Saturday, April 8, 2017

Black Women, Celebrity, Natural, Kinky Hair Sightings: What's Up With That?

It is so strange that many of us find it noteworthy, newsworthy, and "postable," when a Black, woman, celebrity decides to wear her hair naturally.  I am not absolving myself of this odd behavior because I quickly posted the links on Facebook of Michelle Obama and Gabrielle Union wearing their hair naturally kinky as if it is an amazing accomplishment that we should all be proud of.  The sad part is that it is.

It is considered, courageous, bold, empowering and all of that good stuff when you are a Black woman celebrity and you wear your hair naturally and again, it is.  However, that aspect of this reality is what must change. I am not going to take this time to go over the history of why many choose to wear weave, perms etc.  rather than to flaunt our beautiful natural textures, because I’ve done that before in blogs and in my books.

Black women have their reasons for their hair choices and surely, I am not starting that debate here.  I too had my hair straightened and permed until I was 30 years old (with some afros, cornrows and braided styles with extensions in between) but it was all about Maya’s Angelou’s phrase for me, which is “When You Know Better, You Do Better."  I had a lot to work out before I could embrace my natural hair fully but when I got there, I stayed there.  But, my hair story, like so many other Black women's, is complicated. I have recently begun the process of fully unlocking my hair as I had locks for 25 years and will share a full update on "the unraveling" soon but once again, I’m finding it a beautiful natural experience to embrace my natural hair, as it grows from my scalp, without twisting to keep my locks in place.

As I sit and write, I am doing so to post on my blog, which is one of many, about the beauty of natural hair, hence the title of my blog, Natural Is Cool Enough (N.I.C.E.).  Natural is cool enough for what is what one may ask? The answer is everything!  Our natural hair is cool enough for the White House, for the corporate office, for the military, for school, at every level, for the swimming pool and the ocean, during the rain, on sunny, hot days when one might experience sweat, at the club, at the gym, at an elegant ball, at the Emmys and Oscars and all the awards hoopla, on television, in movies, in plays, for ballerinas performing at every level, as athletes in the Olympics and in any athletic venue, for artists, authors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses and every profession, no matter the level.  The reality is that I can go on forever about when our natural hair is cool enough because I cannot think of a moment in time when our natural hair, as it grows out of our scalps, is not.

Of course, we live in a free society, where people can choose to do and be whatever they want to be. That is not a matter of doubt or question.  And although I will continue to post when I see that a black, woman, celebrity has “dared” to wear her hair in her natural state, I do so knowing that when I do, it is so that other Black woman can praise their "audacity" to wear their hair naturally. This is a clear sign of a deep-seated recognition that embracing our natural beauty is still considered something to aspire to rather than to just be.  In 2017, I find that a bit of a conundrum and simultaneously recognize that sometimes when you are trying to be part of the solution, there must be an acknowledgment that perhaps you are also part of the problem.

Nevertheless, let’s rock on with our natural hair sisters, without fanfare or feeling courageous but because it’s simply just who we are, naturally beautiful.  Natural is Cool Enough All the time and that is N.I.C.E.!  In the meantime, I will continue to notice celebrity natural hair sightings, and I will keep posting them until the need to do so is absolutely gone. The good news is that I think we are getting there.