I recently came across a few FaceBook posts of Black women raving about their good hair. Multiple images of squinted eyes, pouty lips, middle fingers, and peace signs, with captions that read “Good hair don’t care” or “Must be the Indian in me, that’s why my hair is on fleek”. First of all, no one who has graduated from high school should be using the phrase “on fleek”. Secondly, what is good hair? Does the fact that your ancestors are from different ethnic backgrounds, like millions of other Americans, make your hair better? Another ridiculous statement, “I don’t have traditional black hair because my great-grandfather was white”. So does having kinky curly traditional black hair make you less of a person? Or because your great-grandfather was white makes you better? I’m confused!
We live in a society where everything is centered around appearance. What you wear, how fat or thin you are, where you purchase your clothes from, what kind of car you drive, how much money you have in your bank account, etc., all determine your value. With that being said, I should not be surprised at the ignorant comments of one black woman to another about her hair texture. SMGDH! Are there no important topics to discuss?
Why am I so passionate about this? Mainly because I find myself involved in these ridiculous, juvenile conversations all the time. And with every conversation, I have to ask myself ‘did she just say….Yes, she did’. Almost every time, every conversation about black hair I lose my temper. It takes heaven, earth, the moon, and stars for me to be the bigger, more intelligent person with these types of conversations.
As a formerly trained hairstylist, I do not recall anyone of my instructors talking about good hair. Hair is hair, that’s it! In fact, I was trained and skilled to work on many different hair types. Some hair textures need a little more TLC than others. Nonetheless, it does not make one hair type any better than the other.
It all boils down to one’s self-esteem. I was not raised with the notion that my beauty is skin deep, or in this case based on my hair texture. My grandmother taught me that good hair is healthy hair, she never emphasized texture or length. She would say, “girl you’ve got a full head of hair”. I never heard her use derogatory words like “nappy”, or phrases such as “traditional black hair”, or ever reference to having a thick head of curly coarse hair as a bad thing.
My mother would set aside the entire day for grooming. We called it “wash day” when I was a child. She would, shampoo, deep condition, and treat both my younger sister and my hair every other weekend. My sister and I have different hair textures. My hair is coarse and curly, whereas my sister hair is soft with a wavy curl pattern. When it came down to certain styles, my sister’s hair would look better to my young untrained eye. That would upset and offend me. My loving mother would take me aside and reiterate what my grandmother taught us “your hair is just as healthy and as pretty as anybody else”. My mother and my grandmother instilled in me, at a very young age that my kinky curly hair is beautiful. Confidence sticks when it is learned at home.
As a naturalista, an African American woman with natural hair, I encounter brutal comments and nasty stares every day. Yet for every ignorant comment and uncomfortable stare, I remind myself that my hair is just as alluring as anyone else.
It is difficult to comprehend that in today’s world, especially among black women, kinky curly hair is still perceived as less than beautiful. The hair on your head does not define you. Your hair and the way you rock it is an extension of you, but clearly it does not make or break you.
Ironically, I receive compliments from people of all walks of life on my natural hair, and all of my fellow naturalistas who proudly rock their natural tress. Most of the ignorant comments I come across are from people who are still enslaved by vanity. When society lets go of appearance, then the ignorance (along with other things) will go away. However, the purpose of this article is not to put anyone on blast. Instead, I hope to shed light on this subject. We should learn to embrace our natural beauty. As women, regardless of your hair texture let’s learn to uplift each other. There are far too many things out there to separate us.