Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Naturally Speaking

Exactly, what is natural hair?

This may sound trivial to some but I have debated this issue many times with more than one person. It's kind of a pet peeve with me.

Like I said in the comments of my last post, any way a woman chooses to wear her hair is awesome. No hairstyle is better or worse than the other.


But... black women who make a big deal about how long they have been natural but never wear their hair in its natural state baffle me. I'm just saying, what is the point? If you don't have a relaxer yet still alter your natural curl pattern you are relaxer-free not natural. In my humble opinion, there is a difference. But nobody asked me my opinion.

Times have truly changed. When you walk into a room full of black women, the sistas with permed hair are in the minority. This was not the case 5 years ago. Ladies who still have relaxed hair actually feel they have to defend it to others. 

On the other hand, some well-established natural sistas are offended that many women have hijacked their style just to be trendy. A new generation of Black women want a "faux natural"- a style achieved with curlers and/or added hair which insults the real natural sistas who have been doing it for years.

One thing is for sure, some black women have found freedom in not perming their hair. They aren't held hostage to a Euro - centric idea of beauty anymore or a slave to harsh chemicals and painful processes. They truly believe black is beautiful,

Black hair is still a contentious issue that will probably extend to the end of time. The debate can be divisive and injurious but is ultimately not that deep; just a matter of preference.

Can we all just get a long?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Good and Bad Hair

Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
                                   ~I Am Not My Hair  India.Arie

School Daze is one of my favorite movies of all time. Spike Lee must have the lyrics to Good and Bad Hair on lock 'cause I can't find them anywhere on the internet. I have the soundtrack but, of course, I don't know where it is so I'm trying to remember the lyrics by heart. If you can finish the lyrics, please put them in the comments for me!

Good or bad hair
whether you're dark or you're fair
See if I care, good and bad hair

Wannabe Verse-
Don't you wish you had hair like this
then the boys would give you a kiss. . .

Jigaboo* verse:
You have so much grease up there
on the weave that you wear. . .

Is this movie from 1988 still relevant today? Emphatically yes! 

Everyday, I hear African American women talk about curl patterns/textures that are acceptable for natural hairstyles. In their opinion, it is a necessity for some people to use what Chris Rock calls "creamy crack." This suggests that the way some women's hair naturally grows out of their head is undesirable.

I'm sure African American women rejoiced when Madam C.J. Walker widened the teeth on the hot comb. "Good hair" became accessible to all Black women.

Achieving that look is painful though. I remember sitting in front of the stove in my mother's kitchen while that piece of iron heated up until sparks flew.

My Aunt Jean or Aunt Shirley, I don't quite remember who, put a perm in my hair and left it in for too long. The hair on the nape of my neck was so traumatized, it was decades before it grew back.

When my stylist, Cal used to hot comb my edges even after giving me a perm, I would squirm in my seat from the heat. She would reassure me that she wasn't burning me, it was the sound of the grease. That didn't keep me from feeling the heat! 

People with "good hair" are worshiped for their long and flowing non-relaxed straight hair. Nappy hair don't move. As the saying goes- if you had "good hair" you must be mixed and/or have Indian in you.

Oh how the tides have turned though. Black women who still ascribe to the "creamy crack" feel judged my the natural sistas.

We will explore that in the next post. . .

*an offensive word, do not use at home.