Hair today, gone tomorrow – the ever evolving mystery of black women and their hair. One day short next day long, one day kinky, next day straight. We can’t deny, that every strand of our hair is coated in art, politics and history. We also can’t ignore the struggle black women still face around the acceptance of their hair. So, when presented with the opportunity to educate the masses, we must not reduce the lesson down to a black woman having a Britney Spares moment. And yes, I’m talking about the fiasco that is Nappily Ever After. I have to apologies for littering social media with my investigation into Nappygate but I desperately needed answers.
I’ve never cringed so hard at a film; I had to hit the forward button at one point because I felt slightly disturbed by Ms Lathan’s acting (you can probably guess which scene 🙄). No doubt the film was trying to convey some kind of positive message about ‘self-acceptance’ but it was hard to find under all the contradictions.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; our hair is not and should not ever be referred to as ‘nappy’, ‘picky’, ‘tough’ or ‘bad’. It’s utter nonsense; there is no such thing as nappy or bad hair – there is badly looked after hair, that’s it!
We also don’t need another film proposing that black women can’t accept their hair because they haven’t yet accepted their singleness. Black woman can’t keep a man, black woman cuts off hair, black woman finally accepts her singleness (or finds a man who now loves her #shorthairdontcare attitude). Really black hollywood, really? It’s a played out and grossly incomplete narrative. Yes, some women choose to cut their hair for purposes of liberation but equally, some women choose short back and sides for practical reasons.
Believe it or not sistas also choose to wear weaves for practical reasons. There isn’t always a deep self-loathing attached to not wearing our own hair. And what’s more mind blowing; not all weave wearing sistas have ‘nappy‘ hair.
My sistafriend is currently at risk of having her #staywoke visa revoked by the ‘blackness’ police. Apparently, she’s not able to occupy the space of being conscientiously black whilst having permed hair. Tis another redundant, superficial assertion about black woman and their identity.
No doubt we find identity in the way we wear our hair. But can we get to a time in the black experience when we stop telling half stories about our self-loathing traumatic experiences of hair and instead layout complete narratives. Yes, there is a complexity to our hair, but these intricacies aren’t always connected to internal negative experiences. Our hair can be an education, it can be an expression of our artistry and simultaneous rebellion against ideas that Africans had little to no creative power prior to European involvement. Moral of the story, don’t be so quick to jump on the ‘nappy‘ hype. A sista might switch it up on you, just because she can. Today a TWA, tomorrow box braids, next week headscarf, next month weave; hair today, gone tomorrow – it’s as simple yet profoundly ornate as that!