IT'S JUST HAIR.. OR IS IT?
Many of you have encountered this saying from people not too familiar with the trials and tribulations you have experienced while going napptural. "Why are you so worried about it? It's just hair." And to some people, they perceive it as exactly that.
As for me, I wish it were. If it were 'just hair' we would have no need for this website. If it were 'just hair' we wouldn't have a myriad of books and magazines about it. We would go about our daily life not worrying about what these fibers on top of our heads were doing and what they looked like. We'd all know the proper grooming techniqes for our hair and there would be only a handful of products which do the whole job.
The truth is - it's MORE than just hair. No matter what people think, in this society, our hair says a lot about us. It can be subtle, refined or wild. It has energy. It has personality. It's our crown. It's as much a part of us as our skin. In African cultures, hair can be a means of discerning one's tribe or family background. It can be a symbol of wealth and priviledge. It is adorned, coiffed, shaped, twirled, twined and braided. It's beauty can be defined in terms of it's elaborateness or simplicity.
The quandry comes when we discuss our hair's importance in our lives. Some live and die by their hair. They can't leave the house if they don't like what their hair is looking like that day. Others don't mind if their hair looks like an abandoned birds nest. Most of us fall somewhere in between.
As far as hair and the Black experience goes, it is virtually impossible to state that in our community that it's 'just hair'. There are several historical reasons for this - not the least important one being Jim Crow and the principles of divide and conquor.