Famous for his long term as Oprah's hairdresser, Andre Walker caused a major commotion in the natural hair community back in 2011.
The reason? In a now famous interview with Elle Magazine back in 2011 the hairstylist confessed “I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type I suggest altering with professional relaxing.”
The reality? A brilliant hairstylist like Andre can do what he wants when it comes to making hair care and styling suggestions. He is entitled to his own opinions about how all hair should be cared for. He certainly has been in the hard work and time in his chosen professional.
Unfortunately, Andre's words, according to the famous hairstylist, were taken out of context. Many believed he was defining kinky hair as "bad hair" which caused so much backlash from the natural hair community.
Andre Walker's Opinion
Many naturals, hard core transitionists and Type 4 curlies hated his opinion about kinky hair because it initially appeared negative.
While Andre has a right to his opinion after working with naturally textured hair since he was, well, forever, he later pointed out his Elle comments about kinky hair were not appropriately represented.
The Amazing Natural And Transitioning Hair Movements
The natural and transitioning movements have come so far in so many ways since 2011.
These fabulous hair movements have been so strong because they are comprised of legions of people who have learned to do precisely what works best for their hair type and texture, regardless of what anyone else says or suggests.
Whether Andre Walker's comments in Elle Magazine were edited inappropriately or not, his word should never be considered natural hair care gospel.
Yes, he has been Oprah's hairdresser for more than 25 years, but Oprah's hair needs are unique to every other naturally textured person on the planet.
Respect For Transitioning
Respect for transitioning is at an all time high. Obviously Andre Walker's suggestions regarding altering kinky hair with professional relaxing fell on many deaf ears. As it should have.
A hairstylist, whether famous or not should never ever have the final say over how anyone ever wears their hair. A hairstylist, whether famous or not, doesn't have to wear anyone else's hair on their head.
In some regards, Andre's comment in Elle about kinky hair may have actually strengthened the movement to embrace natural texture and style it in any way the wearer sees fit.
Andre Clarified His Statement About Styling Kinky Hair
After the backlash from the 2011 Elle article Andre posted an explanation on the front page of his website at http://andresays.andrewalkerhair.com/.
He promises there is no such thing as "bad" hair. On his website Andre says "I leave the political correctness of "going straight" or staying natural to a woman’s personal preference. Once again, my advice is based on how to best achieve strong, healthy hair."
Andre Walker's Mission Is To Help Everyone Grow Strong Healthy Hair
In addition, he underlines that "it is my Mission to help you grow strong, healthy hair, and wear it in the style or styles that best suit your likes and particular hair type."
For those people who would like to engage Andre in a debate about who has more racial pride and self esteem, based on hairstyle preference and use or non-use of chemical relaxers, Andre Walker wants you to know how he really feels.
The man who wrote a natural hair history making book promises "I believe in personal freedom, and in the use of advanced technology when it yields positive results, which many of today’s (versus yesterday’s) chemical relaxers do deliver."
Make Peace With Your Hair
Andre understands some people might think that when he says "to embrace your natural texture, but consider relaxing kinky hair" he might seem to be contradicting myself.
Oprah mane man doesn't think so.
He explains "you see, even relaxed hair can still be worn naturally."
"If you want a natural look, but find that your kinky hair is difficult to manage, breaks too easily, lacks shine and luster, and limits your preferred styling options, I say feel free to consider a mild chemical relaxer, sometimes called a texturizer, that eases your hair to a more manageable texture and allows you to Make Peace With Your Hair."
Summary - Andre Walker Can Do What He Wants
Andre Walker has been a hairstylist for the majority of his life. He has dedicated more than 25 years to Oprah's hair needs. Which certainly explains how wonderful her hair always looks.
Andre's interview in Elle Magazine in 2011 caused a major uproar in the natural hair community over his comments about use of relaxers for kinky hair.The famous hairstylist wants everyone to honor their natural hair texture, wear it as they prefer and ultimately just love it.