Monday, March 1, 2010

I Am Not My Hair...But I Am

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend?
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity...
I Am Not My Hair - India Arie

I just watched Good Hair by Chris Rock and I was floored.  I learned so much!  I recommend this movie to anyone, black, white, or otherwise, who is interested in learning about an entire culture of men and women who express themselves (for better or worse) through their hair.  It made me think a lot about myself.  I'm currently transitioning from the so-called "creamy crack" to natural hair and it's not easy.  The pressure to conform to the ideal of straight hair is enormous.  My own grandmother who I think the world of and who understands me better than anyone else can't even understand why I'd want to go natural.  She asks me every weekend when I go visit her what on earth I'm going to do with my hair if I don't have a relaxer.  Really, I'm not 100% sure.  What I am sure of is that there are plenty of fabulous styles I can try out until I figure out what works best with my hair and my face.  I'm also sure that I want to express myself and be proud of how I look without having to use harsh chemicals to try to achieve an impossible ideal.  Maybe I'll never look like the models in the magazines or the famous black women with gorgeous (often $1000+ Indian weave) hair that I see on television, but I'll be myself and I'm cool with that.

This movie really inspired me to just not care what other people say about my hair because in the end it's not really the most important thing about me.  Just like there's nothing wrong with people who decide for personal reasons to dye their hair or use weaves to have beautiful and model-esque hair, there's nothing wrong with me for wanting to truly be natural and embrace what makes me an African American.  Both choices are okay and don't reflect anything positive or negative about what kind of people we are.

I say all this but it's not easy.  It's hard not to judge myself for my choice and it's hard not to judge other people for taking what appears to me to be the easier route by conforming to what society says we should look like.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't conflicted.  I'd be a hypocrite if I said that I didn't envy those women with "good hair."

Why on earth does this matter?  Why is this my first post?  I really want to have another outlet outside of my business blog where I can say whatever is on my mind and truly express myself.  I need a place where I can write something longer and more in-depth than what I can say in 140 characters on my Twitter page, so this is it.  I hope you'll feel free to comment, agree, disagree, debate, react, etc. at any time!


  1. hmmm I do want to see this movie.. I saw some previews for it on some talk show...I do not often pay attention to the shows but I do remember thinking it looked like a good show... if my hair is saying anything about me ( which I do know it is ) I know it is not saying nice things... it has no style... almost never gets brushed ( can not believe I admitted that) and is just icky. One of my rewards when I lose weight will be to do something with it.. which is the problem.. I have NO clue what to do with it.. but I will be taking before and after pictures when I figure it out :)

  2. I loved that movie! I did not know half of that about fake hair, and it is amazing to me how addicted people are to getting it done and spending that much money on fake hair.

    Natural is the way to go!

  3. I haven't seen the movie, but I am intrigued now. You know when we were in high school I hardly ever did something with my hair. It always bugged me that people had an opinion on what I should do with MY hair. And then the constant wanting to touch it like it was some hot item they just needed to be apart of. My friends playing in my hair was one thing *I enjoyed that it was comforting* but strangers or people I just outright couldn't stand touching me...yeah it got annoying.

    Now I get it done every few months *relaxer*, its my little treat and I love coming home and hearing "wow you look great, boys look! your mom looks great! Yeah mommy you look really pretty!" LOL. :) I like the ego boost and being with someone who is completely happy with my hair as long as I AM happy with my hair is the most important thing.

    I think that is the biggest thing how do YOU feel about it? It's YOUR hair. Society loves to tell us what we should or shouldn't do, but at the end of the day this is OUR life and WE must be happy with it.

    Be it with a natural look, "good hair", or weavy wonder, as long as you are happy with who looks back at you in the mirror than nothing else matters.

    *But just as an aside* I do think folks are wasting their money on weave. Some of that stuff gets very pricy, while having long hair is nice, spending a few hundred books every 3-4 weeks just seems insane!!