MTV Casting Call: Are You Ready For The Big Chop?

by Thembi Ford

Have you ever considered how much fun it could be for you or someone you know to appear on a reality show about going natural? MTV’s True Life is looking for such a person, so lower your reality TV guard just a bit and think about it!

Is your hair your obsession? How are you struggling with your hair? Do you feel natural hair would let you embrace your true self, and you want to go for the “big chop?” Why now? What has held you back up to this moment? We would like to follow someone who is ready to do the “big chop” and follow them on their journey as they transition into their natural hair.

If you appear to be between the ages of 15 -28 and would like us to document your transition to natural hair, email us at [email protected] and tell us about your story. Please include your name, location, phone number and recent photos of yourself.

I have to applaud MTV for paying attention to an often misunderstood moment in the natural hair journey and can’t wait to watch whoever they chose to profile for this episode. Yet there’s a part of me that’s stressed out at the thought of black womens’ hair being depicted as a bundle of pain and drama that warrants words and expressions like “obsession,” “struggling,” and “embrace your true self.”

What do you think? Can MTV get this right? Do you have a “True Life” story about going natural that’s reality tv-worthy?

  • mahogany

    hmm, here we go again…

  • yoyo

    Oh lord…

  • yoyo

    True life, I’m growing out my highlights.

  • CaliDreaming86

    I am not sure as to why someone going natural would need to be an MTV True Life story.

    I am not particularly obsessed with my hair, but everyone else seems to be from their insistence that I wear it in a style that they like and approve of or questioning me about my length and whatever else they can think of.

    What I find disturbing about this is that what would be the equivalent? Would they do a story on a White woman who is going from curly to straight? Would they do a story on a Muslim woman who has decided to not wear her religious garments and show her face and hair? Would they do a story on a guy who has decided to cut his long hair?

  • c0c0puffz

    I would rather watch this than “I am obsessed with weave.”

  • sunday

    Hmm…natural going mainstream…

    This might actually make me tune in to MTV. My only worry is the mainstream thing…when I went natural almost 7 years ago barely anyone else was doing the same. I turned to the internet (nappturality.com in fact) to find others like myself. I was still in high school when I was contemplating the decision, and it was a very tough time for me. Hopefully at most this will serve as encouragement for those with tons of questions, but don’t have anyone to answer them.

  • Side Eye MIMI

    Listen, women want to be respected for wearing their hair natural but then they get upset when people put too much light on them. The whole natural hair debate is getting old to me, if it fits your lifestyle then by all means do whatever the hell you want with you hair. I don’t see any deep seated hate for someone i see on a bus who has permed hair. it’s way to easy to pass judgement these days over some hair.

    If we put as much thought into chemicals on “dead hair” as we did on the processed chemical laden foods we eat and fed out children we might now have fly hair wearing diabetic amputees rolling around our community as much. I live in a ward where 70 plus Percent of the black ppl here are obese. Put some of this energy in educating our community of eating healthy on a budget. At the end of the day our babies have their periods at freaking 8 and 9 years old because we are feeding them garbage filled with hormones, but i see grown women fighting like hell over twitter with this natural hair talk.

    I personally don’t think this needs to be a True Life Story? People tend to make things up in my minds when it comes to this. I had a friend who swore up and down that ppl were staring at her BC she had a short hair doo, turns out ppl admired how beautiful she looked. Instead she took it as, they don’t understand black hair and she wont be a slave to perms. Well guess what I am a slave to my natural hair! I spend way more money on keeping my hair tidy in it’s natural state then I EVER did with a perm. With a perm I deep conditioned once a week, flat ironed, wrapped my hair. Now I have to learn time consuming twist, blindly part my hair, comb through naps. Spend money on broken combs, more product to define my curl cut under dryers longer, spend money on braids and weaves when I get tired of Sweating the product out of my natural hair that keeps in manageable. I even tried going without any product and broke 3 combs, and formed a bald spot because my hair kinked up so badly that combing didn’t even work. So to me it’s a “to each it’s own” situation. If this is something you want to commit to then fine. But don’t shove it down everybodies throats and then you go each some chemically made Cheeto’s and throw on Chemical laden make up, and body lotions that has who knows what in it.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    I know, right! I wish the media would leave us alone! And I can’t believe Clutch is recruiting for a reality show. Is Clutch owned by Viacom?

  • Jamilah

    Really Val? Are you owned by Viacom? It’s just a post – whether you approve of it or not – somebody likes it and will most likely reach out.

