Someone once said that a woman’s hair is her crown and that may be true.
But the question is, are we putting too much emphasis on hair? Since the great revolution of the natural hair community, a lot of discussions have surfaced. You either like it or you don’t. You can either pull it off or you can’t. You care a great deal too much about how it looks or you couldn’t be bothered.
Growing up in Nigeria as young girls, we were unconsciously taught to not have any love for our hair. Once you turned 12, you got a perm and retouched it monthly when you noticed “undergrowth” as we called it back then.
Some women did that every three months and some in every three weeks. The idea being that you had to have straight hair to be able to *manage* your kinky greatness.
Were there girls even at 18 with natural hair? Yes of course. Hell, some churches forbide their female congregation to use relaxers. A large amount of old women grow out their kinks mostly out of reducing stress on themselves because yes constant relaxing can be tedious. Some just keep haircuts.
Now, with the community growing so fast, women are embracing a part of them they never got the chance to meet and get personal with. Mothers are encouraging their young daughters to join this beautiful family. To learn about one important part of their heritage that contributes to their greatness.
Sure, there are people who don’t fully understand what is going on. A good amount of men in Nigeria don’t get the hype. Some still ask foolish questions that are *innocently* meant to strike down your empowered soul. But the trick is to not let that get to you. These people too never had the chance to watch the women in their lives learn to love their God given hair so how are they expected to understand it all when we as black women are still learning how our curls work?
Sure it’s not rocket science but it’s close and we know how that shit works right?
In America, young girls are being sent back home when they arrive school in their natural hair styles that are mostly meant to protect the mane. Hell, even carrying an afro is against *school regulations*.
Black women who go through the process of working through all that kinky greatness for hours get told that their natural hair isn’t professional. Like my afro hinders my brain from working or my high bun takes away my work life amazeness. I have to look like Jennifer Garner or Sarah Palin to be taken seriously in a corporate world?
This is why America is falling apart and because the majority isn’t standing up for what’s right, it’s going to be a very long time before that part of the world gets its act together.
When I first cut my hair, the dude I was with at the time found it difficult to hang out with me. He was used to black women with weaves and straight hair so I was new for him and he could not deal with it in public. I respected him for not giving me relaxer advice though. OK sure I made it clear that my hair choice was not his business but he respected that and I applaud him for it.
The first job I got in Germany, my bosses didn’t care what my hair looked like.
This second job, they couldn’t care less either. They even look out for when I walk in to see what new adventure my head had.
A coworker once joked that Liebhaber must be the envy of every heterosexual male seeing as he is with a *different* woman daily /monthly.
So yes it was and still is difficult for me to grasp the full extent of what natural haired black women go through in USA. I’m just not getting the hate and confusion because like it or not, that’s what this is.
Sure in Nigeria the same thing happens. Not on such a grand scale as the US because (and this is clearly my own opinion) more women have on weaves/extensions than their actual hair out and the community is still growing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not judging them. Hell, I would only have my hair out a few hours in a month if I could. I’m just here trying to make you understand the difference. Natural hair blogs in Nigeria are creating awareness and that’s a huge step. Women in Nigeria are making efforts.
My sister recently returned natural which is something I never expected her to do even though her two girls have been naturals since birth with the occasional cuts. When I asked her why she changed her mind she said that having long straight weaves everyday wasn’t sending the right message to her mini queens.
It’s hard enough being a woman in a place like USA. But try being a black woman with natural hair who only dabbles in extended protective styles. You have to work ten times as hard as your caucasian coworkers because the odds are systematically not in your favor. That’s the gawdawful truth.
People argue with you that Beyoncé isn’t black because it seems like she goes out of her way to not look black… Whatever the heck that means. Your hair isn’t kinky, coarse or puffy and people generally assume you must have a caucasian ancestor somewhere down your bloodline because no way can a black woman have hair like that. As if demeaning other black hair texture. It’s why I never agreed with all that 4b 3c hair typing. I just have black hair, plain and simple.
You straighten your hair and people say you want to be *white*. Ja, I’m still trying to figure that mentality out. So when you dye your hair blue, what are you trying to be? Because we know no race is born with blue, pink, purple or unicorn hair.
Let’s stop with this hair nonsense. I once read a comment that likened punk rock hair to afro. Saying you can’t shave half your hair off and dye it red and work in a corporate environment and I’m thinking, really? That’s your defense? Likening punk rock to high buns or twists out. How proud your parents must be with your half developed brain.
Our mothers were taught to get perms. We are now mothers/future mothers and this amazing community will help us to understand a part of us that was never allowed to flourish and that is a beautiful thing indeed.
This in no way means that our fellow women who aren’t natural are fools. Not at all. The truth is that not everyone will return natural. Not everyone can stay natural and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t put your fellow queen down because you started the natural hair journey and they don’t want to. Don’t come up with conspiracy theories as to how dangerous relaxers are to women trying to conceive. People have lived long lives with many children and the hair choices they made wasn’t important as to how their uterus survived. Don’t try to play God or think you are better than the next door queen who still gets a perm because you so aren’t.
Relaxed hair can still be healthy and hair bloggers are making it easy with all the updates that get posted.
Are you natural? What experiences have you had on this journey? It’s been a year since my second big chop and my hair is the best it has ever been!
In my next hair post, I will be talking about how you don’t have to break the bank to stay natural. It’s doable and I’m a witness.