How did Black Hair Politics Become The Hot Debate Topic?

millie_(A)TCKmillie_(A)TCK Posts: 404Registered Users
I am really happy that this is being aired and more black people are choosing to be natural but is it just me or are there lots of media outlets that are talking about the politics of black hair all of a sudden? Is it all because of Chris Rock's new documentary?

This NY Times article got 276 comments in the last 4 days!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/fashion/27SKIN.html?pagewanted=all
Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics

By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS
SILKY straight hair has long been considered by many black women to be their crowning glory. So what if getting that look meant enduring the itchy burning that’s a hallmark of many chemical straighteners. Or a pricey dependence on “creamy crack,” as relaxers are sometimes jokingly called.
Getting “good hair” often means transforming one’s tightly coiled roots; but it is also more freighted, for many African-American women and some men, than simply a choice about grooming. Straightening hair has been perceived as a way to be more acceptable to certain relatives, as well as to the white establishment.
“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” the comedian Paul Mooney, sporting an Afro, says in the documentary “Good Hair,” which won a jury prize at the Sundance film festival and comes out in October. “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”
The movie, made by Chris Rock, explores the lengths black women go to get long, straightened locks, from a $1,000 weave on a teacher’s salary to schoolgirls having their hair chemically relaxed.
In the face of cultural pressure, the thinking goes, conformists relax their hair, and rebels have the courage not to. In some corners, relaxing one’s hair is even seen as wishing to be white.
“For black women, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” said Ingrid Banks, an associate professor of black studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “If you’ve got straight hair, you’re pegged as selling out. If you don’t straighten your hair,” she said, “you’re seen as not practicing appropriate grooming practices.”
Anyone who thought such preconceptions were outdated would have been reminded otherwise by some negative reactions to the president’s 11-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, who wore her hair in twists while in Rome this summer. Commenters on the conservative blog Free Republic attacked her as unfit to represent America for stepping out unstraightened.
Although legions of black women in America straighten their hair (including Michelle Obama), hair salons specializing in natural styles have proliferated, and more black women are working with their virgin hair. Many wear their twists, locks or teenie-weenie Afros (known as TWAs) with an attitude — proud to have not given in to the pressure to straighten hair. In “Good Hair,” Nia Long, the actress, describes the conventional wisdom that straightened hair is more desirable: “There’s always a sort of pressure within the black community, like ‘Oh, if you have good hair, you’re prettier or better than the brown-skinned girl that wears an Afro or the dreads or the natural hairstyle.’ ”
For some, the battle lines are drawn.
But in recent interviews, a number of people of color expressed a weariness with the debate. They asked, essentially: Why can’t hair just be hair? Must an Afro peg a woman as the political heir to Angela Davis? Is a fashionista who replicates the first lady’s clean-cut bob really being untrue to herself?
“I am who I am regardless of how I wear my hair,” said Tywana Smith, an owner of Treasured Locks, a Web site devoted to upkeep for relaxed and natural hair. “I want my kids to be seen for who they are, not for how they wear their hair,” she added. “Whether they walk down the street with twists or braids, they aren’t making any other statement other than ‘Today I felt like twists.’ ”
Assumptions about the motives for straightening or wearing hair natural aren’t as easy to make as they once were. During the last presidential campaign, Noliwe M. Rooks, the associate director of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton, had many conversations about what it meant when the hair of Sasha and Malia Obama was pressed straight. “Unlike earlier times,” the conclusion wasn’t “clearly she had sold out, or she’s saying straight hair is better,” Professor Rooks said. “There’s a complexity to who we are now. There wasn’t an easy answer to why.”
