So I dated this guy once, and he had this baby seal type hair–full of super soft tendrils. You know the type—just add some water and a bit of Murray’s grease and those waves were spinning like a washing machine.
My hair on the other hand, my waves were ghost, ok? Hidden underneath the earth. Coarse character. Unruly AF. My hair breaks combs and apparently, seal haired man children. I’m proud of my strong healthy hair and been natural since 2000.
Back to this wavy head dude that I mistakenly dated (he was a lesson and not marrying him was a blessing) and we were chillin’ at the crib and he said,
“When are you gonna do your hair?”
WHET?! What do you mean DO my hair?
He then admitted he wanted a woman whose hair he could run his hands through.
Later that year, people made comments about if we had kids, they’d have hair like a ram or a wooly mammoth or something.
This was in 2011.
Welcome to the world of a nappy headed beauty queen.
Your face is so beautiful. I mean, wow.
But that hair, though.
I consider myself a confident woman but those comments stung me. Penetrated my soul. And then, I realized, I need to stop being around people who devalue me.
But, I totally get why he’d say such insensitive and sexist comments.
We are conditioned to believe that hair like mine, is unprofessional and to be honest, unattractive. In the natural hair type community, I’m a 4c. A tightly coiled head of hair that needs a lot of care because it’s quite delicate. It looks like a cloud. A puff. And when it’s picked out, it’s actually looks like a wig—that’s how pliable and moldeable my hair is.
And before there was YouTube and vloggers who celebrated their natural hair, I went natural because those relaxers were painful. Scalp pus and head patting. Overprocessed hair. I didn’t know how to do my hair. I didn’t like my texture. And I’d covered my roots for so long, I didn’t know what it even looked like. It took me a while to truly love my hair!
Why is my hair type deemed ugly?
And let’s be real, these natural hair pages aren’t breaking their necks to feature women or use their ad space to highlight kinky hair. Two young sisters couldn’t wear their hair braided to their prom. And in 2017, a judge deemed natural hair (locs) as unprofessional. In South Africa, young girls were protesting because their natural hair was distracting. As recently as last week, in order for a young man to compete in a wrestling match, his locs were physically cut before the game or he’d be disqualified. It’s exhausting because when Kim K or another racially ambiguous person wears styles originated and deemed popular by black women, they’re not escorted from school or deemed unprofessional. I was told to wear a wig to a religious organization because they didn’t want me to come off as militant or a black panther. I’m like…”but, this is how my hair grows out of my head!”
Believe me, I got rid of that wig once my natural hair was accepted but it took a while.
I never really liked my hair texture. I always blew it out then twisted it then let it out. I had so much shrinkage that when I washed it my hair literally looked two inches long! It was so tight. But right around 2013, I rededicated myself to my regimen and my hair began to flourish. I started seeing growth and moisture. I started looking at youtubers and Pinterest and finding styles I could recreate. Then, it was all about my hair! How to grow it, checking for length, and never every cutting it! 😂😂😂
Then, right around 2016, I decided to start photographing myself. It was February and my alma mater had a game so I cleared my apartment space in front of my bathroom, propped my iPhone, put on the timer, and posed. Go CATS!
It was subtle at first. A picture here. A pose there. Then lipstick. Then makeup. Then lots and lots of natural hairstyles. I was celebrating my natural hair by taking pictures of different styles and going live with my regimen. I celebrated my skin tone and body type and hair type and just exuded with positive energy surrounding the ideas around my image. I think I am empowered when I choose to wear my natural hair even for special occasions. And three years later, I’m in ads for hair companies and I’m not giving up. I’m proud of myself for not giving in to societal pressure.
I am not a wig basher but I am a natural hair celebrator. Shoo, I love wigs! It’s my thing if you follow me on IG. However, I refuse to believe that because I love a good beat and my naturally kinky hair that there’s no one out there that feels or looks like me. I see these COMPANY makeup trips or natural hair boat rides and a lot of the IG models looks alike. Straight ombré bobs with parts down the middle, lashes, big boobs, small waists, ass for days, but flat stomach. Shiny skin and edges laid while sleeping. These women don’t claim to be perfect but they sure do have huge platforms that lead us to believe they might be. Society popularizes these ideals.
My hair kinky hair is shaved on the sides with bright color, my thighs are thick, my boobs are not as perky anymore, I have cellulite and I wear a size 8 or 10 or 6 depending on the season and my salt intake. I have a Fupa. My armpits are struggle pits most of the time. I have hair growing out my chin. I have muscle and tone. I am happy to be nappy. I like to call my style Ms. Frizzle meets Sporty Spice meets Soul Train. I wear things that I like and styles I like and colors I like. And sometimes I like to be androgynous and sometimes I like to be femme. I explore all this and I just want to be authentic and intentional and clear.
All that to say, I’m finally happy with this head of hair. And to some, it’s rebellious. But for me, it’s beyond style. It’s my heritage.
My hair is a celebration. My hair is powerful. My hair is fierce. My hair is GOOD hair.
I hope we can all celebrate all of ourselves in all stages and in all shades.