One Word Whip: Natural Hair in One Word

During these 6 day leadership conferences I work 12+ hours a day and I don’t have time to do my hair every morning so I kept my hair twisted up in some sort of protective style but toward the end the conference and as a treat for myself I “let my hair down” so to speak. I untwist my hair and rock my big fluff. This picture shows how I wore my hair on the last 2-3 days of the conference. This was to let it breath before wash day. I received so many comments from my scholars when they saw my hair out for the first time. This prompted me to do an activity with one of my groups. With all the students seated in a circle, I conducted a “One word whip.” This is a technique I use to quickly debrief and ensure there is I put from the entire group. Going clockwise, each student had to describe my hair in one word or state the first word that came to mind when they saw my hair. These students came from all across the country, from different backgrounds. In one small group of 25 it was practically a melting pot or religion, race, social status and political views. I was very interested to see what they had to say about seeing natural hair.  Oh me, oh my! I developed an atmosphere in my group where they could speak openly and trust me they did. I heard some very interesting responses but I didn’t take offense to any of the comments, because it was a learning experience for us all. After conducting this activity I could see how much exposure these students have had to women with natural hair and even though my group did not represent all 50 states. It did show me how natural hair is viewed across the nation. I know you all are probably waiting to see what the words where so here they are! 

  • Curly
  • Naana (one of the students friends)
  • Real
  • Boom
  • Pasta (it reminded them of rotini or or fusilli)
  • Poodly?
  • New
  • Wow
  • Pretty
  • Different
  • Fabulous 
  • Crazy
  • Raggedy-Ann (they were smart to make that a hyphen)
  • Weave?
  • Bouncy
  • Bush
  • Corkscrew
  • Jungle
  • Fries (they meant curly fries)
  • Cute
  • Upton
  • Spirals
  • Poofy
  • Curly 

and last but not least…

  • Oprah! 
Kids do say the craziest things but I take it all in stride.
How do people describe your natural hair?
– The Natural Travelista

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