Afua Adusei-Gontarz, 30, of Brooklyn, wore her hair natural for five years in a French braid, two-strand twists or a puffy ponytail. But she doesn’t think those looks made her more authentically black. “If you have natural hair, you’re considered more real, or in touch with your African-ness,” said Ms. Adusei-Gontarz, an assistant editor at Columbia University Press.
She rejects that thinking: In Ghana, her older relatives relax their hair — as she does now but for convenience — and “it’s more the newer generations who have natural hair.”
Last year, sales of home relaxers totaled $45.6 million (excluding Wal-Mart), according to Mintel, a market research firm, a figure that has held steady in recent years. So many African-American women use relaxers or a hot comb to get a straight look temporarily that not doing so can require courage. Online where black women discuss hair, commenters may support the natural look for strangers but don’t adopt it, said Professor Rooks, the author of “Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women.” I’m not brave enough, they write — it’s so wonderful that you can accept yourself as you are.
The “good hair” issue has almost always skewed toward women. Black men with highly textured hair have long had a convenient, socially acceptable option: a close trim. Many black women get into the habit of relaxing hair as girls — when the choice is made by their mother or another relative — so changing the status quo as an adult can be difficult.
For many people no matter their race or hair texture, accepting yourself “as you are” is a high bar. The history of beauty is one of dissatisfaction and transformation: brunettes become blondes; white women get their curly hair Japanese-straightened. To go from short to shoulder-length and back again, celebrities from Britney Spears to Queen Latifah use weaves, which require a stylist to sew or to glue someone else’s hair into tracks on the scalp.
So why, asks Brian Smith, who runs TreasuredLocks.com with his wife, Tywana, is a hairstyle a “political or social statement” primarily among African-Americans? He has had customers implore him to stop giving hair-care advice to people who use relaxers because “you’re helping these women sell out.” But he and his wife, who now twists her hair herself after years of relaxing it, don’t take sides.
The term “natural” is itself problematic, said Professor Banks, the author of “Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness.” She recently spent 14 months in black-centric salons in five cities researching a future book. Natural hair salons don’t offer chemical straightening or weaves. But she found “a great deal of coloring in natural hairstyling, thereby challenging the ‘chemically free’ label.”
Oddly, Patricia Gaines, the founder of Nappturality.com, a pro-natural Web site, points out that dyeing one’s Afro puffs or double-strand twists blond isn’t viewed as conforming to a Euro-centric look. “It’s never been about color with black women,” she said, referring to the tint of one’s hair. “If it’s blond hair and it’s nappy, it’s still nappy.” (A term she uses proudly, though some use it as a slur.)
For Professor Banks, making a choice is crucial, not the resulting hairstyle. “If a black woman makes a choice to relax her hair, or to cut all her hair off, or just do nothing to it, it’s empowering to make that choice,” she said, noting that black women on plantations didn’t have that luxury.
Shayna Y. Rudd, of Washington, wore a past-her-shoulders weave to have a better shot at the Miss America title. She said an adviser gave her two choices: imitate Beyoncé’s long luscious look or Jada Pinkett Smith’s flowing mane. “I couldn’t be who God wanted me to be,” Ms. Rudd, 24, said ruefully. “I didn’t win. My spirit was crushed.”
She has since sworn off relaxers and extensions; instead, she occasionally presses her tight-curled hair and slicks it into a bun, which is what she did earlier this month when she won the title Miss Black USA. (She bested 28 other contestants, only 3 of whom wore their hair natural.) “Don’t buy into anyone else’s standard, set your own,” Ms. Rudd said.
3c/4a. Very Fine and Thin.
Moisturizers: QB Burdock Root butter creme, Curl Junkie, Abba Pure Gentle leave-in
Styling Products: Curls Souffle, Curl Junkie Coffee Creme
Curl Cremes: Jessicurl Confident Coils
Conditioners: Deva Curl One, Mixed Chics DC, Nature's Gate Biotin
DT:AO Honeysuckle Rose, Coconut oil.

