I felt compelled to write this after watching on BBC, the video of a mother of an 11 year old who produced an advert so her daughter could embrace her natural hair. Black hair is an important part of our identify and our heritage. Black women are beautiful regardless of what hair style they decide to rock.
Looking around the tube on my daily commute – I see many different hair styles on black women. Weaves and wigs seem to outnumber natural hairstyles.
But why? – the video mentioned the lack of prominent black women who wear their hair natural. There is a bigger issue that this particular video magnifies – black women would rather wear a wig, weave or chemically treat their hair rather than leave it in its natural state. Hey, I am not throwing stones at glass houses – I have straightened my hair for over twenty five years and have experienced anxiety, stress and lots of tears because of it. You name it: burnt scalp, damaged hair and hair loss.
Natural hair is not only beautiful but it comes with a strong signal. It states that I will not conform to what society dictates is beautiful – I am beautiful no matter what your perceptions are and frankly as Rhett Butler states: ‘I don’t give a damn’. Now that is powerful statement.
But why are so many of us who work in the corporate world not embracing our hair in its natural state? Prejudice and bias from others perhaps. The fact that our natural hair state is still frowned on by others, including in our own culture. I have heard the following comments from people outside of the race ‘the hair doesn’t look presentable’, ‘looks too ethnic’ or ‘its look untidy’. These reasons are insulting.
Regardless of where you stand regarding natural hair, I would like to emphasis and promote that black women (and men) with natural hair can and will always be able to do their job efficiently and effectively. Regardless of their hair style, which has no effect on their capabilities on how they can effectively do their role. Black women with natural hair look professional and can carry out their duties in a professional manner. In case you are not aware, they are also talented, educated, ambitious, respectful and courteous. Just for clarification purposes of course. They are still able to manage the tasks at hand and are able to represent the company. So please consider that when interviewing someone who has a natural hairstyle.
We are very fortunate that we are able to style our hair in many styles. Natural, chemically straightened, weaves, wigs, extensions.
On the back of International Women’s Day this month and US Black History Month, it really is time to support, respect, accept and embrace our differences and choices. Black women have been dictated to regarding what is classified as beautiful for far too long. It is now time for us to make up our own minds. But to do that we need to have representations and acceptance of all hair styles – natural and enhanced.
Born and Raised is an an ongoing series that shares the experiences of British people from the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities in Britain. If you’d like to use our blogging platform to tell your story email firstname.lastname@example.org or if there’s an issue you’d like us to explore, email email@example.com