When I read Oprah’s hair stylist, Andre Walker’s, negative comment about black women’s natural hair, I said to myself, “Walker, you have done it now.” Don’t you know there are two things you don’t talk negatively about to our race and that’s our hair texture and the color of our skin.
In 2011, Walker told Elle Magazine, “Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type that I suggest altering with professional relaxing.” That statement is ridiculous, to say the least because natural hair has limitless styling options, whether it is wavy, curly or kinky, it can be worn in it’s original state, loc, slicked back, braided, corn rolled, twisted or straight (blow dried or by using another heating device).
Comments like these hit a nerve with black women because our hair issues began during slavery. And we are still battling the good hair/bad hair syndrome in our community, homes and how it is sometimes negatively portrayed in the media.
During slavery we didn’t have time to groom our hair like we did in our homeland. According to Wikipedia’s page regarding Afro-textured hair, “American slaves wore matted and tangled locks, instead of the well maintained, long, thick and healthy tresses worn by their brethren left in Africa. The female slaves wore scarves and handkerchiefs or plaited and braided their hair. And women with long and/or wavy hair were prone to becoming objects of jealousy by the master’s wife and were often forced to cut their hair, making them look less feminine” (www.wikipedia.com).
We went through centuries trying to fit in with the look of mainstream America by using heating devices and all types of chemicals to straighten our hair. But in the late 60’s, some embraced the afro and we had a generation who was now proud to wear their hair in its natural state. It’s been over 50 years since then but some are still hesitant about going natural because they don’t know how their new look is going to be perceived by society.
Oh yes, there are many reasons why we may be sensitive regarding our hair. And we don’t appreciate anyone who tries to put us down or take us back because we’ve made the choice to wear our hair natural.
Because in actuality, whether we choose to wear it natural, relaxed, weaved, corn rolled, twisted, loc, braided, etc. every style option is beautiful because we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
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