Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Hair Is "Good Hair"

I woke up this morning and decided to check twitter on my iPod Touch (Princess McFeely). My home screen was buzzing with everyone going in on Whoopi Goldberg for her idiotic comments on The View this morning over the documentary "Good Hair". Whoopi wanted to enlighten people on the real reason black women choose to "straighten" their hair. According to Ms. Goldberg, the roots of of the problem aren't that deep. We're all just lazy.

"It's not to have straight hair like white people - the reason black women want straight hair is because it's more manageable. ...The whole thing for black women and their hair is they don't want to take the time with it."

*PAUSE* That's what I had to do when I read the first half of that quote on Twitter. Was she for real? Did she really just gloss over any historical facts and reality? Of course, she did. She's Whoopi "rape-rape" Goldberg! Of course! She is the woman who told Ted Danson black-face would be hilarious and totally okay. So why be shocked by her ignorance today? I'm not. I'm also not shocked that Sherri "that pregnant man is is WOMAN" Shepherd co-signed. If you watch the clip she gave some sob story about how she HAS TO wear wigs and weaves to "protect" her real hair from the evils of Hollywood hairdressers. She even told of how one time a hairdresser put baby powder in her hair to soak up the oil. SAY WHAT NOW? Why the hell would you EVER let someone put baby powder in your hair? As an adult, no less? You're losing me Sherri. All of this got me so hot that I had to come and strudel on my parents' son's virus filled laptop to properly express my rage at Whoopi, Sherri, The View, ABC, the World.

Part 1: Straight Hair is NOT more Manageable
This picture is of me and my BEAUTIFUL hair in its natural curly, kinky, good, bad, however you choose to feel about it state. I love it. I took this picture just a few hours ago, fresh out the shower. This is what my hair looks like, point blank period. I put a little leave-in conditioner, or root stimulator, or whatever I have laying around and I let it air dry and that's it. As it dries it looks shorter but the texture remains the same. So what I've just described here is that I basically get out the shower and let my hair go. I leave it alone. You tell me, what is more manageable than that? My friend in my head, Bassey Ikpi, said Whoopi has dreads because she's lazy. I think that may be true. Despite the fact that trying to force my hair into an unnatural state is harmful to it, it just takes too much damn effort. Way more than getting out the shower and going. If I want to straighten my hair I have to wash it with special shampoos and conditioners and then blow it dry with a special brush and heat protectants. Then I follow that up with a ridiculously hot flat iron and this expensive stuff called Biosilk Silk Therapy. It's either that or I go get another relaxer that destroys all my beautiful curls and makes my hair unhealthy. Now, I'd lie to you if I said I don't like the way my hair looks straight but I like my hair period. I think it's beautiful, mainly because it's MINE. That being said, straight hair is in NO WAY more manageable. Has Whoopi ever spent 3 hours (or more) with a flat iron? Has she ever had to sit with burning chemicals in her head for 20 minutes (or however long it takes, I really don't know), have it washed out only to sit under a dryer for 45 minutes to an hour and THEN get it styled. Repeat again in 6 weeks, give or take. Wow! Your hair is straight now, problems gone! Just don't get it wet and don't forget to "wrap" it at night and tie it up! Sleep on a silk pillow, it helps! Be sure to allow extra time when getting ready to possibly flat iron out a few spots that got messed up in sleep. No, but straight hair is totally more manageable. Way more so than letting your hair be how it's going to be.

Part 2: We Are NOT too Lazy to do Our Hair
Black hair is a billion dollar business. We have our own aisle at the store. Many black hair salons are known to refuse walk-ins on a regular basis. How many little black girls with 100 braids and barrettes does Whoopi need to see before she realizes we are NOT too lazy to do our hair or our kids hair? I hardly ever see black women without their hair done or styled. I don't know what the hell she's talking about. The amount of effort that goes into relaxers alone says the majority says we don't mind having to "take the time with it." Whoopi, your logic is flawed.

Part 3: What is it then?
Why is the whole world trying to paint a more simplistic picture of this complicated issue. The first step to solving a problem is to admit the problem. I can sit right here and admit that, though I never found natural hair ugly, I used to think that straight hair was the prettiest. Why? Speaking from a personal level, a lot of it had to do with the way people reacted to me and my long, straight hair. I used to want to be Aaliyah and every one fawned over my hair. I basked in the attention. I don't fault myself; I was a child. It pissed my mother off though and I didn't understand why then but I do now. My mother has ALWAYS preferred my hair in its natural state. The look I was born with. The look that is half of her. It must hurt to know that not only does the world reject you but they reject your child. Is my hair pretty straight? Yes. But, like I said, it's pretty always. I think it's telling that Whoopi, in the video, spoke of a little girl looking at a blonde-haired white woman and wanting to be white for the advantages she perceives that it would bring, an easier life. That little girl is not wrong though. It's not in our heads. Long straight hair is the broad standard of beauty but it is something that most black women are not born with. We are being told before we can speak that who we are is not good enough. It hurts me when I hear my little cousins, 3 and 4, speak on light vs. dark, nappy hair vs. good hair. It hurts me that their mother has already put relaxers in their hair. I had to BEG, and I do mean BEG my mother for years because she was not having it. Why are we teaching our daughters to alter themselves, to eventually hate themselves? Why do I have to scratch my head to think of famous women who wear their hair natural? It's so easy to say straight hair is just easier to deal with. A weave is just easier to deal with. All of that is easier to say than the truth. White hair is easier for me to deal with. The closer to white, the closer to right. If it's in my head then why do I notice more hostility towards me when my hair is natural. Why do even I know better than to wear my hair natural to a job interview? Why do so many men still have a light-skinned/good hair fetish, if it's all in my head? If it's all just about manageability and laziness? No, it's not that simple. Not by a longshot. I don't know how we as a people will heal but I know it has to start with acknowledgment of the issue and acceptance of who we are.


  1. I read your comment on The Black Snob website ("The wet and wavy womanizer" article)and I have to say, THANK YOU!! I didnt even need to leave a comment after that. Why the hell can't we wear our hair however we want and still be valued? Anyway, thank you for your candor...keep bloggin' your truth girl!

  2. Thanks AC. I don't remember what I wrote so I'll have to look it up but I'm glad we could connect. I don't blog on this blog anymore... or any the traditional sense too much at all. I'm a tumblr junkie now. It's much more conducive to my laziness.