Let’s chat about the hair culture……
There’s a culture on hair? Where did hair culture come from? What’s going on in the hair world today? Why not answer these questions and more through Janae Raquel Rogers aka the person behind I Am My Hair Campaign. Janae started I Am My Hair to help break down some hair barriers caused by society. Yes, hair barriers. She believes that your hair doesn’t have to define who you are as a person. Some people identify most with their hair versus anything else about themselves. Sometimes people use their hair as an extension of themselves.
As a child, it’s really not your fault you believe what you hear. You’re told something and you can’t help but just believe it. The older she got, the more Janae questioned the idea that you either had good hair or nappy hair, which is often classified as bad hair. She decided against just taking what she was told and running with it especially since she became self-taught. She didn’t want to feed into the ignorance. “I feel that it’s important for people to understand that there’s difference in texture and that good hair is healthy hair. It’s not ‘oh you have soft hair.’ The generation before us, they were the ‘oh that’s nappy hair, oh you have good hair.’” Personally, she didn’t want to be identified as the girl with the hair so she chopped off her hair. “I didn’t want my hair to be the only thing I was known by so as soon as I cut my hair off, I started painting, I started blogging more, I started engaging in different activities…just being the person that I’ve always been but people never realized because my hair was the bigger picture and I decided I didn’t want it to be the bigger picture anymore.”
Through I Am My Hair, she wants to separate the idea of nappy hair and good hair and make people understand that good hair is healthy hair and it’s not about texture. She tries to show variety and diversity, this way people are less likely to draw a line between soft and coarse. She doesn’t believe in the good hair bad hair ordeal. Good hair is type 1,2,3 or 4, it’s trimmed and healthy. "Bad hair is hair with cob webs, hair that won’t grow, it’s damaged. That’s bad hair."
What made you decide that you wanted to really be involved in the hair culture?
JRR: Every since I was little, people always said ‘you have good hair, you have this hair’ and I’m like what the hell is bad hair? I have friends that have 4c hair. Her hair does things that my hair can’t and some days I want my hair to look like that and it doesn’t. As a kid, someone will tell you, you have good hair or nappy hair. I grew up thinking ‘you have nappy hair.’
Do you believe you are your hair?
JRR: I believe that I am right now, I don’t think everyone is. I am right now because I know my hair and I understand it and I know how to make it happy.
What do you think of today’s hair culture?
JRR: It sounds bad but I feel like it’s a trend, it’s not going to last long. Everyone copies off of everyone else. Everyone feels they need to big chop to transition. Everyone feels they need to be bald to fit in or either have a big fro. No one wants to be in between. I’ve been from A to Z. I’ve been completely, basically almost bald. I’ve had hair the length of my hand and the length of my pinky so I know what it’s like have twa, which is teeny weeny afro, and I know what it’s like to have huge hair. Some people don’t really want to be in between, that’s the issue. They want to fit in. Everyone feels that they need to be natural and you don’t have to be natural to be a cool person. I feel that the natural hair community is very strong. You have people that say “you are not natural because you dye your hair” however I don’t have a perm, I don’t have a texurizer, I don’t have this or that but I dyed my hair. ‘If it’s not henna, it’s not natural.’ You have really strict natural advocates and you have some not so strict.
When asked to define the current hair culture in four words, she described it as bias, overwhelming, overflowing and judgmental.
JRR: I look at other companies and the people who these companies make products for. They only make products for their texture. They may be trying to tell you so much stuff about your hair but they work for Pantene. It’s biased because people are too lazy to know other textures and educate on these textures. I hate that a non-natural is uncomfortable in a room of naturals because she’s being judged.
JRR: People feel the need to do what they see and it alters their decision. It’s overwhelming for them to go natural or be natural because of the opinions of others.
JRR: If one person posts about the top 4 things you should carry in your beach bag, 4 other blogs are going to do the same exact damn post the same week. It’s not creative enough for me. As a blogger, If I don’t post within 3-4 days or even a week, it’s because I’m pissed off. Everyone’s talking about the same thing.
I know you touched on this a bit earlier but why judgmental?
JRR: Judgmental because a lot of people think that they’re better than others. They judge you based on what you put underneath your picture or how you put yourself in a picture or how you angle yourself in a picture. Then they take that and they run with it. A person may not smile or show their teeth, then all of a sudden, they have bad teeth. People take advantage of every little flaw that they may see in a person and then they make themselves like they’re better than them. So for a person who something may have happened to them, something may not be going well in their life and they’re on social media talking about it and people take that as an advantage, as a crutch and then they run with it and they make all these different pictures and they use hashtags. A lot of people embarrass people because they know they won’t fight back or they won’t say anything back or that they know they’re new to this natural world. Anything that will go viral just to get a couple followers and a couple of blogs to talk about them, they will do it.
What type of contribution do you think you’re giving the hair world through your blog?
JRR: I feel like I’m giving people a platform. I reach out to people for their hair stories. My blog is based on hair stories. I give everyone a voice to share their perspective, their journey, all that stuff. So when I give them that opportunity, some people are flattered. Some people are shy so they’ll say some things and some things they won’t say. I usually look at their Instagram or Twitter to see what kind of person they are and I’ll change some questions around based on their personality.
Do you think hair prejudice exists?
JRR: Yea. For sure. People feel like there’s not enough texture or type 4 being visible and I totally agree. I actually have a project coming up. I tried to launch it before but I honestly didn’t get any feedback. I guess because at the time I wasn’t a big enough blogger. No one submitted anything. And people of the type 4 category are very angry because they feel like I have 3as, 3bs and some 3cs and you get to the 4s and it’s like crickets. I personally love texture 4 hair because you guys can do so much with it. You’re limited but you can do a lot. Hair prejudice does exist because it’s all about the blogger. I blame the bloggers. They want the big hair, the curly hair when it can be big type 4s as well. You never know, the person can have waist length hair and it just sits on their shoulders.
**My fellow type 4 naturalists, I’ll be looking out for your hair story.**
Anything you want to add?
JRR: Life is not all about numbers unless you’re racing. Do not do things for others. Do them for yourself.
Instagram: Janae_Raquel // iammyhairblog