HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME!!!
If you have never had your hair gawked at by a total stranger or touched without provocation.......you are blessed.
I pray it never happens to you....I pray that you never have to explain how a totally innocent action could set off a firestorm of emotion.
In my experience, hair brushing for purposes other than grooming (lets say mother of daughter) is not something that we typically do in the black community. I am not going to lie.....it feels nice to have someone play in your hair. This action can be loving, sensual, relaxing.....mmmmmh, but that is usually when the one with their hands in your head has made your acquaintance at a previous occasion. Even a shampoo girl getting a little too rough might get a side ways glare.
Usually so much work has gone into our hair....that touching it in ANY way other than to put a piece of hair or a curl back into the spot in which the stylist placed it......is asking for T-R-O-U-B-L-E. You can seriously get cussed out for messing with a women that is not "hair maintenance" saavy's hair. Point is.....A Black WOMAN's Hair is generally something that the owner won't even touch without a real purpose (premeditation)...LOL! so what makes you think you think they want someone's else's unknowing, non-styling hands in their heads?
OK......who plays with their hair?
Long hair happens.....but long silky flowing hair is not something black folk are generally born possessing....LOL! Therefore...non sexual playing with the hair of a friend....including brushing, squeezing and smelling it......pulling it up off the neck because you are bored.... I've seen other races do this....so I assume hair is generally a light hearted topic and in most other populations or ppl....a woman's hair is probably one of the least intrusive body parts one can touch.....BUT IT IS SO DIFFERENT WITH BLACK FOLK....SO SO SO SOOOOOOOOO DIFFERENT!!!and/or asking a bunch of questions about a black woman's hair before doing a little research your self.......is a NO NO!!!
IS SHE SERIOUS?
Let's face it.....hair on the list of important obstacles people must face is waaaaaaaaaaay down on the list...but its still important that this issue be noted.
There are serious trust issues between black Americans and white Americans, in particular, that have NOTHING to do with hair. IMO until these issues are truly addresses......folk will still wonder if its okay to ask a black person about their hair and black folk will always wonder what kind of wicked ish makes you even want to know about it?
It would be silly to think that hair would be any different......
I am not singling out white folks....LOL!, but the fact of the matter is....no one else (in my experience on this Earth) is as curious about black people. No Asian, African, Middle Eastern, person has ever said anything culturally insensitive or rude to me EVER!!! Sure......people may wonder, but something makes them refrain. Why is this? - I wonder or maybe they have an insight that has unfortunately not been afforded the a minority.....wow! something good about being a minority - FINALLY!!!A few Eastern Europeans have said some border line ish to me, but the questions were obsurd and clearly not based on a predjudice.
Perhaps black girls do take it TOO personally when others seem to be so curious about us (our bodies, our odor, our hair texture, our lips, etc).....but maybe before you so quickly come to the conclusion that black women are all angry b*tches and get all self righteous because you were being "nice" in your little self-centered mind.........try to understand our relationship with our hair and how America makes us feel about something we can do very little about without changing that part of us that is unique.
I don't think anyone but a black woman (not even a black man) understands the love / hate relationship that black women have with our hair. It truly transcends mere vanity. There has been many a day that I did not go to work or something equally important because I could not get my hair "right". My hair is the first thing that tells people if I have anything intelligent to say....in many ways...before I even open my mouth even....it tells people so much about me (in their minds).
Having "Nice" hair is so tied into our sense of being complete....
Nice...not to be confused with the "good" (ie like white, latino or asian) vs bad hair debate - but manegeable what ever that means to you.
Manageable hair is HARD WORK!!! Betta believe it takes a black woman waaaaaaaaay more work to acheieve that crisp and polished look that defines the work place norm.
Some of us care about what others think of our hair....we work in "professional" or white collar environments......and so we want to blend in as much as possible.....we conform. The thought pattern goes something like, "not tryna be white, but I def don't want to be seen as 'black'". HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME - YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW THAT FEELS. I am so proud to be what I was taught defined a Black American, but in our society....there is nothing good about being Black. Don't get me started about TV, radio, retailers, media, books, bloggers, rants and ravers, movies.....just about everything.
