“Gurrl, your hair is loongg! Are you mixed?”
“Why would you ever where a weave, you have a lot of hair.”
“I love it when you wear your hair curly, why do you ever straighten it?”
“How are you able to wear different hairstyles everyday? (My manager said that)
“How did your hair get longer over night?”
I get these kinds of questions because
1) I have A LOT of hair
2) It’s long
3) I am black
4) Pure ignorance people have towards black hair
A common misconception in the black community is that if you wear weaves or perms in your hair it’s because you have short hair, straight hair is beautiful and you are ashamed of your natural texture, and you straighten you hair to conform to the European beauty standards.
Yes, God blessed me with this thick, coarse uncontrollable mane and I couldn’t be happier. I was also blessed with a black mother that knew how to deal with my hair. My southern heavy hand of a mama made sure I was not tender header. The amount of times she yanked my head to the side and told me not to move, pulled my head back braiding my hair, and popped me with comb you would have thought she was a jockey riding a horse. She would braid my hair, straighten it but never put any chemicals in it. I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair until I was 17. Although my mother straightened and dyed her hair, put rollers in every night so her hair can be nice for work, she had a laissez faire attitude to her own daughters’ hair. She simply “let it be” as it is and naturally it grew. And I am proud to say I have been natural my whole life, never permed my hair and never had to go through the transition back to natural hair.
Having natural black hair is a daily battle and I know the struggle very well. Brushing it in the morning before you jet off to work, laying down edges with a scarf. The struggle is real. Around 14 my mother stopped doing my hair and I took responsibility for my mane promising myself that I would never give in to social standards of beauty and get a weave or acrylic nails. I learned how to do my own hair wearing various styles from a bun, braids, cornrolls, braid outs and about 3-4 times a year my mother would take me to get my hair professionally straightened. Around my junior year of college I decided to try a weave (The shock!) and fell in love. They say once you weave you’ll never leave and they were right! I wear weaves not because I don’t love my natural hair. I wear weaves because it gives me peace of mind, something less to think about in the morning. I wear weaves so that I can switch up my hairstyle and colour without ruining my natural texture. I began to see weaves as a protective hairstyle.
A protective style in the naturalista/black hair world means a style that requires little manipulation, protects the ends of the hair by keeping them tucked away and allows regular moisturizing. Common protective styles include twists, coils, flat twists and cornrows. Since the majority of my hair was braided away under the weave, my hair was left alone and continued to grow. And when I was tired of wearing a weave and scratching my head I took it out and was back to my naturalista self! After going through a couple bundles of Indian Remy hair, I even took to wigs. Like weaves, I saw wigs as a protective style to my natural hair as it was braided underneath allowing it to grow.
It is time to end the war between weaves/wigs and naturalistas. It is time to embrace black hair and the flexibility and versatility that comes with it. I am pro-weave, pro-natural hairstyles, pro-straightening, and pro wig! I am anti-perms, anti-Brazilian blowouts, anti-chemicals, box braids that are done too tight, alcohol holding gel, and the conception that you hair always has to be laid. Embrace your rough look like you would embrace your natural look. I don’t always leave my house with my hair “whipped” (thanks Willow Smith for that one). I have left the house many times looking ratchet, busted and worst than Coolio. I appreciate the texture diversity, style versatility, and lengths of black hair. Sorry white people, but I honestly think we have the best kind of hair.
So who is the real culprit? Chemicals, perms, and cream cracks that change our texture and break off our hair, the media for portraying straight hairstyles and weaves as the only form of beauty, and ourselves for letting us believe them. All I am saying is wear a weave because you want to not because you want to fit in with what the white world thinks is pretty. The Corporate world is another culprit for pressuring women to have straight hair because it seems more appropriate. I don’t think my hair is more conservative, safe or professional straight in a weave. My natural look is my professional look. This is my hair; this is how God created me. I will not refrain from being my natural self. I am not changing it for no one except myself not even for the army who tried to input rules on black women hairstyles. I wear weaves and wigs to please no one other than myself. I don’t think that by wearing my hair straight I am being untrue to myself, conforming to the European beauty standards.
And for those who aren’t hip to black hair, who still want to touch it and ask stupid questions about how it grew over night. It’s 2015! Black people have had course, kinky, curly hair since the dawn of time, since the first people to walk Africa and the fact that it is still an ignorance issue is a problem. Get with it white people!
Lastly, leave Blue Ivy’s hair alone. Beyonce is doing right by letting it be and letting it grow naturally untouched. For anyone who dislikes a three year olds hair, you should be ashamed of yourself.