When I first went natural during my junior year of college, I thought I was being unofficially inducted into a sacred community of Black women. I was no longer on the less favorable side of the relaxed versus natural debacle. I was a bonafide naturalista! So color me surprised when I realized just how divisive the natural hair sector could be, from 4c versus 3b and straight naturals versus curly naturals. I had no idea the segmentation that was present within what I perceived to be a very close-knit community.

Like much of what I experience in my personal life, this conundrum has been reflected on social media as well through various POVs and stances, some of which stand in direct contradiction of each other.

Most recently, a creator by the name of Charisma shared a TikTok clip, addressing the “natural hair warriors” who she claims adopt a holier-than-thou mentality when it comes to how other Black women choose to style their natural hair.

@charismaticblackgal Like girl i wish i hated silk presses too 🙄 unfortunately, I choose convenience in the morning 💔 #hehe ♬ original sound – charisma

“Don’t let one of them see you with straight hair. They gon’ think you anti-Black, anti-fro, you hate your Blackness,” she stated in the video.

The TikToker goes on to discuss how these women don’t have “five hours” every morning to deal with their natural hair. Now, it has been discussed ad nauseam all how Black women are not a monolith and the complexities surrounding our hair are just one piece of the cosmic puzzle that represents Black identity politics.

How we style our hair is the result of a layered system of internal and external factors that can’t be fully hashed out in a 60-second TikTok or 500-word article. It does need to be noted, though, that presenting Black hair, in the manner it comes out of our scalps, as a burdensome, time-exhaustive effort is laced with recognizable, unsavory undertones.

This is likely why the original poster’s TikTok was met with a few clapback videos from Black women who were rubbed the wrong way by the insulation that natural hair is a tedious endeavor. It’s one thing to acknowledge that straight hair offers greater social acceptance and shields us from some of the race-related hair trauma that comes with having collier strands.

I mean, in 2024, hardly anyone can argue against the racial trauma many Black folks have found themselves unwittingly tangled up in as a result of how they choose to wear their hair. But it is glaringly disingenuous to act as though the decision is based solely on ease when the process for straightening your hair requires more effort than simply washing, conditioning and drying your natural hair (all steps required to get a silk press or blowout anyway).

We all have preferences when it comes to hair, but we cannot continue to act as if these preferences have no origin. The sooner we can be transparent about the genesis of our decisions and how this impacts every one of us, the closer we’ll be to having honest, intercommunal conversations about our natural hair.