‘The Secret to Long Natural Hair’ video parodies black women’s frustrations with transitioning to natural styles

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Comedian and video blogger Franchesca Ramsey is back with a hilarious video on black women, loving our kinky-curly hair, and the frustrations of transitioning to natural styles. The Secret to Long Natural Hair — developed by Ramsey with a group of like-minded black female webs stars — offers African-American women a simple solution to the perennial question of how to make their hair grow. The creator of the viral Internet sensation Sh*t White Girls Say… To Black Girls, Ramsey wrote, filmed, directed and edited her latest hit in about ten hours, “but we did some improvising on set to keep the lines really natural,” she told theGrio. Ramsey co-stars with Fran of HeyFranHey, vlogger Taren Guy, Myleik of Curlbox, and the UrbanBushBabes, all leading web voices in natural hair care. They collaborated on The Secret to Long Natural Hair to makes viewers rethink their relationship with their tresses. Does the secret surprise you? You’ll have to check out the video below for the answer — then learn more about the inspiration for the piece from Franchesca below. Having already been featured on Clutch Magazine and the Glamazons blog among many other sitesThe Secret to Long Natural Hair is certainly catching fire.

theGrio: What inspired you and this group of black female bloggers, vloggers and webpreneurs to create this video?
Franchesca Ramsey: I’ve been trying to organize a collaboration video with [black style and beauty bloggers] HeyFranHey and the UrbanBushBabes for about six months now, but we struggled to come up with a concept and time that would work for all of us. One thing we’ve all talked about is how often our viewers ask for the “secret” to growing long hair. I also get tons of questions asking how to “skip the baby loc stage,” which unfortunately isn’t possible unless you opt for extensions. So one day over lunch Cipriana (from UrbanBushBabes) suggested we create a hair product parody. I had been toying with the idea of a video about patience, so I thought the concepts would work well together.

What has the response been so far? Has there been any backlash?
Overall the response has been really positive. The best comments have been from viewers that agree that patience has worked for them. I’ve also heard from a lot of people that felt like they were ready to give up on their natural hair journey, but the video inspired them to hang in there. Besides that, there have been a few people that have complained that the video lacks diversity and contains “only bi-racial girls,” which is completely untrue. Some people have also suggested that locs don’t count as “real length retention,” because they contain shed hair and that locs are “easier to maintain.” While locs do contain shed hair, they also require some work in order to maintain, and what may be considered easy for some is more challenging for others. In reality, healthy hair takes work and patience regardless of your texture, style or racial background.

In addition to having “Patience,” what do black women need to do to accept their hair?
I think self-confidence is the most important thing women need to accept their hair, which is of course easier said than done.

In addition to “Patience,” what are some of your favorite hair care products?
To be honest, I’m pretty low maintenance. I’m not much of a product junkie, so my regime is pretty simple. I use Hair Rules no-suds shampoo in addition to Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which really helped repair my hairline after years of relaxing and dying. I also recently started using Ouidad’s Mongongo oil after getting a sample at a hair event and I really like it. It leaves my scalp and hair feeling moisturized and smelling good.

How long did it take you to cultivate patience while growing out your locks? How can other people develop it — without the hair self-acceptance spray mentioned in the video?
Well, it took my hair about a year to fully loc, and during that time I was really frustrated with my hair. It was at an awkward length so I couldn’t do much to style it and at that time (2004), there wasn’t much of a natural hair community online, so I constantly felt really at odds with my hair. Thankfully I had a friend in college with locs who gave me some advice and told me to ditch the beeswax and stop over-twisting so my hair could mature on it’s own.

I don’t think there’s any secret to loving your hair. It really just take time and effort to learn what’s best for it, especially since everyone’s hair is different. But I think that the natural hair community online is really supportive and encouraging (for the most part…), which can be really helpful. Joining Facebook groups and forums, and following YouTubers and bloggers are great ways to stay inspired and remind yourself that the journey will get easier and more manageable as time goes on.

What’s next for you?
I’m actually in the final stages of writing my first sitcom pitch! I’m working with an incredible writer and cable producer so we plan on pitching really soon! Besides that, I’m continuing to make comedy and hairstyle videos in addition to working as a freelance graphic designer.

You rarely see black women in sketch comedy series. This video speaks to the great talent that is out there. Do you hope that talents like yours can show the mainstream that black women can indeed be funny in this sphere?
Thank you! I definitely think black women can be just as funny as our white and male counterparts. But I’m not sure that I agree that black women are missing from sketch comedy. There are some really great black female comics here in New York like Phoebe Robinson and Doppelganger, which is an awesome three woman improv team based out of the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. On TV, we’ve got Jessica Williams on The Daily Showand I’m really looking forward to seeing comedian Kali Hawk on the new In Living Color. Then of course on YouTube there’s Issa Rae and Darmirra Brunson doing lots of amazing original series and sketches. YouTube has really created a lot of great opportunities for artists to not only share their work with a larger audience, but to also turn their content into a viable source of income. And Issa will be coming to TV soon, which is really inspiring for a YouTuber like myself. So we’re out there and people are definitely taking notice.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.