“Unpredictable, free-spirited, rebellious, gorgeous, and dominant” This is how Elizabeth City State University students Nadieya Barco and Desiree Everette describe natural hair.
Two Years ago Barco and Everette saw a need to implement a space or setting where students with natural hair could congregate, socialize, and learn from each other about their strands. Putting their curly heads together, they brainstormed and collectively created Narcissistic Naturals.
Looking up narcissistic, one will find the word to be synonymous with vain, self-admiring, and egotistical. Barco, a Junior majoring in Sociology states, “We didn’t want to just be ECSU Naturals. We were looking at words that could describe being natural, and Desiree came up with Narcissistic because she felt like that’s how we should feel about our hair, just be conceited about it, and just glorify our hair.”
Everette, a Senior majoring is Mass Communications says, “We were very observant of how many others were natural on campus as well. We thought “it’s a mini movement and it doesn’t get that much recognition!”” Now a group with 32 members strong, the Narcissistic Naturals parade the campus of ECSU, wearing their crowns of glory, and celebrating their choice to be natural. *Cues Formation by Beyoncé. *
Educating their members on the importance of caring for their kinks and curls, Nadieya and Desiree say to expect nothing from your natural hair. “When people go natural, we always tell them not to expect anything. If you expect your hair to be curly, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s really about accepting yourself and what God gave you,” Nadieya states.
Nadieya and Desiree, natural hair enthusiasts if you will, make sure their members understand a multitude of things; but overall that there’s no such thing as “good hair.” So often society tries to compare and contrast textures and grades of natural hair. Everette believes that it’s of vital importance to understand that no curl pattern is better than the other. “It’s an acceptance thing, I don’t think anyone should compare or contrast. There’s no such thing as good hair. We try to instill that in our girls. Healthy hair is good hair. It should not be by a grade or how somebody’s hair is, whether it’s thick, coarse, fine or silky.”
Admitting that outside of their club, a lot of people on campus know them for their apparel, but don’t know what it is exactly the club has to offer. Barco the president of Narcissistic Naturals wants people to know that the group brings so much more to the table than cool shirts. “Narcissistic Naturals brings empowerment and unity. Those that are in the club are not only club members but also a family! As far as the student body, they do not understand who we are. They always ask “what do y’all do?” They are in hopes to change this as time progresses.
Both women believe that the group offers its members a place where they can learn to fully understand their hair. Ranging from maintenance, to choice of products, and even styling tips; Narcissistic Naturals aims to provide all who join with top notch information. Barco and Everette also believe that the group gives them all a sense of sisterhood, outside of Greek organizations, which are extremely popular and prevalent amongst campus.
With an influx of people letting go of relaxers, and embracing their natural hair, there’s still people who choose not to with the famously annoying excuse that “natural hair isn’t for everybody.” Nadieya, affirms what men and women alike, in the natural hair community have been saying for quite some time. “Natural hair cannot be for some and not for others. This hair grows on one’s head, how is it “not for them?” It is more so the fact [that] not everyone can style their natural hair. That does not mean it isn’t for them though.
Narcissistic Naturals hopes to remain a group that creates a platform for naturals on ECSU campus, and continue to reaffirm that natural hair is no trendy fad. Everette exclaims “I don’t think this is a phase, I think it’s here to stay.”