    So why not? This is a news/entertainment site. It’s a part of the game.

  • Timcampi

    “There’s not enough portrayal of dark-skinned/kinky haired/whatever patented form of black girls in the media.”
    “Why won’t they stop focusing on us!”

    Wat. I’m so confused. @_@. I’m happy they’re doing this. Black hair care is a struggle in our community. So why not shed a bit o’light on it?

  • http://www.83toinfinity.com Bee

    Is there a link to this casting? The description of the show looks different from what is posted on MTV True Life’s casting page. Maybe this is an updated casting…but I can’t find that show description on their site. It’s actually a bit more encompassing about various hair issues, including but not exclusive to going natural.

  • Jess

    I agree with Val – ridiculous! Clutch, of late, has seemed to be going the route of the MSM…Sad. I’d hope we could gt something different, and stop being bothered with mainstream overzealous focus on us, and now Clutch is just mimicking them – Oh well!

  • OSHH

    Do we need MTV of all networks, all up in our roots. I feel like we are exploited enough.
    SMH and I also agree with Side eye Mimi

  • dvlovin

    ok.. why are ppl mad about it?? i don’t get it.. i’m growing my hair natural and i could use all the tips i could get.. i still wear weave but it would be nice to wear out my own hair from time to time..

    ppl are so judgmental about natural hair.. i don’t understand why.. especially our own ppl.. i think that’s why ppl are afraid to let the world see what their hair really looks like..

  • whilome

    Yep.

    It was either this or “True Life: I’m Getting Booty Injections.” Think about it.

    If they want to follow me from The Big Chop to the TWA to my little twistouts and 9 months of wearing “protective” weaves and braids and conclude a YEAR later with my piddly little 6 inches of 4c hair, they can come on and start filming.

    To be honest, sistas on Youtube already has this on lock. No need for me to even call and get my cable hooked back up.

  • http://www.supernatural.com Sydney

    Damn, we’re hard to please! When I read the article, my immediate reaction was to smile, not roll my eyes. Like someone mentioned earlier, we get offended when we’re underrepresented in the media. But when mainstream picks up on some of the issues in the black community, we feel like we’re being exploited. Yes, the wording of the ad was a bit questionable (…I guess), but a lot of times hair IS a struggle and obsession for black women. I guess we just don’t like it when ‘outsiders’ call it that.

    We all know how it’s probably gonna go: Girl shares story about weave/relaxer addiction. Girl decides she wants to transition. MTV follows her through transition until she decides she’s ready to Big Chop. Girl is a little shocked at first, but comes to embrace her natural beauty.

    Is this really the worst thing in the world that can be depicted about black women?

  • fuchsia

    I’ll be watching, and I hope they get some good cast members. Sometimes the cast they pick for True Life are disappointing. I went from growing out my relaxer to being natural, because the BC was too daunting. So, I wouldn’t mind seeing a documentary on this. I do agree with another comment that Youtube has this on lock. I get a lot of tips from there as well.

  • Whatever

    It’s a new sub culture. There’s money to be made.

  • Pe.Riche.

    Hahaha.

  • Sandy

    I’m 43 and did the big chop back in September and I don’t miss the burn of chemicals.

  • IWunder

    Hmm…Months ago on curlynikki.com, she posted about True Life contacting her seeking women with natural hair who HATED their hair. The responses were basically not interested and she told them she didn’t now folks like that.

    Clearly, True Life has tweaked their pitch and moved on.

  • Timcampi

    @IWunder

    That’s not even slightly true. Look it up before you make up some hysteria.

    http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/09/casting-call-mtv-true-life.html

    “Earlier this week, a casting agent (who had been all over the site and had clearly done her research) reached out to me in hopes that I could lead her to someone having psychological and practical difficulties with their hair… someone in the throws of a rocky transition or early in their journey. Or a curly dealing with disapproving family members, hair loss, or things of that nature. You get the gist. Although the casting call is wide open, it’d be nice to have #teamnatural represented!”

  • Brownlady

    Wish the media would stop capitalizing off of us…. there’s so many other societal issues that require a significant amount of attention.

  • GorgeousSmileLove

    Mmmmm……I have conflicting views about Mtv/viacom and their sudden interest/need to capitalize off of African hair, and I am a natural myself in case you are wondering.

    On one hand I feel like, really, REALLY??? Are they freaking serious?? It seems like everything we do is up for discussion and debate and people to document it by doing talk shows, documentaries and now a reality show. Can we live??? No, really!!! Can we freaking live??? Why does the world need to see us we come to love our hair without regret or shame??? Why???

