My name is Sydney Stoudmire, and I am the President and Founder of SuperNatural. I’m often asked what the purpose of this group is, and what motivated me to create it. The answer isn’t too complicated, but it does require a bit of my personal history.
My relationship with my hair has always been a difficult one. I had my first relaxer at the age of three because my hair was coarse and kinky, which is synonymous with “hard to manage.” I started experiencing breakage by the time I was 12. It was only made worse by the fact that I was a very experimental child who loved dyeing my hair. By the time I graduated from 8th grade. I had the Nia Long circa Fresh Prince of Bel-Air hair cut because it had broken to the point where that was the only style I could pull off.
Once I started high school, I thought I was grown enough to start doing my own relaxers. My hair definitely paid the price. My ends were split beyond repair, and continued to break. It was the hair color I did just before starting college—reddish highlights—that made my hair scream, “Enough!”
I started wearing weaves my freshmen year of college. I felt like I had finally found the solution to all my hair problems, but the weave eventually started to take a toll. My hairline began to get thinner and thinner, until I had literally created a new one that started about an inch farther back than it was supposed to. By then, I became dependent on the weaves, because underneath, my hair was jacked up! It took me another year or so of abusing my hair before I finally decided it was time for another approach.
In June 2009, I decided to start wearing my natural hair out. Underneath all of the weave was two years worth of virgin hair. My hair was as kinky as it was the day I got my first relaxer, if not kinkier. I wasn’t used to (or comfortable with) handling hair of my texture and I had no idea where to start. I took to the internet and began research natural hair. I found several blogs and YouTube “Gurus” who offered advice on how to care for afro-textured hair. These resources were a godsend, but there was a certain real world element that was missing for me.
Around this time, I began to notice that there was a staggering increase in black women on campus were cutting off their relaxed hair and rocking cute little afros. I secretly wished I could approach them and ask what they did to care for their hair, or how they achieved certain styles. I fantasized about an organization where women who, like me, had recently began wearing their natural hair, could come together for support, motivation, and inspiration.
It took me a lot of courage to make the decision to create this organization for obvious reasons; I was worried that people would think it was frivolous, unnecessary, and stupid. And worse, I worried that we’d encounter objections to the organization about it being an “anti-straight hair” cult. Eventually my concerns were put to rest because, when I solicited the opinions of my peers, the overwhelming response was that this campus wanted an organization like this. By May of 2010, I began taking the steps toward making this organization come into fruition, and we made our campus debut in August 2010.
As I said earlier, my personal history (and hairstory) is closely tied into what motivated me to start SuperNatural. I was certain that I wasn’t the only black woman who had received a relaxer at an early age, and had no idea what her natural texture looked like; that I wasn’t the only woman who was at a loss on how to style, maintain, and nurture her kinky tresses; that I wasn’t the only one who secretly didn’t feel as confident with my fro, as I did with my straight hair or flowing weaves; that I wasn’t alone in wanting to go back to relaxers because my natural hair was just “too hard to manage.”
This organization was started to serve as a support group for black women who are struggling with these same issues. So far, SuperNatural has served its purpose and I have very high hopes that we will grow to be much more than “just” a hair group.