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

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