My natural hair isn’t a statement.

Photo-on-10-1-12-at-8.19-PMMichelle Mabson,
Ann Arbor, MI.
Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan

I wear my hair the way it grows out of my head…no chemical enhancements. BUT for some reason…a reason I suppose I know all too well, the act of wearing my ‘natural’ hair is seen as larger than life. Maybe it’s the fact that it grows up and out instead of down…or the fact that it adds inches to my height. Or that it bounces with every step I take. To many people, it’s a political statement. I’m going against the grain. Because MY ‘natural’ hair is not the conventional form of Western beauty. It’s ‘softer’ than it appears (or so I’ve been told..and EACH time against my will). For whatever reason (and again, I suppose I KNOW the reason), people feel they can ask me to touch it. Or touch it without even asking. And then feel as though they are entitled to touch it without my consent. And then make comments on it. And because I wear my hair up and down and curly and straight, I am told I wear it ‘too many’ ways. I suppose it’s the same reason people are up and arms when the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, cut her hair into bangs. Trust me. I’m sure the last thing she considered were the politics of her hair. BUT THAT’S JUST IT. MY hair IS political. If you don’t believe me, just look up ‘the politics of Black hair’. It’s a gift and a sad curse. It’s a movement. It’s an identity. It’s going against the norm. And at the end of it all, it’s taking back what has always been my own. My God given gift. A part of me no chemical will ever get a chance to change.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • Your hair is simply a style that you chose. Just as my daughter’s regularly straightened hair is simply a style that she chose…and just as the perms that many white women get are simply the styles that they choose.

    But there are some among us that will make any choice about hair into a political one…about wanting to look white or wanting to be über-black. Look at James Brown’s hair and tell me that he was trying to look white.

    The one thing I really like about natural hair (aside from how much less it costs to maintain) is that you can get it wet without fear. I know of too many black women who used to love to go swimming until they got their hair straightened.

 

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