What it Means to be a Black Mother

Sunday, August 12, 2012



Over the last year, I have truly agonised over my hair. I wanted to keep it straight but I was completely sick of relaxers. I couldn't get my head around the whole chemical thing and knowing a lot about some of these chemicals from working with them in a laboratory just put me off completely. I have only been relaxing for the last few years mostly after braids broke my hair off at University and it was easy enough to manage this type of hair when I was a young single woman studying. My life has changed dramatically over the last seven years and I now have a family. In particular I have a daughter, Ruby. She is now two years old and has a full head of curly hair that I struggle to comb as she will not sit still!

My decision to stop relaxing came from my professional life which is bizarre because that was the reason I had stayed relaxed for so long. However, from a personal perspective it is so important to give our daughters positive role models. I want my daughter to be free to choose how to wear her hair and I feel that as her mother her first choices will be come  from her impressions of me. I feel that she needs to see me with my natural hair so that she can be proud of her curly natural hair first, before she makes a decision to do anything else to it. 

Why is it so important to make sure our young black women feel confident and empowered about their hair? To be quite honest I always agonise over what it means to be born a young black woman in Britain. She is already in a world (albeit a changing one) where a black woman's beauty or intelligence are not accepted as being on par to her white counterparts. In the beauty industry we are almost ignored and in the working world we have to be exceptional to prove our self worth.

Giving my daughter the confidence to find out who she truly is, is my greatest desire as a parent. I am glad that my son Sebastian has so many good male roles as a young black boy growing up in Britain (my husband, my Dad and my brother). I want to make sure that the first impressions of the women in my daughters life are positives ones. Starting with me. 

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 
Leilu


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