I Love My Hair – Now

Crooklyn’s Troy
– the look on her face here says it all –
photo credit

When my mom had me, it was the seventies and she was all about the Afrocentrism thing. Black Power, Nubian Pride, Mama Africa, yadda yadda yadda… She cut off her perm and grew an afro. She cut her best friend’s shoulder length hair into an afro too, much to the chagrin of her friend’s ultra conservative, ultra traditional West Indian mother. But not before she gave my six-year-old head a matching afro.

After that, I spent most of my time either telling people I wasn’t a boy , feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have shiny, straight hair like my friends at school (all races, including black), or avoiding cameras at all costs. Pretty traumatic, actually… by kid standards.

Eventually, I did get a perm (against my mother’s will – a story for another day), but by that time, the damage had already been done. To this day I bob-and-weave when anybody pulls out a camera.

Fast forward to last week, when I came across this video –

All I can say is where was this when I was growing up? At the time, I was so desperate to conform to the beauty standards du jour that I didn’t realize my hair was, in fact, beautiful and versatile and a part of me that I should embrace and be proud of. I was just too young to see.

Hindsight is 20/20. Thanks Ma!

And thanks to vinegarandwater for sharing.

What were your childhood hair experiences? How did you feel about your hair growing up?

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7 thoughts on “I Love My Hair – Now

  1. To the little girl in you I am so sorry you had to rock a fro lol! The fro just wasn’t for everyone. Some people owned it and rocked it and made it hot. I know a professor in his 30’s that rocks a fro, a dashiki and Timberlands and I mean he wears this in 2012. It’s his style and it works for him but it’s not a style everyone can own. I never wanted strait hair. I wanted curly hair. I wanted hair like Chilli from TLC or Ashley Banks from Fresh Prince. I wanted that wash n’ go and long hair. I had long hair but it was thick and long. I was told I don’t have “That” kind of hair, stop wetting your hair but I was also told I had nice long thick hair. I didn’t care about any of that. I wanted “good hair” and I didn’t know I already had it. I had my own issues that I created when it wasn’t stretched. I know if I would have had a twist out or braid out I would have like it more. Oh and thanks for the reference 🙂

    • Thanks for the sympathy vinegarandwater! 🙂

      It was the seventies, so it was common for women to have afros, but not for little girls. In class pictures, you would see tons of ribbons and hair bobbles… and me in a pink dress with no hair. Sigh. But in all fairnesss to my Ma, she did do cornrows on my hair in some pretty intricate patterns. I loved when she did that because I’d get beads on the ends of the braids. When I would swing my head, the beads would sway… loved that! Beads were another big thing at that time.

      That “good hair” thing really bugs me. My grandmother is forever saying that I have “good hair,” that I got that from my father’s side. I really hate that because it implies that there’s something wrong with hair that doesn’t have big, soft curls or that doesn’t stretch almost to bone-straight.

      Hopefully, some day we will learn to love all textures, all skin tones, all variations.

      Thanks again for the comment!

      • Right but things are getting better with all the new information that’s being passed around now. I know a lot better now and the “Good hair” thing bugs me too. But when you’re a child you just say what you have been hearing. I like my hair a lot more now because I understand it much better than anyone else and i will love t even more when it’s healthy again. I’m looking forward to locking it in the near future.

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