“I Am Not My Hair”

Why should the way that my hair grows or the way I maintain it, define how you treat me?

The title; a complex phrase gifted to the worlds earbuds via the voice of India Arie in 2005.

If you haven’t lately, you can use this link https://youtu.be/E_5jIt0f5Z4, to sit and take a listen.

And when I say listen, I mean LISTENNN. I’ll wait.

*Spongebob voice* 5 minutes later

You can’t tell me the way sis constructed those verses wasn’t fire.

As a black person, our hair is a part of who we are. It reflects your personality, may go with your outfit or make a statement.

My question today is…

1) Can we as a culture agree to de-program the idea that length or texture determines good/bad hair? 2) Check yo self! Are you subconsciously validating this connotation when you give/receive a compliment?

Let’s provide and example to talk about it shall we?

This past week, our baby Blu (yes I said our, let’s not act like Beyoncé didn’t adopt us all when she became queen) celebrated her 8th birthday. The following picture went viral in celebration of Blu’s day.

Blu Ivy Carter

Many people sent birthday wishes but there were TOO many that deemed her straight hair as a “relief from her usual naps,” “happy someone picked up a comb” and can’t forget the “she is too young for straight hair” and those were the nice ones.

Y’all, as a culture we cannot be serious.

She’s 8. EIGHTTTTT. And the culture dragged her for something that grows out of her head. We have to change the narrative and do better.

The natural movement has come a long way and more people are becoming more receptive to the way their hair grows but even if they are on the creamy crack…. who cares?!

And #HIGHKEY, it be your own people tearing you down. She’s going to learn that her hair is deemed inappropriate in certain workspaces (well not Blu because if Beyoncé was my mom I’m definitely calling the shots at whatever job I have but y’all get the point.)

Have people look at her kinks and coils and ask to touch them. Experiment with colors, wigs and weaves to find what works for her only to be judged every step of the way.

Because she grew her hair out of her head and it was deemed not ok by her own people and then some.

But let’s take a moment to acknowledge the fact that yes, her life as a celebrity child brought about the exposure but this is a battle fought by black women (and men!) everyday.

Once again, WE have to better at recognizing when we are giving into the false reality that a particular hair type, color, style or texture is better than the next.

The culture shift starts with us.

Blu getting the love she deserves

We’ll wrap this up with wise words from Auntie Arie:

“Good hair means curls and waves (no)
Bad hair means you look like a slave (no)
At the turn of the century
It’s time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight like Oprah Winfrey
If it’s not what’s on your head, it’s what’s underneath, and sayHey (hey)

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations, no (hey)
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am the soul that lives within”

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