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
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