We (black girls) never seem to win.
It’s not like this wasn’t apparent to me before… but on that particular Friday when I had left my earphones at home- a particularly interesting conversation between a group of black girls and guys caught my attention. They were arguing about hair. According to some of them, weaves and wigs were simply for insecure girls too ashamed to wear their real hair. Others argued that weaves were a blessing for those of us with “the more tightly curled hair”.
Opinions on black hair within the black community are divided. From the strange look you get from a ‘concerned’ relative when you decide to rock your fro to the debate of natural versus relaxed. There is always a point of discussion. There is always something to be said. Like a tweet I read, which mocked natural girls on the premise that being natural was for broke people. Or- if we flip it around- the black women who argue that fellow women who wear weaves are basically “trying to be white”.
There seems to be a kind of pompousness that has trailed behind the wonderful going natural movement. This pompousness has caused some members of the movement to look down upon any other black woman who are not natural. It’s almost as if being natural comes with a sense of enlightenment which means that any woman with a wig, weave or the like is instantly seen as a problem.
This is where I have a problem. It is one thing to acknowledge that some black girls may feel insecure because of their hair and it is another to link this insecurity with simply experimenting with your aesthetic. To assume that all girls who wear weaves are insecure is too broad a generalisation (IMO). Because, let’s be honest, when it’s cold outside, some of us would like to keep those ends wrapped up and look good whilst doing so.
To clarify, we should not ignore the fact that some black girls feel insecure about their real hair, NEITHER SHOULD WE ASSUME THIS IS THE CASE FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.
I know for a fact that some of us may use wigs, weaves and braids not as a protective style or simply as an aesthetic change but as a ‘cover-up’. I know some us cannot get our heads around the fact that *Jane* over there is rocking her tightly curled hair up in a high puff. I know some of us may agree with the girl who said being natural equates to being broke because you can’t afford to buy any “inches”. But I also know that for some of us, wearing wigs and weaves is not a reflection of our insecurity.
And for the black women and the black men who criticise those of us who wear our natural hair out… Well then. Remember that your comments may affect the woman, who, on the basis of your words decides to “go natural”; only to become subject to even more negativity. Let’s take, for example, the guy who asked a friend why she doesn’t just “do something with her hair” as if the flat twist out she’d spent her morning perfecting was not “done” enough.
Sorry, but I beg to differ.
The focus, in my humble opinion, needs to be on the maintenance of the health of our hair– as opposed to shaming and condemning others for the styles they choose.
I love my natural hair. I love the tight curls. I love how I can experiment with its texture using bantu knot outs or twists. I love how I can rock a fro if I feel like it. And I also love the fact that if I wanted to get a weave or braids I could- provided my bank account isn’t looking a lil’ bit…
So there is no team this versus team that debate in my eyes. This means that you do not tell me that my natural hair looks “nappy” or “too bushy” nor can I assume immediate superiority over another woman rocking a wig.
Choices will always be criticised or ridiculed. A black guy once told me my hair looks like pubes. Well, let me just add in the adverb “cute” there… A black girl once asked another why she wears weave. But in reality, her enquiry was more like an inquisition. When there are already numerous ways in which black hair is discriminated against- externally– there is no need to perpetuate these attitudes against ourselves.
Just remember that when we take out the braids, the weave and the like- what we are left with is what we should love.
And with this realisation comes the ability to justify exactly why I stopped caring.