Black Hair Care Community & The Myth That Black Women Can’t Grow Long Hair

A year ago I embarked on a journey many black women before me had taken and many I’m sure will take long after. Part of that journey meant I unknowingly joined an online global community of black women united and determined to disproof some of the longest standing beauty myths in the history of humanity: Can Black Women grow their own hair? Can Natural Hair Be Sexy, Professional, and Beautiful?

Poster Child Of The Natural Hair Debate And The Big Chop, Though Unwilling…

These questions have been the topic of conversation on hair, beauty, and race, causing a lot of controversy amongst the black western community. The debated rages on and resulted in the emergence of a  faceless group of bloggers and vbloggers affectionately known as the ‘Natural Hair Police’ who seem to have assigned themselves the gigantic task of patrolling the heads of black women’s hair online and setting standards of what is natural, un-natural, and how we should all go about taking care of our hair and styling it.

I don’t know because I am not counting but there must be at least a million YouTube videos online about black hair care, not to mention blog sites. These have become a valuable resource for anyone wanting to take better care of their hair regardless of whether they want to be natural or relaxed.

I remember when I first started my healthy hair journey, a lot of people were saying hair is hair. What’s the big deal? That must have been coming from black people who’ve never experienced racism or are in denial that it even exists!

The underlying truth is that it’s never really been about the hair but about the underlying divisive and racist undertones that we have inherited historically from the days of slavery and segregation that happened to black people everywhere from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. I feel that we got well taught on how to hate ourselves and even after the chains of slavery were removed and colonization was over, we managed to hold onto the self hate and the self doubt that was instilled in us. You are not worthy!

Long silky straight hair for black women has always been this unrealistic standard of beauty that black women felt they could only reach by attaching someone else’s hair to their heads. The unspoken ideology has always been that Afro hair does not equal to beauty. If you were a beautiful black woman with natural hair, you were always told that further beauty could be attained by extensions and hair straightening.

To see this shackle of self defeat be chewed away byte by byte across the internet makes me smile.

A lot of my friends who previously may not have considered going natural or letting go off their weaves are now considering the possibility. A lot of women would like to go natural but can’t imagine themselves natural. While in Kenya I was shocking delighted to reunite with a family friend who had moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. When she left she had a weave right down to her waist that she was convinced she needed to be able to get work.

Eight months since I lat saw her, she’s rocking the shortest TWA and asking to share my castor oil. The transformation was amazing. No one could stop commenting on how beautiful she looked. I am sure she’s getting more compliments and attention for her short hair than she ever did for her weaves!

I think that the debate on black hair, although sometimes painfully ugly has been catharsis and allowed us all to let the cat out of the bag and discuss an area of our relationship with ourselves that was once a no go zone. Whether you’re real, relaxed, or faking it, there are no more hair secrets.

I received an email from my cousin in Angola (officially the weave capital of the world) introducing me to a woman who I haven’t met but who I might be able to help in regards to caring for her natural hair. Of course I agreed, it gives me nothing but pleasure to share the little hair knowledge that I have to anyone who will listen.

 

 

Above Bre Scullark transition from long natural hair to short.

Being natural myself, I am so happy that natural hair has become much more accepted in the black western community. I hope and wish the same will happen to black women in some African countries including my own.

In Namibia and Angola you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone wearing their natural hair or even relaxed hair with a weave or hair extensions. In this part of the world women have basically given up and accept the breakage of their hair from bad relaxers as the norm and since they don’t have any real examples of anyone they know with good hair who isn’t mixed or white, they are absolutely convinced that their hair can’t grow.

I was so happy to see that in Kenya the attitude of women was completely different. I saw many Kenyan beauties with lusciously long hair though relaxed  who were religious about their healthy hair care practices and regiments.

As for my healthy hair journey, I am still going.  Follow me on: http://kinkofcurlsaustralia.wordpress.com/, where I document my own journey. It’s really hard to go back to my old hair care habits after turning a leaf.

Advertisements

3 Comments »

  1. Your friend sounds like Lupita!

  2. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but
    I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are
    but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t
    already 😉 Cheers!

    • Hey..Thanks so much. Not famous. Not sure if I will ever be but I’m just happy to get some positive feedback and putting out info that others may find interesting! Thank so much

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: