Natural Exploration

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“It’s just one of them days…that a girl goes through…”

The date is set, circled and highlighted on my calendar, both at work and at home.  October 9th, Chris Rock’s Documentary ‘Good Hair’ opens in select cities, October 28th nationwide, and I along with a handful of friends will be front and center.  This will probably be the first time in a loooong time I might actually consider buying popcorn at the theatre to enjoy, because the anticpation and excitement really has me going! I’m beyond thrilled to be one of the first group of ppl. to see this documentary & hopefully the world will speak up by going out and supporting the cause. 

With a big name comedian such as Chris Rock frontlining this project, national publicity is the norm.  The whispers began when the film first premiered at Sundance several moons ago, and today….TODAY…the whispers are turning into leveled bouts of banter across the table.  The media is picking up steam as the film nears it’s release date, capitalizing on what’s often kept private and reclouse in the African American community.  The blogosphere has firmly weighed in, taking the conversation on natural tangents that, while uncomfortable, need to be discussed. 

The New York Times weighed in with the article, “Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics.”  While the article does an adequate job in touching on the topic of the inner politics of natural hair within the black community, the stars of the show are the commenters, some taking sides…others willing to explore the deeper meanings behind the idea of “good hair.”

For some, the battle lines are drawn.

But in recent interviews, a number of people of color expressed a weariness with the debate. They asked, essentially: Why can’t hair just be hair? Must an Afro peg a woman as the political heir to Angela Davis? Is a fashionista who replicates the first lady’s clean-cut bob really being untrue to herself?

Defintely well worth the read!  Click here to read the full article.  And don’t forget to skim through the interactive feature with several black women giving their two cents!

 

Our fellow Bellla over @ Afrobella.com  highlights another pretty sensitive topic in hot debate over at the Racialicious blog, “Are curls the new straight hair?”  If you’re hip to a lot of the birth control commercials out their with the ‘token’ black girl or the face wash commercials with the fair skinned ladies washing their face and smiling for the camera…you may have a hint as to the root of this discussion. 

The writer’s perspective is that of a German born/raised woman, but her experiences are culturally relative to many others who’ve tackled issues of hair texture/type/curl. 

Over the next weeks everywhere I looked, be it the streets of my city or most of he few female black German TV-presenters – it really seemed that nowadays the fly mixed or black girl hast to have curls. Generous, semi-loose curls that is, tight enough to give you the volume but loose enough to be considered beautiful in a more mainstream way.

Head over to the the blog and join in on the chatter by clicking here.

Both articles are well worth the read for varying reasons,  yet it was Afrobella’s response, “A Curly Conundrum,” that spoke directly to me:

I love to see natural hair in all its diverse and beautiful forms, from loose spirals to tight z shaped kinks, dense and thick to silky and sproingy. Every time I’ve been told by a bella on the street “I love your hair! But I can’t go natural because my hair isn’t like that,” I take the time to let them know:

  1. I once thought the same of my hair and honestly didn’t know what my texture would be until I gave it time myself, and
  2. the point of going natural isn’t to achieve a certain look — or at least that SHOULDN’T be the point. The point is to embrace your hair as it grows from your head, to keep it healthy and strong, and to learn to work with it in a way that’s relatively stress free and enjoyable.

I think hair should be an extension of your personality. An expression of self. So I always want my hair to be happy, healthy, a little wild, and free. Just like I always want to be.

 

What I’m in love with at the moment is not necessarily the controversy surrounding these debates, but the actual discussion…the talk and sparks that sort of fuel the passion of women of ALL communities involved.  While skimming through all articles and blog posts at work today…the undenying factor that shouldn’t be ignored, is that people have a voice and it is important for that voice to be heard.  Whether you’re Asian/German/African American/Nigerian/Somalian/Caucasian…the boat takes us all to the same place, we’re all swimming in the same waters.  Our roots/heritage are undeniably different, and our struggles vary from person to person…yet collectively self acceptance is our main goal.

Whether you’re natural/relaxed your voice does count, let it be heard by speaking up;-)

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5 Comments to “Natural Exploration”

  1. Please take a moment to check out my documentary film BLACK HAIR

    It is free at youtube. 6 parts including an update from London, England.

    It explores the Korean Take-over of the Black Beauty Supply and Hair biz..

    The current situation makes it hard to believe that Madame C.J. Walker once ran the whole thing.

    I am not a hater, I am a motivator.

    Plus I am a White guy who stumbled upon this, and felt it was so wrong I had to make a film about it.

    self-funded film, made from the heart.

    Can it be taken back?

    Link

  2. Im going to see this too, im going to take my sisters with me if i can as well. I think it will be an interesting movie.

  3. I have worn my hair natural since I was fifteen in high school and “nappy” is still viewed differently and as less desirable within the natural community.

    I have worn every natural style imaginable from a short Cesar to braids/twists, I even wore it in locs that I allowed to grow to my behind for eight years. The point is, I realized texture and length still means a lot to many people including naturals!

    When I wore my hair short and kinky before locing I never felt comfortable in high school. And as an adult the longer my locs grew down my back people that once detested them simply adored the style because of the length.

    I recently cut them off this year to allow my hair to be free and loose once again and it’s like dejavu, high school all over again. There is greater acceptance for curly naturals and as a result a lot of kinky and coily sistas feel marginalized when it comes to defining even “natural beauty” and as a result they buy tons products and spend excessive time for the supposedly “carefree” “shake and go” look. The author from Germany has a very valid point and it hold true for those of us in America as well.

    • i couldn’t agree more. ‘natural’ is not just that anymore, it’s more so a desirable ‘look’ that for some is unattainable no matter the type of product applied to hair. It’s like jumping from one pandora’s box right into the next…the focus is less on self acceptance but more so achieving the look of a certain model featured in a particular fashion spread…

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