Leola Anifowoshe, the self-proclaimed authority on natural-hair care, has founded Pi Nappa Kappa (Yes, that's "Nappa" as in "nappy," not an actual Greek letter), which she says is a sorority designed to allow natural-hair enthusiasts to support one another. Nearly 600 women have already joined.
But you're probably not going to see members in a step show on your local college campus anytime soon. Beyond its name, Pi Nappa Kappa has little in common with traditional sororities. It's not associated with colleges or universities, and the intake process involves no formal ceremonies or hazing. In fact, all that's required is an electronic signature on the organization's pledge document, which reads:
As a member of the Pi Nappa Kappa Natural Hair Sorority, I pledge that:
1. I am a smart, special, valuable person!
2. I respect myself and I respect others.
3. My words and actions are kind and honest.
4. I will respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals.
5.I will promote the diversity of opinions, ideas, hairstyles and backgrounds which is the lifeblood of the sorority.
6. I will promote a culture of respect throughout the natural hair community.
7. I will not tolerate bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind.
8. I will practice personal integrity and expect it from others.
9. I will always be proud of my natural born hair.
10. I accept only my best in all I do.
I am Proud to be ME!
Still, some members of historically black sororities aren't signing on to the pledge or even the concept of the group. Their issue isn't with its mission but with its use of the term "sorority." One representative commenter on a YouTube video addressing the need for a natural-hair sorority wrote: "As a member of a real sorority, I do not feel this is necessary. Here's why. Traditional African American fraternities and sororities were founded, [because] we could not belong to white [organizations]. However, we accept anybody regardless of HAIR TYPE! So, is there a need? NO! [This] sends a message that if you have natural hair, that you don't belong … not true!"
Anifowoshe says there's no reason she can't use the word "sorority," since it simply means "sisterhood." And let's be honest — if she just called the group a "natural-hair organization," we probably wouldn't be talking about it. When it comes to inspiring dialogue about natural hair and "pledging" 10,000 members by the end of the year, the buzz around the controversial nomenclature for the group certainly isn't going to hurt.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
In other news: VIDEO: Headscarf Brawl at Amusement Park.