Good Hair

I have always been one of those girls who relaxed their hair. In fact I can’t even tell you what age I started relaxing my hair. The truth is; I was never really given a choice because my mother made the choice for me. I suppose, for a busy, professional working mother – dealing with three girls who refused to comb their hair in the morning – the decision to straighten our tangled, natural locks into something more ‘manageable’ made sense.

The other truth is, I willingly continued with the chemical straightening of my hair into adult hood: because as far as I knew, had heard, was told – natural hair is high maintenance. Relaxed straightened hair, a weave, braids etc have all been sold as better options in ‘manageable’ hair than a natural kinky fro.

Recently, my youngest sister decided to chop it all off and go natural. When asked how I felt about it I am pretty sure I replied diplomatically, giving arguments for why it was a good idea and counter arguments for why it might not be such a good idea. We discussed the possibility that the shape of her head might be too square and spoke about how short hair, shaved or even just cropped, sometimes present some women with the challenge of making sure they look feminine and girly with the short hair. I can’t believe I am referencing a white girl in this post about black hair, but I recall reading an article or quote where Alexa Chung spoke about how when she cut her hair, she always felt like she had to wear really feminine dresses to counter act the short crop she was sporting.

So this brings me to today where I am at a cross roads of sorts regarding my hair. Inspired by this picture of Kathleen Neal Cleaver, a former Black Panther Party member, I was inspired to chop my hair and go natural. I found this picture of her on Le Coil and loved it because there is something very powerful in her hairstyle. There is a sense of knowing that I can’t really describe. With that being said, this new journey, has provided me with challenge of figuring out “how  I take care of my hair in its natural state free from chemicals. A journey of research that I am laughing at because it shouldn’t be this way. A lot of un-conditioning is happening.

Images via LeCoil and faefa-blackpanthers.tumblr.com

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6 Comments
  • Kate
    Posted at 13:43h, 20 January Reply
  • Late Submission
    Posted at 14:03h, 20 January Reply

    This is a very refreshing and positive article. good for you 🙂
    If you need some natural hair inspiration check out: http://spaceshipgeorge.blogspot.com/ http://hairspiration.blogspot.com/

  • Thithi Nteta
    Posted at 14:10h, 20 January Reply

    Hey Kate1 Thank you for the link. What a gorgeous editorial.

    Late Submission – My natural hair and I sticking together… It just feels right. Appreciate the links. You gotta understand I literally had not seen my own hair in over two years! Good hair…

  • Thando
    Posted at 16:41h, 23 January Reply

    Thithi, you are not the only one, alot of African girls are still dealing with the issue. If you go Afro, you have to accept that you will spend hours on the mirror and eventually envy the 'versatility' of relaxed hair. But if you relax and put on weaves you get judged for being a 'sell-out' and not embracing your inner African, beside those plastic 'rihanna weave' are terrible, and they have taken over, I wonder if we think about landfills when putting these extensions… Braids on the other hand, take 10 hours to put on and off, and you always eventually end up with hair thinning at the front… If you chop your locks off, you are looked at funny or seen as a rebel or a cute boy…loose your 'crowning glory'…
    I also dont know Thithi… I just do what feels right at the time. Whatever feels good.

  • urbanmosadi
    Posted at 15:35h, 25 January Reply

    Your Afro is stunning and looks very healthy…Just go with whatever feels good.

  • Non Compos Mantis
    Posted at 22:23h, 25 January Reply

    Hair is just hair really. Wether it's the plastic weave, relaxed hair or an afro, I think we get too political about hair to an extent that (maybe subconciously) we use hair to catagorize indivisuals.
    I once spoke to a black sister from the states and she got all judgemental about my braids and how I was not 'representing'. I told her that as much as today I may have braids, tommorow I may have afro so really my hair does not add any finality to who I am (sure enough when I saw her again I had half shaved dreadlocks). Wear your hair however you feel like wearing it. However you feel it's managable.. All the people who really matter (mostly yourself) will appreciate you whatever your crown.

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