Friday, July 31, 2009

Hair Liberation

Whether braided, weaved, cornrowed, permed, jheri-curled, leisure curled, hot combed, dreaded, afro or shaved, you name it and I don't think you'll find a sister out there who hasn't worn it. Hair is just our thing. Love yours or hate it, we are obsessed with our hair. Long, short and every length in between, black women are always on the lookout-not for the perfect hairstyle but-for the perfect hair texture. Our mothers breathed collective sighs of relief when perm was invented because not only did they not have to walk around with big 'ol fros, but now their daughters didn't have to be subjected either. Prior to the perm, our mothers' hairs and scalps were the victims of hot combs. Anybody, whose ever had their hair hotcombed knows the torcher I am talking about.

What is it about our natural hair that we hate so much? Why do we despise its texture so much? This texture that handles the dry African heat of our ancestors so well? Looser curls are sometimes better for manageability-I agree- but why have we not learned to work with what we have instead of changing it? (I call this the Good Hair/Bad Hair Syndrome.) This obsession with straight hair that black women have (in my opinion) is a sin. Perm after countless perm, I continue to see sister after sister with their hair chemically straightened, wearing an unflattering, boring style and wonder why most choose to leave their homes having their heads look the way they do. Why not choose a nice, short, sexy style? Why not opt for a "natural" look that suits and flatters the face?!

I have never been one to be afraid of my hair, whether natural or textured, short or long, I have worn it. For the last four years, I have worn my hair close cropped and have never felt more liberated. I believe that's what we (as black women) are looking for from our hairs, liberation. To be free to style the way we want, wear it the way we want and flaunt it the way we want. Sadly, we will never find this freedom, this liberation when we insist on continuing to be slaves to our hair. MM

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Embracing Me!

As a black girl, I grew up in an area that had very few black people. As a matter of fact, my elementary school-which went up to grade 6-had only 3 and half black kids, the half came from a bi-racial friend whose mother was white and father was black. I really did not think much of my skin colour or race then. It wasn't until I moved to a predominantly "black" neighbourhood and started highschool before I began thinking more about my skin colour and how it affected me and the life around me.

If it wasn't the hair issues, it was the shade of my skin, or the size of my lips or whether or not I spoke too white and not black enough. It was always something and it is always something. As a 33 year old woman with a husband and 3 children, I am learning to appreciate and love what I have, to work with it and to have others love or at least like it. Having 2 daughters, I owe them that. To teach and allow them to embrace themselves, no matter the texture of their hair, the shade of their skin or the size of their butts-because we are more than that.

There are those times when I still question myself and have doubts, I mean who doesn't? But I think the problem is that not only am I worried about what my white sisters would say and think, more importantly, I'm concerned about my black sisters. As black women, we have made a career of not only doubting ourselves but doubting each other and it's time we stopped.

There are many of us-in addition to Michelle Obama and Oprah -doing wonderful things out there and it's time we showcased them. Showed off what they have and what they are made off. I want this to be a forum for that. To inspire our daughters, sisters, mothers, cousins, friends and neighbours and to let the world know that it's our time. MM

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joy of Pregnancy

(Above-my son giving his sibling a kiss.)

When I was 8 months pregnant with my third child, I decided to have a photo shoot. I received some flack about why I had pictures like these taken-I guess for some, they were too revealing. However, the general response was good and that was uplifting. If I cannot embrace my body when pregnant, when can I do it? I enjoyed every minute of this and want to thank my photographer Leanna Gosse of Lee Weston Photography. One day, I will show my daughter what a hot mama her mother was when she was pregnant with her. MM

Above - Enjoying every minute of my pregnancy.
Above - Embracing my body and not being afraid to show off what I have.
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