Archive for May, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hair Weaves: A Colloquy

EE weave Hair Weaves: A Colloquy

I find that often I am the walking talking blogging personification of the American-Negro duality. Some days I’m black power, power to the people, reparations now, love, peace and soul and sometimes I’m like: whatever negroes, slavery is dead. Get over it, master capitalism and keep it movin.

“One ever feels his twoness-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
—W.E.B. DuBois

Jam the Negro

Whats with all the hair weaves? As I struggled this morning, hard brush in hand, struggling to find the right ratio of gel to water to persuade all my hair into my drug store pony tail holder, I wondered what has gotten into women these days? Once reserved for tramps, fly girls, and celebrities—the hair weave game has proliferated American culture like the Ipod. Now you have older women, moms, pre-teens, government workers, corporate types, deaconesses, and everyone else under the sun rushing to get horse or some poor Indian girls hair (depending on yr economic strata) glued to their scalp in an effort to improve their looks. Urban streets look like Herbal Essence commercials.

And you have white people, who for some reason call them hair “extensions” (I guess hair weave sounds way too urban) almost knocking the sistas down to get to the front of the hair weave line. Its insanity. What is behind this obsession with fake hair?
As a black woman, who like most other black women has struggled with esteem issues related to my hair, I cant help feeling disturbed at the amount of women who just chuck what they’re born with in search of Hollywood ideals. Now I wont bore you with the whole European standards of beauty argument as I have grown tired of that spiel. White is right, black get back. OK, you all get it. But i do think it is an abolutely legitimate concern. What are we showing our daughters and other young girls who look at us for guidance about self-esteem and being proud of how God made them when they see us covering our own hair with 6 inches of weave every 2 months?
On top of that, I think there is something else going on here. (wait for it, wait for it…)
There seems to be a national trend in all of our lives to too-easily chuck what we have in search something better. Instead of loving your locks and nursing them and making them the best they can be– because oh no, that may actually take time and energy– we just cover it up with a bunch of fake shit and walk out of the salon or cousin’s basement (depending on yr economic strata) feeling better about ourselves. When really what we did is cop out. I see such beautiful girls with beautiful hair rushing to cover it up with something that can be bought and sold by anyone.
What makes you you, is what God gave you. But these days its never enough. We are in an age when nothing is ever enough. Your job isn’t glamorous enough, your marriage isn’t exciting enough, your car isn’t expensive enough, your mortgage isn’t upside-down enough. And now, to add to our obsession with deficiency, if your hair doesn’t cover your tittays, it isn’t long enough, so we buy more. We want to be someone else, look like someone else because that girl we want to look like– her life looks cool. Our life generally sucks. Too often instead of working hard on something real, we comfort ourselves by buying something to cover the problem up or just replacing what we think falls short. We do it with relationships, friendships, careers, cell phones and now hair. And much like our revolving door lives, we rarely find what we’re looking for, we often get hurt and sometimes the glue damages the scalp. So, I know it is cliché but love thyself people.
So whether its just you feeling bad about yourself and the hair God gave you, or whether you’re just looking for beauty in all the wrong places, its unlikely that 5 feet of Yaki weave will really help things.

Jam the American

Ok, I could really care less. If people want to pile of bunch of flammable horse hair on their dome, then what business is it of mine? Im so tired of hearing about this European standard of beauty—get over it. If you want to look more European, more power to you—if not, that’s fine too, you always gonna look black to other black people anyway. Though I consider myself a proud black female, I fall victim to the European standard of beauty sometimes, and guess what, it doesn’t kill me. Yes, I think my clothes look better when I shed some pounds—yes, I get texturizers to make my hair easier to manage— so fucking sue me. I get cornrows sometimes with extensions, so I wanna be white? Gimme a break. Its not that deep. Whats the difference between putting on a hair weave and putting on fake nails or toe nail polish or fake eyelashes? None of it is real, none of it should be taken too seriously. Its all cosmetic.
All this talk about its greater meaning or cultural implications is a relic of a distant past. These days we can look like whatever we want, we change our looks like we change our tampons–often. We are bold and don’t want to be limited to the options presented to us by our bodies. All this talk about us not liking who we are is some bullshit being presented by the Dr. Frances Cress Welsing crowd who would believe that white supremacists made rice white, snow white and our teeth white, just to fuck with us. The same crew who believes that wearing anything less than an afro and dashiki is a symptom of self-hatred. No, I don’t believe that America created AIDS to kill black people. Am I less black? Can I live? We’re here, we’re black, get over it. Every single little thing isn’t self-hate, its self-expression, so shut it with all the deep, introspective weave talk and allow me to toss my long blonde tresses as I see fit.
I wish people would talk more about raising kids right and prospering in this society instead of worrying about what people are wearing on their heads or doing to their bodies. Then maybe we can make some real progress. Hair weaves—who cares, don’t we have more important business to take care of?
Negro, Please.