Comments

  • justicefighter1913justicefighter1913 Posts: 253Registered Users
    Boy, reading through some of those comments makes me remember why I went natural in the first place....yikkkes!
    Hair goals: 1) healthy hair 2) BSL by 12/10:viking:
    Recovering from a "scissor happy stylist "setback:tongue2:
    My Fotki: A work in progress:clock:
  • anonymous_30174anonymous_30174 Posts: 64Registered Users
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW





    ______________________


    Natural since July 08
    "Big chop" May 1st 09
    http://youtube.com/bunicornaces
    :toothy4: Happy sunday!!
  • PrettycurlsPrettycurls Posts: 1,482Registered Users
    I have a hard time digesting these types of articles because I know that the audience is not AA's. It is like the Black in America CNN series.

    They are about AA issues and pathologies, but

    1. The target audience is not AA
    2. There is no real depth
    Have:
    4a Tailbone

    http://members.fotki.com/Prettycurls/about/ pw:curlspretty


  • EfuruEfuru Posts: 169Registered Users
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW


    Natural since August 08
    "Big chop May" 1st 09
    http://youtube.com/bunicornaces
    :toothy4: Happy sunday!!

    I'd have to disagree, to say this is only an American issue is like saying there is no racism in Britain. It might not be as prevalent because of course our histories are different but it exists here even the 'right type of curls' issue.
    CoilyCurlyWavyKinks in the UK!:headbang:
    Hair type
    : High density/low porosity/fine-coarse/medium strands
    Current aim: Growing out henna

    event.png
  • KinkyKeeperKinkyKeeper Posts: 963Registered Users
    The same way I wrote a thread on here naturallycurly.com (about the little girl being abused through her hair) and it inspired two different articles AOL Black Voices and The Root and those inspired a talk on NPR.

    One thing sort of leads to another. So I would say all these articles are at least partly becuase of Chris Rock's documentary. And plus it's just time. We, as a a society, have swept this good hair, bad hair stuff under the rug for as long as we could.
  • millie_(A)TCKmillie_(A)TCK Posts: 404Registered Users
    Boy, reading through some of those comments makes me remember why I went natural in the first place....yikkkes!

    I stuck to reading the positive comments, the rest is :blah5::blah5: but they do show the mindset of many in society, still.
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW

    I completely disagree with you. The difference between Europe and America is that American racism is on the surface and is discussed regularly in the mainstream whilst in Europe racism is a defacto way of life that isn't discussed unless it is embarassingly too much. Take a walk through Brixton (highest concentrated amount of blacks), London and Haarlem, NYC and you see the politics of hair. There are very few naturals in Brixton let alone the rest of England. At least the Obama's hair is discussed with how it looks for America, no matter how inane it is. That discussion isn't going to occur for the UK anytime soon, can you really imagine a black Englishman being prime-minister, or Prince William marrying a black woman and having a mixed heir to the throne? The BNP is making more and more gains in the UK as seen in the recent European parlimentary elections, that sort of extremist hatred doesn't even have a chance in America..and you talk about racism being worse in America?! I've read blogs from black englishwomen about how tough it is for them to have become natural, maybe you didn't face the same sort of backlash but pretending England or for the matter the rest of Europe is racially more egalitarian than America is a joke. When it comes to race politics, the rest of the world take inspiration from American black activists and politicians because they make the most strides in the fight against white supremacism.
    I have a hard time digesting these types of articles because I know that the audience is not AA's. It is like the Black in America CNN series.

    They are about AA issues and pathologies, but

    1. The target audience is not AA
    2. There is no real depth

    I understand, and agree, its still fascinating how Black is the new Black. :P
    3c/4a. Very Fine and Thin.
    Moisturizers: QB Burdock Root butter creme, Curl Junkie, Abba Pure Gentle leave-in
    Styling Products: Curls Souffle, Curl Junkie Coffee Creme
    Curl Cremes: Jessicurl Confident Coils
    Conditioners: Deva Curl One, Mixed Chics DC, Nature's Gate Biotin
    DT:AO Honeysuckle Rose, Coconut oil.
  • HoneysmokeHoneysmoke Posts: 60Registered Users
    I agree with KinkyKeeper. It's time. I haven't read the comments on the NYT piece (will revisit now) but the slide show pictures and audio were well done. I agree that African Americans aren't the target audiences for such pieces, but this article contained some depth and didn't further any stereotypes. Yes, it is talking about our hair issues, but we've been doing that for decades. I also believe Chris Rock's documentary has a lot to do with it. It's supposed to be released in Oct. and I plan to be one of the first in line.
  • KinkyKeeperKinkyKeeper Posts: 963Registered Users
    Boy, reading through some of those comments makes me remember why I went natural in the first place....yikkkes!

    I stuck to reading the positive comments, the rest is :blah5::blah5: but they do show the mindset of many in society, still.
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW

    I completely disagree with you. The difference between Europe and America is that American racism is on the surface and is discussed regularly in the mainstream whilst in Europe racism is a defacto way of life that isn't discussed unless it is embarassingly too much. Take a walk through Brixton (highest concentrated amount of blacks), London and Haarlem, NYC and you see the politics of hair. There are very few naturals in Brixton let alone the rest of England. At least the Obama's hair is discussed with how it looks for America, no matter how inane it is. That discussion isn't going to occur for the UK anytime soon, can you really imagine a black Englishman being prime-minister, or Prince William marrying a black woman and having a mixed heir to the throne? The BNP is making more and more gains in the UK as seen in the recent European parlimentary elections, that sort of extremist hatred doesn't even have a chance in America..and you talk about racism being worse in America?! I've read blogs from black englishwomen about how tough it is for them to have become natural, maybe you didn't face the same sort of backlash but pretending England or for the matter the rest of Europe is racially more egalitarian than America is a joke. When it comes to race politics, the rest of the world take inspiration from American black activists and politicians because they make the most strides in the fight against white supremacism.

