The afro. Wow, I don’t know where to begin but I will say this, it’s fucking awesome. Though Blacks are victims to centuries worth of conditioning, I think it’s safe to say that hundreds of years later the fro is rapidly making a comeback... but for how long is it going to stick around this time?
Can Kinky Equal Sexy?
(Battle of the tresses)
Technically this is just history repeating itself for in the 1960s and 70s, African Americans sported their natural tresses as a way of rejecting western standards of beauty. However, this powerful movement died as quickly as it was born. Thus a risen interest in chemical relaxers, jherri curls, and every weave you can think of became extremely popular. So much for Black pride huh?
In recent years there’s been a sudden change of heart. Not only are an increasing number of average joes on the street proudly wearing their curls and kinks like the olden days, but mainstream celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon as well. R&B singer Chrisette Michele, who went completely bald stated:
“I was tired of black sistas feeling subject to having their hair pressed and straightened, and damaged with relaxers, and heat. So I wanted to make short and nappy hair fashionable, and let the industry know that there is nothing wrong with the texture that we have been born with. So I plan to grow it out to the big beautiful nappy hair that I have."-Chrisette Michele
Sounds dandy and shit, but my real concern is this: Is it just a fad? After all, we still live in a warped society that considers blondes with long hair and blue eyes the ultimate ideal. Only time will tell how long Black women decide to ride this out.
I myself went to hell and back struggling with my hair. I’ve alternated back and forth from natural to straight for my whole life trying to find a style that reflects my true identity. At the early age of eight I was brain washed like many little black girls into thinking my tresses were a ‘curse’.
(No fluffy for Puffy)
A few years down the line, I successfully transitioned back to natural without losing a strand. Mom purchased books on kinky styles to remind me that I looked beautiful the way I was. Junior high was a breeze, experimenting with styles and color; Red, Orange, Blonde, Copper, you name it! I was pretty comfortable in my own skin. But the worst was yet to come.
Fast forward to high school, smack dab in the heart of Brooklyn’s inner city. Apparently my ‘nappy head’ was offensive to others. On multiple occasions, I was called ‘Mufasa’ because of my big Gold mane. Even my best friends at the time ridiculed my hair. I tried my best to ignore it but the insults began to eat away at my emotions. My parents continued to enforce natural beauty in my home but this time around I stopped listening. Images forced down my throat by way of music television in conjunction with ten-inch yaki ponytails overpopulating my school clouded my brain. I had fallen victim to the belief that kinky equaled ugly.
After much begging my dad gave me money to get a perm. Once I stepped out that salon you couldn’t tell me shit! I thought I was all that and a bag of chips.
Men would gawk, compliment me, or try to get my number. I loved all this newfound attention. Eventually my hair suddenly fell out due to over processing and by senior year I had a short pixie and I HATED it with a passion. For the following two years my hair consistently fell out after transitioning then going right back to relaxers three times in a row.
Finally I said fuck this!
Last year I went in my bathroom mirror took a good look at myself and chopped all my hair off down to its natural state. I felt free at that particular moment but the next day I thought I was the ugliest person on Earth. It seemed like my world turned upside down. The brothas stopped talking to me, strangers stared, pointed, and laughed. But you know what I kept it moving although my self-esteem plummeted. Eight months later here I am with a full head of healthy hair and dammit I’ve never been this happy in my entire life. I no longer have to run from rain or worry about touch ups. I’m proud to say this is ME and I feel ten times more attractive with my kinks.
So I leave you with this question: will kinky hair ever be considered sexy, even if it is well taken care of, fits your personal style, and you’re exuding confidence?
To me, natural hair isn’t just a style, it’s a different texture like any other and for some people a state of mind. Sure, it’s considered a statement in environments where one central idea of beauty is praised but in the real world hair it’s only hair. If Black women continue this pattern of fearlessly donning their kinks and curls at work, in the streets, and more importantly in the media maybe one day it will be apart of the norm.
I have hope.