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Does Having Natural Hair Get You Ahead?

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Natural Hair 2
Over the weekend, I read a story about a club promoter in Atlanta who was offering discounts to women with natural hair.

According to The Grio, the promoter expressed his “utter disdain” for weaves and love for natural hair on his blog, which includes a section where readers can find natural hair blogs and products.

“Now he’s putting his money where his mouth is,” TheGrio.com reports. “By giving $10 off tickets to his Atlanta Classic Post-Game Affair on the 24th of [September] and $5-$10 discounts to his FAMU Homecoming event [this past Friday]. Discounts [were] available to women with natural hair, and they[used] the code ‘natural’ when buying tickets.”

Hmm. Don’t get me wrong, a Sistah loves a discount and a hookup, but, and I say this as a natural girl, this isn’t the kind of hookup I want or need.

For starters, it’s divisive. There’s already a simmering (and documented) feud between some women without perms and those with. Some naturals get holier than thou about being true to their roots -- literally -- while some processed girls are like, “Girl, get a grip and at least a pressing comb.”

And how is natural determined anyway? No perm? Okay, what if, like many women, she’s natural beneath her weave? What if she has braids? What if she’s natural, but has a blowout or a fresh press? What if she pulls a Solange Knowles and adds coiled faux-hair that looks similar to the texture that grows unaltered from her scalp? Do those ladies get a hookup? Or, er, no?

Unfortunately, we haven’t come as far as we’d like to believe since Spike Lee’s infamous “School Daze” dance number, “Good or Bad Hair,” where Black women faced off over texture, and complexion. 

Speaking of complexion, the party discount for naturalistas reminds me of a similar party that made headlines in January where party promoters in Columbus, Ohio attempted to throw a “Light Skin vs. Dark Skin” party. (63% of Essence.com readers said, “yes, it is despicable how the promoters are using skin tone to pit Black women against each other.”)

Bottom-line: it’s divisive, all of it. I’d rather pay full price, or better, just not attend, if my discount means drawing another line in the sand against a woman who looks like me -- give or take some melanin and a perm.

Too often in life (and especially reading online comments), I hear women going at each other over the pettiest of differences; hair, complexion, marital status, weight, education, whether they’re Rih-stans or Bey-fans, whether they’re “baby mamas” or wives.  It makes me want to pull a Dap Dunlap and yell, “WAKE UP!!!!!” for the whole community to hear.

The oft-given reason for doing it is because it makes the person doing the calling out feel better, but does it really? Where does this crabs in a barrel mentality get us, other than constantly at each other's throats?

Would you attend a party where “naturalistas” received discounts?

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of "A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk
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