This early afternoon I came across an interesting video about "The Politics of Black Hair". It's a Melissa Harris-Perry special on MSNBC that features four beautiful women of color rocking their very own natural styles. The discussion talks about how black hair is perceived by the media, the workplace, and our counterparts.
"It's amazing that its considered revolutionary to wear my hair the way it grows out of my head"
This quote hit the nail on the head. She's so right. Why in my black community is it the norm for me to relax and straighten my hair to be perceived as put-together and beautiful. Why can't we embrace our natural beauty of our own hair. It took me a while to understand this. Actually, last year the same ideas I preach now are the same ones I would criticize. Unfortunately, I was too ignorant to understand that natural hair is a sense of serenity and that straight hair is only a coping mechanism for black women to conform with the "white world". I'm sure if you are a black woman, you've once dreamed about having long, luxurious locks growing out of your very own head like the white girls we see on TV. However, it was only a dream for until I discovered the stories of many Natural Hair Gurus achieving bra strap and waist length hair. It is achievable for us sistas! It just takes time, proper care, and most certainly patience! If you can retain those three things, your hair will be growing like weeds in the backyard. Now, to only convince myself and my scalp we can do this!
"It's not just how we feel about our hair, it's about how we think black men feel about our hair. Are we going to be desirable hires? Desirable lovers?"
She brings up a valid point. Most often times women worry about their looks based on what others will think, especially men. In terms of natural hair, especially black men. I can speak from experience, my own father was not happy with my decision. He still to this day makes remarks about how I wouldn't have to go throw this trouble of having natural hair if I just kept my straight hair. Not encouraging one bit. I remember when I first did my BC and went out to local social events, the response from black men was somewhat demeaning. Many of them would look at me with wide eyes and jaw dropped and say, "Why did you do that?! You looked fine before" I was speechless, what could I say to someone who just questioned my judgement of my very own beauty. I felt liberated when I cut my hair, but after encountering other individuals I had a feeling of disappointment and embarrassment. Now this could totally be me and my over thinking, but I remember going to a party and this guy came up to me and friends and attempted to talk to/dance with everyone of them and then when it came to me, he looked at me and kept walking. Now I could have totally over anazlyed that situation. But that being the same night the other dude questioned my hair cut..I'd like to say I was having a terrible night of feeling neglect and remorse thanks to my new natural fro. Getting remarks of surprise and pity did not help my self confidence at all so I quickly resorted to covering my short curly locks underneath long goddess braids and Senegalese twists. As natural women, we often question ourselves and think "How will ____ think I look?" "Will they accept the way my hair looks at work? At school?" A big question for me was "Will my boyfriend's family accept my new hair change?" Surprisingly enough they did. The weekend I showed my boyfriend's entered family my natural fro they had tons of questions and words of enlightenment. That same weekend, his relatives from Hungary were in the States. Being that they live in Eastern Europe, they've never really many black people or better yet natural black hair. They would touch and say how nice it look/felt. I've never really heard such words of appreciation of my hair...from anyone. Thank goodness I have such a supportive boyfriend and in laws who made my transition into the natural world a bit better.
I think as a natural all we need is some support from our peers, patience, and hell of a lot of self-confidence. Without those three things, we will constantly judge ourselves and our decisions to free ourselves from the norms of contemporary society. The same women who criticized natural hair are starting their transition period because I believe they admire the sense of freedom and rebellion. I was one of those women. And I'm proud to say I've made my decision to be totally liberated. Look ya'll, we're a trending topic..