I recently read a quote by Marcus Garvey that goes like this: “Don’t remove the kinks from your hair. Remove them from your brain.”
There was a certain degree of validation I felt once I read that; it’s been two years since I removed THE KINKS IN MY BRAIN by putting them BACK into my HAIR.
Never before have I felt so liberated.
To openly defy the Eurocentric standard of beauty by wearing one’s hair au naturel isn’t as easy as it looks; it actually takes more strength and courage than one might believe. When I first received my natural, more than a few family members looked at me as if I had cut off my hair so I could pick up FIVE EXTRA HEADS.
Even the kids at my daughter’s school responded negatively to my new ‘do; they even went so far as to start calling me “Lesbo”, all because I no longer had a perm. All because I no longer wanted to continue disrespecting my Ancestors by telling them that who they were, and the legacy they established and bequeathed to me, wasn’t good enough for me.
When the name-calling started, my daughter and I had a little “talk” about my hair, and about why my hair being in its natural state would make people say something so ignorant and stupid.
I made an observation: “Were any of these same kids calling me ‘Lesbo’ when I had a perm?”
“No,” she replied.
“There you have it. Your classmates are so accustomed to accepting the anti-Afrocentric standard for just about everything – especially beauty – that to see anyone bucking that system makes them uncomfortable. The sad part is that they don’t realize that what they are really saying is that they can only be beautiful as long as they are trying to look like something they’re not.”
“I understand that now, Mom. Thanks.”
After we had that talk, she was fine with it. In fact, not long after that, my daughter began experimenting with natural looks of her own. Now she has this cute little naturally wavy Afro. In fact, she told me that some of her classmates even call her “Afro”.
When I asked her how she felt about that, she said that she was “fine” with it, and that it didn’t bother her.
And, if you’re reading this, and are trying to decide for yourself if you should do the same, how anyone else may respond to it SHOULDN’T BOTHER YOU, EITHER.
- It takes you one step closer to the Ancestors. They didn’t have all of that chemically processed crap in their scalps. Why should you?
- It’s the first tangible proof of your Spiritual evolution. NOTHING says you’re going through some changes the way doing something drastic to your hair does.
- It forces you to stop hiding. Ever notice that how in a room filled with processed/dyed hair and weaves going down to places that shall not be named that it’s the Sisters and Brothers with Afros, Baby Afros, Twists, and Locs who are the ones who IMMEDIATELY grab your attention? My point exactly. When you can no longer hide, the only other option is to step up.
- It emancipates you from a standard of beauty that has made BILLIONS from telling you that you’ll NEVER measure up. Do you know how CRAZY you look chasing a standard that disrespects you every chance it gets? Know that, thank you. Moving on…
- It brings you one step closer to your Real Self. When viewed through the lens of Spirituality and Culture, getting a natural is but one step on the road to discovering the person you were always meant to be, before bull**** and other forms of nonsense got in the way.
- It gives you permission to tell YOUR TRUTH. Never in my life have I felt so EMPOWERED to be REAL with myself, which in turn has given me the courage to say things and do things that I always avoided out of fear that no one would like me anymore for saying and doing those things. Now, I just speak my Truth, and leave it up to others to decide for themselves how they feel about it. I never had that kind of freedom until I hacked that god-awful perm off my scalp. It’s an experience that I highly recommend.
- You STOP apologizing for NOTHING, and You challenge EVERYTHING. You no longer feel the need to apologize for your existence, and you challenge anyone who dares to suggest that because you’re Black and female, there are certain things that you should accept as being naturally “out of your lane”. At this point, the only limitations you are willing to accept are the ones that you place on yourself.
- Walking around with a head free of chemicals makes you the baddest MF people know. At least, it would certainly seem so. I couldn’t tell you how many times other Sisters have said to me that they’d go natural “if only” they had the nerve, and that they admire and envy my courage to do what they truly believe they can’t. It’s unfortunate that white supremacy is so POWERFUL that there are Sisters out there who are too afraid of the “fallout” of getting rid of their perms and weaves to explore the power that comes to them when they tap into their inner Queen.
Well, those are my 8 reasons. Can you think of any more? If so, drop me a line, and tell me about it.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out this video