The Other type black women in our society....... don't care what you think about their hair (ESPECIALLY SOMEONE THAT COULD TRULY CARE LESS ABOUT THEM). THINK: That chick in front of you in line at Walmart with the spiked & highlighted mo-hawk or the big ole kinky bush........
Who do you think is deserving of more respect? & why?
Many would look at the sistah with the funky hawk and think ....she must be on welfare or section 8 because who in their right mind would hire her looking like that? LOL! So bangie, so ghetto!
what's soooo...... funny is that the second sistah owns her own clothing boutique and her customers love her wild style and disregard for the rules that hold many of us in check. She is a tax payer...a positive role model....a mother....a black woman who embraced her ethnicity....she isn' hurting anyone....and yet there are ppl out here that think they are better than her simply because she has decided to simply let her hair does what it do...... how about sistah #1 is really a slave. The person who can't think for her self. The one who does what she has to do to be told, "this is how much money I am going to give you this year and that's it....take it or leave it" and she doesn't have the courage to DO HER. She'll cut your throat without an afterthought.
I used to be a big-time braid wearer...way before the Africans opened shops up all over the place....
now the little young gurls are so good with it that the Africans prolly don't make as much as they used to......
back when professional looking braids were still only available to people who could afford them...... they were easy to manage.....stayed in one place or style until I was ready to change them.....looked good (in my mind) and were always good for an oooh or aaaah from a sistah who could appreciate the intricate detail work that characterizes a professional braided hair style.
People that judge braid wearers or think they are ghetto....have no respect!!! Don't project your lack of knowledge of history on other ppl....
African queens and warriors wore braids....if anywhere else in this world....my hair would be regarded as regal.
Side note: And for those of you that have the nerve to make a mockery of black ppl that refer to their African heritage to invoke a sense of pride, nostalgia or to out things in perspective are ignorant. I know that many black people do not care about African and that many Africans do not care about Black Americans, but that does not make it right.....nor does it give anyone else the right to use our ignorance against us to prove a point.
(i.e. rap & not Hip Hop.....let's keep it real: If rap were truly offensive to white ppl...it would have LONG ago been nipped in the bud. We are talking about black ppl talking about killing and harming other black ppl. Why does anyone think that saying we are racist against one another makes any damn sense? and if its so racist....why would anyone want to listen to us spew so much self-hate UNLESS they shared the sentiments? or simply don't know any better?)
Because black people generally do not have reliable information about our history we are so so so soo bitter and when we think back to why we don't know our history.....well that just makes folk feel uncomfortable (regardless of what side of the table you sit). I digress......I alluded to this earlier...until a real discussion occurs on that topic.....we will continually arrive back HERE......so much distrust is sickening.
I ALWAYS had mixed emotions about my hair. NO ONE ACTS LIKE AFRICAN AMERICAN HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL. EVERYTHING TELLS US ITS IN NEED OF MODIFICATION. Before the perms made it possible to process and go....hair maintenance was an ordeal. My memories of hot ass straigtening combs inches away from my scalp and grandma's wise cracks about my nappy kitchen (aka the bottom of the back of my head) fill me with a mixture of sadness and joy. For black women...like black men...the hair salons and beauty salons are therapy. There are women that may not have money to get a bus pass, but you better believe their hair is gonna stay fresh. I know some of you are reading this as being wasteful or ignorant....niggerish even, but how would you feel if you let your hair do what it naturally wants to do and that makes you the scorn of everyone. most women don't even want to share the name of their stylist and many a stylist makes their customers pay more because they offer exclusivity...
In my community or around black people I was highly praised....told how neat they looked...the commentor(s) and I could laugh about how tight the braids looked (how they made my eyes look chinese...LOL!)....I could tell them how much they cost without feeling like the person would judge me for spending over $200+ and 13 + hours of my life to have some fake hair entertwined with my own hair.....no one touched them....no one looked at them like they were foreign......Certain hairstyles ....I KNOW will make black people oooh and aaaaahhh...black people seem to appreciate the work.
Unfortunately, I will not be getting them again because they are pulling my hair out from the root at the side, but if I could....I'd love to get some individuals......