    ITA. It's so popular to bash America's stance on race relations and bash us as more racist than (insert country or place of origin of the basher) when a big part of it is just that we are just more outspoken on racism and it doesn't get hidden or gotten away with. And there are no race utopias out there, the world is filled with discrimination and prejudice and racism and colorism in all countries. Some of the most racist places in the world are countries that don't even legally acknowledge race or don't talk about it.
  • lajoliefillelajoliefille Posts: 350Registered Users
    Thank you Efuru, KinkyKeeper, millie_(A)TCK!

    I'm a liberal and francophile through and through, but I hate it when people on the left overly romanticize Europe; especially those who have never lived there as person of color. Yeah they have better health care and public transportation, but just look at the head scarf issues in France and the UK and tell me Europe doesn't have some warped ideas about race/ethnicity/religion. Russia has some of the highest levels of violence against African/Asian students of all of Europe. Call a spade a spade.
    Last Relaxer: Feb 2007
    BC: Feb. 28 2009 :afro::hello1:

    What do hair typing, Santa, the bogey man, and the great pumpkin all have in common? My utter and complete disbelief in them of course. ;-)


    "Feminism is the RADICAL notion that women are human beings."
  • mariag002mariag002 Posts: 3,557Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW


    Natural since August 08
    "Big chop May" 1st 09
    http://youtube.com/bunicornaces
    :toothy4: Happy sunday!!

    As a foreigner living in the United States, trust me its alot deeper here than just walking around saying "people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past" We have a black president, but race relations in America are very complex and people are still segregated. You can't tell African Americans that they're being silly when you don't live here nor do you understand how people here tick. I can understand where you're coming from, but trust me when I say I wish it were that simple.
    - Maria

    Big Chop: 9/23/07
    Relaxer free for almost 5 years!

  • EfuruEfuru Posts: 169Registered Users
    Yeah, Britain is basically a country of 'mild weather and subtle racism' (to quote Gina Yashere) so I have know qualms about airing its dirty laundry.

    I was going to watch the Black in America series but my uncle (who lives in the US) told me its kind of like those documentaries they do on ethnic groups in Africa/Asia, all: " Look at how strange and different they are!". Not cool.
    CoilyCurlyWavyKinks in the UK!:headbang:
    Hair type
    : High density/low porosity/fine-coarse/medium strands
    Current aim: Growing out henna

    event.png
  • anonymous_30174anonymous_30174 Posts: 64Registered Users
    Efuru wrote: »

    I'd have to disagree, to say this is only an American issue is like saying there is no racism in Britain. It might not be as prevalent because of course our histories are different but it exists here even the 'right type of curls' issue.


    That's not what I said; there is racism here, I never said there's no racism. What I said is that I have never heard or encountered a white person being racist to a black person on the grouds of their hair!! I mean that's just ridiculous. It's like : "yeh so I don't like the black girl because she's got an afro or because she's got some kinky hair" That's just crazy. There's definitely racism in the UK, see it everyday;but never encountered anyone that comments on the way a black person's natural hair is unacceptable or something like that in a prejudiced manner.
  • pulchri2dinouspulchri2dinous Posts: 1,014Registered Users
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW


    Natural since August 08
    "Big chop May" 1st 09
    http://youtube.com/bunicornaces
    :toothy4: Happy sunday!!


    It's funny you should say this, because my friend from Haiti recently went natural and when her mother came to visit she was very dissapointed. She kept saying "you need to get a perm" and looking at her while shaking her head. I'm Jamaican American and my Jamaican cousin is the worst when it comes to making her child thinks that she has bad hair just because it is not straight. It's definitely not just America that is "messed up".
    That's not what I said; there is racism here, I never said there's no racism. What I said is that I have never heard or encountered a white person being racist to a black person on the grouds of their hair!! I mean that's just ridiculous. It's like : "yeh so I don't like the black girl because she's got an afro or because she's got some kinky hair" That's just crazy. There's definitely racism in the UK, see it everyday;but never encountered anyone that comments on the way a black person's natural hair is unacceptable or something like that in a prejudiced manner.

