August 29, 2016

Why Natural Hair STILL Matters

pic courtesy of CreateHerStock
I was thinking of writing a post on natural hair because of a conversation an acquaintance and I had over the "lack of growth" of my natural hair. Then I read about Pretoria Girls High School in South Africa and I KNEW I had to express my thoughts.

Let me preface this convo with my definition of "natural hair". Natural hair is relaxer free. Again this is MY definition. Now, let's talk about this Pretoria Girls High School hair thang.

My hair life, like many women of color (WOC), consisted of years of processing, straightening, relaxing, and hours at a beauty shop. Don't get me started on Easter Sundays. I'll never forget sitting in the kitchen with a jar of Royal Crown and smoke billowing from the pressing comb on the stove as I flinched each time the hot comb inched towards me. "Stop flinching", my mom would warn as the comb slid down my curls straightening them along the way. 

This whole natural hair thing wasn't for me. I loved the look on some but the big chop and TWAs (teeny, weeny afros) wouldn't look good on me.

One day, a friend suggested I wear my 'natural hair'. Then one day my hair got wet when I showered. Getting your hair wet unexpectedly for some WOC is major but I didn't freak out. I shampooed my hair ("shampooed", not "washed" – 'you wash laundry, you shampoo your hair' – PSA courtesy of Levern). I towel dried my hair, looked in the mirror and said "I'm rocking these curls today" and off to work I went. I received so many compliments on my hair and thus began my natural hair journey.
Women do some thangs to our hair don't we? We straighten, relax, perm, braid, twist, crochet, press, cover with wigs, and so much more but no one seems to care UNTIL we wear our hair naturally. Take the case of Pretoria High School in South Africa. The school's hair policy – yes, HAIR POLICY states: “All styles should be conservative‚ neat and in keeping with a school uniform. No eccentric/fashion styles will be allowed."

“Cornrows‚ natural dreadlocks and singles/braids (with or without extensions) are allowed‚ provided they are a maximum of 10mm in diameter. Singles/braids must be the same length and be the natural colour of the girl’s hair.”

It's 2016. We live in a world where access to education is limited to some solely because of their gender and PHS wants to talk about hair. Are you serious? Hair isn't the issue. Natural hair is NEVER the issue. *fist in the air*



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