Hair might seem inconsequential to some folks but to most people of color, our hair is a major part of our identity because it has for so long been criticized. And in much of the colonized regions of the world, there were few if any products available to correctly care for our hair.
Now add on to that being mixed … Being mixed means your hair will fall on any part of the spectrum between your parents’ hair textures. Even if your parents have more kids together, chances are their hair will be nothing like yours either.
Our skin color is pretty much whatever it’s gonna be. Our clothing is basically whatever is available in our environment but HAIR CAN BE WHATEVER WE WANT IT TO BE…
it’s the one area that we can let run wild and rampant or totally straighten or
do a thousand other things in the middle.
For me and many other mixed kids, if we had a European parent, they often did not have a clue what to do with our hair, so they just tended to our hair the same way they did theirs… which usually has disastrous results.
When my hair was short my mom was able to keep it flat and smooth. But once it grew out to my shoulders are further, my hair became this conglomeration of various structures struggling for domination.
This is why when I was 12 and starting to find my way in this world of identity, my hair was a major battleground.
Imagine thinking you had straight hair your whole life, only to wake up one morning after going to bed with half wet hair to see CURLS for the first time.
That year I had all the madness that mixed hair can bring…. frizzy pony tails, bird’s nest buns, slippery scalp but dried ropes at the ends… I could scream now just thinking about it.
IT WASN’T UNTIL ADULTHOOD THAT I REALIZED… WHATEVER MY HAIR WAS DOING SHOULD BE TOTALLY FINE AND F*** ANYONE WHO THOUGHT OTHERWISE.
This is what my hair does.
When moisturized, it curls and waves at people.
When dried out, it frizzes
When pinned up, it fights to free itself.
When tied in a pony tail, it rises up with the wind and reminds you that you got Africa in your roots. Don’t forget it.
I can wrap it up in scarves, put gold ropes in it, bows, ribbons or not a damn thing at all… and whatever part of my DNA my hair embraces today is perfectly fine with me.
ANOTHER STRUGGLE BACK THEN WAS THE CULTURAL OBJECTIFICATION AND SHAMING… But that’ll go in Episode 2, which when I write it will have a link RIGHT HERE. Til then…
Salam. Ohm. Sabali. Peace.