I Am My Hair

India Arie lied.

In her single featuring Akon (sidenote: Where IS he? Living off the money Lady Gaga made him?), she goes on about how her hair does not define who she is. The truth of the matter – especially as black woman – our hair means a lot and then some. There are movements and articles upon articles regarding how to get that hair just right. When black women meet, more often than not, the topic of hair will come up. Whether it be a social setting or business meeting. You even get women stopping you in the street asking ‘what hair you have on’ and/or ‘where you got it from.’ Hair, whether we like it or not, is a reflection of how we take care of ourselves as well as a reflection of the internal person.

Chris Rock tried to delve into the depths of the black hair story with his ‘Good Hair‘ documentary which exposed to the world the intensity and immense cost that good hair comes with. To some, it came as a huge revelation. To others, it’s been life since early childhood.

The importance of hair to the black community dates back to colonisation and the discrimination that came with mufushwa (nappy) hair. Since then, it has been a battle of wanting to have long, wavy hair which has come at a huge expense and through using harsh chemicals (just watch Good Hair), lots of heat and pain. There is an age-old debate of whether or not wearing weaves is a sign of insecurity and that we should proudly wear our own, natural (relaxed or not) hair.

Truth is, we all know deep down in our hearts why we do what we do. I am of the mindset that do what makes you happy, as long as it makes YOU happy and you are being true to you. I have never been much of a weave-wearer due to the cost associated with it, the time and out of pure laziness. I can’t see myself spending 30 minutes each morning just to get my hair right. Sleep is way more tempting. So natural hair or braids it is (I am a huge advocate for braids – it protects the hair, saves time in the long run and you can up and leave whenever you need to).

2 years ago (I think), I made the move to sporting my natural, unrelaxed hair. Reason being, I was tired of dealing with ‘growth’ and having to get my hair relaxed every so often. I was tired of running away from water and I was tired of constantly having to rely on someone to do my hair. So I made the move and have been loving it ever since. Due to me sporting my natural coils, I have been referred to as a ‘soul sister’, a creative, a free-spirit, an ‘arty farty’ (a term I really dislike) person. And those terms, though far from conclusive, would not be entirely off the mark.

 

Hence I say that I am my hair. We all know that our external appearance does matter – people do judge us on the basis of how we look. It is a fact that most of us are guilty of – myself included. But what people say about me based on me hair does not matter, should not matter. They may think of any number of reasons why my hair is the way it is, but what matters to me is what I am happy with.

Even though our hair speaks volumes about who we are, it cannot and should not be the only means of defining us.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”

Psalm 139:13-15

India Arie has also taken the time to pen an open letter about Blue Ivy’s hair situation. But that’s a whole other matter for a different day.

5 Reasons Why They Ain’t Loyal

This song has been at the top of many a playlist for a while now. Confession: I only heard it for the first time about 3 weeks ago. In the words of Chris Breezy himself “Please don’t judge me.” I’d seen lyrics from the song all over the various social media platforms I find myself on. Just couldn’t be bothered to investigate till I had some spare time.

Upon my first listen I thought it a huge joke. The nerve of Chris to call girls out as not being loyal. The beat went IN but I couldn’t take him seriously. Til I listened to the song a couple more times and realised the truth he was speaking.

Basically, Chris is saying that girls aren’t loyal coz they’ll ditch their man if another man comes along with more money and offering them a more blinged-out life. Chris’ braggadocious attitude of telling these brothers just how easily he can pick up their girls doesn’t help the matter.

Truth is, this happens more often than not. I hail from a country where small-houses are becoming more and more common-place. And this goes across social classes and education. It’s quite a phenomenon. For a while, I have wondered why some women are so comfortable with being with someone for financial reasons. Here are a couple of reasons I could think of:

1. The Need for a Saviour

Sometimes I think women feel like the only way to get out of their current situation is for someone to rescue them. Growing up on fairy tales where the female character was rescued by a prince – think Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast… Shrek… Girls grow up on this and are thus attuned to searching for a prince to rescue them. Of course as women we do desire a man to man-up for us. But I think searching for a man to rescue you from financial distress is misguided. Perhaps growing up with very little and looking for a way out, when a man comes along flashing all he has, there is the thought that it is the only way out. Men tend to work hard to get themselves out of their situation – they hustle and hustle hard. Sometimes we as women don’t realise that we ought to work our way towards the life we want. It doesn’t come easy. Yes, men are meant to be providers, but their provision should not be subject to us compromising on our self-worth and value. As women, it’s important to have goals and dreams that we can attain for ourselves.

2. Daddy Issues

I know a lot is blamed on Dads but it goes to show just how important the role of a father is in the lives of his children. Absenteeism and the use of money to appease children could be a factor. Growing up in a home like this, girls may grow up believing that being showered with money and/or gifts is a sign of love from the opposite sex. This is perhaps because of what their fathers did or did not do – we tend to develop our way of thinking from childhood experiences. So girls seek love and fulfillment from their partners by being showered with money and gifts. Unfortunately, this fulfillment only lasts so long.

3. Men Making It Rain

We’ve all seen the music videos of men making it rain on their women in exchange for sexual favours. Some men expect that if they  have money, women should automatically flock to them. Most women have had an encounter like this. Media and celebrities relay a certain message – that money CAN buy women so it has become somewhat acceptable. So don’t just blame women, blame society and the messages being relayed.

4. Insecurities

Low self-esteem, lack of self-worth – you know the drill. All these factors play against a woman’s value and they don’t realise that being with a man who has money doesn’t make them more valuable. Some women seek validation from the world by the material things they have and the kind of man they date, not realising that value is intrinsic – should be intrinsic, radiating outwards. So if another man wants them and has more money, the woman feels more valuable. This also stems from childhood experiences and what you’ve been taught

5. Good Ol’ Ratchetness

Girls can just be downright selfish at times. Life is all about them and what they want. So if something new and shiny comes along – they don’t hesitate to be about that life. It’s onto the next. And unfortunately, you would have found yourself caught in their web. In a world all about instant gratification, some women just couldn’t care less about building a life with someone – starting from the bottom and working their way up with their partner. No. They just want the courtside seats even though they weren’t with them shooting in the gym.

Now, none of these issues are unheard of or entirely new. It’s just when people point fingers at these women, they more often than not don’t care to look at what’s beyond the surface. I am not saying these are the only reasons and that these reasons justify their actions. It’s just a reality we live in unfortunately. People are hurting and are searching for something or someone to soothe the pain. Others are just plain selfish and are about doing them. I hope this awakens men and women to re-evaluate their perspective on relationships and life, work on what needs to be worked on in order to be the kind of people who live full and abundant lives. If we don’t, I am afraid that loyalty, which is becoming more and more of a rare commodity, will soon go dinosaur on us.