Today’s post will be slightly different as it was inspired by a recent Twitter conversation I had. As many of us know recently many Black women have gone back to rocking their natural textured tresses, so much so that there has been an influx of blogs, websites, and product lines dedicated to this change. As a black woman I have had numerous bouts with my hair; attempts to tame it, learn its ways and master the mane I was given. Having grown up with a single mother we didn’t always have the resources for me to take those bi-weekly beauty shop visits and being in athlete in school wouldn’t have made that a wise expenditure anyway. Going to college brought on many hair discoveries for me; I had finally begun to wear my hair straight more often, slaving in communal bathrooms in the dorm to make my hair “act right” and suffering through many bad shop visits to find a beautician who knew how to work with my curls. (Shoutout to Chu Chu on U Street you held me down girl!) It wasn’t until I was 25, two years I after I had cut all my hair off after the birth of my daughter, that I decided to stop letting my hair defeat me. I was going to “go natural.”
The first issue I have with the “going natural” ideal is that truthfully I hadn’t grown up wearing perms or getting the requisite press and curl, so really I was just returning to my roots. I finally going to get back to what I had been doing all along, and this time I was going to learn what my hair needed to be successful. I must say it has been a challenging work for me. Many many product attempts and catastrophes occurred, but now two years later I have finally gotten to the place where I know what works for my hair and what does not. Over the course of these years I have seen many of my close friends and aquaintances take the leap out of the chair and let go of their be-weaved ways to also learn about their hair. I commend them. I commend the women who have decided to say, let me understand what I have going on atop my head, let me work with what God gave me. I will also say here that I am not of the belief that every style works for every woman; whether straight or not. However I am of the notion that being comfortable with who you truly are is a part of working magic with what you were born with.
I say all this to say, I want us to stop calling this reconciliation with our hair, a “movement” and instead call it a resurrection. We are resurrecting our love for who we are. We are resurrecting the beauty that has been closeted because we have been told it isn’t beautiful, appropriate, and looks not cared for. We are resurrecting as Black people. Staring in the eyes of those who have told us that, our hair, what we were born with, is unruly, unkempt, and unsanitary. We are standing tall and saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if it isn’t your preference feel free to keep it moving. Calling this return to our roots, pun intended, a movement implies that we are marching toward something new and unknown. This is false in that the hair on our heads is what we have with working with forever. It is what our ancestors wore as they plowed fields, as they migrated north, as they became more educated, as they stood in solidarity for Black Power. Our hair showed people who we were, it exuded personality, it personified strength. Society has tried to make us feel like our strength, our crown, and our power is not okay when indeed it is.
Our hair should not take away from our ability to secure employment, be promoted, or hold leadership positions. Our hair should not be the topic of conversation for people who do not understand it. It should not be pointed out as an example being subservient or less than because it is different from our counterparts. It should be saluted, embraced, and respected. Natural hair is not a movement, it is a way of life. It is not a fad it is an acceptance of who we are. It is not a fashionable look returning once again; what it is, is Black people saying this is what I got and I am comfortable with it – so you need to be as well.
To our peers who weren’t born with this glory do not be alarmed, for the wearing of a twist-out, afro, bantu knot, or locs is not the signifier that an up-rise is imminent but it is a statement that we will not continue to conform to win. Do not ask to pet, rub, or touch our hair, do feel free to compliment and inquire without snarls and confusion. In your interest always be respectful as your questions tend to tread the line of rude if you are not careful. Feel free to educate yourself with Google and a book because the information is readily accessible.
With this I will close this diatribe; being natural should not be something you are doing to fit in but doing to stand out. Stand out and say I am comfortable with the mane I got and I am working to understand it. Do not call it a movement because remember what is resurrected is back for good.
stay FLYY. live FLYYER.