“I love my hair…you, not so much.”
— Natural Hair T-shirt
Ok, the quote above is a bit tongue in cheek, but the struggle of having a hair complex is very real. Seriously though, when I was growing up, it was during time when being a dark skinned little girl with short hair was not necessarily popular. Nobody wanted to be that. You wanted either to be light skinned or at least have long flowing hair—the looser the texture, the better. That may not be en vogue to admit now, but it was a very real feeling back then. And a very heavy weight to carry (queue “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu here…)
A Journey Back To Love: A look into my Natural Hair Journey and how it might give you LIFE…
Like most children, I had a best friend in elementary school. We were close (thick as thieves) up until the new girl arrived to our class. She had long, curly hair and everyone flocked to her when she arrived. She immediately became the most popular girl in class even though she was extremely shy and introverted. People gravitated towards her and wanted to be around her because of her social currency—a loose, curly hair texture and head full of long, shiny locks.
Suddenly, my best friend no longer wanted to be friends with me. She became best friends with the new girl who had the hair that everyone loved and coveted.
I vividly remember passing a note to my former best friend in class one day, asking her why she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. She responded dryly and unaffected by saying, “This is America and I can be friends with whoever I want to be friends with.” And that was the end of it. I had to find a new friend.
That was painful at the time and there were many other experiences I’ve had growing up that left me with a feeling of inferiority. There were undercurrents in many situations throughout my life that made it seem as though popularity or desirability was based upon your hair texture and length. And in fact it was, just think of the hair salon scene in School Daze. Especially during jr. high and high school…the most influential times when you’re growing up and forming your own identity.
These experiences planted a seed within without me even realizing it.
The reason why I am so passionate about what I’m doing now is because I don’t want any more little girls to grow up with that heavy burden. It hurts my heart just thinking of all of the #blackgirlmagic being smothered and silenced by negative messages we subtly, and not so subtly pass downs to our girls — these negative ideas about beauty that get recycled generation after generation.
The way we can break the pattern is by reaching the mothers of little coily-haired girls everywhere. We have the power to destroy the stigmas and negativity surrounding afro-textured hair. We can get rid of “good hair” vs. “bad hair” so that no little girl will feel like she’s less than. My mission is to affect people by fostering pride within them about their own hair texture, and I do that through my creations of natural hair accessories.
Let’s work towards eliminating the stigmas together, so that little girls everywhere can recognize, honor, and be unapologetic in their own beauty.
Can you relate? Do you have a hair story that profoundly impacted you? Share it with me in the comments below…I’m listening…
And if you’re on the shy side, here’s a great natural hair tee to let folks know how you really feel…