I can’t be the only one that has noticed the uprise of natural hair celebrities in Nigeria in recent times. It seems like every award season we see new celebrities join the current existing batch. Then you begin to wonder, how come? Where did they come from? And no, they don’t unveil their hair with TWAs. Somewhere along the line, during the course of the year, most of them might have transitioned or even big chopped without us noticing. Frankly, it’s such a great thing to watch and I’m here for it.
At the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMCVA), we noticed three new celebrities rock their perfectly styled natural hair; Tina Mba, Ini- Dinma Okojie and Somkele Iyamah. Granted, Somkele had been growing hers before she came into the spotlight. But then, veteran actress Tina Mba looked absolutely gorgeous in her high bun styled by the one and only O’Naturals Beauty.
A couple of months ago, media mogul and CEO of Ebonylife, Mo Abudu debuted a stunning natural hair updo. She was styled by Esther Tom of Game of ‘Fros. I reached out to Esther and asked if she knew Mo was going natural all this time. She said no. She had no idea Mo was planning to go natural until she has called to style her hair. May I add how graceful and much younger Mo looks at the moment.
As a result of their jobs, celebrities really do not have the time to maintain their natural hair much less nurture it. They are usually on set and the chances of having a natural hair stylist are slim to none. The industry is still growing and the number of stylists at the moment that can actually cater to the movie industry is still few and far between.
So, what does this all mean for us?
What does the rise of natural hair celebrities mean for the natural hair industry?
First of all, it means that we will finally be noticed and paid attention to beyond Instagram. Yes, social media is fantastic. It has given everyone a platform. But beyond social media, how are we making sure the people actually go the salons to get their hair styled? How do we ensure that our natural hair stylists; both newbies and professionals are empowered? Because really, styling celebrities might not be the ultimate but it’s high up there on their bucket list.
Secondly, it means lead generation and brand awareness for our natural hair products made in Nigeria. Believe it or not, we still have to struggle with foreign counterparts and the battle is far from over despite the recession. More celebrities going natural means that our Nigerian Natural Hair Products will be recognized and when this happens, we really don’t have to struggle anymore because we know how influential celebrities are. Need we say more?
In addition, it also means there will be opportunities for partnerships and collaborations.Who says our natural hair industry cannot partner with Nollywood for instance? Already, it’s happening and we can only hope it spreads to other relevant industries.
Generally, it means upward progression for the industry. Believe it or not, some people might not actually be motivated to go natural until their favorite celebrity does so. They believe once that celebrity can do it despite their crazy schedule, what’s stopping them? They might as well try it too.
That being said, we’re glad that our celebrities have found the light and we can only hope that by this time next year, our natural hair salons will be overbooked.