When it comes to black hair, let’s be honest…for a long time we were duped into believing that black hair can’t grow. Like really duped. Bamboozled. Hoodwinked. And for a while we seemed “okay” with this because we didn’t know any better. We really didn’t. Now that women – and men – all over are accepting their natural hair we are becoming more knowledgeable, not just about hair care and products, but also the myth that black hair can’t grow is being dispelled and snatching wigs everywhere you can think of. And that’s all good, it really is. But with that comes a lot of annoying, perhaps even concerning, aspects mingled in with the good. One thing that perturbs me is one question that keeps popping up and that question is “Is this your hair?”
I found myself in a conversation about natural hair with some of my colleagues during lunch a few weeks ago and the conversation was riveting up until I pulled out my phone and revealed a photo of a fellow local blogger whose hair I absolutely adore. They agreed, her hair is gorgeous. But then came the questions:
“Is this her hair?” “Is she American?” “No ways, she can’t be South African.” “She must have some Indian or Coloured in her…”
I was flustered. Are we really still making and asking these kinds of questions and comments in 2018??? Really???
On a personal level, I never get asked if my hair is mine when it’s in a stretched style for some strange reason, but the second I leave my hair in its shrunken state when wearing a wash and go I notice the amount of questioning looks I get as though having coils is something strange and uncommon to black people, then one apprehensive soul will muster up the courage to come up to me and ask if my hair is mine, at which point I want to respond “No, it’s just a really coily wig…”
With the heaps of information available on the internet and the amount of natural haired girls flexing on Instagram and YouTube, it really phases me how we are still asking this question. I’ve been thinking about that conversation deeply since it happened and the only conclusion I can come up with is the fact that although there’s a lot of information available at the push of a button, I feel that a lot of people still don’t take advantage and arm themselves with knowledge.
Granted, I don’t know everything, I’m still learning as you are. We’re all on a hair journey and we’re learning as we grow and love into our hair, however, there is still a lot of misinformation when it comes to our hair and quite frankly some of us aren’t really interested in putting the work in. There’s a lot of unlearning that still needs to be done mentally and on a personal level until caring for our hair becomes second nature like riding a bike, or better yet, brushing your teeth. It will take time to change whatever ideas we have about our hair. I get that. However, I do think we’ve reached an age where pulling the race card when we see a beautiful black beauty with gorgeous, long tresses is no longer necessary or justifiable. All it does is reveal the lies we were brainwashed with which we believe still hold true today. We know black hair grows, so why are we so skeptical?
Some may say that the escalation of natural hair wigs alongside the natural hair movement has a role to play, because let’s be real for a minute…wigs – “natural” or not – are looking mighty genuine these days so I can understand where some of the confusion stems from, but apart from that, I really believe we need to start believing in the magic of our hair and that we are not confined by the same ideas we were forced into believing many moons ago. Stop doubting, chocolate girl. There is light, there is evidence. Believe it.