Embracing the Kink
The 70’s birthed the era where African natural hair was celebrated in all its nappy, knotty glory. In the 80’s,
the curly kit fad that our mothers loved to rock, ushered in the new normal that was chemical processing of African hair, which then became a way of life for many an African woman.
Indeed, the decision to fully embrace what is naturally God given to us has been a tough one. A testament to the politics surrounding our hair was the decision by Nigerian celebrated Author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, to address African hair in her best selling book, Americanah. Worth noting, is that Chimamanda is one of the few African women in the public eye, who proudly displays her natural hair. Societal perceptions and portrayals of what is considered beautiful hair could be the reason why many African women shy away from wearing their hair natural. Issues of race and identity, equally contribute to this insecurity with our hair, whose texture is distinct and quite unique to other hair textures.
Hair product manufacturers have keenly observed the natural hair renaissance. One of the notable feats achieved in the hair industry in recent times, is the manufacture of products specifically designed for women of kink. A wonderful stride in the right direction, towards appreciating, and embracing the African woman’s beauty. And while straight, silky African hair was once considered neat and beautiful, the African woman is being empowered to just as confidently, wear a full head of shiny, natural hair.
She no longer needs to straighten it, put a weave on it, or braid it with artificial hair. She only needs to take extra care of her natural hair with products intended to nourish it, and not alter its original look. The African hair revolution is seeing more African women go natural and learn better ways to take care of their natural hair. This freedom to be that which we were created to be, is cause for celebration, however, with great freedom, there must be great responsibility.
In this empowerment to wear ones’ hair as one pleases, judgment of those who’d rather buy their hair and continue with their relaxers, should not be passed. Enough negativity has been dished out on those who pioneered the natural hair movement and giving it back, serves as much purpose as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Enjoy your hair, celebrate your heritage, but don’t get too caught up in the politics of hair! India Arie did have a monster hit with ‘I am not my hair’ – and with good reason too! When all is said and done, hair – like many other things in life is hair today- sorry, here today, and gone tomorrow!