Good Hair and Psychological Slavery

I just watched the trailer for Chris Rock's new film 'Good Hair' and although it made me laugh it made me think about my own hair journey and the lengths I have gone to, to 'tackle' my hair's natural texture. The more I researched around this I wondered why I do all this stuff to my hair? Answer: I don't do it to look glamorous or pretty or anything but just to look 'presentable', but why don't I think my natural hair can be neat and presentable?

Obviously African Americans have a slightly different perspective on this but it isn't far off what I see with the black people here in the UK and black people I have encountered around the world.

Here in England I live and work in a predominately white area and I remember trying to describe my natural hair to some colleagues at work and the laughter was amazing, that people thought it was funny was just incredible. Generally, in the UK, curly hair is ridiculed(whether you are black or white) and the politics surrounding wearing an afro is one reason some might shy away from those types of styles. The fact that all the black girls on TV, the role models, the people we want to emulate and look like are relaxing and wearing wigs and weaves, is it any wonder that young impressionable black girls/black women relax, weave , perm, hot-comb their hair, anything they can to look 'beautiful'!

I think in the UK it is mainly a problem of self esteem amongst our children. The same crisis that our black children have over their hair is similar to the crisis that many white children face over their weight. Being black we may not feel that their inner turmoil about being a bit on the large side isn't as big a deal as the natural versus relaxed argument, but if you think in terms of the fact that its all about how we feel about our selves we start to understand where it all stems from. Feeling good about who we are and loving ourselves for who we are.

Will I stop relaxing my hair?, probably not!! I have just gotten away from covering my hair up with braids and weave and now wear my hair relaxed, at least at the moment its mine. Eight years ago after having all my hair pulled out by braids, I immediately got a weave to cover up my natural hair, like a hat. Now that I have the confidence to wear my 'own' hair, and that really took alot to get to this stage, maybe in the future I will have the confidence to wear my 'own' natural hair. One step at a time.

If I had a daughter, I cant imagine relaxing her hair until she was at least 14 and as long as she knew what she was getting into - an expensive cycle of repair which is really hard to reverse.

I cant imagine that I will change today or even tomorrow but it made me think about going natural and it made me really think about what it would teach my daughter. I wanted my hair relaxed because of how beautiful 'I thought' my mum looked, do I want that cycle to continue?
I think as long as she knows its her choice and she is beautiful no matter what she does with her hair and that it doesn't have to be straight and silky to be beautiful.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity

1 comment

Aron Ranen said...

Please check out the trailer for my documentary BLACK HAIE. It is about the biz side of this industry , and how the Koreans run this.

I posted the whole film for free on oyutube