Am I less Black because of what I do to my hair?
EDITOR: Historically, black women have been beaten, chastised and demeaned by black men and women for the amount of time spent adorning their hair when they could have been cooking and doing household chores for their families.
Culturally, black women have been ridiculed by black men and women for “doing all type of nonsense with their hair.”
Black female writers have written for and of the experience of black hair; often charting it as a journey of self-discovery and emancipation. My journey brings me to a place where I claim the agency and ownership of my hair which allows me to shave my head; twist my hair; lock my hair; press my hair; dye my hair; straighten my hair; wear a wig; wear a weave; wear braids; put whatever I want on my head whenever and however I want.
The policing of my hair choices is not my business. My business is centred on me: my self-perception; my health; my choices and my comfort. As a black woman my psycho-social construction is riddled with contradictions. This I know and this I navigate. I embrace the myriad and creative options for and of beauty available within my aesthetic construct. Thus the disapproval of my choices by anyone is registered as a mere right to self-expression as opposed to a legitimate attempt to influence my choice. Why should I be regarded as less black; “a sell-out” or insufficiently “natural” because of what I choose to do with my hair? Women and men of all races and ethnicities choose to adjust/enhance their self-presentations through the use of a variety of methods including the wearing of weaves, wigs, braids etc. But do we need validation from the practices of other races in order to accept our own choices? At this juncture in history when we as black people are determined to assert the essence of our humanity, I am asserting a black woman’s right to choose her crowning glory.