Our quest for “good hair”

STYLE ESSENTIALS
By Lashawnda Becoats

Why are black women so obsessed with hair? (Win tickets to the Chris Rock documentary, "Good Hair.")

Why do black women have so many hang-ups about hair?

My question comes because of all the media hype our hair has been getting
lately.

In case you haven’t heard, singer Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s
little sister) removed her weave and cut her hair down to the scalp. You would
have thought she had leprosy the way some bloggers cut her down. The comments
ranged from “Why would she do that? She looks a mess.” to “She needs to get
another wig.”

When I saw photos, I thought she looked great, and I commend
her for taking the courageous step to embrace her natural hair.

Trust me, my opinion isn’t just because I wear my hair natural. Years ago I was
addicted to creamy crack, also known as permanent relaxer. You couldn’t tell me
anything, whether I wore my straight hair long or in a short Halle Berry cut. I
spent countless hours and money in the salon. (You know I had to see my stylist
every week to make sure my hair was laid.)

My crossroad came when I decided not to perm the hair of my then-5-year-old daughter,
Kayla. I’ll admit, I can’t style hair to save my life (i.e. crooked head parts
and ponytails and plaits instead of cornrows). So out of frustration I decided
to let her hair lock. She loved it, and I loved the low maintenance. At age 5 she
had a freedom that I didn’t, but wanted. She inspired me to cut my relaxed
hair and go natural.

Ten years ago, men called me crazy for cutting all my thick “pretty hair.”
Women criticized me, too, and remarked, “Girl, I just couldn’t do that.”

I’ve always viewed my hair as just that – hair, and it does grow back. 
But I’ve come to realize that most black woman aren’t that nonchalant about it.
For many women, their crown and glory defines who they are.  I’ll never
forget the time a woman stopped me in the grocery store to ask why I was
letting my Kayla’s hair do that, referring to her locks.

“That’s the way
God made her,” I replied. “Are you questioning God’s work?”

That shut her up.

Recently, talk show host Tyra Banks, whose known for rocking hair
weaves, made a declaration that she would reveal her real hair on her season
premiere Sept 8.

It will be nice to see Tyra’s real hair for once, especially
since she’s done shows encouraging other woman to embrace their natural hair.

Go Tyra!

Now, I’m not knocking any woman’s decision to choose the hair she wants. I’m a
firm believer that, as women, we have to do what makes us feel good about
ourselves. But I’ll always wonder how much of what we say makes us feel good
about ourselves is driven by media images that we have been fed for years –
blond hair, blue eyes, big boobs, the list goes on.

As Black woman, how do we begin to define self-beauty, and how do we help the
younger generation define what they believe is beauty?

Entertainer Chris Rock is on the forefront of challenging black women’s
perception about hair in his new documentary “Good Hair.” The film looks at the
hair care industry and addresses black women’s obsession with weave hair.

Rock has said the documentary has been in the making for 10
years and it took so long because no one wanted him to touch the subject (you
know there are certain topics you just don’t touch) but he decided to go for it
any way.

I can’t wait to see “Good Hair.” I have a feeling it’s going to push a lot of
buttons and force some woman to take a look at their hang-ups.

All I know is that we are all beautiful.  We’ve inspired many all over the
world – they want to look just like us with our hued skin, big butts and juicy
lips. We are so much more than our hair.

Let’s talk about it. I’m inviting two readers to go with me to see “Good Hair” when
it opens October 9.

Here’s what I need: In 100 words or less, tell me what makes
black women beautiful. Email your entry to Lashawnda@qcitymetro.com.

 

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