What’s hair got to do with it?


I hate discussing Black Hair. Hate, hate, hate it. But unfortunately, I opened the door with the whole LSLHBBNA* thing yesterday so now I must go in. Pardon me if I meander around the point. Stay with me.

I'm positive that the hair on your head serves some sort of purpose beyond decoration, I don't know what it is and I don't care. I'm also sure there was some evolutionary, genealogical reason that some races have ABC kind of hair while others have DEF hair. This is all science and beyond my knowledge. My question is… what's the big deal about hair?

My father had a huge issue with hair. He believed women should grow their hair out and never cut it. At some point between my sophomore and junior year of college, I whacked all of hair off to see what it would be like. He freaked out. So did my boyfriend at the time. It was as my haircut was a total betrayal of them. I quickly realized that I hated the inability to rock a ponytail at will and short hair, though cute is HARD WORK. So I began the business of growing my hair back out. (Rocked a really cute flip during the grow out phase) About five years after that I went to this stylist everyone was raving about. I wanted my hair cut into layers with some idea in my head that I could wear it straight or curly. Instead he scalped me. I cut such a fool in that place they not only told me "no charge" they wanted to offer free services from anyone else in the shop for the rest of the year. No thank you butchers.

I was travelling about 80% of the time then and the thought of carting around a flat iron, two curling irons and a carry-on full of hairdo-right-by-me products was more than I could stand. I decided to try a weave. I kept it in for quite a while and when I took it out not only had my hair grown out very long, it was a completely different texture. So I had a completely different head of hair in my 30's than I had in my 20's. Moral to the story? Me and my hair have been through a lot together but I never thought it defined me. And know that I work from home? Ha! BougieSis called me the "headband queen" on Monday.

I do recall being in a salon in Beverly Hills when a woman rolled up on me and told me that I was denying my blackness by getting a perm. She said that straightening my hair was a form of self-hate and my ancestors were weeping. Umm, okay. I respect everyone's hair choices including those that like to keep their hair natural but was there any need to bring my ancestors into it? I've also been a witness to the weave-hateration in the world. My only issue is when someone has a pageboy cut Friday morning and comes back from lunch with hair down to their waist. Also ladies, if you are going to rock a weave – please get a good one. We should not be seeing where your hair stops and the weave begins. Nor should there be two or three textures and colors.

Moving on… There seems to be a prevailing attitude that your hair says something about you. Well. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. Maybe the girl with the long braids just wanted an easy hairstyle for the beach. Maybe the girl with a blond fro just thought she'd try something different. Same thing with the fellas. Let's not assume that dread-locked guy doesn't work in Corporate America, let's not assume that cornrows is a banger or square-cut fade dude is preppy. Piggy-backing on yesterday – does Barack get to the White House if he's sporting braids? What if Michelle had dreads – can you imagine the drama?

Speaking of Corporate America, let me stop and say thank you to Ursula Burns, the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Xerox). By the picture below you can see that yes, women of color can make it to the top without sporting a side-part, curled under do. [We love you Ursula, go head girl!]


And let's bury the idea of "good hair"… I beg of you. I've no issue with a hair style if it's neat, clean and flattering to the person wearing it. But others remain obsessed with the ideal of long, luxurious locks blowing the wind as the only standard of good hair. Baby hair, water weave, indian hair, it goes on and on. It's another one of those divisive things we have to squelch early. Chris Rock put together a documentary on black haircare that people seemed to really love or really hate. Here was the trailer:


And of course the classic "Good or Bad Hair" from Spike Lee's School Daze:

So BougieLand… what does your hair say about you? Do you have any hair peeves? Have you seen Good Hair? What did you think? Do black women worry about their hair too much? Have you ever felt pressure to change your hairstyle? Fellas, do you feel any hair pressure?

*LSLHBBNA: Light Skinned, Light Hair, Big Boobs, No-Ass