Entertainment Freedom Joy

Natural or not, your hair is your business.

Sometimes sistas just want to be.

It is tiresome to constantly see, hear, and experience others making assessments of our character, class, worth and aesthetic capital.

I’m an advocate for the do-you school of thought.

Although it has been more than a decade since a relaxer has touched (read: scorched!) my scalp, I understand the psychology behind women searching for self and experimenting with our exteriors to show who we are internally. Part of the human experience is the pursuit of acceptance.

That’s largely why Viola Davis’ fro was so powerful at the Academy Awards.

Davis reinvigorated many in the natural hair community when she rocked her hair along with a bangin’ green Vera Wang gown that highlighted her complexion and physique. She could give women half her age a run for their money, before leaving them two blocks behind, panting.

Her tightly coiled coif complemented her radiant bronze skin, and provided an affirmative image for women and girls who grow unaccustomed to seeing themselves reflected in the media.

Hair conversations tend to bring out other issues: colorism, gender perspectives, and sometimes Eurocentrism.

It would be “too much like right”, as my Louisiana comrades often say, for people to respect Davis’ choice to show that yes, natural hair is beautiful. So is brown skin. So is aging. So is joy. So is embracing the advice of a supportive loved one.

It was reported that Davis’ husband told her to ditch the wig for the award show.

What troubles me is the increasingly politicized issue of (Black) hair. In a nation built on colonialism and slave labor, the resultant benefits for some, and internalized oppression of others, Black issues tend to remain deep.

In many ways hair has become a societal standardized test. Anyone familiar with No. 2 pencils, frigid rooms and hours of bubbling, knows that tests come with construction bias, and the assumption that one’s testing ability is a lone or primary indicator of intellect.

Some stretch these assessments to allude to worth and preparedness.

So, while people are entitled to their hair preferences, unless you’re receiving the test results, it is really not your business. And if negative feelings arise, it is oftentimes nunya times two.

Masses buy into commercialized imagery, capitalism and superficiality so much that when a woman is closer to how she was born, she is frequently subjected to scrutiny.

We see certain images so frequently that they can seem passé. Whether it was Davis’ fro or Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, I love to see people embrace the diverse forms in which we come. In many instances the closer these photos are to real life snapshots, the better.

And sometimes Black people are our own worst critics. My collegiate African psych professor would have had a field day with the anti-self disorders of some who negate our differences to seem more palatable to majority audiences. Whether consciously or not, falling victim to a pressurized culture that all to often rejects African phenotypes, is a dangerous choice.

A piece by Madame Noire Editor  addressed allegations of media personality Wendy Williams making disparaging, Viola Davis sparked, natural hair comments on her show.


My hair; do care

My natural hair has made me feel more empowered, connected to self and rooting, saved me from scalp burns,  spending wads of cash, and hitting the Flo Jo mid-discussion anytime it rains. But, I am not judging others for relaxing, texturizing, weaving, fading, braiding, frying or multiplying what’s on their heads.

Most of us adhere to some societal dogma about looks. Do you shave? Wax? Bleach your teeth? Tan?  Ever get highlights? Wear makeup?

*Raise your hand if you Photoshopped pimples, blemishes and/or pock marks from special occasion photos.*

It happens. When buying into prevailing thought about looks while constructing our own perspectives of beauty, complexities arise.

We must come to terms with ourselves and how we view our forms. This process began happening to me before I went to high school.

My grandpa was one of the first people to bring me to terms with my multi-textured, rebellious, massive, dark mane. To this day, I’m convinced that my hair is analogous to my personality.

He was “wavy” and freed me of good hair notions in a single convo. He said that all hair is good. He said that if his hair were coarser, he would probably have more of it.

And as we sat in the living room, likely watching a History channel documentary, I sat back in the lounge  beside his  bossman chair, and thought about what he said.

He was a pensive man who expressed himself according to his first name, which was Frank. He also frequently said that people needed to attend to their own affairs.

In the hair world, this means  staying out of women’s kitchens uninvited.


One comment

  1. Dear Faith,

    Nice! Simply nice! I myself am absolutely crazy about the Pam Grier look and I would love nothing more than for it to come back. It was beautiful then, and with a few tweeks on updating according to today’s fashion industry, it needs to come back in a big way.

    I am a natural, although I do style my hair, not much different than you, with the hot rollers and the round brush, and of course make up. My hair, since I’m white, does not have the luxury of pulling of an Afro. But trust this in me, I’m a leader, I never follow anyone’s heart but my own, I would wear my Afro strong and proud if I were African American and I would cut it up!

    I like your article, it was alot of fun and I, as a white woman identified with it alot! We simply all as women, seem to have a problem with just being o.k, There’s always something else or someone else to divert our attention from our own beauty, at least for me anyway.

    Listen, I have created a site on African American history, long story, I have been studying it independently ever since I read Harriet Tubman when I was seven. I came from a large, poor family and I suppose I cannot say I knew how she felt, I know I did feel the same feelings as her in a social way. I’d love to have you check it out, and I would love it if you followed me on twitter, although i wouldn’t ask or like to intrude.

    Take care, Penny, oh, and i’m really down to earth, i’m one of 12 kids, dad was a cop so do the numbers on that salary. Point being, if you see something you don’t agree with, let me know, talk to me. I’m like a loose garment,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s