Whenever me and my daughter have drama, it is two things food and her hair. The food issue is a lamentation for another day, today's lamentation the hair issue is a great source of grief for all parties involved. Yep, unless I threaten my five year old with the scissors to chop it all off. She never lets me go near it.
I understand her dread when it is hair day because she inherited my hair. Tightly coiled stubborn hair with a very sensitive scalp plus I have decided to keep her hair natural, so I wasn't too surprised when she told me she didn't like her hair too much.
I thought it was because I turned into what she calls 'mean mummy' any time I braided her hair, with all the combing, aggressive commands and heavy handed positioning of her head.
But that was not it.
The reason broke my heart. She didn't like that her hair could be 'crazy like clown hair'. Someone had said that to her in Kindergarten and now she wanted it to lie down straight and flat like her friends hair.
Now my daughter is the only african girl in the whole of the kindergarten so I had already taken steps working on how being different was a beautiful thing. I had invested so much time in making her feel confident and self assured about her skin and she really loves that about herself.
But I never talked about how beautiful her hair was and that it didn't need to be flat to be pretty. The only time we did anything concerning hair it was a battle.
So we talked hair today.
We talked about all the things I loved about her hair and I brought out all these pictures of African women and girls wearing their hair natural both now and in the past.She loved 'the hair talk' and I was a whole lot nicer when I did her hair today.
I guess it helped her because it helped me as well. I realised that we as African women, have for too long been made to falsely feel that there was something unbecoming about our natural hair.We have been made to think that our hair needs to be relaxed, chemicalized, ironed, straightened, flattened, covered, extended, attached etc before we are beautiful, before we look decent, clean, professional, modern, accepted.........
So I just decided to share some of the vintage photos I came across, of natural african hair in all its splendorous designs before relaxers, remy, brazilian and peruvian hair extentions came along. All beautiful and certainly not flat!