Summer '16 has been so full of Black Girl Magic and Melanin! It has flooded timelines across all platforms. Yet, there is still one thing that can always cast a shadow over our achievements, and it’s this little thing called hair. For some reason, our gloriously coiled strands cause mass pandemonium in a number of situations. Here are a few examples of what I mean.
A couple weeks ago, I was askee to be the guest on a radio show where we discussed black hair. The big issue was Ms. Gabby Douglas.
During the course of the Olympics, we watched Gabby Douglas, for the second time, get vilified over her edges. EDGES ya’ll! Because they were not ‘laid to the gods,’ she was dragged through the mud, by her own people. She is an OLYMPIAN folks; and not once, but twice. And yet, it doesn't seem to matter.
Youtuber Karen Constant, better know as Glamfun decides that being natural just wasn't working for her, so she relaxed her hair. She was tired of the hassle of finding the right products, detangling, the salons, etc. She was ready for a break. When she posted her video of her new ‘do’, her followers were not the most sympathetic to her very personal decision. The comments rolling in were so bad, that she removed the video altogether.
Alicia Keys decided in March to stop wearing make up because she desired to feel free. Many Black women were not pleased. So when attending the VMA's with no make up AND a cute messy bun, they now thought her hair was just as ‘uncouth’ as her face. It’s as if a bare face and curly hair is a crime now: when did it become a crime to be yourself?
With each of these situations, it seems impossible for black women to win. We are always between a rock and a hard place. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. As we struggle to fit into a society that doesn't deem us worthy of protection and love, now we can’t fit in with each other. Where is it safe for black women to be free?
We don't need any Relaxed Renegades, Natural Nazis, and Weave Warriors coming for each other about their hair choices. Last I checked, we were all black women and we all had hair. We have enough people out to get us. We have to stick together. Remember ladies, a house divided against itself cannot stand.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx