Earlier this year I decided to experiment with protective styles I have never done before and faux locs was one of the styles I wanted to try. I had to work with what I had in the house that day because as you know, we can’t always walk to a shop and find all our natural hair “merchandise”. Sadly! Am pretty hopeless at braiding so I used marley braid to twist my hair and decided to wrap my twist with “soft braid”, a somewhat shiny synthetic type of hair. I admit, it wasn’t the best choice but I decided to run with it.
After hours of styling, I was done and quite pleased with my work though I was fully aware it wasn’t the best I’d seen, I was proud. The next day was a Monday. A colleague said as I walked down the corridor “its always interesting to see what your hair will look like week after week” before I could answer another exclaimed “is that your hair?” I smiled feeling totally reluctant to explain what hair do I had. I wasn’t prepared for what would happen the very next hour.
A client walks into my office and asks “what have you got here now, I have never seen this before, I don’t like it” This time I felt compelled to respond because he was crossing a line. I thought to myself “how is it his place to voice disapproval of something that is on my body, unsolicited?” I responded, “Mr X, the style is on my head so it’s for me to like, not you. That’s why its on my head and not yours”! I could see he didn’t expect that. He blinked rapidly and said “oh no no no I, I didn’t mean it like that” Before he could continue I preceded to attend to the reason for his visit and he left.
All day that day I kept thinking the world needs to stop putting black women and women in general into its own box of what is perceived as “acceptable beauty” What I am and how I choose to look is my choice provided am not causing any harm to anyone. Natural hair is like that. A lot of people still can’t believe afro hair is the way it is because we have been hiding it. Protective styling, hair extensions, natural hair and everything in between is part of black culture and the world needs to know understand and accept US! More importantly, this acceptance has to start with us. We have been hiding too long trying to “fit in”. Girl, it’s time to shine! Its ok if you stand out, you can’t help it… it’s your NATURAL hair! Our hair is the most versatile yet the most underrated, underrepresented type of hair.
Someone once said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, choose silence! Lucky Mr X and I still see each other. We spend the first couple of minutes of his consults talking about my hair style. He leaves my office a little more educated on afro hair and you know that thrills me! Let’s make even the smallest change where we are. Lots of small changes will end up changing society’s perspectives!