CurlNikki gives celebrity stylist, Derek J some natural hair homework.

CN: How many hateful emails did you get?

DJ: 174

CN: Wow!

DJ: I'm so frustrated. I can understand people having their comments and disagreeing with what I have to say, but y'all are horrible! Now I'm a coon, I'm ignorant, I'm stupid — how did all of this come from that?! I mean, wow. Y'all are going hard! The emails have been worse than comments on the gossip blogs. It's terrible. I didn't mean any harm.

CN: Can you see though how some would take that comment to mean that the hair that grows out of our scalps naturally is not good enough?

When I talk to natural hair advocates, it’s never middle ground - it’s "our way or no way." And there’s also the belief that if a woman get’s a relaxer or gets a weave, then she’s less of a Black woman.

DJ: Yes, I do see that. It’s only black people that have this issue though. You don’t see white women walking around with their "natural hair cause." They get color, they get perms to enhance their curls. You don’t see other cultures when after altering their hair texture, have a come to Jesus moment — they don’t have this natural hair revelation. We go so hard on it and that’s where I get lost.

When I talk to natural hair advocates, it’s never middle ground — it’s "our way or no way." And there’s also the belief that if a woman get’s a relaxer or gets a weave, then she’s less of a Black woman. Those things are just harsh and just one sided. It’s not cool. People have choices and if you want to put a relaxer in, that makes you no less Black than the next.

CN: On that much, we agree. And I want to note that the typical CurlyNikki reader is not the militant natural you speak of. We are inclusive and non-judgmental. "Do you boo boo" is our motto. My concern about what you said, whether you used "some" or "all," is the sentiment that our hair needs to be managed and smoothed to be attractive or to get the desired results. This assumes that we all want the same "desired result" and it suggests that some textures aren't acceptable.

Do you work with natural hair?

DJ: Um, yes. My thought behind it is, people say "relaxers damage the hair." No, the person that applied the relaxer damaged the hair. People are not well versed in the use of chemicals and people automatically assume that hair can’t be healthy with a relaxer. But if you’re natural and you come into a salon and get it pressed every week, that’s no better. If that’s the case, you should just get a relaxer so you don’t have that constant heat.

CN: Is natural hair great hair or the greatest?

DJ: The greatest.

CN: Good answer. You didn’t say, how many natural clients do you have?

DJ: The majority of my clients are natural. But they’re natural underneath the weave.

CN: That so doesn't count! How many twist-outs have you done? How many 'fros have you shaped?

DJ: No, no, no. I don’t do no natural hair styles. All my natural clients are either getting their hair pressed or getting a weave.

CN: Are you familiar with the natural hair community online? Do you watch Youtube videos?

DJ: No, not really.

CN: Okay, so here's the thing. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to have this discussion. There are a ton of talented stylists that have no clue what to do with natural hair, and unfortunately, you're among the ranks. As the king of fantasy hair, you've got some catching up to do in this natural hair game. How would you feel about doing some homework?

DJ: Well, what do you have in mind?

CN: Your homework is to watch an hour of Youtube videos a week, specifically the channels of Chary JayNaptural85, and Naturalnessdotcom, as well as peruse the CurlyNikki.com archives and forum. Get real familiar.

You will not only become a natural hair advocate, but develop proficiencies in helping women transition from relaxed to natural, and styling natural hair — not just in weaves. You will report back to the CurlyNikki community with all you’ve learned culminating in the styling of my intern, friend and fellow blogger Taneica of GlassDolls — on camera. It is only at this time that you get your redemption and earn your #teamnatural card.

Agreed?

DJ: Agreed.

Want More?

Catch the conversation over on CurlyNikki.com. 

Final Thoughts

Derek J needs help, y'all. What care and styling tips does he NEED to know? He'll be reading, so share!

Also, tell him why you don't need a relaxer!