Yes, I am talking about hair again, today. Yesterday, I referred you to
BBC Africa Hair Talks (if you haven’t see it, here is the analysis by Pumza Fihlani).
I will not add my own to this conversation, as what I think about this controversial subject is pretty well summarized in this statement by the journalist:
So, why write a post about it, again?
I just want to express my disbelief at the fact that some people like to take advantage of the credulity of others by calling “natural hair” what is obviously a wig or some added synthetic attachments to it!
For instance, I will call the following hair, “natural hair”, in the sense that it is your own hair whether relaxed or not:
Writer Chimamanda is natural here for me:
EbonyLife TV Host, Zainab Balogun, is also natural here for me (even if the hair is colored):
But what is “natural” about those following pictures, I wonder:
Obviously, a wig:
And what is so natural again in adding imported Chinese attachments to braids:
I think that what I am trying to say is :
Why are you judging my wig when you also have fake hair on your head?
However, I would also like to debunk another myth, while I am at it: the tale that natural hair is easy to take care of when you know how to go about it.
No matter what they say, the truth is that natural hair needs real commitment!
I was happy to read this conversation on the BBC Africa series on hair:
But, this young beautiful lady, Laila, shows you how to style your own hair without adding any extra extensions to it! See:
In her BBC Africa article, Pumza Fihlani says this:
“(…) people are starting to turn away from relaxers. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has touched on some of the restrictions it brings. “Relaxing your hair is like being in prison,” she wrote. “You’re caged in. Your hair rules you.”
The complete quote (from Chimamanda’s Americanah) read like this :
“Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you. You didn’t go running with Curt today because you don’t want to sweat out this straightness. You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.”
This is so well observed (you need to read that book if you haven’t yet), but I must say that I found the statement incomplete.
I would have said : Whether it is relaxed or natural or weaved or braided, your hair rules you!
Relaxed hair: who has not gone through the agony of burnt scalp, or hair breakage. When you have at last achieved your desirable length, something will always happen, that will require you to cut your hair short, and start to grow it all over again!
Weaved hair: It is somehow very difficult to achieve the natural look you are looking for. There is always too much hair, wrong colour, it doesn’t blend with your own hair, and the heat, and bad odour after sweating in it!
Braided hair: who has time for those long hours of seating, while two or three hairdressers are on your case! And you have to add a couple more hours to remove those braids! And I am not even talking about jogging with braids: how will you shampoo those braids everyday. You will ruin them!
So, what to turn to then:
Wigs: they don’t solve any of the problems above. As for weaved hair, same comment applies here.
Short hair: it requires much more maintenance that one will think.
The only thing, I can add at this point is obviously what singer India says : I am not my hair!
You are far more than your hair obviously, even if in Nigeria people tend to look at the quality of your wig to know if they need to show you some level of respect or not.
Also, natural hair is often frowned upon here and I admire all the women out there who stand their ground in keeping their hair natural, I completely understand where they are coming from! But you need to take care of them! Natural doesn’t mean anyhow. Natural doesn’t mean, you won’t touch it. If so, why take a bath, or cut your nails?
At least, now, all the options are out there, no need to hide the truth about your hair anymore.
See, this clip of a current series with Viola Davis: “How to get away with murder”.
It looks to me like a defining moment (Look closely as it happens in the 9 first seconds)!