This month’s Spotlight is different from the previous Q & A Spotlights featured on MotownGirl.com. A beautiful piece written by a woman named India was selected. You can find out more info about her and her hair regimen by clicking here. Enjoy!
The Peoples’ Hair
I am officially retiring the peoples’ hair.
The peoples’ hair is a monster that I created while trying to discover myself by growing out my own natural hair. While in transition from chemical to natural, I’d wear weaves and wigs to conceal what was going on on top of my head. I became a victim of what “they” began to expect of me, and have become hideously self aware and uncomfortable with my own hair.
While at the newsstand on Friday, I was approached by a man with locks; I was wearing the peoples’ hair. He had asked me had I ever been in “Smooth Magazine,” the journalistic epitome of mediocre writing that showcases the booty and breasts of semi-talented actresses and songtresses. A corny approach indeed, but it meant so much more to me. It was not that average run of the mill disappointment that I normally get when the regular brand of ignorance comes spilling out of men’s mouths. This hit me harder. It was about 90 degrees at 10 a.m. I was incredibly hot and wearing a wig.
It was my deduction that had I not been wearing “the peoples’ hair,” the curves in my backside may have not been so well defined. I am willing to bet a pint of my own blood that he would not have approached me in that fashion had I been rocking my curly fro. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood about the Smooth Magazine comment, every woman would like to be viewed as a sex symbol in some way, shape, form or fashion. I do appreciate it. Who does not want to be craved and lusted after sometimes? Intelligence is sexy too, but I digress.
I genuinely expected some other words to come out of his mouth. Although I am not currently taking applications for potential lovers in the romance department, I did notice him and thought he was quite attractive. The question is: did I also pre-judge him based on his hair? The answer is yes. I have always viewed locking your hair as a power move on all levels. I assumed that it took discipline and courage, knowledge of self, an abundance of self-love and self respect.
I do understand that being black in America, you will be looked at and mocked, visually studied and feared, even hated. They have trained blacks to assimilate instead of respecting themselves and their heritage. So anyone who begs for the type of added scrutiny that comes from locking your hair gets respect from me. It’s not about going to poetry readings and wearing dashikis at all. It is about being aware of yourself. But the fact was, he was a Joe-blow-run-of-the-mill bonehead. Mentally, I am not incredibly sure if his approach would have been different had I left the peoples hair on the dresser that day, but my heart believes it would have been. Definitely.
Am I reading too much into this? Is it just hair? I don’t think so. No, I am not my hair, but I don’t think the majority of America knows what black hair really looks like. The weaves and perms have weakened the linage and given a false notion of who we are. I’d like to see a magazine, other than National Geographic, that shows women in their natural beauty, prior to the six hour of hair and makeup. I respect Tyra for coming on television without her makeup on. I think it good for young girls to know that her hair is short and was ravished by the fashion industry.
I was recently told by a man with locks and an opinion I have grown to respect, that locks and natural hair were actually fashionable now. Initially, I was disheartened to know that it no longer requires introspective thought to arrive at the notion that natural was the way to go, and for the most part, I have adopted the Shaw Philosophy that, “A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic,” but after giving it more thought, I hope he’s right. I hope being black and nappy is fashionable. I hope it catches on like a Pharrell Williams beat. But I pray that unlike fashion, it will never be viewed as a form of ugliness so intolerable that it will need to be altered in six months.
I have been transitioning from chemical to natural for 4 years now. During my last visit to the salon, I decided, “This hurts like hell! Why do I continue to do this?” And that was it. It has not been easy. It has been a process of learning to love myself and all of my attributes. I am not entirely there yet, but the approach is steady.
After tons of research and terrible hair tragedies, I discovered the products that work best for me. For general washing and conditioning, I use Aubrey Organic Selenium Natural Blue Shampoo and Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner. (Say that 5 times fast!). As a leave in conditioner, I use ApHOGEE Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer. For styling, I use Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme and VO5 Obey! Styling wax. For daily overall scalp conditioning, I head to the neighborhood Nubian spot and grab some of Natures Blessings for five dollars. It’s light and all natural.
I am a graphic artist and have been dabbling in the arts for my entire life but only recently decided to make it into a career. I recently graduated and have created “iQgraphics.” I specialize in portraits, typography and layouts. In my work, I express my passion for music, symmetry and color. I am also true to my roots and resort to the pencil and watercolor when the new fangled programs can’t give me the desired effects. Natural is best. You can check me out on iqgraphics.info or myspace.com/iqgraphics.