Friday, April 20, 2007

My Hair, Her Hair

To anyone who cares or who has ever wondered (I'm talking about by family and friends or those who know me personally ya'll), this is why I locked my hair. You've undoubtedly seen me in every hairstyle known to black woman. Because of this, I made a pledge to my unborn daughter to never straighten her hair. When she was born, I new that I couldn't put the responsibility on her alone to keep my pledge. I remember when I was about, oh 6, 7, or 8, Laverne (our beautician) burned me so severely with her shaky hands that I had to go to the doctor to get prescription antibiotics. After I healed up, we went right back to her, or someone else, I can't remember. I can't be mad at my mom, because we (black women) have all struggled with what is beautiful for so long. I don't want to struggle anymore. I promise to stay nappy like God made ME, and to always, when I look in the mirror, see the beauty he did when he created me. If I have one ounce of low self esteem, how will my baby girl ever realize how strong she has to be. This post is dedicated to her and to every girlfriend and cousin who've been programed to believe that their natural hair is ugly. I love you.
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3 comments:

Patrice said...

Hey Nikki! Thanks for posting this about our beautiful "nappy" hair. I have "horror stories" of my own about getting burned, and the last time it happened, sometime around 1967, I vowed that I would let the straightened hair grow out and never put chemicals in my hair again. Fortunately for me, it was in the midst of the "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud" 60s and 70s, so getting a 'fro was easy; everybody else was doing it. Keeping it was harder; I had lots of pressure to straighten my hair, even in the 70s.

In any event, I've kept that vow, having worn my hair very short and natural since 1974, and recently trying out locks. I've been thinking about going back to the shorter style (it's so much easier to maintain), but either way, the chemicals won't be in it.

The conditioning from mainstream society to straighten our hair is a hard thing to overcome, however. I had my daughter's hair in braids at one point and a short natural at another, and each time she was mercilessly teased by her peers in elementary school. So she opted to get it straightened as a teenager. Who could blame her?

So I see it as a choice; she does her thing and I do mine, but I believe we need to reclaim the word "nappy" as our own and celebrate our wonderful hair texture!

Nikkij said...

Patrice, thanks for your comment because I still need support sometimes too.

Kamika said...

Nikkij,

Thanks for your heartfelt comment left on my blog. God is good! Thanks for posting about nappy hair. It goes so much farther than just straightening our hair. Many people don't understand the damage we do to ourselves to conform and be accepted.

A style is a temporary something we choose to fit our mood for the day, week, etc. Nappy hair is what God blessed us with and who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth? He knew what He was doing. We (black people) too are fearfully and wonderfully made and that includes our HAIR!

Thank God that I'm no longer bound to having to get my "hair did." I like both straight hair and curly hair. They are both pretty when healthy. But I'm free from needing straight hair..