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Natural Hair: Pretty Girl

For generations, Black people in the diaspora have been taught to dislike Black features. We spend $billions every year to minimize or cover up our natural features - mostly our natural hair. The majority of us won’t admit it because it is so deep and ingrained we don't even realize it. It has become a normal part of our fibre. As a group, we overwhelmingly, systematically, knowingly chemically straighten, cover, hide and reject our hair texture and simplify the reasoning as a "styling choice".

 That's Nappturality's founder in the photo. Me, the natural hair advocate in straight hair. Pretty hair means pretty girl, right? 

In society, pretty girl means power and opportunity. We all want to be pretty girls. We base our original vision of "prettiness" on our first role models: our mothers or female caregivers. Then our sisters, our school friends. We are read books and fairy tales about Disney princesses and we dream of being like them. Do they look like us? Most of the saints and religious figures Black people worship have straight hair. Do they look like us? We watch TV, movies and beauty becomes what they tells us is beauty. Do they look like us? We read magazines, listen to music and are shown what successful and beautiful is supposed to look like. Does it look like you?

We are fighting an uphill battle.

That is why I have a deep respect those of us with the stereotypical “bad hair” who care for and respect their own healthy hair enough to reject the chemical relaxer or current revered standard of Black hair beauty, Malaysian Curly or Beyonce Blonde 24/7/365, who dare to expose their natural tresses for all the world to see, by way of beautifully groomed locs, braids, sharp twas, fro's twists, rows and coils, even those big textured blowouts with pride and without apology.

Our hair type is unique in texture. There is a special kind of dignity to be seen in beautifully styled natural hair. I feel it in the photos you send to me; I read it in the heartfelt stories of your journeys. I see it in the faces of your daughters who are lovingly and proudly following in your footsteps.

Hearing grown women say they don’t have natural hair because they don’t know how to care for it, tells a sad story. It tells us that we are not taught how to style our own hair as are little girls of all other cultures. Instead we were brushing the silky hair of our straight haired dolls while having our natural hair burned within an inch of its life from an age so young that we are never given the opportunity to learn about how to style our own so to look beautiful in its natural texture. It tells me that we are lacking the knowledge, products and tools to work with our hair. Saddest of all, it tells me that our mothers weren’t taught. And neither were their mothers before them. This is why I speak in generations.

Yes we see mainstream natural haired dolls now and natural-geared hair products produced by corporate toy giants. All this is positive. But don't be fooled into thinking this is all for our good. This trend towards mass manufacturing "natural" things aimed at Black people has more to do with another way to separate more of us from our money than it does to do with anything culturally benevolent and sensitive.

Our natural hair is beautiful. It is not something to be ashamed of, or hidden, or destroyed through chemical and heat use. It is a blessing born to you that deserves to be cared for and treated with respect, just like every other part of your body. As long as our own culture treats it like the plague we can expect everyone else to treat it that way too.

What is to be said of a people, where the VAST majority of females choose to (or are taught to, or know nothing else than to) reject their own (Black, for example) natural hair texture in favour of another (White for example)?

Is there something wrong with the hair texture?

Or is there something wrong with the people?

Which is it?

And don't count on seeing me with straight hair again anytime soon ;)

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Last modified on Sunday, 01 June 2014 13:33

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  • Guest (Trae)

    This is so true.

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  • Yes, yes and yes!! The one thing I KNOW FOR SURE is that my insecurity about my hair definitely started when I started socializing OUTSIDE of my family. It was the outside world that made me feel "oh...maybe my hair ISN'T really beautiful like Mommy says it is..." I say this because my FIRST DOLL was a Black doll with an Afro and her name was Tamu. You pulled a string and she spoke empowering words. All the dolls I had there after were Black BUT...they had straight hair. So I've been there being disenchanted with my hair. And I came to love my natural hair. And now honey, it's ALL ABOUT MY NATURAL HAIR!!! I wish I had embraced it Decades ago. Thank you Dee, for your inspiration.

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  • Letitia, I had a similar experience. My Black dolls had straight hair too and of course I wanted to be like them. I think my favorite was the Black Thumbelilina. Dress up was always about straight hair. Sundays? Don't even think about going to church with kinky hair. It was just something that wasn't questioned, it wasn't a big deal, it just something that was always that way. We grow and learn. Thank you for your comment! Much Love.

    Like 0
  • Yes, yes and yes!! The one thing I KNOW FOR SURE is that my insecurity about my hair definitely started when I started socializing OUTSIDE of my family. It was the outside world that made me feel "oh...maybe my hair ISN'T really beautiful like Mommy says it is..." I say this because my FIRST DOLL was a Black doll with an Afro and her name was Tamu. You pulled a string and she spoke empowering words. All the dolls I had there after were Black BUT...they had straight hair. So I've been there being disenchanted with my hair. And I came to love my natural hair. And now honey, it's ALL ABOUT MY NATURAL HAIR!!! I wish I had embraced it Decades ago. Thank you Dee, for your inspiration.

    Like 0
  • Hey Dee, I enjoyed the blog post!!

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  • Thank you Beverly!

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  • The Motherland was worse. I never grew up with black dolls. We were too many kids in my family to have any dolls anyway, and dolls there were, were white. What we did was make our own dolls with the straight hair ofcourse. We used to watch " Little House On The Praire", and they had straight hair. The local programs were boring, and there was no "inspiration" there. I was in the Motherland almost 1½ years ago, and they still have white dolls only. In this day and age. :(

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  • Forgive all the spelling mistakes...There was no possiblity to edit. You get the idea...;)

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  • It is so sad to know that the Motherland is still entrenched in mental enslavement.... but not surprising considering the centuries of brainwashing due to colonialism.

    Like 0