    ^^ I think this is a much better statement, because it is based on your experience.
    4, fine, low-medium density, low porosity


    event.png

    "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." - Confucius
  • EfuruEfuru Posts: 169Registered Users

    That's not what I said; there is racism here, I never said there's no racism. What I said is that I have never heard or encountered a white person being racist to a black person on the grouds of their hair!! I mean that's just ridiculous. It's like : "yeh so I don't like the black girl because she's got an afro or because she's got some kinky hair" That's just crazy. There's definitely racism in the UK, see it everyday;but never encountered anyone that comments on the way a black person's natural hair is unacceptable or something like that in a prejudiced manner.

    I know that is not what you said, I used that as a comparison because in MY experience that hair politics are a by-product of racism. Its as millie_(A)TCK! said if we don't have hair issues then why are there so many 'Black hair' shops that cater to relaxers and weaves but its a mission to find products for your natural hair, why don't the small number of black women on British telly rock their natural textures, how did (somewhat hilarious but sad) videos like this one come about then? Why did Jamelia's documentary and article come about then?

    And I could go on. I don't mean to sound militant (lol) or like I'm picking on you but in my experience its an incorrect assumption that we in the UK don't have hair issues.

    I would like to state that I don't fault any woman that relaxes and weaves up but my problem lies with them thinking they have to (my little disclaimer).
    CoilyCurlyWavyKinks in the UK!:headbang:
    Hair type
    : High density/low porosity/fine-coarse/medium strands
    Current aim: Growing out henna

    event.png
  • mizzbellzmizzbellz Posts: 32Registered Users
    America is messed up; i'm British and tbh no one cares if you straighten your hair or you're natural. Ok maybe some people like parents care about natural hair(because my mother didn't get it when I said I was going natural, she thought I was just going off relaxers for a couple of months, until I was like, I'm never going to chemically straighten my hair.) but it's like whether your hair is straightened or relaxed no one gives a damn or takes it as a political statement or anything like that.
    The only reason why black hair is such as big deal in American is because, people are feeding into all this bs and maybe some other occurrences from the past.
    But the past is the past; some people just need to leave it where it should be, the past.
    I mean come the f**k on!!!! someone actually thought they would make a comment on Obama's daughter wearing twists on holiday? Some people are just so f**king f**ked up, it's like they really have no life.
    I mean there are racist people in the uk, but like...“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” and “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.” COME THE F***K ON!!! Why should the way someone was born naturally out of their mother's womb be a problem to other people. Sorry but American is f**cked up. WOW


    Natural since August 08
    "Big chop May" 1st 09
    http://youtube.com/bunicornaces
    :toothy4: Happy sunday!!


    It's funny you should say this, because my friend from Haiti recently went natural and when her mother came to visit she was very dissapointed. She kept saying "you need to get a perm" and looking at her while shaking her head. I'm Jamaican American and my Jamaican cousin is the worst when it comes to making her child thinks that she has bad hair just because it is not straight. It's definitely not just America that is "messed up".
    That's not what I said; there is racism here, I never said there's no racism. What I said is that I have never heard or encountered a white person being racist to a black person on the grouds of their hair!! I mean that's just ridiculous. It's like : "yeh so I don't like the black girl because she's got an afro or because she's got some kinky hair" That's just crazy. There's definitely racism in the UK, see it everyday;but never encountered anyone that comments on the way a black person's natural hair is unacceptable or something like that in a prejudiced manner.

    ^^ I think this is a much better statement, because it is based on your experience.

    I agree with the pulchri2dinous, my experiences in here in London has not been so fortunate.

    I have had the manager tell me my hair was not 'conservative' and did not 'reflect the chic french image expected of the company'. Also told they were reluctant to let me work on the front desk for those reasons. All said with a polite smile.

    I've had a white man tell me I need to comb my hair while holding the hand of his black gf who had a horrible greasy weave with no hair line :angry4:.

    There is little difference between the UK, Europe and America in terms of the acceptance of black beauty. At least things are out in the open in the US.

