Blogger Charing Ball recently challenged African Americans to stop the good hair-bad hair debate, which reared its head recently after the “S–t Natural Hair Girls Say” video went viral. She says it encourages self-loathing. It’s so interesting to me how our esteem and identity play out as black women through our hair. I have been natural for 13 years, rocked a fro, twists, locks down my back and bone straight blow outs and how people interact with me and my hair based on what I’m rocking is so…telling. I so agree with Charing–we need to stop the BS and understand that true freedom is not being “natural” or “relaxed”–it is your mindset and your ability to accept who you are fully.
When I went natural it was a full circle process and it definitely helped me to own and appreciate all of myself—it was a true journey. Did I ever suffer from the “I’m natural and therefore enlightened” disease? I’d be lying If I didn’t say Yes. Cause’I did. But, for me true freedom has come from my being totally comfortable with just being–however I choose to be. Some day I’m bushy, some days I’m twisted up, but to tell you the truth most days as of late I’m super straight and more “whole” and “free” than I’ve ever been. Free your mind and your hair…will follow.
Excerpt from Charing Ball’s piece:
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how this bickering over hairstyle choices is a lot like the whole good hair versus bad hair debate we’ve been having since our ancestors left the confines of the plantation. We have to stop characterizing all women, who wear perms and weaves as adopting “slave mentality.” And, we have to stop all this divisiveness of who can be considered natural and who isn’t before we even begin to think about lecturing other women about what they can and cannot do with their hair. More importantly, we have to recognize how our tone in communicating our love and appreciation of our natural hair can come off as judgmental as the messages from mainstream society, which we seek to not be bound by. Think of it as Dr. King versus Malcolm X, W.E.B Dubois versus Booker T. Washington, Decepticons versus Transformers — I think you get the picture.
It’s just like that old saying goes: you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. As someone who has been rocking dreadlocks for over four years, I can tell you that the curious questionnaires by some straightened head or weaved sisters have sparked more interest in natural styling than the direct “you hair is going to fall out from all that creamy crack and lace fronting” approach has ever done. Not that I have ever taken that approach because it’s not my business what other folks do with their hair.
Read the full story at Madame Noire.