    But on the other hand I feel like maybe this reality show could be good for women who are on the fence about being natural or don’t know what to do. Maybe the series could be very educational for some women, who knows….. We shall see….

  • http://ohapoeticsoul.tumblr.com Rebecca

    You took the words RIGHT out of my mouth, Sydney.

    Seriously guys? C’mon. All I hope is that they get it right. Showing both sides of what IS a struggle (I’ve been natural for 3 years now and it’s still a love/hate relationship sometimes) as well as the stereotypes that go along with being natural, the beauty of it, etc….

    Yes, more people are doing it. Yes, there needs to be a greater rep of Af-Ams in the media. So yes, a pop-culture fueled medium such as MTV will pick up on this trend (and if it goes through) show a side of our culture to many people who may need help with it or would not understand it otherwise. I’m glad they’re doing this. I just hope they do it right.

    People, please, let’s not apply our prejudices and angst on EVERYTHING.

  • Anon

    You really need the general public to be able to comment on your hair situation?

    If someone wants to go natural, there’s always google.

  • QON

    For Christmas I wish black women would remove the following words from their vocabulary:

    oppression
    exploitation
    patriarchy
    European
    standards
    of
    beauty
    colorism
    shadism
    sexism

  • OSHH

    And also for the pagan rooted holiday, I wish these things would not exist period, let alone the use of certain vocabulary.

  • Nichole

    This show could help to shed light on ways to care for African American hair to educate foster parents and adoptive parents and even biological parents and caregivers.

  • angelicdream06

    I don’t post much but the responses to this have me shaking my head. I am a young adult who just cut the last of my relaxer off last week. People can make snide comments about just googling natural hair or we don’t need this or go on youtube…I think that attitude is kind of selfish and insensitive. Man, I wish there had been a True Life featuring someone who was transitioning to natural hair when I was! Maybe it would have encouraged me to go through the process sooner or maybe helped my mom to see I wasn’t alone or helped my friends to see the end result and not just focus on my crazy hair phases. It’s not about someone natural needing the show. It’s about potential awareness and positive attention on something those of us who are natural claim to love. I can remember watching some very interesting, well-done episodes of True Life as a teen (on Tourette’s Syndrome, Interfaith Relationships, Weight, looking for a father, dating someone older, etc.)

    Now, this casting call is very different from the one Curly Nikki posted (the original episode was titled “I Hate My Hair”). If the casting call posted here is misleading and the show turns out to be negative, then I can understand the contempt. Otherwise, the attitudes on here are uncalled for. It seems like MTV and the company actually producing have rethought the direction of the episode (which is a great thing). I also happen to be entering the entertainment field. I would hate to be the young natural sister in the production meeting who pushed (or maybe quietly raised her hand and suggested) for the production company to rethink their approach. I mean, who knows whats happening behind the scenes or the motives of those involved. Black women struggle with negative media portrayals and their hair, this could be a great opportunity to address both.

  • Fox

    I agree and I am VERY skeptical. Are we some type of show for the world now? Oh and they’re going to get plenty of people who want to be on TV. I’m tired of all the talk about our hair, weight, relationships, church life, by everyone who does not have to experience it.

  • http://andreeakindryd.com andreea kindryd

    When I went natural it was 1961 and my mother would not allow me in her hair salon. i had to speak with her outside and away from the entrance. It was pretty lonely. Luckily my friend and fellow LACC student (who went on to create Kwanza) encouraged me to hold my head high.

  • Seriouslyme244

    I feel you… if MTV does this RIGHT then our youth will be able to see the truth about natural hair and maybe understand that its not all bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carolyn-Malachi/50800472 Carolyn Malachi

    Going natural, and wearing my hair this short, was one of the best decisions I ever made. I cut it just before my senior year of high school in 2002 because I wanted a style that would be unique, convenient, definitive and still feminine. I was 17 years old then. I am now 27 years old now. My chic caesar, as I like to call it, still represents all of those things today. Last month I mentioned to my fans that I was contemplating growing my hair out. They responded in a flurry of protest. I admit that the idea of making the big chop intimidated me. But, my grandmother and several aunts had rocked the style with confidence and poise. I knew I could do the same. Since then, I have only received compliments about the chic caesar. People often say that it’s perfect for me and that they wish they could pull off this style.

  • Huh?

    The negativity about this particular unaired show is silly.

