Natural Hair Sorority, Pi Nappa Kappa, Misses the Mark

Sororities are about more than similar hair textures

Earlier this week, a sorority for Black women with natural hair made its emergence via Facebook. Pi Nappa Kappa’s mission is to “to educate, inspire and uplift natural hair women, men, boys and girls throughout the entire world (and) to make the word “nappy” into a “happy” and celebrated term.” Wonderful…but do you need a sorority to do that?

Let me say two things. For starters, I’m in a sorority. I understand both the power and the allure of coming together with women, who share your goals and values. I respect that desire in those who chose to join any of the Divine Nine organizations, social groups or whatever other sort of sisterhood they align themselves with. Also, I am “a natural” since birth. I was not allowed to get a perm as a child and I only occasionally heat-straighten (went an entire decade without doing so, actually). So, I also understand and admire the efforts to encourage and support Black women to wear their hair in its natural state.

However, I think that PKN fails by attempting to bring sorority life to the already vibrant and strong online natural hair community. Women are assigned line numbers by the order in which they become a fan of PKN’s Facebook page. I’m not clutching my pearls and hollering over what some call to be a mockery of the Black Greek experience; rather, I feel that it is impossible for an organization to even give women a taste of that via the internet. It’s doing the natural hair cause a disservice and playing into the commonly held notion that many of today’s diehard naturalistas are simply looking for something, anything, to belong to.

While I respect and acknowledge the fact that a woman’s self-identity and cultural awareness cannot be assessed based solely off her chosen hairstyle, I wholeheartedly agree that the fact that most Black women continue to alter the texture of their hair at most times is problematic. We have been conditioned to view our hair as a problem to solve, not a thing of beauty or even simply as part of who we are physically. There are too many of us who loath their kinky, curly, nappy hair and I think it’s great that these women want to address this issue. I just think there was a better way.

My criticism isn’t simply of this new sorority, but of a number of natural hair advocates who have become zealots for the cause. You cannot isolate those who have not chosen the same path in the name of uplifting those who have. Greek organizations are exclusive (and I acknowledge that many people take issue with us for that very fact); but natural hair is something that its supporters  want to see embraced by all Black women, so why attempt to marry the two?

Lest we not forget that BGLOs are more than step shows, hand signs and line numbers. We are sisterhoods and brotherhoods that do community service and that are constitutionally bound to support our sorors and fraters in good times and bad. I don’t see this Facebook-born organization being able to replicate that experience for its members and I think it does all parties involved a disservice by saying “Hey, if you ever wanted to be in a sorority, we have something for you!”

How much weight does hairstyle carry when it comes to the women one would call her “sisters”? One of the most negative (and not entirely true) stereotypes about the traditional Black sororities is that straight hair is/was required of members. As natural hair has become more common, the already-diverse aesthetics of AKA, DST, Zeta and SGRho chapters across the country have become even more so. And it’s a beautiful thing! These women didn’t come together because they had natural or straight hair, they came together for tenets that are far more weighty.

I think that there could be an awesome movement of natural-haired women to encourage and support other women to consider the switch and, more importantly, to reach little Black girls in their youth and to combat the notion that their God-given tresses are a problem. And I hope that the women of Pi Nappa Kappa defy all of our expectations and mobilize to create such an impact. I just wish that they would leave the Greek stuff to the Greeks along the way.

******* My Thoughts******

Honestly when i first heard about it, i thought it was cute. But as time moved on and i heard more and more about it especially the fees with no explanation behind them ($10 – $15 to join and $50 dollars to be part of some sort of special meetups.) i was like “Eh”. At this point i feel that if i get no kind of real advancement out of it I.E job opps, professional advancements, then i have no choice but to decline. It just makes no sense to me to do so.

We already have an unspoken sisterhood with each other. I don’t need to pay anyone to feel it. On top of that I heard some not so settling news about the founder via my fan page. I have no idea if it is true or not but after this Mop Top Maven scandal, i HAVE to take it into consideration.

I support all AA owned businesses in all there ventures when it is done HONESTLY. I wish everyone all the best though that do decide to join up.

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  1. I think we have enough division with our race & hair types! There is no need to continue to divide us! They already have the hair typing system (1a – 4c), we have the skin complexion issues, social economic issues and now a sorority….for natural hair? So if I’m not apart of it then what??? I have to pay a fee to show my natural pride?? I’m still natural….I just don’t understand it….and me, personally (lol) I strongly dislike the word “NAPPY”……so i will not be joining!

    I’m not mad at the concept….but they are only accepting 10K naturals….it’s way more of us out there…so what does that mean??

  2. I could not possible agree with absolutely EVERYTHING you’ve said more! I actually am one of those whose clutching her 20 pearls! lol. But you explained your objections very clearly; in addition I feel this idea of a “sorority” is an attempt by those who desire to be in a “real” Greek letter organization, whether it is Black or not and if so I hope they have TRULY founded an organization rather than just picking three random Greek letters and calling it a sorority.

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