    I would prefer things out in the open no matter how uncomfortable rather than hidden behind a polite smile and political correctness.
  • anonymous_30174anonymous_30174 Posts: 64Registered Users
    Efuru wrote: »


    I know that is not what you said, I used that as a comparison because in MY experience that hair politics are a by-product of racism. Its as millie_(A)TCK! said if we don't have hair issues then why are there so many 'Black hair' shops that cater to relaxers and weaves but its a mission to find products for your natural hair, why don't the small number of black women on British telly rock their natural textures, how did (somewhat hilarious but sad) videos like this one come about then? Why did Jamelia's documentary and article come about then?

    And I could go on. I don't mean to sound militant (lol) or like I'm picking on you but in my experience its an incorrect assumption that we in the UK don't have hair issues.

    I would like to state that I don't fault any woman that relaxes and weaves up but my problem lies with them thinking they have to (my little disclaimer).

    Lol you know those boys are waste men, I mean with the weave song. I was only speaking on my experiences, like I said earlier my mother was not feeling my going natural and even when she had a comb close to my hair, she was trying to comb it straight(impossible with the texture of my hair); but i've noticed that(from youtube and other black hair forums) that a lot of black woman(americans mostly) complain about how they are not accepted by the rest of America on basis of their hair being natural. I mean come on now, if any employer in the uk is stupid enough to tell a black woman that their NATURAL HAIR is not good enough, they should know what is coming to them(well if they tried that rubbish with a person like me anyways). (To the woman who said that your french employer said one thing one thing about your natural hair, if you got the sack because of that, you should be taking action).
    I don't see stuff like this in the uk, i live in London as well. See the thing is, it's either black american woman are on a hype or they are just not doing nothing about the situation(if it's as bad as people say, to the extent that people lose their jobs because of the way that they were born and something they are not willing to alter).
    Ok, my point is that BLACK NATURAL HAIR is not a problem in the uk in my opinion. Yes it's difficult to find natural products or good enough products for kinky hair; however black natural hair is not a problem in the uk as it is in America. I didn't even know there was natural hair drama anywhere in the world until I went natural and I started watching some youtube videos on african american women and their experiences(sad stuff). I didn't know some people are ashamed to spot their natural hair until I went natural; if I lived in the states I wouldn't have to be natural for me to realise stuff like this exists
    To the woman with natural hair who said a white man told her to comb her hair, you didn't tell him to shut his mouth?
  • mariag002mariag002 Posts: 3,557Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    to answer the original question

    I think that between we women of color spending billions on hair care...AND
    Oprah showing her real hair... and
    Tyra's ratings with the Good Hair/Bad Hair show...and
    Chris Rock and his documentary...
    and everybody making a big deal about Michelle Obama and whether she has a perm...

    It was bound to happen.
    - Maria

    Big Chop: 9/23/07
    Relaxer free for almost 5 years!

  • EfuruEfuru Posts: 169Registered Users
    Shame! I just realised I didn't even answer the OP's question.

    Yes, I believe it might have something to do with the documentary as well as the scrutiny the new US President and his family (which is full of women) is under. As the idea that black people are monolithic is starting to break up, new points of focus for our 'otherness' must come in.




    Lol you know those boys are waste men, I mean with the weave song. I was only speaking on my experiences, like I said earlier my mother was not feeling my going natural and even when she had a comb close to my hair, she was trying to comb it straight(impossible with the texture of my hair); but i've noticed that(from youtube and other black hair forums) that a lot of black woman(americans mostly) complain about how they are not accepted by the rest of America on basis of their hair being natural. I mean come on now, if any employer in the uk is stupid enough to tell a black woman that their NATURAL HAIR is not good enough, they should know what is coming to them(well if they tried that rubbish with a person like me anyways). (To the woman who said that your french employer said one thing one thing about your natural hair, if you got the sack because of that, you should be taking action).
    I don't see stuff like this in the uk, i live in London as well. See the thing is, it's either black american woman are on a hype or they are just not doing nothing about the situation(if it's as bad as people say, to the extent that people lose their jobs because of the way that they were born and something they are not willing to alter).
    Ok, my point is that BLACK NATURAL HAIR is not a problem in the uk in my opinion. Yes it's difficult to find natural products or good enough products for kinky hair; however black natural hair is not a problem in the uk as it is in America. I didn't even know there was natural hair drama anywhere in the world until I went natural and I started watching some youtube videos on african american women and their experiences(sad stuff). I didn't know some people are ashamed to spot their natural hair until I went natural; if I lived in the states I wouldn't have to be natural for me to realise stuff like this exists
    To the woman with natural hair who said a white man told her to comb her hair, you didn't tell him to shut his mouth?