....on the other hand.....and while I know they mean no harm....I get asked by non-blacks....does "that" hurt.... (as if my hair is forein) or I'm told...I like you hair when its straight better or how about being told my straight hair is more professional that braids even tho we all know intelligence is not determined by how one looks, but by how you express yourself. FYI: although the hair did not grow from my scalp....once it is interwoven with my own hair...it all becomes my hair. Do yourself a favor and NEVER touch or talk about the the fake part or even talk about it as if it is separate from my naturally grown hair unless you have the ability to converse about black hair. Its sad that one has to go through all this to get an answer about hair....but until America gets real about EVERYTHING.......black ppl are prolly always gonna question why someone non-black wants to know anything about them. ANYTHING at all??? & besides......there is information all about black hair all over the net...try looking it up! Folk can get on the internet for everything else......
This creates a difficult place for me to be in because while in my community...I am taken at face value...many times I am praised for my nice hair its not usually until I express an ideal that people know I'm on some other ish.....but when I go out in the world...in the workplace.....I am being judged by standards that are not part of my upbringing or formal education.... black girls are not taught that good black girls wear their hair like this......so we grow up doing what is best for our hair....but as soon as you grow up....you have to deal with new issues to make you self conscious about your hair.
sorry if this sounds like rambling....LOL! Haven't blogged in a while
black ppl have always have a lot of shame (*WOW/WHEN? - how did that happen?) related to our hair (good vs bad - "you must have indian in your family")and its a sensitive area.....regardless of the race of the person that makes a comment about our hair....they should be prepared for some shade. Try acting like a grown up and not an inquisitive child and you may be so so so so so so so surprised. Even tho it may be wrong for us to get as mad as we do.....TRY EMPATHYZING!!!
WE know its silly to get mad about someone being curious about our hair.....but the mistrust regarding why you want to know or why knowing supercedes following societal norms related to "personal space"....is VERY REAL!
Let us do more to break down the walls before we start wanting to learn more about the things that make us so different and ultimately divide us.
In closing..........hair is a very sensitive issue in the black community...it is so NOT cool for anyone to talk about a black women's hair in a negative way ......There is something so empowering about getting your hair styled. For many ppl it is the only time they are pampered or feel beautiful. So whether you like the style or not.....the hair is a reflection of the owner. Today......perms allow all of us to have "good" hair....LOL! so you are no better than me!!! so I'm ova my hair issues - oh well eventually I will be - MAYBE.
As a woman involved in the Hip Hop community I think I should at least say something......
(YES! I am still involved......just in a different capacity. Regrouping is the word of the day.....I recommend this to anyone whenever your operation is no longer going according to plan)
I could care less about what Imus said....he really should have kept his job. I think its time that black people learn what types of things people say about us in private (generally)....maybe then we can start making some adjustments. If we keep on acting offended from the jump....we will never know the real deal.
As long as everyone thinks "us" (POC) as if we are the scum of American and we don't know it.....and as long as ALL Americans celebrate the ignorance that has come to characterize Black Americans.....we are destined to keep on making the same mistakes.
I am somebody and I know quite a few some bodies.....we are not all HOES. And for the record....hoe's had nothing to do with Imus loosing his job. I seriously doubt they started any letter writing campaigns..... "Nappy Headed" is a word from an older generation (40+). I think that it was probably older women that made the biggest fuss about his comments. Women in Oprah's age range.
As an AA woman I am so glad that this incident with Imus occured.
I'm sad Imus was made an example of...the court of public opinion damned him, but this can be such a great catalyst to change.
I agree with everyone that says that hip hop is very influential in American society. Black people say some deplorable things about each other than in the form of hip hop music. But black people are not the people that made hip hop the multi-billion dollar industry that it is...... Made it so that it is EVERYWHERE...all over the world.
So the question should really be: why is this hateful music where black people talk so hateful about one another so appealing to the masses?
I bet no one has an answer?????
or Has this always been the favored type of entertainment in America?
Black people have a lot of hurt and deep wounds related to how we are viewed in America. Their are quite a few productive black members of society.
This incident is forcing us to look at our selves in a way that nothing else could.
Will America get mad that Imus was fired or will they start to look at the moral compass that guides our American way of life.
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