I am a black woman. I have kinky hair. I have full lips. I have very dark skin. I do not have a complex about it. And yet, at every turn, I’ve been made to feel like I should.
I often feel as though people see me and then form a narrative in their heads of my self-esteem -- a girl who grew up longing to be lighter skinned, who cried every night because she didn't look like Beyonce, a girl who had to scratch and fight to get over feeling ugly because she felt her dark complexion wasn't beautiful.
Comment Section Quote Of Note From Duni1: "Oh thank goodness. I'm in the same boat. I've never thought myself as being or not looking better then someone else of lighter skin or less kinky hair, but you would think I might have a complex if you listen to media. I like myself and my hair and for some reason it seems to undermine the belief that i must have some sort of color-self-hatred. I mean I do, but its generally about my weight and the fact that I have no clue how to wear makeup but can do my nails like a pro. Other people feel odd about my skin color and I'm just like... you know what... you can go ahead and carry that torch for me... I'm going to continue with my life." Here are our article highlights:
In Ghana(African continent) there are large billboards that advertise lightening products like Fair & Lovely.
There is a kind of validation that comes with seeing people that look like you in the media you consume.
The assumption that everyone wants to have straight hair and light skin is false.
Sims, in her unusual stand, contends that hair regulations are biased against the natural hairstyles of many African-American women, and her career is evidence they are ambiguous at best: She wore her hair in the same style for nine years in the Navy before being ordered to cut it.
She said: "I don't think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don't think I should have to cover it up with a wig."
“I do think that it’s a race issue,” Sims said. “The majority of the hairstyles that have the strictest regulations are hairstyles that black women would wear.”
The Navy, however, argued that all dreadlocks are out of regs, and because she has refused to cut them or cover them up, moved to honorably discharge her for “serious misconduct.”
Editor’s Note: This story isn't a surprise to me, for the longest time natural black hair has been held in contempt. I find it weird that after years and years of wearing her hair in this manner, always neat, clean and within two inches of her head she suddenly is forced to change it or get out. The Navy has since relaxed their standards for women's hair but it's still slanted towards not fully accepting natural black hairstyles. But the story has a happy ending because Jessica aint sweatin' it, she got her discharge papers with her hair on her head and her dignity intact, now she's headed to Loyola University in Chicago where she will major in biology as a pre-med. Do your thang Jessica! Here are our article highlights:
Jessica Sims says the Navy's order amounted to shaving off her locks and wearing a wig which she wasn't going to do.
Sims says she always made sure that her hair bun didn't protrude more than 2 inches from her head, per Navy regulations.
She is happy she took a stand and says she would do it again, she doesn't feel her natural hair is "unprofessional".
I try to remember that there’s room to think about large-scale, urgent matters of social justice and microaggressions (a term that’s made a recent resurgence to refer to race-related, irksome interactions that add up and alienate people on a daily basis). Truthfully, anything to do with black women and hair runs a pretty high risk of slipping into the latter category.
Editor’s Note: Jenée Desmond-Harris delivers a useful answer to a question she received from a white gentleman. The man had given a compliment to a black woman who was rockin' an amazing afro. He wanted to know if he was out of place or not.
Personally, I find it a sad reality that society is so jacked up that we can't compliment someone without worrying if we are offending them, but when society is so laced with racism, prejudice and bias it's not a shock that people are wary of the intentions of comments from strangers who normally are not known to be complimentary towards anything out of the "mainstream" look. I hope that in the future natural women are truly accepted and get so many genuine compliments that it won't be an issue anymore. Here the 3 tips for successful complimenting:
Do not touch if you don't KNOW you have permission to touch.
Compliment, don’t interrogate.
Don't make a scene, regardless of good intentions.
Going natural was a lengthy and scary notion for me. Once I gained the confidence and the knowledge of the many health benefits to my psyche, skin, and hair — I still put it off.
This is a short journey of how I ditched my chemical relaxer, plus a few tips I discovered so you can go the natural route too.
Editor’s Note: Kristin is a brilliant writer that really makes you feel her journal to getting a beautiful head full of healthy, natural hair. I'm sure many women can relate to the pain and discomfort of getting a perm and Kristin cried and sobbed her way through it until she'd had enough.
It's a profound thought to think that just like Kristin, so many women haven't had healthy hair since childhood, as she says, 6th grade was the last time her hair was healthy(until now).
She got past her fears of thinking she'd end up dateless with short hair and did what she had to do to get her hair and HERSELF back. Here are our article highlights:
Kristin compares getting her hair permed to being tortured.
She highlights the 3 ways begin your journey to natural hair. The big chop, the relaxer grow out and the weave out.
She says it's one of the best things she's ever done, not just for her beauty but to overcome self-doubt.
10-minute mini documentary that discusses the historical context of African-American women that are on television and natural hair. The doc highlights Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Harris-Perry, Rochelle Ritchie, and Rhonda Lee.
Editor’s Note: This was a nice and quick 10-minute documentary with a panel of four professional black women talking about the pressures of needing to constantly worry about how they and their hair are seen in the eyes of Western society.
