Why My Shrunken 4C Natural Hair Went Viral

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The things that you can do or say on social media as a dark-skinned Black girl are very, very limited. When it comes to my content on my TikTok page, @Lipglossssssssss, where I now have over 1.1 million followers, I've definitely shifted my videos to where I say much less. I'll use humour to express what I'm really trying to say, because when Black girls share their experiences of insecurity, and anxiety — especially anxiety — they're not always met with compassion. You get torn to pieces. 
This became clear when I made TikTok videos about my hair. In a series of vlogs, I started wearing my hair in its most natural state; tightly coiled because of shrinkage, not stretched, with no twist-outs, no “laid edges’, or protective styles, no manipulation. Just as is. I talked about how I was exploring the idea of living in my natural state especially when there’s shrinkage and my hair looks short.
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I explained how I resented chasing “feminisation” in the way I dress just to feel attractive and not “masculine” and I challenged my own fears of feeling less desirable and attractive wearing my hair this way.  As I say in my video, the people who choose to only uplift Black women in wigs and makeup, are really doing a disservice. They don’t care about your well-being, they don’t care about what that’s going to do to your self-confidence, what it’s going to do to your edges, what’s that going to do to you as a person. I had to let those people go. I can’t believe how hard they make it in society for Black women to love their natural self —  people of other races will be washing their faces and just leave the house, but God forbid a Black girl does the same thing! 
And people resonated, even Lizzo joined in in the comments, and some even joked that it was the start of a 'short, shrunken natural 4C hair movement’ but really, I was just myself. I do believe that if all the Black girls with 4C hair wore their hair shrunken at the same time then it’d be much easier, it would ease some of the anxiousness some feel when wearing your hair out for the first time. If all the girls do it, I swear in two years, people are going to think it's cute. I know I can't be alone on the internet and have a strong community backing me at the same time. It can’t just be me. 
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It was a business meeting that inspired me to make the videos. They were talking about how if you only follow your friends, and if you follow the norm, you will always get the same result. And the result is everyone — especially women —  trying really hard to fit into an antiquated beauty standard and still not finding real self-love, or finding real friendships. You don't really get anything from trying to fit into this ideal. For me personally, trying to be like everybody else was a way for me to feel safe but I still didn’t feel safe. There is safety in being dishonest with yourself. If I was to get on TikTok and not say a word and just show my outfits, I would be so much safer.

The fact that I am considered a leader for wearing my hair this way is actually really sad. Really? Me just existing in my natural state is actually very regular and shouldn't be a big deal.

After I posted my videos — especially when I made a flippant comment that I can only pull white boys with my natural hair — I did get a lot of hate from people on the internet who decided to pick apart my looks. They were angry that I was comfortable with another demographic finding me attractive. As if to say “‘you’re a piece of shit but you’re my piece of shit.” One even went to the trouble of creating a fake dating profile with my pictures to “prove” men still find me desirable with my hair this way in what he described as an “experiment.
What I want to say to the people who are angry, you should have never felt threatened by my videos. The only thing that I did with that video was free myself from your validation and I freed a bunch of people who watched that video from the validation of people who think like you do. How do you think it feels to know that people don't find me attractive in my natural hair? Do you understand how painful that is?
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It’s clear a lot of these people are very insecure and the way that they make themselves feel big and important is by attempting to decide who's valuable and who's not, especially with women. To get to say whether a girl is ugly or pretty is where they get their power because they're very insecure and they're not okay with themselves. 
I have videos up where I talk about the importance of staying calm when somebody makes fun of your looks because as soon as you react, you make it seem like them attacking your looks is a big deal, when in fact, your looks mean nothing. It's all about your spirit. That's why, if somebody attacks my looks, I'm not gonna come back and attack. All I can do is be me.
The amount of controversy this caused is strange because I only made a TikTok about hair. It was a beautiful video, and everybody was joking and feeling relief from feeling bad every single day because the world makes you feel like shit if you don't wear your hair a certain type of way. There were millions of us cracking jokes and catching vibes so why would I let 30 or 40 random dudes ruin everything for me? Why would I give somebody that type of power over me when there are millions of us? You can’t let these low vibrational demons come and destroy the vibe. 
If I’ve inspired someone to wear their hair shrunken and natural or whatever then good, but I don't want to be considered a leader. I'm just existing as myself. The fact that I am considered a leader for wearing my hair this way is actually really sad. Really? Me just existing in my natural state is actually very regular and shouldn't be a big deal. The fact that it is, tells you the predicament that Black girls are facing right now.
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So yes, y’all can't just watch me and follow me on TikTok —  you have to be me. Even if you're not at the place yet where you're ready to wear your natural hair, whenever you see somebody who's Black and somebody's coming for their hair, just know that they're coming for you too, your true self — do you understand? You need to fight twice as hard and it should not just be down to Black women to lead that fight. If you ever want to be at the place that I'm at, where you can show your authentic self when you see somebody getting put down, you need to fight. And don’t apologise. 
If they’re attacking me, they’re attacking you too, twin. 
The truth is, I feel like you don't even need to like your hair. That's another thing about me that people don't understand. I'm not for loving yourself in the extremes, I'm for being authentic — that’s two different things. I don't need to love myself, I just need to be myself. That’s all that matters.
As told to L’Oréal Blackett
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