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(Before w/weave) (1st month natural) (4-5months into loc journey)
Their questions led me to dig a little deeper to find out “who dropped the ball”! Which generation told us that our hair was unacceptable and how did it perpetuate for years throughout black culture. How did it all start?? Why did our grandparents buy into it and teach us to think the same way?
I know these questions are generalizations and I’m sure that there were plenty of families that have taught their little colored kids to love/appreciate/respect their hair and themselves, but the vast majority of us were told that we needed to straighten our hair. I remember my first perm…it was HORROR!!! My grandfather’s ex wife looked at my full head of natural hair with disgust and at the age of 12, sat me down and put a perm in my hair WITHOUT my mother’s approval. It was pure Hell. It burned, it stung, she was abusing every follicle on my head each time she combed it. My hair was just past my ear and super thick, so all my tender-headed folks can understand my nightmare. When I got home, my momma was pissed! She did not intend on perming my hair…at least not that soon. It didn’t take long for my hair to start breaking off and coming out, from that point on my hair was never ever what it was before that woman killed it.
Our generation has just about anything & everything to get that hair “right”, we have pressin’combs, perms (no-lye), ceramic irons, hair weaves, synthetic braids, texturizers….the list goes on and on. Now, this is in no offensive to the trailblazers like Madame CJ Walker who opened the door for us in the beauty/hair care industry but it is a bit disheartening that we couldn’t have found ways back then to manage our hair in its natural state without altering it to appear to the masses.
So now we have to face those folks who are still living in the era of Madame CJ, our grandparents, aunties, uncles, mommas, papas and people of both previous and current generations who still believe that our hair is unacceptable. I don’t think it should be taken as personally as we take it and I don’t believe they are intentionally being offensive. Its just like rude children, it’s not their fault that they were taught to believe/behave in such a way. As we educate ourselves, it is our responsibility to educate others and not condemn them for their hair decisions. Especially those, like I was just a year ago, at a crossroad trying to determine if the natural route was for me or not. All I needed was little encouragement and a little knowledge on how to maintain a cute natural style while keeping my hair healthy! :-)
“Why did you decide to go natural?” It was not a revolutionary movement, I am not making a statement against society, I didn’t intend on starting a follicle frenzy at work, The earth didn’t shake and God himself didn’t part the heavens to send me on a journey to loc’dom…It was merely a introverted decision for self-acceptance.
Now, almost a year later….my son looks at me and says, “Mommy I don’t want my hair cut anymore. I want locs like you and my daddy!” I melted inside! Not only does my little prince think my hair is beautiful, but he wants to have his the same way! Kids are a product of what they are taught through seeing and listening. If they constantly see weaves/permed hair and hear us demean our hair, this is what they will believe.
His dad has had loc’s for a few years now but it wasn’t official until mommy joined the team! :-)(had to brag a little) LOL
But here mommy goes again demeaning my babies natural hair as it grows...its still short, his last haircut was about 3 weeks ago, and his hair is extremely kinky and thick! Every time I brush it, it just curls right back up and looks very unkept by the time he gets home. He’s an 8 year old boy, rolling around on the carpet, doing flips and playing in the grass does not sit well with his current phase of hair. I am really fighting the urge to rush him to the barbershop! I love that my baby wants locs and now I have to again, retrain my mind that boys do not need a tight shape up and close-cut in order to look well-groomed. I do love men with locs, I think they are gorgeous. I guess I never thought about what it looked like in the beginning, when they stopped getting haircuts. Can I use the same products in his hair as I do mine?? Has anyone gone through this process??