“…apparently my “hair speak” doesn’t translate well.”
Speaking on Natural Hair
©2016 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved
When I think about a current personal protest; I think about my daughter’s hair. I have kept her hair it’s natural texture purposefully. I was concerned with maintaining her hair’s length and health. I didn’t have much hair on my head while growing up and hers has always been so bountiful. For myself, I have gone back and forth with relaxing for some years before deciding within the past two years to remain natural. It’s a hard decision, that has surrounded me with judgements from colleagues, friends, family, and prospective employers. I read an article on madamenoire.com, and the portion that stuck with me is “people judge you by what they think your hair is saying.” I know my hair says I accept and love myself. But, apparently my “hair speak” doesn’t always translate well. I’ve seen a number of friends of all hair types suffer from hair loss. A number of women in my community suffer from alopecia. My goal is to keep my hair, and to guide my child in the knowledge that hair length, health, and versatility is a goal. I tell her to smile like Viola Davis at the Oscars with that spectacular green fitted dress and her own lovely locks. I want her to ignore controversy and set trends. I’ve told my child to be daring with her dos and wear wigs, weaves, pieces-but keep natural growth healthy. I tell her to avoid hair extensions done in salons, that pull and break hair leaving one with shorter hair than when the extensions began and compromising hair edges. We have all seen women of color with wispy edges and bald spots. I feel like Ms. Davis’s character on the show How to Get Away With Murder; in the mirror scene where she snatches off her wig. Done with faking it! Upworthy.com posts that Viola was only supposed to remove her makeup. She went a little further, and send a shock through me as I watched. I just knew that the next social media minutes following would be filled with commentary on her actions….all because she had the audacity to show her hair.
So there you have it, my protest. Where I risk being judged as ugly, unprofessional, lazy, and foolish. As my child turns twelve at the end of December, she requested box braids for her birthday; always done without extensions, just her natural hair. I know other mothers out there are smiling, because they know there will come a time for her to make her own styling decisions. I know, I’m smiling too. I’m also praying she makes the healthy decision. Protest.
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