As I’ve mentioned before, I have a pretty active engagement in the LinkedIn forum communities for writers. In fact, they’ve truly served to be one of the most important support systems I’ve had since I started writing full-time.
I couldn’t emphasize enough, the significance that the online community brings to the independent creative. As an independent creative representing a highly underrepresented and marginalized community, the need for community and support is paramount to success.
There aren’t many impoverished Black woman entrepreneurs rising to the top these days. My goal toward changing that circumstance, and all of the struggle I’ve survived as result, has proven such.
In any regard, for the first installment of #TellItTuesday, as with every first Tuesday of the month, I am discussing the topic of race. This first Tuesday, I am taking a stab at the conversation on Black hair, in particular natural hair.
As a Black woman with natural hair, I couldn’t speak enough about the ignorance surrounding the topic. That’s perhaps one of the most baffling and yet, fascinating aspects of being a “natural woman”. There is no understanding whatsoever of the nature of what comes out of a Black woman’s head and that’s wild, when you really think of it.
The African diaspora has been heavily represented in North America for more than 500 hundred years now, and yet the mystery of our lineage is as strong as the day we landed from the first African slave ship.
Black women have been in the world for like, ever, as we all know civilization began in Africa. Yet, we still don’t know how to comb our hair?! Something ain’t right.
“When we still live in a day and age, where the harshest critics of Blackness, are Black people, there hasn’t been any progress.”
I am constantly telling the people in my life how important it is for us to build more conversation about natural hair. In lieu of our efforts to rebuild the Black image and fortify our voice in the world as we know it, basic conversations about hair, skin and self-care must be addressed.
There can be no strength in the Black community if our people can’t even look in the mirror and feel proud of seeing their hair, skin or body as the way God ordained. Until the majority of Black people can take pride in all things that are Black, there will be no true Black success.
When we still live in a day and age, where the harshest critics of Blackness, are Black people, there hasn’t been any progress. When Black people are the biggest perpetrators of the greatest self hatred concepts like light skin vs. dark skin, nappy hair complexes and “Black people don’t do the sun”, we have not made it!
“Every time you wear those kinks and curls, you turn heads and change perceptions. Rock on curly girl.” -Knottyandnice
From the day my hair decided to go natural on its own (as my hardheaded behind wouldn’t budge any other way), the worse and most disrespectful comments and reactions I’ve received have come from Black people.
As crazy as it may seem, I find Black person after person who take an almost deep-set internalization of disrespect by my assertion of my Blackness. I’ve even been accused of being too Black, believe it or not.
There are many debates about the so- called significance of natural hair in the Black community, that I won’t bother to entertain. The most important thing is to build the conversation, so that it is discussed more often, while redirecting the ideas being discussed, to ensure the core of the matter is being addressed.
“They stare in awe of your curls and wonderment at your courage.” -Knottyandnice
Black hair, natural hair, kinky roots and curly tips define not only Blackness, but more importantly Black love. Our journey toward fortifying the love of all things Blackness, is about more about the human struggle to fortify all things love. To love oneself, is to love one’s neighbor, and that’s truly what this all about.
Any who, below is my comment from the LinkedIn discussion, which was inspired by a blog post titled, “DO BLACK WOMEN OWN “NATURAL” HAIR?” See my unedited response below.
“After more than five centuries in this country, Black woman’s hair, in its natural form, is still the greatest societal mystery.”
Great discussions! I’ve asked myself this question many times. On the whole, I believe natural means, organic, in such that one wears their hair how it comes out their head. No chemicals. No colors. No treatments. Just your hair. You style it, comb and wash it as you like. And what you’re styling is all of yours, from roots to your ends.
So, with that, I honestly do believe White woman can have natural hair and even go on a natural hair journey. Nonetheless, I believe the platform for blogs, forums and video discussions about Black natural hair, is significantly more important to the identity of Black people, culturally, socially and pathologically.
We were stripped of our natural lineage and roots, and in many ways, ‘going natural’ signifies reconnecting to one’s African and ancestral roots. In such, it’s important for these platforms to remain committed to fortifying that message and knowledge about the significance of natural hair.
After more than five centuries in this country, Black woman’s hair, in its natural form, is still the greatest societal mystery. Our natural hair communication platforms need to focus more on demystifying Black hair, as opposed to making it mainstream or appropriated. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to be apart of the conversation!