From time to time authors either send me books or e-mails asking me to review their books. If you’re not a professional book reviewer, reading a book that you have no interest in is rather difficult.
I got an e-mail about a book titled “Thank God I’m Natural” by Chris-Tia E. Donaldson. I’m always interested in stories about Black hair care and almost wish I had the time to care for natural hair. My big step was to stop coloring my hair, for now that might be my extent of going natural.
I asked the author to send me the book and now it’s in my hot little hands. The book is billed as the ultimate guide to caring and maintaining natural hair. Donaldson shares her journey from relaxers to press and curl to a wardrobe of synthetic wigs that caught on fire one evening when she got too close to the oven.
The book is great. It features hairstyle photos, daily routines for natural hair and ’locks, natural hair myths and misconceptions and a natural salon directory. Let me warn you now that the directory does not include any natural hair salons in the Pittsburgh area.
As I flipped through the pages, the styles that caught my eye were the Caesar (close cropped natural style), the straw set (actually set on drinking straws) and the Bantu knots (think Jada Pinkett Smith in “The Matrix”). The author also shares her hair story via photos so we can see that she is the real deal and has gone through all the transitions that most Black women go through. She even includes a picture with that “baby hair” combed on her forehead. And oh by the way Chris-Tia, we can tell that it is a wig in your Claire Huxtable period, but it does look nice.
After I received the book I did my own visual poll to see how many Black women I spotted wearing their hair in a natural style. So we’re clear here, I consider natural to be free of chemicals, void of weaves, attachments or extensions. To clarify this a little further I’ve relaxed my hair for more than 40 years and have a drawer full of wigs that I wear from time to time.
Now back to my poll. I was at the local buffet on a Sunday afternoon and church had just let out. So the line was full of Black women in their Sunday best. Out of the 10 women I spotted in line only one was wearing her own hair and that was not in a natural style.
It seems Black women are hooked on hair as Chris Rock details in his upcoming movie “Good Hair,” the straighter and silkier the better. The movie is set to come out in October and I can’t wait to see it.
You may not know that the Black hair care business is a $9 billion behemoth. We’re on the paying end of that $9 billion. We love to buy hair from people that look nothing like us. Did you know you can spend as much as $5,000 for a weave? Some salons will even let you lay it away. Isn’t that a new twist on died, fried and laid to the side?
“Thank God I’m Natural” is available at Amazon.com for $19.95.
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.)