“There’s a lot of mystery about being natural. It’s like ‘what do we do now?’” said Sudi Elliot, who co-organizes the group.
She said she was stumped when she was transitioning from using a relaxer to having a mass of textured curls.
“It was like an alien on top of my head,’’ she said. “What am I going to do with it?’’’ she would ask her husband in frustration. “I felt overwhelmed.”
Many women turn to the Internet for guidance, where they find bloggers and YouTube channels dedicated solely to naturals.
Simone Hylton, a natural hair specialist, said she often reassures her clients that they are not alone in their natural hair journey.
“People cry in my chair when I cut off their hair and they see it in its natural state. They say. ‘It’s natural and nappy. It doesn’t look good,” said Hylton, co-owner of Natural Trendsetters Salon in South Florida. “It’s really important to have support to get through it.”
And she talks frankly about the lingering stigmas, real or imagined, associated with women who wear their hair natural. Some clients said they get warnings from friends that they would not land jobs or be taken seriously with “that kind of hair.”
Awasum, who is studying for her master’s, said she too was cautioned against a look that could be considered “too ethnic” or “too wild.”
“My friends said people would laugh at me and look at me funny if I had natural hair. They warned me I would not be able to deal with the comments that come with it, but I was fine,” Asawum said.
“In 2012, natural hair can be professional. You can embrace it ”