Course, Kinky, Ethnic and Beautiful

 

I have literally been so excited to do this blog post, as you can tell by the photo above, because quite frankly I am not a fan of always repeating myself, explaining why my hair is longer by 6 inches all of a sudden, or why it stands straight when I tug on it, or why you can’t touch my hair. I can literally go on and on to debunk all the myths and legends of African hair. It’s nice to have one place where if I always get questions I can just say, “here’s a link, you can read and educate yourself.” Even though it may be annoying, in my experience, which could be different from others, people who were curious about my hair were not really ignorant,  they were just uninformed. I don’t blame them; it’s not their fault that they had not really been exposed to other textured hair or had the chance to learn about the many mysteries that is black hair. All the secrets as to how hairdressers can magically grow hair and cut hair by inches! Isn’t it baffling? For me it’s just another day. This post is in no way generalizing the experience that most black girl’s face, these are just what I have experienced.

Anyway, not to bore you and rant on and on about hair, I think I may just keep it short and sweet and focus on a key concept at a time.

It is very important that before I get into details, I must cover the basics.

1) Do not touch a black woman’s hair. Just don’t do it, no further questions. ‘Cause you do not know what you will be getting yourself into.

2) Black hair does not magically grow overnight into the shape of braids or long wavy locks. This may actually surprise some people but it’s all FAKE! Not fake hair, in a sense that the hair is not actually real, but fake in the sense that you can’t possibly grow 6 inches of hair overnight. Hair extensions are very real, people spends 1000$ on dollars getting the finest Brazilian or Indian hair. Hair that is attached by clips, pieces, weaves, that are sewn in or glued. And before you think or imagine some grotesque scene at a salon involving needles and some blood (sorry for the gory details) it’s far from that

3) Which brings me to my next point, because of the delicate craftsmanship that is braiding or fixing in a weave, if I say I don’t want to swim, that means I don’t want to swim. Adding braids equals more weight, adding water means I leave the pool carrying an extra ten pounds of weight soaked up by every strand of extension. I, personally, am not a weave person, but weavy people are probably scared that if they went in the water the pieces held on by glue will just roam free.

That being said, it is not a requirement to wash your braid/weave every other day. Some people do it but I am going to be honest I can go a month without washing out my braids. I know I know, you  are probably thinking that it’s gross.

But, in addition to preserving the artistry that is my hairstyle, on a more scientific note, unfortunately black hair doesn’t retain as much oil and dries out really quickly. That means the extra oils, and butters to keep it healthy and more braids in the winter.

5)When you are the only black girl in a classroom and there is that lone braid lying on the floor or even on the side walk and everyone looks at you, well it was not me. I just happened to be there at the wrong time, and it’s not even the right braid.

6)Hairstyles doesn’t necessarily dictate the type of person someone is. Braids, dreads, curls doesn’t mean she’s angry, a pot head or a vegetarian.

7) Yes it took me 7 hours to get these braids in and it was worth every second. It takes time to put in every single braid; it just doesn’t appear out of no where or people braid at incredible speed. And I quite frankly, enjoy those 7 hours because those hours I spend with my mother slowly adding on braids have been some of the most cherished moment I have had with her. So many memories of laughter, joy, and stories of life back home have all been shared in the presence of hair. And even if it is not my mother braiding, when I get nostalgic about Ghana some of the memories that always come back were my Saturdays spent in a crammed, hot, salon with women asking for elaborate styles to match the kente they were going to be wearing next day for church, or that event they wanted to be the centre of attention. I wouldn’t change those experiences for anything else in the world.

Even though it may be painful to get cornrows in, or it takes a long time to put in the twists, or endure the pain of a relaxer, even though I don’t agree with using artificial chemicals, there is a whole artistry behind African hair. The amount of hours that goes behind perfecting that cornrow, or the years young women spend apprenticing with masters to be able to create all these different hairstyles  amount to earning a respected occupation that can create something sophisticated and beautiful from something as simple as hair. Its a big part of many black cultures. Maybe no wonder people are so obsessed with it.

If you knew about most of this, kudos to you. If you didn’t, well now you know.

To end, check out this video featured on Vogue about none other than Lupita! Its a great perspective on what hair means to her.

I too am still learning about my hair everyday and can’t wait to share more about my natural hair journey and what my change in diet has helped.

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