Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nappy Hair Politics

Two of a KindImage by aussiegall via Flickr

I am just asking. Please understand. And let me be clear. This is a honest, serious question. If Mrs. Obama's hair was in an attractive natural style, would she be more acceptable or less acceptable to blacks, whites, reds, browns, or yellows? I forgot to mention beiges, pinks, and all the other colors of the rainbow, male and female, and in between. Would it even matter? And if it does please tell me why?

I am feeling and expressing myself emotionally because at almost fifty years old, the realization that just being my natural self is a political statement seriously shocks me. The upsetting thing is the facts of this truth has been around me all of my life, but I would not see it.

Ironically, it is mostly black people who have a problem with my hair. I went back to school in my mid-forties at an all female catholic college. There was a black fellow older student, who wore a different synthetic weave or wig every week, that told me that my hair would hold me back from getting a job. She was a hair dresser, so a part of her livehihood was obviously invested in convincing women to believe that their natural hair was not enough. Then there was a suburban black woman who told me that "I wore my hair like women in the city." But the fact of the matter is that women of african descent have been wearing their hair short and natural for thousands of years. A woman thought I was gay because I had short hair. I did not catch on until the third time she asked me about lesbian lifestyles. I hate to admit it, but yes I am that thick and no, I am not making this up.

I grew up in the seventies during the time when the huge afro was in style. I fell in love with kinky hair's coarse texture, that pleasant scent of greased scalp and hair, and its soft lumpy cushiness. If only I had money and time, my hair would be in dreads like Toni Morrison's. Well, ok that is a fantasy. Those who know me understand that I would never be willing to invest any time in growing my hair. I like to be able to jump up, pick the lint from my hair and go. It is wonderful to feel the wind on my scalp after a haircut.

So what about the negative feelings out there about my hair? Hmmm. What does what other people think have to do with me?

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1 comment:

  1. Hello Judaye! Let me comment on your post. It's not so much about 1st Lady Obama's hair, as it is about POWER in the hands of black folks. If she wore an afro or weave--wouldn't matter. It's not ironic that black women have so many issues about our natural hair. Our shame is deeply embedded because of the negative and non-affirming feedback we have received over the centuries concerning our beauty.Thank God for the blogs which I call our online therapy rooms. Many women have been denied jobs because of wearing simple cornrows. Its political because many sisters had to fight the battle just to be ourselves in the workplace. Pamela Ferrell is a pioneer in this battle. Many gay women white or black wear short hair. In the 70s the Afro definitely was a political statement--a reclaiming of our personhoods through our hair. It intimidated many people and inspired many others. Sister Judaye, what people think about your hair has everything and nothing to do with you! Everything because your being natural can inspire a sister to be herself as she looks at you being yourself. Nothing because if someone doesnt get inspiration from your hair, then nothing's lost. You still are yourself!!
    Blessings napnatcool.blogspot.com