Saturday, Sefi Atta & Stereotypes

Hey guys! How are we getting ready for the new year?

Along with hair practices, products, updates and soon enough styling, I might ramble sometimes; talk about something I’m interested in, something that makes me happy, sha something not hair related. I’m also going to share my encounters with other people, reactions to le fro as it grows. This is another interesting thing, human behaviour.

On Saturday, I went to Sefi Atta’s reading of her latest book ‘A Bit of Difference’ at Glendora, Ikeja City Mall . It was real nice, in the cosy bookstore, being surrounded by all that literature. (I love being surrounded by books.) Sefi told us about herself and read some pages from the book but we couldn’t really get into it because only one person had read the book, it’s new. There will be proper readings next year but there was plenty of talk still- about her, life as a writer, her journey and her other published books, amongst other things. Then I got two copies of the book for my mom and I, and Sefi signed them. Yayy 🙂

The first Sefi Atta book I read was ‘Everything Good Will Come’ in 2006, and it is one of my favourite books! It was actually my mom’s. I should probably buy her a new copy because I really like that particular copy and I have no plans to give it back. I’m strangely sentimental sometimes, don’t judge me! I love to read. I’m not as voracious as I used to be when I was smaller- I lost touch during some part of the uni years, feeling busy doing nothing like I didn’t have time to read for leisure (not that I was even such a serious student o). But then I realised that the cases and articles were never going to finish, and my reading habit is essential to my progress as a person and I shouldn’t be too busy to read. I’ve been making efforts to get back on the train.

I cannot wait to dig in- gats hurry up and finish ‘There Was A Country’. I’ve been on it too long. If you like to read, if you’re interested in Nigerian literature, in fact even if you don’t, you should try to read or get to know our Art scene, it’s a pleasure. Sefi Atta writes nice. I’m no Art critic or anything, but just try. I recommend ‘Everything Good Will Come’, rather appropriate because it’s the Sefi book I fell in love with. If you’re not big on reading, start with ‘News From Home’, a collection of short stories. Small small, you’ll get there! 🙂

OKAY OKAY, SMALL HAIR TALK

Sefi is a naturalista as well. She’s got lovely locs. I took photos, but my dear camera Simon is no DSLR. I hope you can appreciate the locs anyway.

The lovely Sefi Atta
The lovely Sefi Atta

Writer Lola Soneyin was there as well- she has longer locs, so beautiful. Funmi Iyanda’s TWA looked healthy and nice. Chibundu Onuzo (another Nigerian author) had her kinks in a bun? There was also this lady with braids and twists, in a nice pattern I noticed, really cute. Blogger Sabirah from labellaimperfezione.com had her hair down, bounded by a scarf. Which brings me to the next thing-

 “All naturals are creative free spirits.”- Thomas Aquinas*

There was this guy with a fro that I met at the reading. We sat next to each other, and made small talk. He’s a budding writer, and I don’t know if it was just bants, but he said he assumed I was one as well. 1. I had come to see Sefi Atta, a writer. 2. My afro. 3. My Ankara shorts. 4. My glasses. Okay, he mentioned four things, but let’s focus on number 2, alright?

At school a few weeks ago, a colleague that I was meeting for the first time in class said a few things (I’m sure I was looking very serious in my black and white uniform)

  1. Oh I love your hair
  2. You look just like Asa (the singer)
  3. Are you a singer or poet or artist or something?
  4. What are you doing here? Your parents must have forced you to study law

Haha. At which point he proceeded to complain about studying law and how boring it is, and I told him that he must be in the wrong class then. I mean, if you’ve come as far as Law School and you still haven’t come to terms with it, there might be a problem. It’s interesting really. From that encounter, I inferred thus: The fro gives artsy singer, poet vibes. I wondered about the Asa bit though cos all the photos of Asa I’ve seen, she had locs. Ah well, all bants.

Interesting.

So while some people equate natural hair to being religious, some people who have only met naturals on the internet might equate it to wahala, or over-sabi (the Naturals/Relaxed debate is a topic for another day), some people also equate natural hair to creativity, and all forms of artsy. Your hair is natural so you must be this free spirit, an artist, constantly bursting to express yourself. Hm. Not bad, the third one.

I do remember the lady with the cute braids/twists say she’s a doctor. I’d love to write (but it has been ages since I wrote anything good or anything really) but I’m on my way to becoming a lawyer (almost there ^.^) and I love the journey so far. Deciding to get a law degree I believe, is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my short life.

I love art in all possible forms, and I’m all for expression. I love when I look at something you’re doing or you’ve done and I can see a little bit of you. So I’m not mad at the stereotype. It’s not a negative one. Perhaps it’s worth looking into. Maybe all voluntary naturalistas are artists and open-minded people on some level? But not all artists are naturalistas? Okay now I’m drawing syllogisms. I need to stop. I wonder if any anthropologists or sociologists or any of the relevant –ists have studied Natural hair as part of a particular lifestyle. This reasoning could work both ways- as a compliment, or against you. The idea that an afro means free, wild, artsy, is probably why some people feel natural hair is unprofessional and informal, unacceptable in the typical basic basic 9-5 workplace. I’m just pondering.

What do you think about this particular stereotype? Have you gotten similar comments? Do you think so of other naturals? Are you relaxed? What’s the first thing you think when you meet someone on teamNatural? Is there something about going natural? Must you be a certain kind of person to leave in your kinks?

Do share xx

0 Replies to “Saturday, Sefi Atta & Stereotypes”

  1. I’m a naturalista at heart (my hair is relaxed though; short, but relaxed). I think I agree with the Thomas Aquinas’ saying. Naturalists, not limiting that to kinks, I think have some form of nature-loving, high imagination, creativity going on that is peculiar to artists. I don’t like that many people associate natural hair with untidiness though. Granted, it’s a lot of work but I think it is beautiful. Besides, I can’t remember the last time I saw an untidy looking ‘fro.

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