Melissa Harris-Perry, Curly Nikki, and Nicole Ari Parker Get Down To The Big Business of Natural Hair

June 11, 2012  |  

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Melissa Harris Perry’s weekend show on MSNBC you really should because she’s putting the issues of the black community, and black women in particular, on the map in a major way.

This Sunday, the Princeton professor invited actress Nicole Ari Parker, Curly Nikki blogger Nikki Walton, University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler, and cultural critic Joan Morgan to have a candid discussion about the natural hair boom, which has sent relaxer sales on the decline since 2007. The women also talked about why black hair in general is a $185 billion business and I love that Nicole Ari Parker laid the truth behind that figure right out on the line.

“What’s so interesting about that,” she said, is “with all of the politics and all the emotional health issues, and us loving ourselves, we’re vain. We want to look good.

“Nobody is talking about that. We even judge each other. We were just talking about Solange being upset on twitter because there is still this thing about getting your hair done—whether it’s an afro, twists, braids, relaxers—everyone wants their hair done, so she embraces just get up and go, and she’s beautiful.”

Beyond that understandable economic growth, the women also delve into the other economic side of black hair and the radical idea of people robbing hair stores to steal hair that actually came from someone else’s head to put on another person’s and what kind of mentality and, frankly, addiction and issues of acceptance spark that sort of behavior.

It was a really interesting two-part discussion that you can see unfold in the clips below. Check out the dialogue and Nicole Ari Parker’s comments on the reactions she received from men once she went natural and how she actually got more attention when she let the perms go (not that she’s not already happily taken).

What do you think about the segment> Have any of you had a similar experience?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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