We should have a tv show. Call it the Bald and the Beautiful.
Hahaha. That would be interesting. Do you think people would watch?
Men would until they realized it was about a bald dude and a natural hair chick. Women would because you’re natural and I like it. You know how yall get your Voltron on.
You are so dumb.
I never thought about all this natural hair hoopla until I started blogging. When I was in college, I saw afros, locs, curls, perms and just about any other hair style you could think of. I just thought people were expressing themselves and exercising their freedom. I mean hey, that’s what I was doing.
When I was a freshman, I grew my hair out; not because I wanted to be part of any particular movement, but because I’d just graduated from a military high school where I had to keep the caesar and a bare face. College was my first opportunity to be completely “free.” Nobody could tell me to get a haircut or that my belt buckle wasn’t perfectly aligned with the buttons on my shirt. In retrospect, I probably looked like a walking mugshot, but it didn’t matter. It was my choice.
I didn’t realize how significant a black woman’s hair was in the grand scheme of the universe until I started writing in 2008. Prior to that, hair was just hair unless it looked a mess. You know what I mean. People walking around looking like Nubian Medusas. But when I started writing, I discovered all these blogs and online communities. Topics like Good Hair vs. Bad Hair and Light Skin vs. Dark Skin were (and continue to be) normal discussions. I discovered the many layers of Ning and heard about more niche sites like Fotki. It wasn’t too long after that that Chris Rock had a movie rocking out in theaters. Since then, the hair movement — iddy biddy curls to 6 foot, 7 foot, 8 foot fros — has picked up steam and become a media and advertising mainstay. I don’t like it or dislike it. I just accept it for what it is.
This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on hair courtesy of the good folks at Curly Girl Collective. When I accepted the invite, I didn’t know what to expect. I remember thinking to myself “I’m not a hair expert, nor do I have any controversial opinions on what a woman should do with that which grows outta her head. So how the hell am I gonna contribute to a discussion on a topic that doesn’t sway me strongly in one way or the other?”
I found a way and I made it work.
I’ll spare you the overall event review (it wad dope), but I do wanna share five random thoughts on this whole hair discussion. They are in no particular order.
A gentleman in the crowd stepped to the mic and commented on how natural is the way to go. I was fine with that. Then he started talking about how non-natural hair women are ashamed of their culture. My head did the Stewie Griffin tilt. He continued on for a bit with similar rhetoric and I found my eyes parallel to the wall and my systolic/diastolic on an elevator.
This whole conversation irks me. Being natural does not convey any more love for oneself or their culture than any other type of hair style or texture. I have no stats to back it up, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I really wish we’d stop telling people they hate themselves or their Blackness when they don’t do what we think they should be doing.
2. You should not make any significant change to yourself without talking to your significant other.
We spent some time talking about “The Big Chop.” More specifically, the question of if a man should have any say in what his woman does with her hair? This turned into a bigger discussion on major changes in appearance in general. Franchesca Ramsey aka Chescaleigh aka Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls commented that she wouldn’t feel required to consult with her boo before making a significant change to herself (At this point we were talking hair and tattoos). To paraphrase, it was her decision not his, and he should be able to accept it.
See, I agree that a woman (or man) can do whatever they’d like to their body. I don’t agree on the idea of “This is my body so I’m just going to do what I want, not tell you, then be surprised when you’re upset by the change.” If you’re considering a significant alteration, you need to talk about it with your significant other. You don’t have to do what they tell you to, but they at least should have their opinion heard. Even if you know they’ll be fine with it, communicating the change beforehand does wonders for making him or her feel included.
3. Most men don’t care until it looks bad.
Whether it’s weaves, perms, half wigs or whatever else, most men don’t care unless it looks bad. I say this because I think about the times I’ve pointed out an attractive woman only to have the woman next to me point out that the attractive chick is rocking someone else’s hair and provide an analysis of how she knew. I don’t care about all that! Now you’re appearing unattractive!
4. One of the best things about natural hair styles is that they are distinct. Not that they are natural.
Men like visually appealing and distinct looks. They are easy to remember and describe when we’re talking to each other - – particularly in public. Example: “Do you see shorty over there with voluminous curly goodness?” “Yeah fam, you gonna holler?”
And when we’re dating a woman with a distinct look, it feels pretty good when you’re out and about and see both sexes looking… and women doling out compliments and asking style questions. It’s a little bit of an ego boost.
5. The beauty of a black woman’s hair is that she could wear it a 1,000 ways on 1,000 days and still look good.
Aight, so maybe not 1,000, but you get my drift. You have options. Plenty of them. Everybody may not be a fan of every style, but at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter does it?
These are my thoughts on this hair stuff. What are yours?