Of the myriad attacks against natural hair, one that comes from a professional hairstylist is especially distressing. Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist, Andre Walker, shared his less-than-favorable view of natural hair, particularly, kinky type 4 textures, with Elle Magazine:

I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type that I suggest altering with professional relaxing.

Clearly, Andre subscribes to the school of thinking that there are hardly any hairstyle choices for women with kinky hair though one look at Natural Hair YouTube channels shows that couldn’t be further from the truth.

After his comments were met with disdain and outrage on the internet, he offered up some kind of explanation:

Let me first say that there is no such thing as “bad” hair, and I have long ago freed myself from being afraid to use the word “kinky” and also from being accused of not liking natural hair. We have become a multi-cultural society that embraces many different looks and styles when it comes to hair. It is my Mission to help you grow strong, healthy hair, and wear it in the style or styles that best suit your likes and particular hair type.

When it comes to curly and kinky hair (there is a difference), I leave the political correctness of “going straight” or staying natural to a woman’s personal preference. Once again, my advice is based on how to best achieve strong, healthy hair. So for those who would like to engage me in a debate about who has more racial pride and self esteem, based on hairstyle preference and use or non-use of chemical relaxers, know that I believe in personal freedom, and in the use of advanced technology when it yields positive results, which many of today’s (versus yesterday’s) chemical relaxers do deliver.

It is a fact that kinky hair (my Type 4 definition) is extremely fragile and breaks easily. Even when you are very careful, something as simple as combing can break this texture. It is very difficult to achieve a longer length when the hair breaks, even with simple combing. That being said, there is the style option of wearing braids, dreads, or twists, which allows the hair to grow longer because it is combed less often. Another style choice is to simply wear a shorter cut, which is very attractive on some women but just not right for others.

So when I say to embrace your natural texture, but consider relaxing kinky hair, am I contradicting myself? I don’t think so! You see, even relaxed hair can still be worn naturally. If you want a natural look, but find that your kinky hair is difficult to manage, breaks too easily, lacks shine and luster, and limits your preferred styling options, I say feel free to consider a mild chemical relaxer, sometimes called a texturizer, that eases your hair to a more manageable texture and allows you to Make Peace With Your Hair.

I am flabbergasted that a hairstylist whose motto is “Make Peace With Your Hair” would suggest a texturizer to make your kinky hair less “difficult to manage” instead of offering ways women can protect, care for and nurture their hair as is.

Unfortunately, Walker’s point-of-view is relatively prevalent among hairstylists which is why many naturals opt to take care of their hair without visiting the salon.

What do you think of Andre Walker’s comments on kinky hair?

-Jessica C. Andrews

Source

  • J

    If something as simple as combing Type 4 hair can be damaging, why in the WORLD would a chemical process be less harsh? Shenanigans…

  • Casey B

    I do not think black hair in any of its forms is limited. This man’s imagination, on the other hand….

  • Sharon

    Stick 2 doing Oprah’s hair is what I would tell him!! I will continue to my NATURAL 4 type KINKY hair thank you!! Uughh

    • Sharon

      EMBRACE is my missing word. I was mad after i read this…lol.

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