My hair is not an afro, but I like to call it that when it’s really fluffy and tall (it doesn’t stay like that for long though). I don’t have typical indian hair except for maybe the length that I had when I was little, or the way it looked when I was little.
Ma never gave me a perm, relaxer or ever chemically fucked with my hair.
But I got it straightened…in 8th grade. And this one chic who’d permed her hair, dyed it, put micro braids in and everything said “You’re hair looks so beautiful straight! Why don’t you do it more often?!”
A kid that I liked in my senior year of high school played with my hair and said,
“I like your hair better when it’s straightened.” So what’d I do? Striaghten it of course and then wore it down for the next class…but I felt foolish
I never forgot that-because it made me angry. What does that mean? That I looked better with straight hair? That having braids or a puff wasn’t deemed beautiful by society’s definition?
At that time I wasn’t aware of the stigma black women have in the media and society. The percentage of black women that use weaves, wigs, perm products or relaxer products is a lot. And most of these products come from white owned companies (deja vu much?).
How many black women, artists, singers etc have straight hair that’s clearly either weave or permed/relaxed hair? All of them…except for that one chic from Girlfriends, India Arie, Erykah Badu (I don’t actually know what her hair looks like), Janelle Monae, Floetry, and Esperanza Spalding. But “Think Like a Man” had what I just mentioned, Tyler Perry movies same thing, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J Blige etc.
Erykah Badu or India Arie is the other stereotype-the down to earth, Imani stunting or African/African American pride, down to earth sista with the nicely patterned garb. It’s not as common as the mammy or the video vixen but that’s the only alternative…the middle/maybe the outkast even. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (as my friend Gabby pointed out) is the middle ground sista with little to no hair who is basically the black version of Tina Fey, she just has more to fight off as a black woman-and she’s a lot more easier to identify with. Because realistically, not all of us are alike those down to earth sistas (more power to um though if that’s what they really believe in).
Anyways, I had the black definition of: Good Hair. My mother uses that term as well and I think it means hair that doesn’t have kinks so close to the head to make it a tight afro. So basically African Hair or regular African American hair.
I didn’t get it. My hair is a pain and it never listens, when I want it to curl it fluffs. But when I went to college and just let it do its thang…white bitches were on my hair.
“Oh my gosh its’ so fluffy can I touch it!?”
“I love you hair!” or “I want your hair!!”
I loved it-I’d never gotten so much attention for my hair. That became my asset-it became me. It still is. People see the hair and recognize that it’s me. They love the Yazzy hair…
But can I be honest for a second? I love Black People hair. I love the way it feels, the way you can do anything with it. And when I mean anything I MEAN anything. You can straighten it, braid it, curl it, twist it, dreadlock it, temporarily dreadlock it. I think it’s absolutely beautiful in its versatility. Cause I can tell you-I get tired of mine. Every so often I go “I wanna cut it again, shave it? No how bout twist it, lock it? Um braid it!”
Plus in the 60s/70s, the Afro was a statement, a symbol because it said “we will not be controlled, we will not be tamed. We are expressing our culture, we are emancipating ourselves through our words, our culture and our movement to change.” It’s not just a fashion trend…it has roots deeper than that (haha get it roots?).
It’s been shaved, cut, cut again, cut again. Let loose, braided, twisted, fake dreaded, and straightened. Now one side is really short (like Halle Berry short) and the other side goes down to my chin.
I will say this again; I love Black People hair.
Love your hair and love yourself more for having it.
(*I know I complain about this all the time, have written countless rants about it from watching Good Hair over and over again, when Tyra Banks did a special on it etc. But I guess my perspective and my own issues with my own hair haven’t been expressed as much…on my tumblr.)