Why have women of the African Diaspora abandoned their natural hair? Why are black women now running towards weaves and wigs instead of Afros and locks? What has caused African-American women to be ashamed of their God given beauty?
As an African-American “all natural” woman I often ask myself these questions. However, I go back to my “not so natural” days, and I remember the competition between myself and the rest of womankind. I had to look the best and be the best. I had to have an untouchable hairstyle not to mention outfit too. If I wore my hair “nappy” then I couldn’t live up to that image that the rest of society adored. All of the women in music videos and television had long hair, so why couldn’t I?
I remember walking into an Asian owned hair store and buying a pack of #2 Yahki colored hair. I didn’t know where the hair had come from or if it were from a horse or a human. All I know is that when I left the store I would felt a sensation of ease and plenty. I had everything that I needed; it would only take about 30 minutes of my time to transform my identity. I look back on the situation now and I realize that I had a disease. I had a problem with the person that God had intended me to be. I wasn’t happy with myself and neither are many of the women of the African Diaspora. But is it fair for the hair stores to feed into this disease?
I remember hiding from my true identity. I ran away from the person that had short tight naps and I struggled to create a new person one free of authenticity. I could still feel the pain as I ripped glue from my scalp taking out strands of my own hair with it. When the weave was all gone I felt disappointed at the person underneath the falsehood. I wouldn’t feel better until I returned back to that store to give the person behind the counter my 24.99 for my new identity.
Not only are the hair stores across America and the rest of the world feeding on millions of women’s diseases, but the media does also. We are constantly being reminded that white skin and long blond hair is beautiful, not to say that it isn’t, but every type of woman has their own unique beauty. And women of African decent have a rich unique beauty that no other type of woman possesses.
The reality of the situation is terrible. No matter where a person may be located in the United States, they will see that the majority of African-American women wear weaves, ponytails, or extensions. Millions of dollars are being wasted and also being made on the insecurities of Black women.
Many “all natural” women would agree that adding hair to our own, not to mention relaxing hair, is the new form of slavery. The image of a Mammy with tight naps has no place in the world of today. Not when the Black woman has to compete with Brittany Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and not to mention other Black women. The vision would take Blacks back to their struggle to fight slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and the KKK.
I just find it so sad and disturbing at how many black women have abandoned their roots. They have tossed aside the hard work that our ancestor put forth to be a people that had to reclaim their identity. I just continue to ask myself why do Black women hate their natural beauty? Only a few short decades ago, Blacks were proud to wear their hair nappy because they knew that it was beautiful. Now women start their children at a young age believing the lies that “nappy” isn’t beautiful by adding perms and weaves to their luscious locks.
Many women need to look within themselves and realize that they are beautiful. Our history is so rich and pure, however, the new history that we are creating is only tainting or natural history. So many women want to be beautiful, no matter what the cost. Is it to say that a woman who constantly changes her features by having plastic surgery is any different from a woman who can’t stand to look in the mirror and see her natural strands of hair?
I also feel that it is important for we as women of the African Diaspora to cover our hair and wear it natural underneath. Our ancestors and many of the women of Africa cover their hair. The covering of the hair eliminates the sassy looks that one may receive if her hair is not up to par.
Now I have reached down into my soul to say that I will not wear weaves or extentions anymore. I have realized that I was always beautiful and now my beauty is natural. Whenever I drive past a hair store I feel sorry for all of the women who are giving away their money to change the person that they were born to be.
No matter how a Black woman decides to wear her hair, she needs to feel confident about her inner self. Without confidence we as women tend to stoop lower than we could ever imagine just to be accepted. Beauty is not only skin deep, however, a person who knows their identity and their true self is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Not until women of the Diaspora realize that we are beautiful the way that we are; we will not win the battle with ourselves.