The panel discusses experiences of prominent black women in the media and Professor Yanela Gordon raises an interesting point when she says that in the United States black women and black hair has been portrayed as the opposite of beauty and that tactic was used in order to create and develop an inferiority complex which was required to enable slavery to work in the first place. Finally, there was a point that I couldn't agree with more, and that was that little black girls need to see black women BE black women in order to feel pride in themselves. Here are our article highlights:
The panel of black women talk about how they have tried to fit in with the majority "white" look when interviewing for jobs.
A lot of times women don't want to associate with their natural selves because they don't know the history behind it and that it's something to be proud of.
According to Melissa Harris-Perry, dreadlocks are "locs" not "dreads" and not something to be dreaded.
The panel of women thinks that more and more young girls will embrace their natural hair in the future.
We all know that the trend of going natural is increasingly growing but relaxer free is not for everyone.
As a licensed stylist for over 13 years I have seen and heard many stories from clients who have succeeded and failed at this growing trend, so let me give you are few pros and cons of going natural.
Editor’s Note:From www.s2smagazine.com - As they say, "nothing worth having comes easy". In this short write-up by celebrity stylist Keisha George, she breaks down 3 reasons to go natural and 3 reasons it may be difficult to do so. Her list isn't showing a bias or leaning in either direction, she is just telling you what she has seen in her line of work with black women going natural more and more. Some women get excited about the idea of joining the natural hair movement and then get discouraged at the new challenges they face. It's better to know the good and bad ahead of time and see if going natural works for you and your lifestyle. Here are our article highlights:
1. Better Hair Growth
2. Endless New Styles To Try
3. Color Your Hair With Less Damage
1. Getting Charged More At Salons For Working With Natural Hair
Even though YouTube is a great place to learn how to do hair treatments on your own hair by yourself, that still doesn’t replace experience and a lack of experience in regards to chemically changing the composition of your hair can cause extreme shedding and breakage.
Editor’s Note:From www.howtoblackhair.com - The beautiful Breanna Rutter helps out another woman who needs natural hair care advice, this time concerning dying black natural hair. She is known to give solid advice and her Youtube channel has 200K+ subscribers. I want to see Breanna add a little more personality to her videos, I think that alone will take her success to even greater heights. That aside, her information is always useful and it's great to see a young business woman doing her thaaaang! #SmartChicksRock... Here are some video highlights:
She strongly suggest that you use a licensed cosmetologist to color your hair and avoid disaster.
You can dye your hair without the assistance of a pro if you choose to use plant dyes like indigo and henna hair dye.
Not ready to commit? A non-permanent coloring treatment may be your best choice. You can also use semi-permanent hair colors or rinses to add a glossy color to your hair.
On wash day, you can give her a small section of her hair (in the front so that she can see in the mirror) to help wash and detangle. This is a great way to teach her the basics of how to do it. As she grows older, you can add more hair for her to do. Eventually, she'll be able to do her whole head!
Editor’s Note: Shaunic Jay writes on one of the most important aspects of having the next generation of black women love their own hair, that's teaching young girls to care for their natural hair. Note, I didn't say cover up their natural hair or chemically change their hair, but CARE for it. It's critically important that these little girls understand that their hair is a gift from God and that they can keep it beautiful, healthy and growing with some tender, loving care. Here are some article highlights:
Start early teaching her what to do at bath and bed time.
As early as 5 or 6, you can start teaching her to moisturize her hair depending on the thickness and/length of her hair.
Let her help wash and detangle her hair on wash day.
Perhaps you had a few hair-related setbacks in 2014, be it heat damage, severe breakage, or something else. Remember that a LOT can change in one year, including your hair, and for the better. Start fresh, make necessary adjustments to your routine, and you should see progress by the end of 2015. For extra motivation, check out these YouTubers and their dramatic one-year natural hair journeys.
Editor’s Note: It's always good to see black women doing their thaaang' and growing healthier, stronger hair. These five natural hair Youtubers have made great progress in their natural hair journeys and deserve big props. I will embed one of the vids here but be sure to check out there black hair channels and learn how to grow healthy black hair like they did. And subscribe to their videos, let's show each other support! Here are the 5 Youtubers to check out:
The film (Dear White People) is partly about the black characters coming to terms with the white characters, and partly about the black characters coming to terms with each other—with the many different possible ways to identify as black.
The characters’ hair becomes a stand-in for their relationship to their identity. As the story unfolds, each character chooses to transform their hair in some way—except for Troy, who tellingly chooses to not change his hair at all. The superficiality of appearance is directly connected to our deepest notions of identity. Olivia Pope from “Scandal” has walked in and out of the White House for every episode of the show without ever revealing to its interior what her hair really looks like.
Editor’s Note: Sonia Saraiya does a good job of highlighting the big year that natural black hair had on television and films in 2014 in this year end review, I'd actual never even heard of "Dear White People" before reading this article, but I'd like to give it a look now and I think I will. It's good to see more of natural black hair on display, I look forward to the time when it won't be so rare that it needs its own article. More than that, I look forward to it being shown in a good light more consistently and presented as beautiful because it is. Here are my article highlights:
Without a doubt, the defining moment for natural hair this year was Viola Davis’ character Annalise Keating taking off her wig in “How To Get Away With Murder.”
If there's one way 2014 introduced texture and variety to the cultural landscape, it's in the realm of hair.
Olivia Pope from "Scandal" finally showed off her natural hair in the fourth-season premiere.