|Posted on December 9, 2012 at 6:20 PM|
Black women have always had the freedom to wear any hairstyle and profit from it. I remember when I first read about Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American female to become a millionaire in the United States. Madam C. J. Walker sold hair care products to black consumers during the early 20th century. Yes, she made a hefty dollar from crack cream -aka- the perm (you know that white and yellow stuff that makes your hair burn when it’s left on too long). This weekend I got to see how her idea of generating wealth trickled down through generations. I wore a perm from the age of twelve until I was twenty-two years old. I remember reading the autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley, and decided to cut all of my hair off. I dabbled with many hairstyles and was asked often why I decided to chop it off. My reply: KNOWLEDGE OF SELF! Now that is a huge awakening that I put in folks' minds back in the day. However, it was my spiritual, mental, and educational process and I still stand by it today. I’m not knocking anyone’s hustle. I just believe that if you choose to change your life – then you really need to CHANGE your life.
... my mom used to press comb my hair when I was younger. I remember having to sit on some telephone books, with a towel wrapped around my shoulders/neck, and waiting to hear the grease sizzle as she pressed my hair... Once the pressing comb touched my hair... You could smell the grease burning too. I always had a way of moving my head so she would slip up and burn the tip of my ear. It was evidence to show my grandmother (I hated getting my hair pressed) that my mom had no clue about taking care of my hair.
This is the main observation that I thought about while blogging at the 2012 NZURI Natural Hair Care Festival, held at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas. There were over 2,000 women that attended the two-day event that featured everything that you could imagine about hair – only it was for the women that so-called have naturalized (found their inner blackness) themselves. I noticed that a lot of the women rocked naturals, but something was still missing. I will let you define what is missing if you are that person. In like manner, I was thankful that the women in attendance were starting a process to fully become in love with their roots – African. The hair is just the beginning of the process in my opinion – knowledge of self is letting the old go and walking into the new. Yes, you can buy the best products, but if you eat bad, don’t exercise and want your natural hair to look like your friend’s natural then you are still lost. This is what I thought about while I interviewed attendees and took pictures.
Natural Hair: Hair whose texture hasn't been altered by chemical straighteners, including relaxers and texturizers. An Afro hairstyle is sometimes referred to as "a natural," but natural black hair can be worn in many other styles besides a short 'fro. Pressed hair may still be considered natural because once washed, the texture returns to its unaltered state. Colored hair is sometimes considered natural, sometimes not, depending on who does the defining -- some people believe that repeated hair coloring alters the texture, even in a slight manner. Source: Blackhair.about.com
I remember my godmother asking me if I would discriminate being friends with other women that may wear perms or braids. I had to think about her question; it it me right on the spot. Since that time, I’ve come to realize that my hair does not make me, or being natural. It all still has to do with your inner being. You must continually work on self in order for the real you to shine –just like you would with your hair. I for one today have friends with perms and natural hair. In the end, what really matters is that you take care of your hair and soul. During the festival, I met some interesting people. I especially had a good time with all the bloggers for the event. I believe that it is always important to look at things for what they are and the saying still goes: We have a long way to go and we will get there.
Tell me about your Rebirth: Back to Natural Story. I would love to read it.