The fourth interview in the Our Natural Hair Story series is with Yemi Adisa. She’s always been natural thanks to her dad who thwarted the idea to relax her hair at a young age. As an adult, she loves her hair and hopes to rock it more as an afro even as she experiments with different hair styles and weaves.
S: Please introduce yourself!
Y: Hi guys, my name is Yemi, I’m 22 years and graduated with a BSc degree in Biomedical Science from University of Sussex. I’m an avid reader, foodie and a self-confessed series junkie.
I’m on a journey of self discovery to find the perfect balance between loving, nurturing and proudly rocking my natural hair, whilst also enjoying the versatility of styling options Black hair offers!
S: Have you always been natural?
Y: Yes. However, when I was younger my mum wanted to relax my hair because she felt it would be easier to take care of, but surprisingly my dad strongly insisted that he didn’t want my hair to be relaxed, he wanted it natural.
S: That’s interesting! Do you know why your dad had a strong stance against your hair being relaxed?
Y: My grandmother’s hair isn’t relaxed so perhaps that’s why he didn’t see a reason for me to relax mine. Also, I didn’t want it to be relaxed because when I asked if it could be turned back into an afro if it was done and they said no, I decided to leave it natural.
However, all this happened in primary school. By the time I got to secondary school, everyone’s hair was relaxed and it looked so sleek and easy to maintain. So I also wanted it, but I was living with my dad and he didn’t listen to any of that.
S: Would you say you’re part of the natural hair movement and advocacy?
Y: No. I think people should be able to do whatever they want with their hair; but I actually feel sorry for people that didn’t have a choice when they were younger to relax their hair or not.
If you want your hair relaxed, you should be able to do what you want with your hair, if you want it natural, I don’t think you should hate on those who don’t.
S: Do you ever wear your natural hair out?
Y: I do occasionally. I’ve had it in buns, and done twist outs, but I’ve never worn it out as an afro.
Y: I feel like it wouldn’t suit me, or people would look at me like it’s unkempt. I sort of have that view in my head, so I feel if I’m to wear it out; it has to be in a bun.
S: How do you style your hair regularly?
Y: For the past year, it’s mostly been in weaves. I like the fact that I can change the style of weave and my hair can remain healthy even if I damage the weave.
S: Do you think you’re perceived differently when you’re wearing a weave compared to your natural hair?
Y: People tend to say I look a lot younger with my natural hair and I get lots of compliments. However, I feel like if I go to work with my natural hair, it wouldn’t be really accepted; like they wouldn’t be as welcoming to see an employee with her afro out, free and natural, as compared to a weave. So I guess I’m conforming.
S: Do you think this affects you and the way you style your hair?
Y: Yes, I think that’s part of the reason my hair is always in weaves or braids. I feel like it would be easier in society because people are used to seeing a Black girl in a weave.
S: What is your procedure to achieving healthy hair?
Y: I try to use as minimal heat as possible. You need to know your hair type and act accordingly. I know I have fine hair, so I stay away from heat.
It’s good to keep it moisturised and use oils like castor oil; also staying away from the edges.
S: What are your favourite hair products?
Y: The ORS edge control and its whole range; castor oil, Doo Grow.
S: What do you think of the natural hair community?
Y: I like it. I feel like it’s giving the younger generation the confidence to explore their natural hair. They can feel that their afro hair is acceptable and can be worn out. It encourages people to try new styles, and to learn about their hair. It’s great that we now have all these resources like You Tube and blogs, so there’s no excuse for why anyone can’t take care of their hair.
The only thing I don’t like is when they start to shame people that have chosen to relax their hair or wear weaves and braids. The thing is that, some people that have relaxed hair weren’t by choice but now it’s the style they want. So you have to leave people to live the life they want to live.
So I think there are positives and negatives to the community.
S: Do you follow any hair blogs or hair care channels?
Y: Yes, I frequently visit Black Girl with Long Hair site.
S: What advice would you give someone contemplating going natural?
Y: I’ll say don’t be too scared of doing it; just go for it because you can always revert back to having your hair relaxed if you don’t like it natural. So why not see what it’s like?
I would be more scared to relax my hair than transition to become natural.
Also, do some research before doing it as there are different possibilities as there isn’t just one option when your hair is natural. For example, you can still do a lot of the styles you do when your hair is relaxed.
Natural hair is really versatile and it’s exciting. Your hair is what God gave you, it’s who you are. So wouldn’t it be nice to see what you were actually born with?
It is refreshing to see that there are African men out there who contribute positively to influence their daughter’s idea of beauty standards.
We hope Yemi’s story has inspired you.
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