The Hair Controversy

Illustrated by Jacqueline Davis Moranti

Hair is such a finicky subject especially for women of color. From wondering if your hair is too "untamed" looking for work to being able to go to school with dreadlocks and not being stereotyped as "dirty." Literally when I think of hair, I think of India Arie's hit song I Am Not My Hair. Its a song which talks about not being identified or type casted because of the style of hair you choose to wear because no one person is a monolith for a group of people. As I have mentioned before on the blog, I use to use chemicals to alter my hair to keep it  straight.  I did that for years since I was an infant to my early 20's and in all that time I never actually knew what my hair texture looked like under all of those chemicals. So when  I gave up the "creamy crack"/ lye  it was almost like a morbid curiosity to see how my hair grew the way God intended. I feel for women and men that hide their hair's natural texture intentionally and unintentionally because I too understand the hardships that come from it.

I recently watched a mini documentary by Elle on Braids And Appropriation In America. Historically, beauty in America has been centered around a Euro- centric standard. Which is also true today as we see the Kardashians, Katy Perry, and various other non person of color wearing braids and making it "cool." When someone who looks like me decides to wear her hair in cornrows or braids of some sort it's seen as unprofessional or ugly and sometimes they are even scorned for just wearing this protective hairstyle. A style that is historically worn by one culture is looked down upon but when given to another group, it's praised. Check out the video below.


I'll admit, that when I worked in office jobs, I felt constrained to keeping my naturally big hair in more tamer styles to fit in and not be judged. Fortunately it feels like lately, natural hairstyles are being accepted everywhere so no need to worry about whether you should keep your hair in a perpetual bun or blown straight, i'm lucky that in the creative fields that I work in I don't have to worry much about that anymore but I feel for my natural haired sisters. Dear readers, can you relate to this? What did you think about the video?

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Thanks for the sweet whispers! XO