Welcome to Moody Monday, where my mood dictates what I write. Today, I am sharing a think piece that I wrote about my natural hair. For a big chunk of my life, I hated how I looked, especially my mane. It took me years to actually practice self-love and to accept all aspects of myself, including my hair.
Growing up black in the 90s, you were conditioned to succumb to the European social standards and almost forced to believe that having straight relaxed hair was the way to be fully accepted by all society. Yet, with this insatiable compromise came another form of ridicule, coming in close contact with water. If your hair was relaxed, it’s almost impossible to be near pools, rain or even sprinklers freely without the restraint of relaxed hair. White friends wouldn’t fully understand this dreaded dilemma and would often ridicule black friends and label them high maintenance because the relaxed hair would become ruined if drenched with water. Grease! Having relaxed hair caused the scalp to become dry which required hair grease (preferably blue magic) and if not managed properly it could stain everything. In order to support this relaxed hair, a bonnet at night was mandatory to wear, if not worn, negative consequences would be revealed in the morning. Ultimately, there has been this silent shame to having relaxed hair because of restrictions, not having the “good” hair that white people or other ethnic groups possess. To keep a good job “acceptable” hairstyles were mandatory within the black community. There were even examples presented at job sites displaying white hairstyles like blonde straight hair and banning black hairstyles such as braids or Afros. Present day, it has still been a struggle for the black community to become comfortable in their skin and accept their identity. Having natural hair for a black person is deemed in society as ugly, nappy and unkempt. But why? Why is the natural hair that grows out of a black person’s head not acceptable and other ethnic groups are? Why does this hair texture bring shame? In Africa, before slavery even took place, a black person’s hair represented the tribe they came from and who they truly were. It gave them purpose and identity. In Africa, warriors and kings had cornrows. During slavery, cornrows and braids was the fashion as a map to finally escape their masters’ property. Black natural hairstyles have such a rich deep culture that it should no longer be held hostage in the shadows, but rather embraced and celebrated. Black natural hair is unique and versatile, the texture has such variety. By understanding the history behind black natural hair, I, as a black woman, am no longer ashamed to wear my kinky curly hair. I embrace, love and take care of it. The rain is no longer my enemy but my loving, close friend. I refuse to succumb to European social standards, but will fully welcome the standards of my sacrificing ancestors, which is natural, free and proud. Oppression and ridicule is no longer a lingering fear of mine but rather a breakthrough. My natural hair, my mane, my glory is my true identity and sets me apart and makes me recognized and my beauty revealed. I am free and invincible with my natural hair, as my identity, my culture.