Can’t Win? Natural Hair Vloggers Face Backlash for Both Big Chopping and Relaxing



As I scrolled through my YouTube subscriptions list recently, I stumbled upon two new videos that came as a surprise. Two of my favorite YouTubers and long-time naturals made a change.  Africanexport, who had at least mid-back length hair, big chopped. Simplyounique, who had disappeared from the YouTube world for a while, now had relaxed hair.
In case you missed it, here are the videos:

Africanexport’s Video:

Simplyounique’s Video:

Of course, as an avid YouTube watcher and natural hair enthusiast, the videos were a surprise. These ladies were two of several channels I watched frequently, especially in the beginning of my hair journey. They both rocked their natural hair with confidence and shared tips that helped (and still helps) many ladies on their hair journey. But, after I watched the videos and I began to read some of the comments, my jaw dropped. Several people expressed disappointment, feeling betrayed, and questioned why these ladies made the change. There were speculations about the personal life issues involved with their decisions and even a little anger was expressed. Some viewers unsubscribed and I remember seeing one comment from someone who said they wanted to punch Simplyounique in the face for relaxing. sigh I can only hope that the writer of that aggressive comment wasn’t serious.
It is always a little shocking when I see a blogger/vlogger receive backlash for making changes to their hair, regimen, or lifestyle. On one hand, I understand that some of us as viewers feel connected to these individuals through their blogs/vlogs. We watch their hair journey, dream of reaching their length, or even think that they are our ‘friends in our head’. However, how invested should we be in how someone else chooses to wear their hair? I am all about natural hair and I currently choose to wear my hair long, but whom am I to judge or criticize someone who wishes to cut off all their hair or to relax their hair.  Each person’s hair journey is just that, THEIR hair journey. And, as much as, it would be awesome if every single person in the world went natural, each individual will ultimately choose to wear their hair in a way that suits them and their lifestyle. Some say ‘it’s just hair’, but it’s not just hair. Our hair is an expression of who we are, our personalities, our confidences, and our strengths. So why can’t each person choose to wear their hair in a way that reflects THEM? It also makes me wonder, what reactions would I get if I should relax or big chop tomorrow?

On a positive note, while there were many who expressed disapproval, there were also several comments of encouragement and support. I am still a supporter of their channels and I think both ladies still look beautiful, regardless of how they choose to wear their hair. In the general scheme of things, I think it is important for us to continue to support each other, whether we are relaxed or natural.  Don’t you agree?
What were your thoughts about these naturals’ decisions? Would you ever go back to relaxing? Would you big chop again?

About Tori: I’m Tori, a Jamaican-born natural currently living in Texas. I was reunited with my natural texture in January 2012 when I big chopped, after transitioning for a year and a half. I am still learning about my natural hair, and hope to share the knowledge and experiences I gain as I continue on my natural hair journey. You can find me on Instagram @bonafidestyle.

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