texture. So why is it that a women with 4c hair, will have 500k views on a video about one of those topics, while a woman with 3c hair will have twice as much or more?

Let’s just think about the most popular natural hair gurus, AlyssaForever, Naturalneiicey, LipsticknCurls, or TheChicNatural. All those women I mentioned, have tons of sponsors, get a lot of recognition, and are always sent free products to try out; but yet women like ChiziDuru, or NappyFuTV, who get hundreds of thousands of views as well, don’t get those same luxuries. Also, while their videos are getting hundreds of thousands of views, it still doesn’t match their subscribers.

Media (Commercials, Celebrities, TV) 

Writer/Actor, Issa Rae
Writer/Actor, Issa Rae

The lack of representation against 4c and 4b hair isn’t just in the YouTube community, but all of media. From the commercials about natural hair, to the celebrities who are a advocate for natural hair, and the pictures and posters for natural hair products.

Just look at the commercials for natural hair, most of the hair actors don’t represent women with kinky textures. A lot of the time, if the actor has a kinky texture, it’s manipulated type 3 hair.

Just over a year ago, Shea Moisture caught some heat for their “Everybody Gets Love” campaign, where they used white women to sell their black hair products, but on top of that, they used a mixed black girl with type 3 natural hair, in the same commercial to represent “all black women.” So, if “everyone gets love,” where were the black women with type 4 kinky hair?

Take a moment to think about the celebrity women who get praised for their natural hair, or considered “hair goals.” There’s Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Amanda Seales, and Tamera Mowry; the list goes on. What does all those women have in common: type 3 hair. But there’s plenty of other celebrities that rock their natural hair, but those other women have 4b- 4c natural hair, aren’t gloried as much. Women like Lupita Nyong’o, Solange, Gabrielle Union, Janelle Monroe, Issa Rae, who get praised on a daily, but it’s hardly ever for their hair.

Where Does the Discrimination on 4b-4c Come From?

Lupita-Nyongo 2014 NAACP-Image-Awards
Actor, Lupita-Nyongo at the 2014 NAACP Image Awards

Now we all of heard the term “good hair”, and know what the general definition means, well ladies and gentlemen, that term is the problem.

If hair is curly, wavy, super straight, easy to manage, or the opposite of kinky, it’s considered “good hair.” But if you’re hair is indeed kinky, with coils, it’s not. This is where the term “nappy’ comes into play.

Why do people associate “good hair” with Eurocentric hair features? Well, it’s enslaved thinking, we been brainwashed to believe that Afrocentric features aren’t as beautiful as Eurocentric features. It’s sad to say, but having just ‘black hair’ isn’t good enough. We love to represent black culture, and see our women rock their natural hair and afro, but only if it has loose curls.

The true definition of “good hair” is healthy hair. If hair is strong, and doesn’t have heat or color damage, or split ends, that’s good hair.

Just recently, Jay Z and Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy was spotted hanging out with her dad in the park, and her hair was a little a frizzy, but she’s a child, so that’s bound to happen, right? However, this picture was posted on a blog and there was so many hateful comments about that child’s hair (which is nothing new), but yet nobody mentioned the other little girl in the picture that was right next to Blue, who hair was a little frizzy as well. But the only difference is Blue’s hair is 4b/4c, and the other little girl’s hair had type  3 natural hair.

A picture of what 4c natural hair looks like
A picture of what 4c natural hair looks like

I am someone with 4b/4c hair, and I remember transitioning from relaxed to natural, and because all I saw was 3 type hair on natural hair videos, I thought my hair was going to look like that when I want fully natural. I admit, because I was brainwashed, I didn’t like my natural hair at first, and I was ready to get a relaxer again.

When I would get compliments on my natural hair, on how beautiful it was, I didn’t see it. It’s funny because I would admire other women’s hair with that texture, but I didn’t love my own. Now, I love my kinks and coils, and wouldn’t change it for the world.

It just makes me sad for the little girls and women out there that have 4b/4c hair who don’t appreciate their hair, or see the beauty in it. Well, I’m here to tell you, that it is BEAUTIFUL