    I regret never having exposure to the beauty of natural hair as a young girl/woman. I, like most Black women, was conditioned from childhood to believe my natural texture is something that “needs to be corrected” and, bottomline, being taught to not accept aspects of oneself can be a source of some very deep pain. So if they produce an encouraging and informative show about breaking free from it, I’m all for it. However, if they f%$k it up, that’s when it’s time to complain.

  • http://www.naturalbecomesher.com KikiKinks

    I’m sorry but I’m a bit confused as well. With all the natural hair blogs, YouTube vids and women who are total advocates for natural hair… I thought the reason for doing all the blogging, making the vids and holding the meetups, expos, etc. was to inform other woman that they too can transition to natural, do away with the harsh chemicals and embrace our natural textures and beauty… no matter what ethnicity. So… now that MTV has gotten a hold of the natural hair community and would like to showcase it (and I’m sure not in a negative light… have you guys even watched an episode of True Life???) we’re supposed to be pissed off.

    *scratches head* Yeah, still confused O_o

  • Timcampi

    @KikiKinks

    I think I’ve figured it out: Black people are hipsters by nature. I mean look at the examples, rock music, rap, natural hair…racism… as soon as something becomes mainstream we up and yell and then abandon the cause. That’s the only explanation I could think of haha!

  • IWunder

    Boo. It’s a post about hair. Hysteria is reaching. If the day ever comes when a comment can create “hysteria” about hair, we should all shave it off. Calm down, Pookie. And quote the rest of the pitch while your at it.

    “Is your hair your obsession? *Do you have unwanted hair, or not the “right” hair?* Are you someone with a hormone imbalance that leads to hair loss, or facial hair growth? *Culturally are you told your hair should be one way, but you want it another?* Or perhaps you suffer from a condition known as “smelly hair syndrome?” How does it affect your social life? Does your hair make you feel unattractive and affect how you interact with members of the opposite sex? Are you undergoing a procedure to alter your hair or do you go to great lengths to manage it? Are you digging yourself into a financial hole just to manage your hair?”

  • Ms. Davis

    I tell this story all of the time. Sorry if you’ve heard this from me on other forums. :)

    I am a TV news personality and I cut my hair and went natural during a hiatus from the news biz, and 3 (nearly 4) years ago after deciding to get back on air I decided not to change the look I had. I had other colleagues have a come-to-Jesus with me telling me that I would never get hired without longer straight hair, and just last year my boss (I did get a job, but my hair came up so many times during job interviews it was beginning to make getting a job an issue) told the marketing department to tell me that he wanted me to perhaps consider wearing a wig so that I could be more relatable to more viewers. Needless to say that went over with me like a lead balloon.

    I have had to fight tooth and nail to get people both Black and White to understand that my hair will never blow in the wind, be blond or make me do my job any differently. The european strand standard should not be the bar set for me. I’ve worked my a** off to get that point across in the eyes of the public. I honesly feel that I am making some progress with gaining acceptance for our beautiful NATURAL hair. If I can help with this show in ANY WAY, you have my e-mail address.

    We Black women have got to start living healthier lives. Let’s start from the top down.

  • Samentha Hardy-Miller

    This show is so absurd in my opinion and here’s why:
    How can something that NATURALLY grows from the root of my scalp, that OUR CREATOR Blessed me with, be deemed as “RADICAL”, “CONTROVERSIAL”, “UN APPEALING” “TAKING A BIG STEP” etc. Why is it that MY NATURAL HAIR, be it if I choose to wear it in LOCS, AFRO, TWISTS or NATURALLY BLOW DRIED OUT etc., wont be accepted in the “Job” market/ and or world, so many of US use the creamy crack, straight weaves, etc. b/c it’s more acceptable to who? Let’s just put it out their, since we are being truthful…Who were the 1st one’s who told us that our hair was ugly, nappy in the 1st place…White People.

    Question, for US who chose to do this, Who are you trying to appeal to or be accepted by? Why is it that your natural hair, that grows curly and coily from your scalp is not accepted to the “masses”?

    And The Biggest Question of All…..Why IS MY NATURAL HAIR (What God Gave Me) IS DEEMED AS UGLY? Why are WE told to cut off our locs, straighten our hair so that we could look more “non threatening”?

    If MTV is going to do a show…Please Be Honest and deal w/ the root of the self hatred that has been inflicted upon African Culture, and not gloss over it. We were Naturally Born w/ Natural Hair…Why Do We Feel The Need To Change It…It’s A Deep Rooted Issue and A Sub conscience One…If You Are Going To Deal W/ The Above Topics, And NOT Be Afraid Of Exposing The Masses….Then you Have My Support, and Probably A Lot Of Conscience/educated Peoples Vote.

