I got naked. I just took it all off and walked straight into my office as bare as I could be. No fake nails. No pedicure. No perm. I denounced it all, if only but for this moment in time where I am learning to love myself so that others learn how to love me too – in my purest and blackest form.
Black hair, in its natural state, has been demeaned and vilified for ages. From a very young age, I learned that my hair was something that had to be controlled, tamed and managed. It had to be pressed or permed so that I could look “presentable” in society.
I do need to mention that this is the same society which believed that my hair wasn’t the only thing that had to be controlled, tamed and managed. There was also culture and narratives and this little, big thing called freedom. But, I digress.
I bought into it – the “NORM” narrative – that I had to suppress the real image of me because it was deemed less than in the eyes of those who dominated and dictated the norm. So, it begs the question: do I learn the rules and play the game, or do I just flip the game table over?
It’s been a constant clash just like Washington and Du Bois: play the game or say, “Nah! I’m good, bruh!”
Black hair has been deemed “unprofessional” and less desirable since the beginning of colonization.
There really had to be a law put in place in California last year (as in 2019) to “ban the discrimination of Black hair in its natural state.” Like, this shouldn’t even be a thing, but it is and it is very necessary unfortunately. *Inserts shoutout to Cali!*
It is a luxury not to worry about if your hair in its natural state will keep you from getting a job and thus, impacting the financial trajectory of your life. Implicit bias is real. Prejudice is real. Racism is real. And, when they show up on the interview panel, all bets are off.
So, I learned the rules early.
1.) Take my braids out.
2.) Press my hair to flow like curtains on a clothesline in summer winds.
3.) Take off my hoops.
4.) Put on my mother’s pearls.
5.) Get the job, and then…
6.) Insert fro.
In the “Me” world, there is this constant struggle of give a little, take a little back. Give a little and take a little back. My blackness that is. Too much of it and people get offended, too little of it and my soul cries. Where’s the balance? Should there even be balance?
It was interesting to see who told me I was beautiful or that they loved my hair in comparison to the days I am playing by the rules. It was also interesting to see who sat in an awkward silence staring at my hair in its natural state wondering why it wasn’t controlled, tamed or managed–fearful that it would somehow crawl off my head, onto the table and bite their hands off. It’s kind of comical to watch.
Here’s the thing I’ve now settled: I’m Black. I was born Black. I’m dying Black, and I will not be asking permission another day to be what and who I already am. The knowledge inside my head has nothing to do with the hair that is on my head, and if the folk can’t see that, then they’ve lost out on a pretty awesome and educated chick. Totally their loss and not mine.
I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, a mirror that reminds you of how deep your natural beauty runs!
If this blog spoke to you, don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with your friends. If you’ve had a similar experience or can relate, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment! 😉