The ongoing hair war!!
Recently, I stumbled across a video on YouTube discussing Black women with weave vs. natural hair on the Trisha Goddard show. I believe that this topic is major and crucial in order to move past the judgement, criticism, and scorn that Black women receive about their hair and to gain understanding, acceptance, and support of one another. Here is the video below:
I do not feel that this video did this topic any justice due to lack of time and the differences in opinions from the panel of speakers. It seemed as though they lacked the necessary empathy and understanding of one another. Instead, some of them were trying to prove why their hairstyle was the best and the “right way.” They did not appreciate and respect one another as Black women and come to mutual grounds, hence the reason why I believe this cycle will continue.
We all come from different backgrounds, having different histories and upbringings, struggles and stories, etc. Not to mention that as individual human beings, we are all at different stages of growth in our lives. Combativeness, defensiveness and imposing opinions upon one another is not necessarily the most effective way to alleviate the proposed issues on our hair.
A part of me wanted to be upset and chime in on the argument, especially when the guy had his opinion on black women as “negropeans.” <–No offense taken as I do not identify with that. I had to take a mental step back and say to myself,
“…whoa, there is no need for me to get worked up over these opinions that these people are entitled to. They are expressing their beliefs as a part of society. That’s right, society..one of the main causes and contributors of corrupt mindsets and the development of self-hate. To argue would mean that I am trying to prove myself to them, society, once again, which I am not. Looking back on my hair journey, the American society’s opinions and standards of beauty was the reason why I permed in the first place! So nah not me, not again, I will not internalized the self-hate, the “negropean,” the “hiding” my natural hair with weave, etc. The only person I will answer to, live for, and seek my validation from is God. He is all for self-love and I have accepted MYSELF and love myself. My future husband will accept me as is and love me for who God made me, and God’s grace and mercy will always cover me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet! He has accepted me, He made me!, so who care about the opinions of anyone else? No need to live a life full of misery dictated by society’s ever-changing opinions, standards, and beliefs.”
And after my self-assurance, my thought processes were back on track and my soul was well.
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” Swami Vivekananda
The discussion of this topic on the show, in my opinion, was ineffective for the most part in terms of breaking down the dividing wall and creating cohesion and understanding. On another hand, ironically, it shed some light on the continuity of deeply rooted issues that black women generally face. We are judged for wearing weaves, and wigs, having relaxers, texturizers, blonde hair, straight hair, natural hair, especially in an afro, and anything else, you name it! People are going to judge, it’s almost second nature to formulate thoughts, make side comments, give looks of disgust and disapproval, etc. However, it is up to us to respond and reaction or lack thereof, or internalized and live a life controlled and validated by other’s likes and dislikes.
Here is my standpoint:
Today, I am a proud natural. In the past I’ve had perms, texturizers, Dominican salon blow outs, extensions, etc. Currently, I own wigs, and hair extensions to make wigs. I am all for doing whatever makes one happy with their hair BUT FIRST, you must come to terms with accepting your natural self at some point. And I am speaking to those who’ve chemically relaxed their hair like I had and had never been and remained natural all their lives.
I first became self-conscious about my natural hair at the age of 9, when I came to America. 99% of the black girls that I saw in this America had straight hair and I was the odd man out with natural kinky hair. I started to think that my own natural hair was ugly and unacceptable and I begged my mother to straighten my hair. I experienced the self-hate that probably most of the girls with straight hair did with their natural hair. Whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously, self-hate thrived within us because that fact that we got our hair chemically relaxed and kept up with it to rid of our natural, “unacceptable” curl pattern is proof that we did so.
Fast forward to 2011, I returned to my natural hair after transitioning for a few months because I felt that my texturized failed me for the first time causing my hair to break off in the middle. I took a leap of faith that Spring to do the big chop (BC) and rock my teeny weeny afro (TWA) in public. And let me tell you, although deep down I was slightly uncomfortable because change is at first uncomfortable, for the most part I was PROUD that took that leap of faith and reverted back to my natural self. I was not ashamed and I knew I stood out in school, in public, and among my peers. I didn’t mind the stares too much because I accepted MYSELF..my NATURAL self. I LOVEDDDDD my hair then, and even more now. It was the most liberating experience in my life thus far! I felt the chains breaking and I smiled from ear-to-ear, exuding confidence in my natural state and feeling FREE!!
After accomplishing that, I was able to do any and everything to my hair without purposely trying to disguise my natural hair out of self-hate and disgust. I no longer wanted what the majority had, as I did when I was 9, I just did what I wanted to do with my own hair. After all of this and that, I can go texturize my hair again or perm it if I wanted to because I have liberated myself from oppression and mental slavery that trends and things deemed acceptable by the majority/society is the supposed definition of beautiful. I can have extensions if I wanted to because I am my own definition of beauty and need no validation from ANYONE because my God is my only creator of ALL things and He has made no mistake on ME.
These days, I make hairstyle choices for fun, no longer to hide.
And that is REAL acceptance.
You must become confident in the skin and with the hair that God has blessed you with. You must NOT be ashamed of your natural self and natural hair. It may take some time, but you CAN get there. Each person has their own rate of personal growth and it is not for us to judge anyone on their hair choice. We must be supportive, empathetic, and listen to each other’s stories. Once you’ve truly and fully accepted YOURSELF for who you truly are, THEN, I believe that it is absolutely safe to enhance your already-beautiful-self with whatever you’d like without getting too carried away.. Some people enhance their beauty with make-up, some with jewelry, others with a new outfit for a special occasion, etc. If adding hair, or straightening your hair gives you an extra boost, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember the importance of acknowledging and accepting your natural self FIRST and not getting caught up in the facade of excess enhancements and depending on them to define your beauty. Be your own definition of beautiful and never depend on society to define it for you. After all, God created you for His glory, not the world’s.
With Love & Acceptance,