Recently I had the pleasure to interview Jade Mapp, a model who will be participating in the What Naural’s Love Hair Show that will be taking place August 17 in Brooklyn, NY. We discussed natural hair, locs and some of the high’s and lows that can come with both. To be honest, we could have talked for hours! Jade was engaging, thoughtful and quite encouraging. I hope you enjoy it!
2dimplzs: How long have you been natural and what made decide to go natural?
Jade: I have been natural since my late teens and have decided to do so because I was tired of the unpredictability of not knowing how my hair would get done. I never have liked getting my hair done and going from shop to shop to have a temporary slay. I wanted to find something in my own capacity to style and grow my hair back to health.
2dimplzs: What were some challenges you faced during your natural hair journey?
Jade: Some of the challenges faced within my journey stem from a poor reflection of how natural hair is “supposed to be.” I’ve been approached with comments that compliment my hair in one breath, then shame the style altogether in another. For example, I’ve been told that my locs look good because “they’re not messy looking.” I’ve been asked if my hair was real on many occasions. I’ve been told that my hair is more acceptable in this style because I am a woman. Unfortunately, many of these comments have been said by other women of color. I find it odd that especially since faux locs have been in style for a while, as well as the faux fros, that other women are wanting to commit to the “finished product” of a natural style without going through the stages, steps and struggles to maintain its natural beauty. I see women rocking the Goddess locs, and while some actually look good, they’re nowhere near the reality of wearing locs. On top of paying hundreds of dollars for the installation, the name alone as a fad distorts the truth that long, silky locs flowing down one’s back is ever that effortless and flawless.
2dimplzs: What would you say to someone who says “Natural hair wouldn’t look right on me?”
Jade: I would ask why that someone feels that way. I would then reassure them that their natural essence is real and that we’ve all been purposely misguided to believe in a look that has never been ours. It takes self-love above all to recognize this, but ultimately everything that there is to natural beauty is just letting it be free.
2dimplzs: When and why did you decide to loc your hair?
Jade: I have been natural since my late teens, but my hair has been locked for about six years now. I decided to grow locs for 2 reasons. The first reason is because I was ready to embrace a new look that grew with me. I started my own locs during a very adventurous time in my life and I figured that my hair could use some kind of embarkment as well. The second reason sorta ties into the first. For some reason, I thought locs would be easy! I was always lazy with styling my own hair, and struggled to keep it done. Thinking locs would be an easy way out kinda went with my carefree mentality I had when starting them.
2dimplzs: Are there any challenges with having locs? (Maintenance, etc.)
Jade: I would say my main challenges have usually been keeping my locs lint and debri-free as possible and finding the best products for moisture. I’ve tried to be really strict about tying up my hair, avoiding certain fabrics and things like that, but it’s not something I’ve disciplined myself to do too well. As far as moisture, I’m happy to see now that there are quite a few products available than when I first started, but I still feel as though the natural hair market doesn’t cater to the loc community’s needs as much. Part of my journey has been trial and error with product purchasing–and sadly, wasting.
2dimplzs: Has your natural hair or locs ever interfered with job opportunities? If so, how?
Jade: I can’t say for certain that my locs have hindered me from job opportunities, but I do know for a fact that they’ve been an inadvertent distraction. Especially when I have them in a different style for the time being, like bantu knots or loc petals, my workplaces have often responded with lots of staring and questions—and in some cases unwanted touching. I can’t ever stand that!
2dimplzs: Do you think natural hair and locs are being accepted more, or do we still have a long way to go? (i.e. slowly but surely we’re seeing more African American news anchors sporting their natural hair; the new Teen USA 2019 winner is an African American young lady who wore her curly afro during the competition; and laws are being passed that will no longer allow hair discrimination against natural hair, braids and locs.)
Jade: I think it’s a wonderful time to relish in the natural hair love we’ve all been spreading and acknowledging. However, I don’t think it’s society that has the long way to go so much as our particular community has the longer way to go. In other words, I don’t believe anymore that it’s non-POC norms we need to prove our worthiness against, but instead we must open more dialogues with each other starting with how we view ourselves. Hair for Black people has been a hard topic to tackle, and it’s even prevalent in how we classify our attitudes around being #TeamNatural or not. We’ve allowed a society of trends keep us still divided in how we appreciate our self-image. The same way we have associated social behaviors with complexions, like “#Team Lightskin vs #TeamDarkskin,” we’ve perpetuated it down to our follicles. I think especially with Black women being the largest consumers within the hair industry, we need to have a serious reality check of what life without that endless accessibility really looks like.
It literally makes me laugh out loud when I see the term “protective style”. Our ancestors are probably shaking their heads somewhere about the idea of something so trivial. With all of the strength we’ve carried on our backs, through our spirits and in our bodies, we’ve got some nerve to take half-assed precautions to prioritize the false security of hair care. I think it speaks miles to what is expected of us, and we need to continue to challenge the points of view that puts people of color in a constant spotlight to look a certain way.
Thank you, Jade, for your time and your honest and thought-provoking answers! Be on the lookout for Jade modeling her beautiful locs and hot fashions at the What Natural’s Love Hair Show on August 17, 2019, in Brooklyn, NY! For more information on the hair show, please click on this link: https://going-natural.com/going-natural-celebrates-its-15th-anniversary-with-hair-show-and-you-are-invited/#more-19809