The deeper conversation about natural hair

Channel 4 recently aired a documentary as part of its black history month programming called Hair Power: Me and my Afro. It was an insightful look into a few people’s experiences growing up and having natural Afro hair in the UK. It was really interesting, if you haven’t seen it I encourage you to check it out.

It got me thinking about my own hair, how I view it and if there is a deeper meaning to how I’ve chosen to wear my hair.

My hair has been relaxed since I was 4 years old, so for as long as I can remember my mum has been relaxing my hair and I’ve never had any issues with it. I love how manageable it is for me. I’ve learnt how to style it, treat it, trim it, deep condition it. The fact that I can wash, dry and straighten in under an hour really appeals to me.

However, after watching this documentary I do question whether I am in someway not being true to the hair that God gave me. Should I be rocking my gloriously curly mane regardless of how long the maintenance of it may be?

Does my natural hair give my daughter (whose hair is natural) the wrong idea about the value of her natural hair?

Am I conforming to the ideals set by society or diluting my blackness by wearing my hair in a way that I feel may help me be accepted by other races?

Yep deep questions right? Lol. I’ll be honest, even as I write this I’m undecided. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about whether or not I should have natural hair and it also won’t be the first time I’ve considered going natural.

My argument so far has been that relaxed hair doesn’t make me any less of an african after all I have far more prominent features that are telling of my heritage – for example the rounded contours of my nose, the warm hue of my skin- is that not enough?

What if I grow out my natural hair and because of time restraints or otherwise end up wearing wigs? Does that not defeat the purpose? Are wigs not relaxed hair in synthetic form? Are lacefronts, closures and the alike all a nod towards the European standard of hair beauty? Just thinking aloud here…

Maybe that’s not a strong enough reason, maybe I should proudly rock the hair that God gave me, regardless of the time it takes to maintain. Wear my tightly wound curls with love and pride and show my daughter that my hair is just like hers and it’s beautiful.

Even at the end of this I’m still undecided, relaxed hair I feel has become a part of my style and I really enjoy wearing my hair in this way but maybe just maybe it’s time for a change…

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