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Friday, September 2, 2011

Pi Nappa Kappa: Good idea or a joke?

One of the newest sororities on the block appears to be Pi Nappa Kappa created by Leola Anifowoshe. Given the mission of the sorority, it can be assumed that “Nappa” is a play on “nappy”. According to the “Natural Hair Sorority & Fraternity – 10K Naturals” Facebook page, Pi Nappa Kappa’s mission is to “To educate, inspire and uplift natural hair women, men, boys and girls throughout the entire world. To make the word "nappy" into a "happy" and celebrated term” (https://www.facebook.com/NaturalHairSorority).

I am ambivalent about the sorority. On one hand, it feels like an unnecessary organization. Can’t the natural hair movement just develop on its own? Why do we need a sorority? Furthermore, why not just have a natural hair care organization with the same mission? Finally, the name makes it seem like a farcical caricature of Greek life.

On the other hand, I laud Ms. Anifowoshe’s brilliance in creating Pi Nappa Kappa as a sorority. First, it is a great marketing ploy. By calling it a sorority, Ms. Anifowoshe has tapped into the deep roots of the historically Black sororities (and their brethren fraternities). Sorority members are highly identified with their organizations and calling Pi Nappa Kappa a sorority is likely to start a feisty conversation. Hey, conflict sells and I’m certain that Ms. Anifowoshe will get more media coverage by calling it a sorority than if she had called it an organization, club or group. Second, I do believe that a Natural Hair movement is taking place. Look around, and you will surely note a proliferation of websites, news stories, magazine articles, etc. on natural hair. Something is afoot. I’ve thought that it would be great to have a clearinghouse for this information. As a hair and identity blogger (tropie7189.blogspot.com), I’ve sometimes been overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of natural hair information available. If Ms. Anifowoshe’s organization will serve as a conduit to the wealth of available information, I’m in, no matter what she calls it. I will say that I won’t take a line number, pledge, do a special handshake (will that be necessary given it’s an Internet sorority?), learn a special call, or anything like that. I pledged a traditionally Black sorority in college and that experience stands on its own; I have no desire to replicate it.

I’m curious to see if the idea takes off and how people respond to the idea. What are your thoughts?

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