Embracing the Natural Hair Movement with CarpeDM & Richualist

The relationship between a Black woman and her natural hair can be just as complicated as her love life. Naza Shelley, founder of CarpeDM, and Dawn Myers, founder of Richualist and THE MOST, recently got together to talk about the challenges of Black women’s natural hair journey, the impact it has on their love lives, and the struggles that come with the social expectations Black women face every day.

Dawn and Naza are two Black female entrepreneurs who know the ins and outs of balancing one’s natural hair journey with a successful career — all while battling the hurdles of dating in an environment dominated by colorism, featurism, and texturism. So, what do two Howard Law-trained attorneys do with all their dating and hair experiences and knowledge of building start-ups? They use their voices and platforms to build solutions for the very real problems impacting Black women in the dating, hair, and professional spaces. 

Welcome to our special four-part video series where the powerhouse founders of CarpeDM and Richualist get real about how society’s beauty ideals have harmed Black women’s sense of self. Let’s take a deep dive into the state of the natural hair movement and the ongoing struggle Black women on their natural hair journey face.

Join the Conversation and Watch Episode One!

How Do Social Expectations Affect Black Women’s Dating Experience? 

It’s impossible to generalize the experience of all Black women. Social expectations affect women in different ways and are usually tied to their origin, lifestyle, profession, and even their specific skin and hair type. All of these factors play a role in this issue. However, mainstream beauty standards have always impacted how Black women with curly hair are perceived.

“Because of our socio-historical evolution, Black women have always had to be dynamic and multifaceted,” says Dawn during these talks about Dating & Natural Hair. However, before the natural hair movement started gaining popularity ten to fifteen years ago, Black women were pressured to wear their hair a certain way. Whether it was chemically relaxed, sew-in weaves, or wigs with ‘European’ textures, you would only see Black women sporting natural hair in private spaces, but it wasn’t common in other settings such as school, the workplace, or dating.

At CarpeDM and Richualist, we aim to create safe spaces for Black women. We build identity and help achieve self-empowerment through tailored services and products designed by Black women, for Black women.

Join the CarpeDM community and learn more about dating as a Black woman with natural hair.

The Natural Hair Movement and Its Intricate Intersections

When discussing the natural hair movement, we also have to talk about education, social status, and economics. “You can’t talk about Black hair without talking about the money and time it takes to keep it up,” Dawn adds. “We also have to talk about texturism, colorism, and all the other ‘isms’ that play into this problem. 

“What I love about CarpeDM is that they are tailoring their product to meet the needs of Black women where they are.” This objective of community empowerment for Black women is a big part of Richualist’s mission and the values it shares with CarpeDM. Both of our companies provide products and services tailored to the specific needs of Black women and promote racial and gender equality.

Black Women On Dating with Their Natural Hair Texture

“There is a struggle for Black women when it comes to online dating, which is the number one way in which singles are meeting,” says Naza. “A lot of that doesn’t come from Black women with natural hair being less desirable or lack of interest from men wanting to date amazing Black women. We KNOW it comes from the lack of a community and a space where men know they can go to meet the most amazing Black women.”

While we talk about the pains and difficulties associated with caring for and maintaining our curls and kinks, we don’t speak enough about dating and how our hair affects our love lives. Nonetheless, Dawn and Naza took it upon themselves to ask the women in their audiences how they approach dating while embracing the natural hair movement.

“As Black women, we not only have our natural hair, but we have wigs, weaves, and so many different looks that intersect with our dating life –– especially when dating outside of our race, and dating men who may not understand our hair routines,” explained Naza.

“Black women are concerned about how we’re vetting and speaking to the men joining this community wanting to date Black women, especially non-Black men because we know that in dating outside of our ethnicity, a lot of the cultural norms and routines are not necessarily known.” 

Naza also shared a few other details about the interracial dating challenges Black women face all the time. “We need to understand the cultural differences between the people that we’re pairing together, so we ask the men who are joining our community all of these tough questions about their previous relationships with Black women. That’s the only way to make amazing matches; because going on one or two dates with a Black woman is not the same thing as being in a two-year relationship with her where you get to see all of her routines and behaviors.”

How Does Interracial Dating Change The Narrative?

For Dawn, it’s also about asking the right questions. “When I’m dating outside of my culture, trying to peg who that person is and why they’re interested, you have to ask such sensitive questions and tiptoe around. It’s a big waste of time for me, it’s awkward, and I love that CarpeDM takes that off the table Now, there seems to be an increase in support for the natural hair aesthetic, and there are many men we’ve interviewed who say they only date women with natural hair. It’s not without its friction, but it has changed tremendously.” 

Dawn describes how interracial dating empowers women of color by giving them a new sense of confidence and appreciation for their natural hair; “For me, it has been very interesting to see how dating outside of the Black community, men are so incredibly supportive of natural Black hair beyond the coily curls and even the afro look. Now, I’m confident and fully embracing my natural hair look, and I even carry myself differently. It’s very interesting to me that we have this global society feedback loop that plays into how we see these things.”

Wrapping Up

While many of us are new to the natural hair movement, our research shows not only do white men love natural hair, some say they have only dated women with natural hair since Bill Clinton’s presidency. Now, we can confirm that it was never an issue of Black women being less in demand; it’s about tailoring products that allow Black women to be served.

Part Two "Do men really like natural hair?" Coming Soon! 

About the Founders

Naza Shelley, founder of CarpeDM, is transforming the dating industry with a patented video-based dating and matchmaking app. Her groundbreaking accomplishment of raising over $1 million positions her in the esteemed ranks of less than 1% of Black women founders securing venture capital funding. Naza’s mission goes beyond matchmaking; it's about empowering Black women and building generational wealth within the Black community.

Dawn Myers, founder of Richualist, invented an innovational hair tool for natural hair. She was recently featured on Shark Tank, making a deal with Mark Cuban and Emma Grede. Being a Black woman, a cancer survivor, and a savvy businesswoman, she embodies resilience and innovation. Dawn is a dedicated problem-solver, committed to finding solutions that enhance the lives of women everywhere.

Ready to become a member?

Coming Soon to Android. Click HERE to Get Notified.