Monday, November 7, 2011

i'm not buying it--- literally and figuratively

I helped my cousin with a catering event yesterday.   It was all about "being natural" and that whole lifestyle.  There were a lot of beautiful black people in the venue and that was encouraging and exciting to see.  However, I left there feeling like the word "natural" is nothing more than an overused marketing ploy and I'm not buying it---literally.  There were so many vendors selling natural products and doing natural hair and eyebrow consultations to detect your "eyebrow innerg" (lol and smh).  I must admit, although it was interesting I left feeling conflicted about the idea of "natural".  One cant knock the hustle.  The market is there, so why not take advantage of it right?  I mean, so many people are deciding to embrace who they were to begin with.  Themselves.  But I dont know if it's because my own personal definition of natural also parallells with minimalism when it comes to hair, skin, nails, diet etc.   But I just cant fall for the okey doke.  Seriously, what is the difference between peddling a natural hair product versus let's say creamy crack products?  What is the difference between a natural person's sink counter contents versus a person with a perm's sink counter contents if they are both loaded down with "product"  regardless if its natural or not?  Either way, consumerism is alive and well.  I mean sure the vendors were pushing the whole natural idea behind their product (moisturizers, creams, jellies, juices and berries) but in my opinion the same tactics are employed to lure women consumers in as with any other cosmetic.  The idea of making yourself "prettier" is still behind the scenes. The vanity still exists and consumers continue to search for products to enhance their beauty---naturally so.  I suppose one should feel less guilty and more empowered using a natural moisturizer to make that curl snap just right or the organic makeup is just better because well, it's organic.  I just question the authenticity of the whole natural hair/lifestyle phenomena.  Not to say that there aren't those out there, who know the deal.  But nowadays it seems like it just sounds and looks cool to be vegan/vegetarian and taunt a big fro or long, tightly twisted and dyed locs. Afterall, having this "appearance" gives one a certain rebelliousness, different-ness, and of course attention.  But the vibe I got from the event yesterday was that, it was not deeper than those surface titles/appearances.   I think growing up in a household where dreadlocs, aloe vera, olive oils, and regular ol' shampoo was all I knew and needed makes it difficult for me to accept this phenomena.  Perhaps, some would say i'm being closed minded. Don't get me wrong, I love the excitement people have when they discover a "new" thing.  But I just wonder how long will the fad lasts.  It truly is a lifestyle that is rich with history sans "product"  or titles.

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