Loving Her ‘Nappy’ Hair and All

Custom Ethnic Dolls by Karen Byrd

The hair issue continues to resurface. Not only did I come across a short film about the issue of “hair” in the African American community, I experienced, firsthand, some grandmother admonitions about the state of little black girls’ hair au naturel. The issue about the hair is that it’s deeper than cosmetics. Often when we see mixed children or children with “good hair” or not so tightly coiled, aka “nappy”, hair running around with it unkempt, people tend to think it’s cute. However, even in the confines of closed doors, black women of a certain generation will inquire about what is to be done with a nappy ‘do? As a mom of a daughter, I have had to stop myself from becoming defensive in terms of feeling sensitive to the implied criticism. I have, and will continue, to be a defender of little girls’ freedom, mine and all others concerned, young and old alike; freedom to be lovely and wild, as-is beautiful no matter what style the hair is wearing.

I will continue to defend the freedom to be lovely and wild, as-is beautiful no matter what style the hair is wearing. – Joy Simone

It was through watching Good Hair and Other Dubious Distinctions that I was reminded of the history of hair and citizenship, favor and privilege. It makes me tire of the subject, yet is emotionally tied to deeper truths and hurts. There is not enough soap, bleach, relaxer or weave to make me, a dark-skinned black woman, “whiter.” Often the quest for beauty and self-love and acceptance is often akin to an act of rebellion for young black people, surely for young women crafting a self-image that says I am OK.

We spend a lot of time mentoring young people, girls and boys, but I am often compelled to “minister” to older women, grown women, who have buried issues deeply within their psyches. Why drudge up old subjects? Because some ideas and pathos do not need to be passed on to another generation. -JoyS

You can watch the trailer for the documentary here:

Black Hair Articles:

Custom Ethnic Dolls by Karen Byrd
Madame Noire: Sheryl Underwood Shames Natural Hair on ‘The Talk’

Another Assault on ‘Black Girl’ Hair

Vanessa VanDyke
Photo: local10.com

A Florida teen, Vanessa VanDyke, faces expulsion because administrators at her private Christian school want her to “cut and shape her hair.”What is really good? This is the second incident centered around a black girl’s hair.I just don’t get it. Unless the girls at the school are all required to wear buns or their hair pulled back, why is this an issue? It was reported that the administrators insisted on the change because Vanessa was getting nasty comments from classmates. Why not reprimand the students who were bullying her? To see this little girl’s hair and to hear the response from the school makes it clear that there is more going on than hair.

The history of black women and hair is nearly synonymous with the “n word.” Nobody has time for that. This week, we had Rihanna on the American Music Awards with a “doobie” (shamed to say I didn’t know the correct term), but it was wrapped with bobby pins, a “do” normally associated with a nighttime regimen. The threads about that went on and on, discussions on radio and TV followed. Frankly, I didn’t really care. I thought it was OK, not a rousing statement, nor offensive nor a “twerkable” moment. By that I mean nothing as outrageous as Miley Cyrus’s stunt at the MTV Awards. So, here we are a day later (two weeks after another little girl was removed from school for wearing dreadlocks) met with the “unacceptability” of a child’s hair… for being in its natural state.

Girls (of all races) have enough self-esteem hurdles to climb without adding hair issues to the equation.

As adults, black women have to contend with selecting hairstyles that will mesh well in the workplace. Many people start with a conservative/permed style until they have built some job security, and then may move to a more “natural” style, i.e. braids or a short cut, etc. There may come a time when this child has to conform, depending on her occupation, but for now, this should be a nonissue.