The Black hair Fiasco

“Every Hair-day  is wahala

 

I was twisting up my hair the other day.  It was the end of a wash day routine, and I randomly asked my boyfriend to help. He says yes much to my surprise meaning I’d actually have to trust him with my hair. I gulped, sectioned a portion of my hair for him.

This got me reminiscing about the time we met, I had the faux locs then.  He was in love with my hair. Months later, I decided to cut my hair as it lacked lustre. I was anxious and self aware, I didn’t know how he would react. But I trusted him. Three years later, I find myself still trusting him.

I’ve also learnt quite a bit about what Europeans think about African hair;

 

“Braids combined with dark skin  are a unique combination”

 

  1.  They think it’s exotic: Braids combined with dark skin  are a unique combination for the average eastern European, it’s not uncommon to get stares in public spaces, especially from the older generation. This reminds of the time, we went to a friend’s wedding, we visited the bride’s family home as well, and I introduced myself to their grandma. The look on her face was that of disbelief , it was meme worthy.
  2.  They think it’s natural: My boyfriend also thought the faux locs was my hair hair. But after some time together, he knew the difference between hair styles. I often get a lot of questions and requests to touch. I assume I’m not the only one.
  3. They find the natural hair rather comedic:  My german teacher confided in me once that the afro was sometime in the past known as, microphone head.  I died from laughter, apparently the phrase is still used, just not as popular as before. We also went through a phase when my hair was short, where my boyfriend’ll pat it and say, “sheep”, lol, in the sweetest way possible.
  4.  hair style change means new person:  I had reintroduced myself a few times to teachers and colleagues simply because I took out a previous hair style and rocked something entirely different. This is the stressful bit, and then the questions roll in which  exasperated  me further.

Three years  since going natural, and two big chops later, I have to  say it’s been an exercising journey. There has been up ups, down downs, and safety breeches, but I’ve loved and nourished my hair (and self) through it all.

If you’re wondering why I dedicated a whole post to talking about hair, it’s just because I think that black women, and our rights as a whole have come a long way, from doing everything necessary to have our hair look like our caucasian counterpart, and consequently destroying it in the process, to just letting ourself be loved as we naturally are. I don’t know who started the natural hair movement but I’ll use this opportunity to say thank you.

Now, let us flourish!

 

 

8 thoughts on “The Black hair Fiasco

  1. I have a very short natural haircut. After chemotherapy for colon cancer, I decided not to do permanents any more. We just spent 13 days in Alicante, Spain, and you are correct that it is the older people who stare as though you are not fully human. It is uncomfortable, but I learned to let it go. It is their problem. But, you know, everyone wants to be treated with humanity, and somewhere in their psyches should be something that says, “Stop staring at her like that. It’s impolite and hurtful.” But, I guess there isn’t anything like that. I started to smile and bow my head as though I was speaking and saying hello, and they would stop staring sometimes. I even turned once and caught someone, and that really embarrassed them, but I just smiled. Wonderful post. Once in a class I was teaching on race as a professor, I told my white students that I would answer anything about being black, but no questions on my hair, or I would start screaming.

    1. It does take some getting used to but we can afford to be a little silly every now and then. I can say the stares made me wildly uncomfortable, but my mum on the other hand, enjoyed the admiration, even made a few friends.
      I learnt it’s all about perspective. I’m glad you liked the post.

  2. I have a 50ish, gorgeous black woman friend who has braids to her waist. She does all kinds of fascinating things with all that hair, and she carries it off like a queen. I love her. I lover her hair 🙂

    1. Haha. I’m so glad when I get compliments about my hair, but I’m also a bit sad because sometimes I know all they see is hair. If I didn’t have it I would be a regular debbie.

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