Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Hair Diaries

Jeez. The weight we carry with our hair. It is heavy, heavy, heavy. While I certainly understand the historical events that led to the psychological impact hair has had on Black women or women of African descent (which generally includes Latin/South American women as well) it still baffles me from time to time. I myself made a comment about my girl crush Gabby's weave on this here blog that some might strongly disagree with. Let's face it, people have been having this discussion for decades. Recall last post when I reminded everyone that a woman is never just one thing? Well, clearly a lot of folks still haven’t received that memo. Straight, long hair (particularly if it’s a weave) means one is superficial; empty even. Twists, afros, and the like signify a strong sense of self-pride. And locks? Lock wearers are bona fide righteous, card carrying ‘I know everything about the motherland’ sistas.

Well guess what? I have met my share of empty, superficial lock wearers. And I know some folks with relaxed hair that can teach a college course on the African diaspora. More often than not, a woman changes her hair in conjunction with what is going on in her life and I have found this to be true with females of all races. I have been ‘natural’ (meaning there has been no permanent chemical processing on my strands) for over seven years. However, I’ve been blowing my hair out or pressing it for the past year or so. I just got bored. Occasionally I will still rock it twisted and kinky - depends on how I feel. I am presently eyeing a braided style (haven’t had braids in a minute) for the fall and once I’m sick of those I’ll probably cut it. But I’m still Bsquared. Scared of pigeons, Nasir Jones lovin’, calligraphy writing, always looking for a bargain, magazine junkie B. Despite all those hairstyles, who I am doesn’t change.

The too fly for words Sonia Sanchez reminded me and many others of this last week in NYC’s Central Park. She recently chopped off her locks. Ms. Sanchez noticed that while it was a significant difference in her appearance, the reactions she received from her peeps were overwhelming. Good, bad or indifferent, everyone had so much to say about her new 'do. Ms. Sanchez pointed out that its a shame people don’t pay nearly as much attention to eyes, lips or even knees. (Really think about that...)

I am the first to admit that self-hatred, particularly as it relates to self image is very damaging. Crippling even. I cringe every time I hear someone speak the words ‘good hair’. Like it’s not 2007 and we don’t know any better. (Thank goodness my father never allowed me say that.) Our hair should never, ever define us. Rather, we define our hair - in ALL it’s many variations. Now my great-aunt Marion in Chatham County, North Carolina is not going to stop saying ‘good hair’. Bless her heart. But let’s not allow another generation to stay limited to archaic notions about that stuff that grows from the top of our heads.

We’re much too fly for that.

Bsquared’s Note: I have some exciting, service-driven, ‘news you can use’ type stuff coming down the pike but I just had to post this ‘cuz it was on my mind.

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