    Maybe it seems like its mostly American talking about it because their numbers might be more proportionate? I don't know your background but didn't you wonder why your mum wasn't feeling your natural and why she kept trying to 'comb it straight'? , I live in SE London (about 10mins from Brixton) so I'm surprised that the idea is new to you :pale:

    Oh well! I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree :toothy4:
    CoilyCurlyWavyKinks in the UK!:headbang:
    Hair type
    : High density/low porosity/fine-coarse/medium strands
    Current aim: Growing out henna

    event.png
  • millie_(A)TCKmillie_(A)TCK Posts: 404Registered Users
    I agree with the pulchri2dinous, my experiences in here in London has not been so fortunate.

    I have had the manager tell me my hair was not 'conservative' and did not 'reflect the chic french image expected of the company'. Also told they were reluctant to let me work on the front desk for those reasons. All said with a polite smile.

    I've had a white man tell me I need to comb my hair while holding the hand of his black gf who had a horrible greasy weave with no hair line :angry4:.

    There is little difference between the UK, Europe and America in terms of the acceptance of black beauty. At least things are out in the open in the US.

    I would prefer things out in the open no matter how uncomfortable rather than hidden behind a polite smile and political correctness.

    I Agree. Sorry to hear about the treatment you recieved by those ignorant racists.
    I'm a liberal and francophile through and through, but I hate it when people on the left overly romanticize Europe; especially those who have never lived there as person of color. Yeah they have better health care and public transportation, but just look at the head scarf issues in France and the UK and tell me Europe doesn't have some warped ideas about race/ethnicity/religion. Russia has some of the highest levels of violence against African studies of all of Europe. Call a spade a spade.

    Exactly. As a Black European studying in Canada its frustrating hearing the romanticization of Europe from N.Americans and the blind-of-one's-own-issues, America bashing from Europeans. Europeans don't spend their time in cute little cafe's eating nouveau cuisine with little espresso's clad in the latest designer wear debating about philosophy and how to make their liberal states even more radically progressive, and Americans don't spend their free time either in McDonalds with bibles and guns in their XL jean's pockets waiting to shoot the next person that utters a word with more than 3 syllables. Black people are definitely more empowered in N.America but poor people are more taken care of in Europe.
    3c/4a. Very Fine and Thin.
    Moisturizers: QB Burdock Root butter creme, Curl Junkie, Abba Pure Gentle leave-in
    Styling Products: Curls Souffle, Curl Junkie Coffee Creme
    Curl Cremes: Jessicurl Confident Coils
    Conditioners: Deva Curl One, Mixed Chics DC, Nature's Gate Biotin
    DT:AO Honeysuckle Rose, Coconut oil.
  • TK*TK* Posts: 885Registered Users
    I have a hard time digesting these types of articles because I know that the audience is not AA's. It is like the Black in America CNN series.

    They are about AA issues and pathologies, but

    1. The target audience is not AA
    2. There is no real depth

    Exactly. *applauds*
    I'm "TechKnockout" now.
  • lajoliefillelajoliefille Posts: 350Registered Users
    To answer the question, I think the surge of natural hair debate has to do with the increase with of natural haired women in the media and just having the Obama's in the white house.

    I just wish these discussions didn't have the "ooo come look at the mysterious black people" tone to them. Its like when CNN did a segment on black marriage or something. I just kept thinking: "...Ummm last time I checked the divorce rate for white people was pretty high too." White people have problems its just that their problems are normalized while ours are marked as other.

    @Bunicornaces: The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Just because you've never experienced or seen hair based discrimination doesn't mean there aren't large trends that suggest otherwise. Hell you may just be very lucky or very sheltered. And its easy to label the US as a place riddled with all these racial issues but thats just because we air our dirty laundry.:toothy4:
    Last Relaxer: Feb 2007
    BC: Feb. 28 2009 :afro::hello1:

    What do hair typing, Santa, the bogey man, and the great pumpkin all have in common? My utter and complete disbelief in them of course. ;-)


    "Feminism is the RADICAL notion that women are human beings."
  • mizzbellzmizzbellz Posts: 32Registered Users
    Efuru wrote: »


    I know that is not what you said, I used that as a comparison because in MY experience that hair politics are a by-product of racism. Its as millie_(A)TCK! said if we don't have hair issues then why are there so many 'Black hair' shops that cater to relaxers and weaves but its a mission to find products for your natural hair, why don't the small number of black women on British telly rock their natural textures, how did (somewhat hilarious but sad) videos like this one come about then? Why did Jamelia's documentary and article come about then?

