Friday, July 18, 2014

Published 2:32 PM by with 2 comments

Natural hair... Naturally yours

Yes, We Rise| Natural hair... Naturally yours
Angela Davis and her iconic 'fro

I am not my hair

I am not my skin

I am not your expectations no no

I am not my hair

I am not this skin

I am a soul that lives within



I am completely over the natural hair fight. I am so over the worry and concern of OTHER PEOPLE’S HAIR...

Done.

Several people speculate that the in-fighting and concern stems from the slave plantation, us versus them. Or after Master had his way with an African woman, the difference in the texture of hair may have marveled some. I honestly don’t know.

As a child, I was happy to get my hair ‘pressed and greased’ for Sunday morning service. Honestly, I also remember the first perm – being excited and feeling grown. That was my ‘big girl’ hair style – I’d finally crossed over.

My first time seeing locs was on TV. I saw Whoopi Goldberg. I didn’t even know what the style was. I was amazed. Then, watching A Different World, I fell in love with Shaza Zulu. When I went to college, I actually saw people wearing their natural hair – and being comfortable with it. I saw locs, braids, two strand twists – and we would sit and talk about it for hours. These talks were in love. And, at my HBCU, the members of the History Club usually were the die-hard natural hair divas.

At 19, I wanted natural hair. I wanted it. Fear kept me from it. My then-boyfriend and family were very traditional and dedicated to white Jesus. I kept my hair straight.

After moving and living in MD for several years, I began to wonder how I would look and feel with natural hair. More and more of my sister circle were going natural and loving it. I noticed that every culture wears their hair in its natural state.

 I don’t want to hear about Hispanics/Latinos, the Jews, or any other group. This concept of being afraid to show our natural hair has plagued my African American sisters for far too long.

I recall being in a Professional Development course and the presenter (we were all Black women) stopped talking about education and focused on our hair. She congratulated us on being strong and bold – and lamented at the fact she would NOT LEAVE HER HOUSE without her wig. The wig, mind you, was very straight. In that moment of freedom, she took off her wig and showed us her hair. It was long, had a wonderful wave pattern and silver. It was beautiful. It was soft. And it framed her eyes and face beautifully. But she wrapped it back up, put the wig cap back on, and sauntered to the ladies’ room to ensure her wig was back on straight.

I am not my hair
I am not my skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within


I recall my exact reason for finally making the leap into natural. I visited the salon and was told I needed a perm. I’d recently had one – but went along with it anyway. She told me the perm was $90 and the style an additional $30. I let her do my hair that time, but never again. I tried several different salons – but the wait was too long, the stylist was horrible, and it was just too expensive.

After months of searching for a stylist, I found one who pressed hair. She was fabulous! She pressed my hair – it was long, it flowed. If the wind blew, my hair did, too. When she cut my bob, I thought it was the best bob ever! People used to stop me and ask me about my hair.

One night, on a date, a man told me, “I would really like to see your hair in its natural state. Stop perming it.” I announced proudly, “It is natural, it’s just pressed.”

Alarms must have gone off because it seemed the natural hair police gods came out of every corner.


“You ain't hardly natural,” said the bartender.
He said, “Natural hair is not pressed.”
Someone out of nowhere said, “Honey, natural is free hair, no dyes, no color, no perms.”

He went further, “You must not love yourself or culture as much as you think. If you did, your hair would reflect it.”

I was confused.

I am not my hair
I am not my skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within


Several of my friends rocked their natural hair – in professional settings – and were fine. I talked to them ad naseum regarding their journeys. All were supportive. We laughed about them running from the rain and how sometimes they went from having flowing curls (natural) but heat, humidity or rain showed up and their hair dwindled. They spoke about white folk who wanted to touch it, talk about it, or even discuss the transition from the big bouncy ‘fro they had before the rain to the shrinking tightly woven hair it had become.

While they never questioned their beauty or worth, sometimes their friends, mothers, fathers, co-workers and the general public, did. As much as they wanted to ignore it – some days it was very hard. The questions became annoying. The looks and often condescending remarks were not welcomed. They learned, as did I, natural hair on Black women scares people.

There, I finally said it.

Honestly, I feared going natural. I wasn’t sure I would feel pretty or sexy with a big ole ‘fro. I wasn’t sure people would accept me. I wasn’t ready for the questions and overly concerned looks people would have and freely give. I wondered if people would wholly accept me.

When I finally did it – it was freeing and I loved it. My afro was priceless -- Angela-Davis-power-to-the-people fierce. But, everyone wasn’t sold. I recall going home with my ‘fro flopping because it was so big, my mom said, “Please do something with all that hair.”

I thought about it – and I did. I finally loc’d.

Two months in, I went back home. My mother said, “I didn’t mean that.” As she looked at me with great disdain, she continued, “Honey are you gay? Only those confused women go to extremes with their hair.”

My father, usually a very understanding polite preacher took one look and said, “You’re going to hell.” He walked off.

Most friends didn’t say anything (usually that means it’s ugly). Men told me I was beautiful, while others wouldn’t date me. One even told me I would be pretty with straight hair.

I’ll never forget my first GHOE (hair is big at homecoming) and an old friend, a man, an Omega, walked up to me and said, “You’re beautiful. Simply beautiful. That style, those locs embrace your face and wow . . .”

I floated for the rest of the weekend, into the week.


As I reflect on that moment and many more affirming times, I want all of my sisters – natural, permed, braided, afro, two strand twists, weaved out , bald – to feel great in the hair they decided to wear. I also want other people to MIND THEIR OWN Business and hair. What’s it matter to them, anyway? Hair is an accessory. We make far too much of it – and it changes nothing but our outer appearance.

An older woman changed my perspective when she said to me, “Goal, I have had plenty of men ask me for p_$%, but none have ever asked me for hair.





Free as I wanna be... 
Goal D. Locs


2 comments:

  1. Bravo, love this article. I am trying to go natural, yet the naysayers, are telling me not to do it. I will print this article and keep it me so that everytime someone says something about my hair, I will replied. " I AM NOT MY HAIR" Excellent job Goal D.Locs...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marcus SmallwoodJuly 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    I encourage all to do them and not give any thoughts to what others think about it. It's sad to see that some folks actually make others feel bad about their choices. Great article.

    ReplyDelete