For Valentine’s Day this year, myself and the 4c Hair Chick crew decided to write Love Letters to our favorite YouTubers. Below, I’ve compiled a list of 5 videos that really helped me through the early stages of my natural hair journey. To the women who did these videos I’m about to list, please know you were sunshine for me on a cloudy day and thanks to your channels and the natural hair community, I’ve been able to fully embrace and fall in love with my natural hair!
1. Thank You African Export
I remember when I first found African Export’s channel. I was literally in awe. This is going to sound SO ignorant, but I truly thought this. I had never seen a dark skinned black woman with hair as long as her’s that wasn’t Creole. Now, I don’t know if she is or isn’t, but back in 2011 when I first found African Export’s channel, I was elated to see that it is possible for a dark skinned black woman to have long hair that wasn’t weave. Ekkk! That sounds crazy when I read it, but man I gotta keep it 100. When I saw African Export, I thought to myself perhaps maybe, just maybe, I can have long hair too. To me, African Export’s channel represented hope when I first went natural. Prior to being exposed to her and KimmayTube, I was on the fence about if my hair could grow long. I had truly begun to think that I had a “natural stopping length.” I started watching Vanisha’s channel regularly. She became a virtual sister to me in some regards. So Vanisha, thank you for inspiring me and opening up my eyes to new possibilities.
In this video below Vanisha aka African Export talks about attractiveness on YouTube. This is one of my favorite discussion videos that she did. I love how she makes you feel like you’re in a real conversation and I love her honesty and willingness to discuss issues that aren’t often discussed.
2. ToyaBoo Tresses “Fugly” hair
Early in my natural hair journey, I began learning my hair and working on my personal self-esteem. I had a lot of ups and downs early on with my TWA because I wasn’t used to seeing myself with short hair. I believed at the time that short hair was boyish and that it didn’t look good on me. I was eager to get past the TWA phase because it felt awkward to me. I remember one day coming home from shopping and I was pretty down about my hair cut. @ToyaBooTresses picked me up. Her video was right on time for me. A perfect affirmation and confidence booster as I was sitting there struggling to see the beauty in my TWA. ToyaBoo, thank you for putting yourself out there and doing this video.
3. BlackOynx77 Loving and Divafying a TWA
As I’ve stated, the TWA phase was a hard adjustment for me. Some days I’d love my hair and other days, I regretted my hair cut. It took almost four months for me to truly embrace my TWA. I found this video by BlackOynx on YouTube and I used to watch it on days when I was down about my TWA. She helped me to fall in love with my face. Before her video, I hadn’t really thought about how TWAs help highlight the beauty of our facial features. After I watched her video a couple of times, I had an epiphany that I wasn’t really discontent with my hair cut. My real issue was that I had accpeted the miseducation that there was something wrong with my full lips and wide nose. I hadn’t realized that I felt like my facial features were less pretty than others. It’s hard to explain, but man cutting my hair forced me to face every insecurity I had swept under the rug. So, thank you BlackOynx for this video. It was an awakening for me and an inspiration.
(In my Katt Williams stand up voice) This chick right here! This chick right herre!!….
They say, going natural is a journey. As a newly natural, I quickly realized that YouTube was the best place to find information and learn my hair. In the first couple of weeks following my big chop, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend 8-12 hours a week watching YouTube videos about hair. I was quasi-obsessed. After several weeks passed, I started to feel displaced. Though there was good info available, many things weren’t working “right” on my hair. I was starting to wonder where was the information about my hair. After searching around for “nappy hair naturals” and “kinky hair naturals” (this was before I knew about hair typing) I finally found a vlogger with hair like mine! Judy. Thanks to Judy, I felt supported. I finally felt like, man I’m not all alone. I’m not the only one with super duper kinky hair. Judy, for me, validated the frustration I was feeling. So thank you Judy for producing videos and talking about the ups and downs of 4c hair.
I especially loved this video Judy did about 4c hair basics. Her point that technique is more important than products was super insightful. Up until that point, I had been a product junkie. I still am, but she helped me to understand that I needed a routine if I wanted to get my hair long and healthy.
I was attracted to Jenell’s channel because of her energy. She seemed genuinely happy about everyhing happening along her natural hair journey. Jenell’s channel was unique to me because she was growing her hair and wearing it out in different styles. She wasn’t a huge two strand twister – she’d actually wear her hair loose and I loved that. I would consistently (and still do) go to her channel for hair maintenance help and style ideas. As a newly natural one of the things I really struggled with was hairstyle ideas. I was so used to styling my hair when it was straight that I had to learn how to style curly hair. Jenell’s channel helped me a whole lot with finding work hairstyles and special occasion hair styles.
After Jenell posted this video it became one of my go to looks. She couldn’t have posted it at a better time either because I had a huge presentation for work and I was looking for a professional way to wear my hair and boom her marly bun style was perfect.
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that going natural would be such a transformative experience. I’m so grateful that YouTube is a tool of my generation. I know without youtube and these women I wouldn’t be where I am today.