This is a rant, so if I stray from time to time, you’ve been warned. Try to keep up!
So, it has been some time now since the world was set ablaze by what I can only describe as the greatest thing I have ever seen since I saw Michael Jackson do the Moonwalk. Yes, I am talking about the Natural Movement. Doesn’t that just sound powerful? It’s not a trend anymore, it’s a movement. Look at us, getting all woke ‘n everythang! *finger snap* Its a feeling that can only be described as the same feeling you get when you find a product that WORKS FOR YOU!
Now, as to my title, I’m pretty sure it’s obvious where I am going with this. We have worked long and hard to achieve this point of global acceptance in our image but my question is, “What was there to accept in the first place?”. You know, I’ll be honest that my mind is often a crazy place to be in because I wondered if there was some kind of parallel universe out there where the hair we regarded as bad aka Nappy, Kroes, whatever, was the best thing to have! Imagine that… People with long, flowing hair sulking and looking at magazines with girls on the covers wearing gorgeous Afro’s and beautiful twist-outs… And they sit there, green with envy. “Oh how I wish I was nappy”. Later that day she goes to the salon and they tell her, with her long flowing hair “Sorry honey, we don’t work with that kinda hair here. How about you try some dreadlocks? We could make a plan”. Would be a real trip, right? I know you’re starting to think further than this but hold up!
What did they have to accept in the first place? It’s not as if we’re out here branding ourselves with words of hate speech. What made people think we actually needed to be accepted? When was it ever said that in order to be yourself you needed the world’s permission? You know, it’s actually tiring watching people have to make excuses for being the way they are. You ever had to lie because you’re just uncomfortable answering questions that don’t really have answers or you’re just afraid of confrontation because “your people” are going to be labeled as aggressive?
“When are you relaxing your hair?”
“Does your boyfriend like you wearing your hair that way?”
“Don’t you love yourself?”
My real gripe is with people in general. The most damaging thing to a woman’s hair is not relaxer… It’s stupid opinions. The history of Nappy Hate, lets call it that, runs deep through history. Let’s face it, we’ve been screwed over for centuries because we have been taught that what we have is unacceptable. Dark skin, hair that curls up into tight little bunches. You know, I recall a story my father told me when I was younger. We were driving and I asked my father, “Dad, where do black people come from?”. He looked uncomfortable and that’s when he made up this story. He said:
“Well, son, long ago God had made everyone black and some of the people weren’t happy about it, they wanted to be white. So God made this huge bath appear and he commanded them to walk through this bath and rinse their dark colour off. The people did as commanded and they came out on the other end white and had long, straight hair. But there was a commotion and a lot of splashing so the water started to run out and became dirtier and didn’t get all the black off the others. Eventually, there was only just enough water to coat the bottom of the feet and palms of those who were left. And this is how they came to be”
I asked my father, “And will he bring the bath again, Dad?”
His answer was sarcastic, but my Dad was a sharp one. He said “No son. Because if you were meant to look different your ancestor would have been in front”
At the time, I thought this was a good answer, and a little funny, but I notice something now which actually hurts me deeply. Why is it that people of colour are always the ones set aside? The last ones? This sounds political, but it’s from a moral perspective. My father wanted to give his son an answer but in that I saw the truth laid bare. We are in a game of catch-up with ourselves. If this doesn’t make sense, let me explain. You are not chasing what you wanted to be anymore, but what you were meant to be, because that was cast aside. It’s like throwing down a bag containing everything you own and running after what someone else has, only to find out what you had was easier to keep, so you’re now running back to get it (LOL! Bear with me, I’m on a roll here)
What’s wrong with this world is that it is a slave to perception and unrealistic standards. And the truth is when the world moves, it moves as a unit. When one moves against convention, no matter how absurd this conventional practice may be… The entire world gasps. Lose weight and they say they preferred you chubby, gain weight and they take every opportunity to tell you that you’re fat. Relax your hair, you get judged by one group. Don’t relax it and you get judged by the other. Natural Nazi’s, as I affectionately call them, do exist, and the hate is real. I mean… When do you win? The point of what I am telling you all is that you do not need to apologize to anybody and explain yourself to anyone, you just be you, no matter what flavour you are. There is no way to please people, it is human nature to feel unsatisfied but it is not the reason for you to feel empty. And that is what the world will leave you feeling. You can throw away everything that you are, and the world will still reject you. It’s standards change faster than you can keep up. So be you, that’s permanent.
And as always, you, as you are, are enough.
Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts!
Talk Natty To Me, Baby