Nigerian celebrities are the last people I would imagine embracing their natural hair. The Nigerian society when I was growing up looked down on natural hair. They viewed natural hair as unkempt hair and described anyone with natural hair as lazy and dirty. Growing up in Nigeria, I was a big fan of Nigerian movies and dramas, and back then there were not many female Nigerian celebrities with natural hair except Onyeka Onwenu with her beautiful short hair. But then, I didn’t see her as being natural (natural hair wasn’t a term I was familiar with), I saw her as wearing a hairstyle that was different.
Even though, I wore my hair natural most part of my life it wasn’t by choice, it was forced upon me by the Nigerian school system that discouraged relaxed and long hair. So, there was nobody to look up to and no one to encourage you or tell you your hair was beautiful. Speaking of encouragement, family members were the last people to tell you anything nice about your hair. They mock you when you skip your routine hair appointment and risk the appearance of undergrowth. And if you dare wear your hair long in its natural state you are labeled a house girl, an mgbeke who will chase her suitors away with her unkempt hair.
The only time natural hair was admired was when a young girl cut it very short to meet primary and secondary school policies. It was tough back then being natural and this is why I am extremely happy that our Nigerian celebrities are now rocking their natural hair. As we all know, especially here in the United States, representation matters a lot. Imagine the confidence young girls will feel seeing their idols wearing their hair natural. Thanks to these brave women for showing us that natural hair is beautiful, that natural hair can be worn anywhere and anytime, and that natural hair is not unkempt hair, it is just as good if not better than any other hair.