Ever since Chris Rocks “Good Hair” Documentary, the American media has jumped onto the hair talk bandwagon. And now SABC has joined the party with 3rd degree addressing the weaves vs natural hair topic this past Tuesday (26th June). According to this article the presenter Deborah Patta introduced it as a topic “about race, Western versus African ideals”-quite heavy, especially when you consider that she’s white which in itself made some viewers uncomfortable, but that’s a whole other issue for another day…
I have a bone to pick with the people who address these hair issues though. Yes their aim is to attract viewers and of course with black women, all you need to get their attention is to say you hate weaves or natural hair is ghetto or relaxing hair is trying to be white etc. People debate these issues over and over and no one learns anything. None of these shows change our minds about how we like to wear our hair so what’s the point? People wear their hair a certain way for a variety of reasons: its cheaper, they feel more beautiful in a particular style, political reasons, they wanna try something new, health reasons, for society’s acceptance…..etc the list is endless. YOU know why you have chosen the path you have chosen and hey as long as you sleep like a baby at night, why should anyone else care?
What this natural mission taught me was how to take care of my hair. On these blogs and forums and on video blogs people share hair care advice. Majority of them are not for bashing people who are not natural, quite the opposite. And like wise through my search for information on how to care for my hair I found information about how to care for relaxed hair and weaved hair. Above everything else this is a hair care movement. The only reason natural hair gets so much attention is that previous to all this information being available online, we had no clue how to look after it. Now that we do, a lot more people have the option to go natural if they want. Because honestly if I didn’t use the techniques I currently posses to care for my hair I’d hate my natural hair and be right back to relaxed hair in a heart beat.
The one thing that irks me more than anything else is unhealthy hair: dry hair, hairlines that are receding, hair that is splitting etc. It doesn’t look good and as a women it sucks your confidence dry when you’re not proud of what you have on your head. I’ve been there. I despised my relaxed hair. It remained chin length for years on end and just did not look good. I began to believe Africans just can’t grow hair and it was a genetic thing. I kept it braided and damaged my hair line in the process. If I had come across blogs like African hair blog, GAHL and African tresses back then I would have changed my habits and probably rescued it.
But why is it when hair is being discussed it automatically becomes weaves vs relaxing vs natural? It’s crazy to force everyone to stick to one look. The best thing about having black hair is that it can be manipulated and take on many different looks whether natural or relaxed. We can have a thick black fro today, short straight brown bob tomorrow and maroon braids the next. Its versatile. Why throw that out the window?
I have seen girls with gorgeous relaxed hair and complimented them for it (after getting past my hair envy), I dont resent them for relaxing. Similarly weaves can look awesome when done right (they’re just not for me). I don’t favor badly done weaves and even worse people who dont look after their hair when it is weaved up giving everyone else a bad rep. When they undo it, their whole hairline is non existent!
Case in point: Big Brother Africa contestant Mampi…
This is not the fault of the weave, rather bad hair care practices. And in the same vein there are sad looking afros out there as well.
It always comes back to hair care.
Whether relaxed, kinky or weaved, you have to look after your hair. The resources are so plentiful we have no excuses and it’s not as expensive as many would like you to believe. We can do most of these things at home with minimal effort. The same techniques I talk about on my blog are used on relaxed hair blogs so there’s no need for segregation. We should all be striving for healthy hair. That should be the goal. And more importantly those are the discussions we should be having.