Late last year I was charged with conducting an ethnography on a cultural group. I choose to take a closer look at the lives of women who call themselves natural. Natural women are typically of the African diaspora. Naturals are women who choose to wear their hair in its natural state (chemical free).
Founder of Natural Healthy Hair Society, Pi Nappa Kappa Natural Hair Sorority a/k/a PiNK
IamChrisjtaylor.com: Some have called Pi Nappa Kappa a “mockery” of the Divine 9, what is your response to these sentiments?
Anifowoshe: Well, I am happy to learn about the divine 9. Through all of this I have had a crash course in the Divine 9. “Mockery” first of all that is not my style. When I set out to create this they were not on my mind. A Sisterhood for the greater good was on my mind.
I have had the Natural Hair Society for 2 years. It’s been on Facebook, it has 400 plus fans. One day, through inspiration I decided to merge my natural hair society into a Sorority because the word society was not reaching the target audience I needed to reach.
I researched the word Sorority and liked the full definition in relation to Sisterhood. It encompassed all I wanted it to be. To mock something is to disrespect it. How can I disrespect something that I knew so little about? The part I did know about sororities was limited to my knowledge of seeing AKA’s and Delta’s on college campuses but never getting close enough to understand the culture. I did like the bonds that I could see and thought they were admirable. I could not mock something that was intended to uplift a people. I wish they would just reach out to me and get to know what we’re all about.
We are not just a Facebook group. I have over 20 years experience as a Business Woman and as a Social Entrepreneur as well as a Social Activist. I’ve done community service since I was 9 years old. My late Godfather has a Community service building named after him that I continue to volunteer for and support. I have done more to help charities than I can mention in this short bio.
I still am not clear why such aggression towards me when my goal is similar to theirs. Yes, I know they are 100 years old and we’re not 100 days old so I do not know why we are even being compared to them. That’s like Michael Jordan shaking a stick at a Kindergartner saying, “How many balls have you dunked?” I say, give us a chance to see what we are. We respect them and what they do and just ask for the same. We are not trying to encroach on what they do. We are just trying to serve an underserved group of individuals. If PiNK’s are also AKA’s we welcome them. We have several women now who are also part of the Divine 9, who also pledged PiNK; I see no problem with that.
IamChrisjtaylor.com: Would you consider renaming Pi Nappa Kappa to satisfy those who claim it makes a mockery of the divine 9?
Anifowoshe: The Divine 9 came about as a result of not being able to fit in the white establishments. Therefore, they created their own space. Would they have ceased to exist if those existing establishments had asked them to change? Also, them merely claiming that we are making a mockery of them does not make it so. That is complete hogwash! So in short, absolutely not. We have almost 2000 signatures on a pledge in 5 weeks of women who have pledged natural. They like the name Pi Nappa Kappa.
We chose Pi as it relates to the circumference of a circle (our head) Nappa to represent natural and kinky and Kappa because the Kap covers the Pi (cap our afro covers the circle “Pi” our head). Hence the name Pi Nappa Kappa. We also made up the word Nappa as to clearly distinguish us from traditional Greek organizations.
We want to be a hybrid of formal and fun. We just want to have fun with it. We are no more mocking the Divine 9 than Facebook is when they came out with Sorority Life. I do not see any of them sending threatening letters to Mark Zuckerberg! They are the one’s that created the real Facebook based sorority. Why not attack them?
Iamchrisjtaylor: If Pi Nappa Kappa does not reach active status, 10,000 pledgers, will you drop the Greek innuendo and call it a “natural sisterhood”
Anifowoshe: We are a natural Sisterhood. Would McDonalds change its name to McDoogles if it is working as McDonalds? 10K pledges has nothing to do with the existence of PiNK. It is simply a pledge that states what it states. If for some odd reason it does not make it then we will start with another one. But as long as 1 person has signed it, it is official. As in the bible, if one sheep is lost we must find that one. That is how we feel about our members. This whole Greek thing is really getting on my nerves because that is not the main point here. We are descendants of Africa and that is our primary aim to protect. We will not put Greek anything ahead of what we are doing here. Our mission is clear and it does not include defending our choice of a name all the time. There are many sororities that have nothing to do with the divine 9. There are professional sororities, religious and cultural. They really need to either join us and help support our mission or leave us to do our own thing. We are not in their space they are in ours.
IamChrisjtaylor.com: Any additional comments you would like to add?
Anifowoshe: I would like to say perhaps I was a bit naïve to think I was going to land on the people this great idea of Pi Nappa Kappa and be accepted with open arms for finding a way that can unite Black women with natural and straight hair to love and embrace who God made them. I was certainly taken aback when Black men, the same kind of man whom I have given birth to 3 (future black men) and was born from one – my father a black man whom I deeply respect, but then they attacked me from the Greek organizations with threats and insults when I showed up to show them love they showed up to beat me up. That hurt. Black men are supposed to love and protect black women. Not insult and fight us. If we are strong, you are stronger. If we believe in ourselves, we believe in you. If our lives are valued we can impart that in our children – your children. My request to the Divine 9 in humility and in spirit “Can’t we just all get along?”
I weigh 145 lbs. and cannot physically fight anyone, but I am commissioned to do this Mission and I stand strong on my Principles and until the day I die, I will stand up for injustice wherever it is. Until Black children can pass the Black Doll test, Pi Nappa Kappa has a need to exist.
At the date of publication PiNK has accomplished 7,800 Facebook “Likes” or pledges.