“How Do You Get Your Hair Like That?”
Yesterday, a young lady (perhaps late teens) at work asks me… “How do you get your hair like that?”
Me: “Like what?”
Her: “You know…nappy?”
Me: Thinking… ‘You’re kidding?’ I shake my head slowly and say “I…wash…it.” Now I’m looking at her relaxed hair and I’m incredulous because this child has to be getting a touch up every six to eight weeks so she couldn’t possibly think that her hair grows out straight. Plus, all the boys and young men are runnin’ around sporting braids and afros so how in the heck could she NOT know that nappy hair grows out of your head? And surely, she’s seen children with nappy hair. Not knowing EXACTLY how to further respond, I just say to her… “Uh…you were born with nappy hair…”
Her: She looks at me with a blank stare. Likewise, I’m equally speechless. I don’t know what else to say so I leave missy with her bewilderment to sort things out on her own.
I had to force myself to stop thinking about that encounter and get on with other things. It’s such a darn shamed that we have generations upon generations now that have never experienced their own nappy hair and can’t fathom that chemical-free hair grows NATURALLY from black women’s heads. Relaxing our children’s hair dang near straight from the cradle is literally stripping us collectively of our culture as is strongly evident when young black women have to ask how to get nappy hair or some fool asks me if I actually like the nappy hair that’s growing out of MY head. Yes, that really happened earlier this summer at a gas station as I was paying for my gas. That encounter was so bizzare that I blogged about it here in an entry entitled “I Betcha She Doesn’t Like Her Hair.”
Collectively, we need to reclaim our nappy hair and sport it lovingly and with unabashed pride. Can we just stop the chemical madness…NOW?!!! I feel like running into a salon one day and screaming “WAKE UP!” like Spike Lee did in “School Daze” (remember that final scene?) If you don’t or have never even seen the movie, go find it in the reduced bin somewhere. I got a copy for about $3 at of all places a hardware store. It was a wonderful find especially because I hadn’t seen that movie since it was originally released in 1988. If nothing else, get it for the gem of a dance scene Good and Bad Hair featuring the Wannabes (the light-skindid girls) and the Jiggaboos (the nappy-headed dark-skindid girls) who have been at odds with one another from the start of the movie. I’ve posted it before but it’s always worth another one so you don’t have to go digging for it. So yes indeed, wake up, watch it and enjoy!