  • Timcampi

    @IWunder

    There’s nothing that needs to be calmed… I uttered exactly one sentence. I didn’t quote the whole ad because it was a summary of the link, which you are perfectly able to click. It wasn’t about people who hated natural women who hate their hair, it was about people who who have difficulties with their hair. Going natural or being natural not specified as the main topic– which is what your initial comment suggested. You posting the rest of the ad didn’t change anything other than making you more wrong o__o. Having difficulties going natural does not equal hating it. Regardless, anyone who’s ever watched a True Life episode knows that at the end the person either finds solace in their change, accepts the current, or returns to the past. It’s nothing as deep as this article is trying to make it.

    Anyway, sorry you feel that I’m angry. Have a wonderful day~o

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  • http://blackbloggersconnect.com Jam Online

    its good that MTV is doing this. hopefully more women will be inspired to embrace their natural beauty.

  • http://www.girl-fridayblog.blogspot.com Brittany Wilson

    I really hope this show will show the real side to natural hair and not just highlight it as a natural “trend”. im very proud to be transitioning from relax (its been the best 6 and half months) to my natural hair texture but if people really knew what happens out here when you make a choice to go natural the good and very bad things that go along with a choice that I MADE. for example i was at a job fair and one of the employers there barely wanted to shake my had he was just looking at my curly afro with this digusted face it wasnt until he heard me speak and saw how nice professional and intelligent i was that he took that look and disrespect away. Then at the same place i held the door open for 3 black women one with a baby in a stroller they all looked at me with my curly fro and the one with the baby looked at me and said “what a mess” it pissed me off but i put my pride forward with a holy hemp of positive energy and brushed it off so the show has to show the key elements of good and bad things when transitioning or being natural in it full completeness personally i wouldnt mind being apart of the show if they show the complete process of being natural where to find help etc they should just do a documentary about the complete evolution of natural hair from back in the early years to the 70′s to now…

  • http://www.eclecticflavor.blogspot.com EclecticFlavor

    I like that this will possibly be on true life
    but I am a bit scared of the editing of it..
    editing can be the difference between
    showing a young woman embracing self
    and being “obsessed” with her hair

  • http://LushCoils.com Lush Coils

    I can’t wait to see this!

  • V.W.Crawford

    I am so happy to see my sistahs going back to the natural beauty of their hair. I was a part of the 70′s movment that saw african-american women going natural, but for the last 30 years I have been wearing a perm. I have decided go natural and I am enjoying the journey. It is amazing how much you forget … like how to take care of your own hair in its natural state. With the help of youtube videos and my daughter as well as other family members who are going natural, I am re-learning the beauty of my natural hair as I undertake the movement from perm-to-natural hair ..(again).

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  • http://www.crownofhisglory.com crownofhisglory

    I’d love to be the selected reality star’s natural hair coach. 20+ years natural and proclaiming January: International GO NATURAL! Month!!!!

  • http://www.Clutchmagonline.com David Maile

    Walking a life with my HAIR will give you challege, anxiety, and victory. I struggling in LIfe trying to gather money to help my cofidents. I tend to forget that my hair is becoming bald but inside i’m crush on wanting to find out is it cause of family Genes or might have Atheletes foot. My challeges comes within my heart if I want to keep what I have left and rook this Earth with what my momma gave me, or to ask for assistances and call Bosly. I carry a lot of anxiety cause when it come to be professional my hair stops that image and process me to be a “PASTOR” like person. Because my father is a Pastor. Not that being a Pastor is bad but its not my carrer fit! I love going and being Inspired then having anixety about hair and praising to them about being cofident. Sorry thats where my anxiety comes cause my hair hasnt been friendly with me my whole life and I dont know how to be Fake or fake something. Well sorry this website came in the way of me releasing stress that i’m carring and I feel a whole lot better. Until next time. Peace Outty!!!

  • http://CLUTCH Tender

    I would love to watch this show; however I would rather see it on BET than MTV. My concern is also the editing.

  • A

    Oh nooo as much as I would hope that with the way BET is going/is it wouldnt be a good look sadly. Smh

  • Missy Dee

    I Hate When White People Use Us To Help Them Look Better Than Us…. Not Worth Sacrificing Our Beautiful Crowning Glory.

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