Postcards from Grand Rapids: Talking to Robbin

Robbin Melton is a 40 year old mother and former newspaper journalist from Grand Rapids, Michigan which is in the United States of America. In this interview, she tells Charcoal Ink about her natural hair journey. Robbin blogs at Napfrocurlzgirl.

1) Why did you go natural?

I don’t think I really went natural as I’ve never had a perm or relaxer, excepting a one-month stint with a Jherri Curl when I was 10. I’ve been hotcombing my hair my entire life, but I’d wear my hair natural in spring and summer due to humidity.But, I made a conscious decision not to straighten my hair regularly anymore. I plan to do it once a year or so, now.

2) What were your family’s reaction to you going natural?

LOL. My mom thought my hair would fall out, but now she asks if I’m wearing a weave or wig every time I see her. My dad sometimes runs his hands through my hair and says “look at all of this!” My partner wasn’t fazed by it, but since he’s white, he finds it all to be quite involved and interesting, and is becoming somewhat of a black hair expert himself! Our daughter wasn’t too surprised either since she’s seen me with dreadlocks, a bald head, twists, afros, etc.

3) What impact has going natural had on your professional life?

Being natural (since I didn’t go natural) hasn’t affected my professional life at all. I don’t feel my hair is any different from the clothes I put on everyday.

4) What trends do you think will happen in the natural hair industry, i.e will Afros be popular or twist outs?

I’m not sure what style trends will happen as a lot of people are probably too afraid to rock an afro since it still has a negative stigma. Twist outs probably will be the thing since a lot of weaves are already sporting that look. If anything, I think we’ll see more and more people making and selling their own products for natural hair.

5) What has the reaction been for you with men – does your boyfriend like your hair?

My partner loves my hair and we talk about natural hair on a daily basis. On my wash day, he even feels it to see how soft it is if I switch up my deep conditioning/steaming treatments. He doesn’t understand why my sista’ gals have natural curls, use chemicals and heat to straighten their hair, only to turn right back around and curl it again with a curling iron or rollers. As for men in general, I’m rather miffed that black men noticed me when my hair was straight. Now, they don’t. Dreadlocked brothas don’t even bother to say hi to me. White men I know prefer my hair natural and say it suits me better than when it was straight. White men who don’t know me often give me a double take or a little smile.

6) What is your hair aspiration/goal?

My goal is to grow out my hair so my wash and go falls on my shoulders, to keep heat off of my hair except once a year, to develop my conditioner and a leave-in to use in conjunction with my shampoos and butter whip, and to educate naturals that we should not use ingredients/products such as some soys, argan oil and baobab extract that are on the endangered species list. It’s hypocritical to be “natural” while using ingredients whose extinction is the direct result of “our” hair demands.

7) Do you think more women will go natural?

I believe more women will go natural, but I also believe it will be more of a hair trend for most…like dreadlocks. I love my hair in its natural state and I love taking care of my hair, but too many of us are too concerned with shrinkage, length checks and the latest products. I’m natural because it’s the easiest way for me to care for my hair, it’s less time consuming and I don’t have to worry about humidity anymore.

What do you think of Robbin’s hair and her thoughts? Let us know in the comments.


5 thoughts on “Postcards from Grand Rapids: Talking to Robbin

    • … it’s so funny how much a big deal black hair is and the stigma around it when it goes into afro mode… when in fact it’s our natural state. Having worked in the financial field… I often felt that if I came to work in my real state (afro and all)… it was have been deemed “unprofessional,” it actually now makes me wonder… why did afro’s go away in the first place?

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