Nappily Ever After, a movie about a women coming to terms with her natural hair debuted on Netflix in 2018. When freshman Rania White saw it she started to shed some tears. White saw a part of her in main character Violet Jones.
“I understand how she felt about [how] she had to be perfect and stuff like that because that’s how I used to feel. That’s why I would always straighten my hair.” White said.
Though White never put relaxer or chemicals in her hair, she grew up straightening it all the time. “I would go to the salon every other week and just straighten it and I wouldn’t wash it in between,” White said. White was conditioned to believe that long and straight hair equaled pretty hair. Even if it was damaging her natural hair, she was going along with what society taught her.
For White, doing her hair was a source of stress. She would have to plan far in advance for when she would get her hair done. It was so bad that she would breakdown about her hair. “I would have a mental breakdown, like when am I going to do my hair,” said White.
But there came a point where White saw the damage catching up to her. Her hair was paying the price. Only about a year or so ago, White decided to transition her hair. But it didn’t start off on the right foot, especially when she finally saw her natural hair for the first time. “I was like, wow this looks really ugly….It was so dead, like the ends were straight,” said White.
Though her first reaction wasn’t positive, White has come a long way in her view of her hair. Right now she’s at a point where she loves her hair. And part of that love, comes from knowing how to do it.
“Before, I would just get so frustrated and [ just be like] can we just straighten it. It’s so much easier. But now I know what to do, I know what products to use, and how to maintain it,” said White.
Her hair isn’t this huge source of anxiety anymore. Rather it’s a part of her that she continues to grow in-literally. She’s grown so much that in retrospect, she would tell her younger self to “just be free and don't be scared of judgement…”