You are not your hair
After the VMAs, my newsfeed was buzzing with pictures of Beyoncé, Jay-Z and their daughter Blue Ivy. Honestly, I don't really follow the entertainment industry. I barely even watch television. So I did not watch the VMAs, I actually have never watched them. But something really bothered me and stuck out to me from all the posts I saw about it. So many people we're criticizing Blue Ivy’s hair. A toddler. A two year old. She’s a few months younger then my son. So many people said that because Beyoncé and Jay-Z have money, their daughters hair shouldn't look like "that”…
What is “that”? Let’s really think about what people are implying.
I have a beautiful grade of curly hair. It took me many years to understand that. I really struggled growing up. I am biracial: black and white. Growing up, it seemed that no one really knew how to style my hair. I rocked an extremely frizzy bun or pony tail for the first, I don’t know, 12 years of my life? and because people always talked about my hair, I was extremely self-conscious of it.
Everywhere I turned people and the media were telling me that my hair was wrong. It was like word vomit:
It should be straight.
Highlights would look great in your hair!
…but your hair is so dark you would need bleach.
You need a hot comb.
It should be pressed.
You need a perm.
Wait, have you tried a texturizer?
You should try a keratin treatment.
You need gel.
Girl, you need some heat on that head!
I felt like everyone was trying to change me! It seriously effected the way I viewed myself. These
comments would swirl through my head everyday when I would look in the mirror. It consumed me. I begged and begged my dad to take me to a hair salon. Eventually he caved.
I got my first straight perm when I was in the 8th grade. I was 13. I got so many compliments on my perfectly straight eighty dollar hair style. There wasn’t a strand out of place!
It was down hill from there.
When it came time to wash my hair and let it be curly again, my hair looked completely different. My curls were even more unmanageable then before! They were stiff and dry. It was next to impossible to comb through. Hair would break off and fall out as I would brush it. My stylist told me I just needed to put moisturizer (oil) on it…which only masked the unhealthiness of my hair. From there I entered a vicious cycle of perming, texturizing, coloring and altering my hair.
My hair has been every color in the book: from blond to fuchsia.
I have tried every process to make my hair straight. I have spent countless hours putting heat on my curls to conform to what people told me beauty was. And guess what, I still have curly hair.
It was not heathy. It took me years to break this cycle and recognize how beautiful my natural unprocessed hair is. It took me years to see my hair as beautiful.
We owe our daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, all women...MORE. Blue Ivy is a toddler! How dare someone say her parents need to alter her gorgeous natural hair to make her beautiful. We need to stop telling our girls that they are broken in their natural states! Short, long, curly, straight, wavy, blonde, red, black...it doesn't matter!
I cut off all my hair shortly after my sons birth. I needed a fresh start. Two and a half years later it
is shoulder length. I am proud to say that my hair is completely natural and unprocessed right now. I am proud to say that I dedicated the time to learn how to manage my hair without harsh chemicals. I am proud to say I LOVE my hair as seen in the picture on the right.
I am not saying that I don’t straighten my hair anymore. What I am saying is that I am confident in my curls. I can wear my hair either way and still feel comfortable and beautiful in my own skin. We should all be proud of our hair. We don't need to alter ourselves to be beautiful. We owe our women more.
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