If there are any YouTube-obsessed ladies out there like myself, who have taken both their eagerness and frustrations of transitioning to natural hair, then you’ve certainly come across a wonderful lady named Taren Guy.
For the past seven years, Guy has been chronicling the ups and downs of her own natural hair journey, building a solid following on YouTube, teaching us all how to perfect your kinky curls, the importance of not using too much heat for the sake of the dreadful “d” word: damage, and even cutting her hair all off and starting again. Basically, Guy has become an extended family member if you will.
These days, Guy characterizes herself as “freer,” both in her hair journey and as a person. In a recent open letter-like essay, the vlogger shared how she how her hair had become a crutch, growing a dependency on a certain style: her “big and luscious” fro, writing:
“I noticed that my Afro eventually became a beauty crutch for me. I noticed that anytime I needed to show up to an event or function, I had to “show up” with my Afro in order to feel present. If I needed to go out to a social event, I would never wear my hair in an updo or wrapped up. My Afro, aka my pride and joy, now became a cover up and I found myself hiding behind my hair. This was something that needed to be addressed. Quickly.”
Guy went on to free form loc her hair, saying that it seemed quite off her radar, but they seemed to call out to her instead. “My decision to loc my hair was more of a feeling than a style choice for me. It represented ‘next level’ freedom for my personal journey and a healthy detachment from my old self. I courageously decided to go for it and chose to walk in my truth, even if it didn’t make any sense to anyone else,” she continued.
While she did receive an out pour of positive comments when she made the announcement, there was also a massive amount of hate. “I was blown away yet not surprised,” she explained, “Here we are tapping into a different aspect of natural hair and we have women who are natural and afraid to go natural.”
In particular, one occurrence that stuck with her was being canceled from a scheduled appearance at a natural hair event. “The cancellation was due to my hair change because I was told ‘doesn’t fit the demo and audience of the attendees’ and won’t sit well with sponsors,” Guy wrote. “This blew me away because my purpose was to speak on a panel about being a pioneer in the industry and I’m sure my contribution to the conversation would have been valuable. My appearance had nothing to do with my hairstyle. I’m almost 100 percent sure that if I chose to shave off all of my hair, I wouldn’t have been canceled — but we will never know.”
Guy rattled off a number of reactions she received like:
“Why would you loc that beautiful hair.”
“Hair isn’t that deep.”
“I thought you found Jesus.”
“You’re getting weird, I’m unsubscribing.”
“Oh no, you messed up your hair!”
“As you can see, the common theme was that my hair was “too pretty to loc” or that the spiritual connection I felt with my hair wasn’t real,” she continued.
Even with the backlash she’s received, Guy has continued to wear her free form locs. “I am here, happy with my immature freeform locs. Starting from scratch I’m truly embracing the process and ready to grow and mature as my hair does. Locs tell a story and I intend to be proud of mine.”
Ladies, have you ever experienced such negativity or backlash in regards to free form locs or locs in general?