while i only have 1.5 inches of hair, it takes up a lot of my time and attention. in light of my
slight hair obsession, it was no surprise when i fell in love with sheena’s hair while watching the dc-based web series skye’s the limit. her curly mohawk with a splash of color is sick, and it immediately inspired me to create a blog post featuring her and other women, like natural belle, with mohawks or high top fades.
when i reached out to sheena about featuring her in the post, she mentioned something interesting; the perception people have that her natural hair journey was “easy” because her hair is curly. this made me think about my hair obsession and how it relates to texture. even those of us who chose to go natural to embrace our african heritage often retain this idea that “curly” equals “prettier” and, in sheena’s case, easier to transition. as evidence of this theory, think about the amount of time black women spend examining and diagnosing our strands of hair like they’re cells in a petri dish. 1a, 2b, 3c, 4x — the categories are as confusing as the damn periodic table, and most importantly, they undercut our uniqueness. there aren’t two strands of hair on our heads that are the same, let alone millions of people whose hair can be placed in the same categories.
for those of us with tightly coiled tresses (“nappy” as my grandma would say), we’ve traded the creamy crack of relaxers for another drug: products to release our curl pattern. while we may think that we’ve arrived at a higher state of consciousness and acceptance when we forgo chemicals to straighten our hair, the same insecurities abound, simply taking a different form. we trade the european standard of beauty for something in the middle, maybe bi-racial or puerto rican, and become obsessed with creating the loose curls previously assigned to “good” hair. while we may have done the big chop, we still have work around self-love and acceptance that needs to be done.
most importantly, the narrative around “good/bad” hair often overlooks the struggles faced by folks with “good” hair. possessing this attribute didn’t spare any of us the whip during slavery and surely doesn’t serve as a repellent for insecurities.
thanks to sheena for inspiring this post. check out the new episode of skye’s the limit on bluecentric.com.