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Atlanta based celebrity stylist and TV personality, Derek J put a well-clad foot in his mouth on the recently aired ‘good hair’ episode of Dr. Drew’s Life Changers. Shortly thereafter, distressed, confused and seeking clarity, he shined the proverbial CurlyNikki Signal into the night sky asking for deliverance from the incessant stream of hate mail. #TeamNatural roll deep as a mug.

Appreciative of his willingness to keep it real and genuine desire to be educated on the matter, I gave Derek some dedicated time On the Couch to gain some insight. Will he get his redemption? Read on!

Derek J Gets Started on His Homework

CurlyNikki: Okay, so what happened?

Derek J: First of all, I didn’t think that that statement would’ve caused what it caused. The conversation with Dr. Drew was about natural hair versus relaxed hair and weaves. In the beginning of the interview, I encouraged my client to go natural because I know that many women don’t know what their natural hair looks like. But later during the conversation, I did make the statement that some women need relaxers.

CN: What the hell Derek J?!

DJ: I didn’t mean relaxed bone straight. I meant to calm down frizz.

CN: Right. You know this is not helping your case...

DJ: Some people may want a looser curl or things of that nature. You would need some kind of chemical assistance to work that look.

CN: Uh — no, boo boo. We have tons, TONS of options outside of chemicals. But, put a pin in that. Do you think that most women desire looser curls?

DJ: Yes, not most women, but some do. I’ve seen women that want to go natural, but turn to weaves first to get the look they’re going for. They say, "Oh my hair’s too short to wear natural," or "It’s too this or that to wear natural." So they get a weave to get that natural look that they want to have. If that’s the look you're going for and your hair doesn't do that, then chemicals or a weave is needed to make it happen.

CN: So you're saying there ain't enough curly pudding in the world?

DJ: [Laughter]

CN: And what is "that look?" "The Joan Clayton" from Girlfriend’s?

DJ: Yep. Exactly. Some women need a relaxer or chemical assistance to achieve that look.

CN: That look… are we talking, "easily managed hair," or the taboo, "good hair?"

DJ: No [Laughter]. Good hair is basically what you think it is and what you’re trying to go for.

CN: That's so PC!

DJ: [Laughter] Before I answer that question, I want to say that I also didn’t know that the word "manageable" is a bad word in the natural hair community. I don’t know all this stuff! [Laughter] I’m learning though. Anyway, good hair is what works for you. What’s good for me might not be what’s good for you. It’s frustrating because this shouldn’t even be the topic of conversation. We have a whole lot of other issues for Black folks to worry about instead of whether someone wants to relax their hair or not. Or if somebody wants to achieve a looser texture curl than what they have naturally.

God gave you natural hair, but if you want to go that hard on it, then it shouldn’t just stop at your hair. Don’t get your eye brows arched, stop shaving your legs, stop shaving under your arms, don’t wear a bra. If you want to accept what God gave you, do it then, but you can’t just stop at your head.

CN: Would you have seen anything wrong with what you said had it not been brought to your attention — repeatedly?

DJ: I didn’t think twice. When I spoke to other stylists and a few natural haired friends, they agreed, so I didn’t think that there was anything wrong with the statement. I didn’t say all women, I said some. They took it as if I’d said it’s all women and that I look down on natural hair and that’s not what I was saying.

Derek J's Uh-oh Moment

The rest of CurlyNikki's exclusive interview continues on the next page.

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0 Comments
I think beauticians/stylists should learn or improve their skills on working with kinky hair. The relaxer is used is make black/kinky hair look like white hair. We are ok or beautiful as we are. We as a people have let the media make us think we must look like others. The beauticians I have met offer a relaxer as the first styling solution. So sad.
He needs to read THE Science of Black Hair by Aubrey Davis-Sivasothy she really breaks it down to a complete understanding of hair and not just styling. Very get source of knowledge
I don't agree with extremism or nasty comments (including #2 here about Crack Ho's). The problem with the comment that some people need relaxers is that he had never done research on any alternatives, and that people who are not familiar with natural hair (especially Black natural hair) take the comments of a Black hairstylist as law. Although he didn't mean anything mean by it, others can take the comment to mean that Black women can do anything with their hair, that it has to be changed, that there is something wrong with it. He also doesn't seem to get that some of us just want to do what is easier for us. I personally didn't have a 'come to Jesus moment' with my hair. Why should he think something as extreme as that? Because he only deals with weaves and pressing combs and doesn't know any better. Thanks to Nikki for trying to educate him.
No one needs anything. It's a simple want. Relaxers is a choice, and one of the many choices African American women/men can do to their hair. It's not their last resort or something that has to be done for manageability. What it boils down to is women/men learning to take care of their hair before chemicals hit it. I think it's the basic key to maintaining healthy hair before or after alterations (i.e. chemicals, cuts, products, etc.) Many females I know in my area have never experienced this because the first thing their parent(s) do to a girl's head is slap chemicals in it for whatever reason. So the girl never gets a chance to see or nurture her natural hair because this is all she knows. I used to be one of them. I do disagree with the extremism that some individuals do take when they finally have their "eye-opener" about being natural.
Lord, some of these black women NEED a relaxer of the brain, heart and spirit to counter all this overreaction. Fact is, MOST black women getting their feelings hurt over what these hairstylist are saying were creamy crack hos thatlongago! Attacking the man like a wild banshee over such an offhanded comment just demonstrates how insecure some women in the "natural hair movement" are. I love the way Nikki kept her dignity about the subject without beating the man to a pulp. If more black women were as secure with their curls and kinks as she is all this internet bruhaha would be unnecessary.
Comparing natural hair and not wearing a bra?? WTH!! Whatever!!! It's not some women NEED a relaxer. It's some women WANT a relaxer. There's a difference. And those dresses you made were fugly!!

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