Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hair is the issue: I'm black.


I am not my hair by India Arie

Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen and I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter
At fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and went all natural
February two thousand and two
I went on and did
What I had to do
Because it was time to change my life
To become the women that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlocks all gone
I looked in the mirror
For the first time and saw that HEY....

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

What'd she do to her hair? I don't know it look crazy
I like it. I might do that.
Umm I wouldn't go that far. I know .. ha ha ha ha

[Verse 2]
Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
If its not what's on your head
Its what's underneath and say HEY....

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh

Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?

I am expressing my creativity..

Breast Cancer and Chemotherapy
Took away her crown and glory
She promised God if she was to survive
She would enjoy everyday of her life ooh
On national television
Her diamond eyes are sparkling
Bald headed like a full moon shining
Singing out to the whole wide world like HEY...

I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no...

Robin the news anchor a few years ago when she took off her wig and walked the runway while battling cancer.

Although normally I don't listen to a lot of songs that aren't gospel, this one is one of my favorites. While listening to it today, I realized that this was my next blog post. You may or not realize it, but one of the biggest problems black girls have is their hair. You can get picked on if you can't grow it long enough, you get looked down on if you decide to wear it natural and it's too kinky, you get talked about for being ungrateful if your hair is long and you want it cut because "everyone wants it" and you don't. I believe that hair is one of the top causes of self-esteem issues in black girls. Since I'm not White, Latina, Middle Eastern, or any other ethnicity I don't know the top problems with their hair, complexion, or bodies, so I'll speak on what I know. 
If you are black, "good hair" and "bad hair" are well-known terms. The harder it is to run a comb through your hair, the worst your hair is. The kinkier your hair is, the more likely you are to get a relaxer at a younger age, the more likely it is that your hair will break off and be short, and the  more likely that you'll wear weave or hair you paid for. I won't even get into how the main reason hair breaks out is from incorrect hair care which women then pass down to their children and so on I'll go this route instead...

Being you is in. I love the song above (especially the verse in bold) because it celebrates the fact that being you isn't about hair. Yes, people comment and touch your hair when it's straight and long, but no it doesn't make friends for you, and yes it's generally more trouble than it's appears (which is why so many people cut their hair.) Your personality, confidence, kindness, empathy, and belief in God making everyone unique and special is what earns you friends. Look around you, a few years ago I could only name one person that I knew who was growing her relaxer out. Now? Oh um, including myself, I personally know eight, and there are others that I know of, but don't know personally. Girls don't have to grow out their relaxers to embrace their ethnicity, that's not what I'm saying, I'm simply saying that more black girls are realizing that their hair being kinky, curly, or bushy isn't a reason to be sad or ashamed...and that's worth celebrating. *Side note* Watch out straight-haired girls, curly girls are taking over the world! --ahem, what was I saying? Oh yeah, your hair doesn't make you who you are...
"I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no!" :-)



  1. So right - we are not who we are on the outside! You have great hair though!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, Elizabeth. I have spent my entire life trying to convince my mom that just cause I am overweight doesn't make me someone else. It is your heart that counts. Hey world, this is who I am, get over it!

    I love your hair.

  3. Gosh--you know I really can go on forever on this topic.--I guess that song really sums it up. I'm still not at the point where I'll wear mine completely natural in public---but I'm getting there. Well even now, between my every two week flat ironings, my hair gets pretty kinky, so as all I can do is put in a ponytail. Some have gently in their own sweet way let me know it looks bad.--But I'd rather have HEALTHY hair any day versus a few bone straight sprigs or twigs etc....Keep the faith!!!

  4. @Julie-thanks :-) I'll have to put a disaster pic up soon lol
    @Suki Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. There are a lotta different things for different people, I just stuck with the one I'm most familiar with.
    @Ayesha I was so nervous about wearing my hair natural for the first time...You should try like a headband and just go for it :-)

  5. It's great insight, Lizzie. This is how the creator made you, so it must be good, 'cuz He ONLY doeth good things.
    If others don't think its good, that is their problem. (they are in disagreement with God) 'cuz He thinks its good, He likes it.

    I agree with Him

  6. Samgram, I love the way you put things :-)

  7. Wow! One day I am going to do a hair post. I cut mine off to about 1/2 inch back in 95 (it was a little longer than shoulder length) and folks thought I was nuts! Natural was not in at that time and people gave me heck. It felt right so I went with it. One perm, a few texturizers later I re-embraced my natural hair and it has been perm free since 1997. I have had good hair days and bad but like you said this is me. My hair is super thick and kinky and I have worn it in a plethora of styles - some wild and some tamed. One must do what feels right to them - natural or permed. Just love yourself!


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