There has been recent uproar about our favorite culture vulture, Kim Kardashian and her “Bo Derek braids” which is from a hairstyle worn by Bo Derek in the movie “10”. I wasn’t going to give this any more attention than it had already received because thats all this Kim girl wants, attention. But, Bo Derek took to Twitter to weigh in on the topic and she said my favorite line when people are trying to dismiss culture appropriation in terms of hairstyles, “It’s just a hairstyle…” she said. But is it? It is just a hair style my girl or is it another thing that people of color can’t have for themselves?
As a natural, 4C crown rocking black man with locs , hair has become a part of my life. Its my thing. And what aggravates me is when people like to say “It’s just hair!” Let me give you some background on my hair and its current state. I used to be in that guy in the barbershop every week. over $100 a month on haircuts just to maintain my appearance. I had waves and I was just as cute as it got. Every year, I dedicate November to those who suffer from prostate cancer and participate in No Shave November. Last year I decided to hold on to my no shave commitment and what made me stick to it is because I stopped giving a fuck. I couldn’t stand when someone told me my hair wasn’t appropriate simply because it was in its natural state. My hair which is a well oiled machine, is my identity. And if you’re telling me that in its natural state its inappropriate then fuck off. So, a year later my hair decided to lock up and continues to grow and flourish.
When we’re talking about black hair in its natural state we’re talking about a revolution. Black hair in its natural state has always been described as wild and out of control and dirty. Non people of color (some, not all)would see natural hair and automatically think “they need to tame their hair”. White culture teaches us that if your hair isn’t neat and straight it’s wild and out of control. With this notion about hair, black people are then told their hair is inappropriate in certain settings and often makes people uncomfortable. But I thought it was just hair ? It doesn’t stink and FYI natural hair takes a lot more maintenance than you would think. If it’s just hair why does it make you uncomfortable or make you question it?
Fun fact. At some point in time in history, black women had to wear head wraps to cover their hair when dealing with anything white. Which means while cooking, cleaning or breast feeding a white baby that you didn’t brith 🙃. Another fun fact, black men were told to cut their hairs and brush it until they got “waves” to make them more presentable when they were being auctioned off to be enslaved people. Black hair has always been a symbol of blackness. The grade of your hair was a tell-tell sign that you had black in you. Black hair in its natural state has been looked down upon for years causing women and men to burn themselves with perms and relaxers and what not to make there hair more “presentable”. But let’s also be clear, black hair is full of magic. Just because it isn’t nappy or course or whatever the fuck didn’t mean that person is trying to be white. Just like the color spectrum of black people, our hair comes in different forms too.
In regards to Kim Kardashian and Bo Derek, it isn’t just hair. Its a style that had purpose. Was used to help slaves escape making maps in their heads. It was used to protect our scalps from the elements. It’s a style for us and looks a million times better on us. Sorry not sorry.
So it isn’t just hair. It’s a reminder that I am black as fuck and I love being black as fuck and love everything, including my 4C hair, about it. It’s not just hair, it’s mine!
(HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! YALL KNOW THIS IS MY SECOND FAVORITE MONTH OF THE YEAR NEXT TO MY BIRTHDAY MONTH! I WILL BE CELEBRATING ALL OF OUR GLORY ALL YEAR BUT I WILL EXTRA THIS MONTH BECAUSE… WE FUCKING ROCK!)