Saturday, September 25, 2010

The "Good Hair" Myth...

This note is in response to  many women I know and meet in person and on FB who have expressed to me ( as recenlty as this morning) that my ability to wear my hair natural is due to having "good hair" and  my hair cannot be described as nappy or napptural because of the texture/hair type...moving forward  I am speaking soley from my own experiences in taking care of my hair and many others over the past 17 years since my last relaxer which have caused me to form my opinions stated below.

I want to explain why I have such a passion for natural hair care.  It is  not only to revolt against mainstream Americas twisted views of what's beautiful or acceptable, but also to EDUCATE black women who doubt their ability to obtain "good hair" in the true sense of the phrase which to me means healthy, strong hair, full of elasticity and shine.  Those who know me best know I despise the term when used as a means to divide ourselves in an inferior vs superior way.   Black women (even in 2010, smh) still use the term "good hair" to divide ourselves and define our level of comfort with who we are and our level of esteem with it.  In recent years there have been many debates about eradicating the use of the word "Nappy", equating it to be as offensive as the word "Nigger"...I strongly disagree.  "Good Hair" used in the false sense, needs to be removed from our vocabulary if anything.  Those with daughters that are feeding into the "good hair" myth are the ones I really feel for. Terms like "good hair" confuse children. They don't get it. I get more little ones 5-12 yo girls telling me they luv my hair then I get grown women and that is because God created us this way.  Its our innate desire to embrace our true selves especially as children. We brainwash ourselves and inadvertently our children into thinking less of themselves if they don't have "good hair" in the false meaning, which to me is bullshit!(pardon my french).

 I grew up chemical free getting mayonaise treatments since I was a toddler by my Mother.  I got my hair pressed out with a pressing comb every two weeks like clock work. I loathed rainy days in fear my natural texture would show and convinced my Mom to let me relax my bsl hair at age 15 and by the time I was 19 my hair was barely neck length. After transitioning back to my natural texture, which was the obvious thing to do, I have never looked back.  However I still switched between straightening w flat ironing more ofen than not and natural until 4 months ago when I decided to leave the heat alone completely. Some women can wear a relaxer and grow long healthy hair, I've seen it. However it is not the norm and 99% of the time they stretch in between relaxers (relaxing 3-4 times a year only) which if not careful will cause severe breakage where the new growth and relaxed hair meet (line of demarcation). They almost always follow an ayurvedic regimen, deep condition weekly sometimes twice a week, take vitamins, exercise, eat healthy, allow their hair to air dry to minimize heat damage and stay wearing some type of protective style. Bottom line they take their hair care and maintenance into their own hands and do not rely on a person in a beauty shop with a license to work on chemically relaxed hair or straightened hair who is cluless on healthy hair practices. Women with healthy relaxed hair take the time to EDUCATE themselves and that in my opinion is key.  Not all, but the majority of traditional salons do not practice healthy hair maintanence simply because the focus is on hair styling, not hair health.  Im not saying going to a salon is bad, Im saying become proactive when in comes to your hair, natural or relaxed. Know what your hair type is, know what products work best for moisturizing your hair, know what products are good protein builders for your hair, know when to tell the person in your head the weave tracks or braids are uncomfortably tight, and most importantly, know whats inside those unlabled bottles the beautician is squirting into your mane.  Dont be afraid to ask, if they wont tell, you dont need to be sitting in their chair.

Women of all cultures are vain by nature.  We mistakenly and unconsciously gain a sense of who we are or what we are capable of obtaining through what we  have been told by others most by men, holding on to negative comments longer then positive ones. There are so many reasons black women tell me for not wanting to wear their hair in its natural state.   From relaxed hair being easier to maintain, to not being able to find a man or their present man will not support their transition at all.   At one point in time I didnt think a man would look twice at me with my hair in its nappy natural glory because I grew up with two older brothers who would laugh at me when my hair wasnt pressed out.  Luckily for me with age came wisdom and the more I started wearing my hair natural I realized that my thinking was so far from true.  There are men that support and love black women to wear their natural hair texture and ladies if you are not embracing your true self in fear you will not be able to enter a meaningful relationship with a black man, much less even date one ...you are either not looking at the right type of man, or you need to quit being race loyal and love those brothers that love you, the natural you.  I know there are black men who would love to meet a natural sista.  Brothas ask me questions all the time about my hair and I luv it.  I have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of, this is me, and if he wants me, he will have to love it too.  Bottom line...Alwayz, embrace your true self...like the bible says in John 8:32, "...the Truth shall set you FREE!" Amen....Peace n Blessings!


NEA ONNIM NO SUA A, OHU: knowledge, life-long education "he who does not know can know from learning." 



HHG!

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