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.


  1. I think you're right. The tables have turned in the last year or so. It's cool and the "in" thing to be natural these days. There are so many products available and stylist who focus only on natural hair. I think we do sometimes turn our noses at women that still use relaxers because it's so harsh on the hair. However, to each is own. There is no "right" way for black women to wear their hair. I say however you wear it...wear it with pride!

    1. Thank you for responding! I'm tired of people judging how other people choose to wear their hair. It's not even about Black pride for me. If you want to wear a wig, weave, Brazilian blowout, dreadlocks or a bald head, it's all good to me. I love it all!

  2. What the heck is a Brazilian Blowout?!

  3. It's a hair straightening technique that is supposed to last much longer than a regular flat iron.