Thursday, 21 May 2015

The African hair movement

                                           
                                                      The African hair movement

The low cut makes me happy and its quite easy to maintain, so it's easy to blob on and on about it.

A few weeks after cutting my hair, a good friend asked me as a matter of factly, "really, Jumoke, do you want to take that hair out of the house like that?" to which I responded also, "No way!! when I'm not drunk!". 

My hair was not only low, but it was also African natural and sincerely I did not want to go out without a wig on. We all know the African kinky hair is usually permed, tucked in under weaves and wigs, or totally transplanted. Well, I just guess the last is possible, not that I've seen girls do it; but why won't African hair transplant be possible when bald hair transplant and receding forehead hair transplant is now very possible.

A few weeks down the line of the Q and A with my friend, I mustered enough courage to go out with my low hair without a wig! It was liberating. I felt freedom from wigs, weaves, and hair relaxers. I could feel the warm embrace of each wave of breeze at the root of the short hair strands. This step also unlocked some settings in my default such as the silent beliefs that as a grown girl, my African hair should be relaxed, worn long either with a wig or a weave. I normally do not give this a thought because it's quite uneasy carrying my thick Afro without a perm. But this time, I allowed myself to think about it. Could this be a part of the self-objectification I wrote so much about in Law school last fall?

I started drawing links between African slavery, colonization, civilization, and how it has toyed with our minds. Have we been made to believe that the African hair is to be hidden from view or at least straightened in some ways to look presentable? The modern African girl should have a weave on for dinners, job interviews, etc. to look presentable? 

Some weaves such as the Brazilian weaves are so expensive, treating them is equally expensive, more expensive than treating our natural Afro. Is something wrong with us or am I just a relentless deep thinker?

In my natural hair journey, I've learned the African natural hair is manageable, with organic products here and there, you can have combable, stylable, and fashionable hair. This does not stop us from changing hairstyles and doing what we want with our hair definitely, its just a few thoughts that crossed my mind while thinking of the effects of slavery, colonization, and civilization in Africa. 

Some of the effects include our fading languages and lovely traditions, I will go there next for sure. If these effects are not taken care of, the African child could be lost, confused, or totally forgotten.

I once again thank the leaders of the natural African hair movement! You brought some light! We definitely have to embrace our roots more and celebrate what we've been given. We sell it to the world till they want what we've got. The amazing fun fact about the African hair is that we can relax our hair and wear weaves, unfortunately, non-Africans can't make an Afro from their hair. Well, except they wear an Afro weave.

Cheers.

Jumoke Odepe
Toronto, 2015

No comments: