Saturday, 25 May 2013


A six-year-old girl undergoes hair 'relaxing' treatment, source:

Lauryn Hill source:that
I recently watched Chris Rock's 'Good Hair' ( and felt it was a tame response to the burgeoning issue of painful hair treatments. Amiable and pleasant throughout the film, Rock gently probed without forming judgment on women who undertake dangerous chemical treatments and tortuous weaves to create a 'desirable' European look. I remember back in the seventies, I had several Afro-Caribbean friends who would never display their Afro hair. One of them commented that 'the world isn't ready for my hair'… When I did occasionally see an Afro, I wanted to have one. Without hesitation, I went to a hairdresser and had a perm…  after having a chemical treatment, which left my scalp with sores and hair loss, I started questioning the very nature of why we are compelled to change the beauty we're born with.

Millions of women both in the UK and the United States go through extraordinary lengths to either straighten their hair (relax) or spend thousands to have a weave. Judging by the number of women that Rock interviewed, they seemed to loathe what they were born with. I applaud Tracie Thoms, the one woman he interviewed who refused to straighten her hair. If only Rock had interviewed more woman who embrace their Afro hair and inspire others… 
Tracie Thoms: 'I'm gonna be strong and resist all the forces that are gonna try to get me to straighten my hair', image source:

Some of my Afro-Caribbean friends argue that having their hair relaxed or weaved is no different to white girls having a perm or tan... it's a way of being creative. But I disagree. Looking at Rock's film, model Melyssa Ford spoke of her childhood anguish as the daughter of a half Swedish/half Russian mother, and how she would spend her youth lamenting the fact that she hadn't inherited her mum's straight blonde hair. I blame her mother; if Melyssa's mother had praised her and told her that her curly hair was beautiful, then she wouldn't be wasting her precious time feeling inferior, undergoing intense weaving processes. Equally alarming, Rock interviews a child, aged six, who was having her hair relaxed. Once more, I blame her mother for encouraging her daughter to self-hate and loathe what she's born with as opposed to embracing her beauty. Shame on you. 
embracing natural
Women need to question the very nature of the system that makes them feel bad and it extends beyond having an Afro. It's for all women, all races, all who are anxious about their appearance... For every woman who clutches her stomach and proclaims she is fat, she needs to challenge why the media perpetuates pre-pubescent images of grown women. Likewise, every woman who wishes to control her Afro needs to question why the media propogates images of women with straight highlighted hair. It's a way of socially controlling you. Passive, starving women with relaxed hair are no threat to the big fat industry that keeps them enslaved to a false ideology of beauty.

We need to become politically aware and stop scrutinising other women's hair and bodies and to stop contributing to the media that panders on our insecurities. Look at Rock's film and see how these cold, corporate men amass billions in profit every year.  As if a weave or a relaxer is the answer to your crushing lack of self-esteem. But in your mind, it's going to make you more 'acceptable', more 'desirable', but it won't take the sting out of the poor girls who are exploited for your deluded sense of comfort/ acceptance by the malicious Western world. Have ever questioned why you need to change your hair to be accepted? Whose terms, values are you basing your worth on?
A little girl in India has her hair shaved off; the hair will then be sold for profit and sold to women in the West, image source:

Look at the poor Asian girls who have their hair cut while they go to the movies, or their locks snapped by a heartless shit as they sleep. And it's not just in Asia that girls' hair is being ripped off their scalps for a corporate fast buck, impoverished Eastern European girls are experiencing the same cruelty. But they don't count... or do they? Reflect…

Remember, natural beauty is priceless.

The one and only Angela Davis

Esperanza Spalding, source:

Marsha Hunt, source:
Solange Knowles, source:
Yaya Dacosta, source:

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