The Big Chop: You Need To Cut It | Part 1

In the past decade or so a new movement took place in the African American community. This movement would spread like wildfire across the nation in what seemed like only a short time. You may know it as the Natural Hair Movement. During this time young African American women were realizing that they did not need to perm, straighten, relax or put on wigs or weave in order for them to be considered beautiful. This was a protest to the European standards of beauty that regard straight hair as the only standard for beauty. The natural hair movement affirmed young African American girls that the way their hair grew out of their scalp was truly beautiful and an expression of who they were. They didn’t need to conform to anyone else’s standards to be considered “beautiful”.


The legend of India.Arie sung about it.

And let’s not forget Solange’s natural hair theme song that perfectly gave voice to the feeling black girls have when they’re getting their hair violated by curious hands.


Have a conversation with anyone with natural hair and you’ll even realize that it’s not a game.  If you come with the disrespect better expect a fierce clap back to follow.  The natural hair community will not stand for any slander or signs of disrespect. Ask Shea Moisture.

Even guys got in on the conversation as we talked and debated about which styles we preferred – natural, permed, or weave. Most guys loved it! Some guys had a tough time with it

The natural hair movement also came with a whole new language. Scientific-like terms like 4c and 3c type hair were developed to describe hair texture. New products began to emerge and market to a group of women that were otherwise ignored in the past.

An entirely new YouTube genre emerged with countless  hair tutorials and product reviews. Girls began experimenting with different curl patterns and hairstyles. Hairstyles that ranged from Finger Coils, to the Inverted Bob. If you wanted your hair to be fluffier than you‘d do a Blowout. If you just wanted something quick and easy you’d do the Wash-and-Go. You could try the Bantu Knots if you wanted to get definition and voluminous hair. The styles are endless: Fro-Hawk, Flat Twists, Twist-Out, Pompadour, Afro, Dreadlocks, Marley Twists.

The styles are beautiful, but if you know anything about natural hair then you know that the process of getting beautiful natural hair is not easy.

If you’re asking yourself how I know all of this stuff, I had a few friends in college who went natural and I had the unique (sometimes annoying) opportunity to follow them through the process. Plus my sister is natural (shout out to Marly).

Listening in on their conversations I learned that there are two ways you could go from permed and damaged hair to healthy, natural hair. You could either transition or you could jump right in and do what is called the Big Chop. Transitioning involves a person gradually cutting off dead ends, hair that has been damaged. This process takes awhile but after enough trimmings and not perming your hair, your hair will grow healthy and naturally. This is what my sister did! But the big chop is a little bit more of a commitment. A big chop is where someone pretty much cuts off all their damaged hair. This is their way of starting completely over. Some of you may have seen someone these past few years who did the big chop. For some girls, their hair growing out is a quick and easy process. For others  it’s a slow and long process as they pray and hope their hair will grow. But eventually it does grow out and it looks beautiful.

black-women natural hair

fluffing afro puffs

As my natural hair friends would explain this process to me of going from
chemically damaged hair to healthy natural hair, I realized something:

Growth could not take place until what was damaged was cut off.

Those wanting to have natural hair realized that if they wanted to have healthy, full, and natural hair, then they needed to be willing to cut off the hair that was damaged and useless. And I believe this applies to areas in our lives outside of natural hair goals.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or women, black or white.

Take an honest inventory of your life, are you in need of a big chop? Take some time and close your eyes. Imagine the ideal person you want to be, the ideal family that you want, the ideal career you’re striving for, the relationship with God that you want to attain. For many of us the reason we’re not where we want to be in those areas is because something, or in some cases, someone is holding you back.

If we were to look at the goals and dreams that you failed to accomplish I believe it was because many of us were not willing to cut certain things and people off. You didn’t reach your workout goals because you weren’t willing to cut back on your favorite foods that taste so good. Or maybe you didn’t want to cut things out of your schedule so you could make it to the gym. You didn’t get that promotion this year because you failed to cut off the negative thoughts of doubt and laziness that hold you back. Some of you are still in debt because you lack the the ability to cut back on your expenses and weekly splurges at the mall. Many of us lack the ability to separate and cut off those damaged and useless things that are holding us back from accomplishing God’s purpose for our lives. Many of us don’t want to go through the pain that is required for us to grow into all that God wants us to be.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing a few areas in my life where I’ve had to perform a big chop so to speak. Maybe there are some areas in your life that you may need to perform a big chop on as well: where you cut off the damaged, dysfunctional, and useless things out of your life.  If you want to live the life that God has planned out for you, you need to cut it.  Stay tuned!

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I'm Vladimir, but don't ask me if I'm Russian. I'm an engineer working in Baltimore, Maryland, trying to figure out this whole adult thing. This blog is a collection of lessons and tips that I'm learning along the way of this thing called life!

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