    And I could go on. I don't mean to sound militant (lol) or like I'm picking on you but in my experience its an incorrect assumption that we in the UK don't have hair issues.

    I would like to state that I don't fault any woman that relaxes and weaves up but my problem lies with them thinking they have to (my little disclaimer).

    Lol you know those boys are waste men, I mean with the weave song. I was only speaking on my experiences, like I said earlier my mother was not feeling my going natural and even when she had a comb close to my hair, she was trying to comb it straight(impossible with the texture of my hair); but i've noticed that(from youtube and other black hair forums) that a lot of black woman(americans mostly) complain about how they are not accepted by the rest of America on basis of their hair being natural. I mean come on now, if any employer in the uk is stupid enough to tell a black woman that their NATURAL HAIR is not good enough, they should know what is coming to them(well if they tried that rubbish with a person like me anyways). (To the woman who said that your french employer said one thing one thing about your natural hair, if you got the sack because of that, you should be taking action).
    I don't see stuff like this in the uk, i live in London as well. See the thing is, it's either black american woman are on a hype or they are just not doing nothing about the situation(if it's as bad as people say, to the extent that people lose their jobs because of the way that they were born and something they are not willing to alter).
    Ok, my point is that BLACK NATURAL HAIR is not a problem in the uk in my opinion. Yes it's difficult to find natural products or good enough products for kinky hair; however black natural hair is not a problem in the uk as it is in America. I didn't even know there was natural hair drama anywhere in the world until I went natural and I started watching some youtube videos on african american women and their experiences(sad stuff). I didn't know some people are ashamed to spot their natural hair until I went natural; if I lived in the states I wouldn't have to be natural for me to realise stuff like this exists
    To the woman with natural hair who said a white man told her to comb her hair, you didn't tell him to shut his mouth?

    I burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of his statement. I must have looked crazy laughing hysterically in the 99p store with a basket full of conditioner LOL. After thanking him for a laugh and pointing out that under his girlfriend's crappy weave was hair just like mine. I told him to go away and think about what he said and come back to me if it still made sense, 'oh and ask your girlfriend when she last washed her hair, you might love the answer'. He never did get back to me...

    I dislike predictable negative reactions to such ignorance. I like them to watch it dawn on them just how dumb they really are, a sweet moment lol.
  • anonymous_30174anonymous_30174 Posts: 64Registered Users
    mizzbellz wrote: »
    I burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of his statement. I must have looked crazy laughing hysterically in the 99p store with a basket full of conditioner LOL. After thanking him for a laugh and pointing out that under his girlfriend's crappy weave was hair just like mine. I told him to go away and think about what he said and come back to me if it still made sense, 'oh and ask your girlfriend when she last washed her hair, you might love the answer'. He never did get back to me...
    I dislike predictable negative reactions to such ignorance. I like them to watch it dawn on them just how dumb they really are, a sweet moment lol.

    Man, I wish I was there to see his face and good job for telling him.
    mizzbellz wrote: »
    Maybe it seems like its mostly American talking about it because their numbers might be more proportionate? I don't know your background but didn't you wonder why your mum wasn't feeling your natural and why she kept trying to 'comb it straight'? , I live in SE London (about 10mins from Brixton) so I'm surprised that the idea is new to you :pale:

    Oh well! I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree :toothy4:

    I live in SE london as well and all the way through secondary school (I wouldn't say primary school because no one cares about nothing whn they're that young), there were about 2 girls who were natural in my secondary school and I never once heard anyone say anything negative to them. Hair was not an issue at all, straight hair or relaxed hair or kinky hair, it was something that never came up. Now i'm in college, I never heard about the hair issue in college either. I haven't been in college with my natural hair yet, as I've only been natural 3 months and I had braids those 3 months; however I would be spotting my natural hair come this school term and I would definately make sure you know about if I get any negative comments or negativity at all from anyone.





    Natural since July 08
    Big chop 1st May 09
    http://youtube.com/bunicornaces
    :flower:
  • AddeeAddee Posts: 412Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Wow. This was went the topic was natural hair was just taking off. Look at it now.
    Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file