Storytime: My Natural Hair Revolution.Wednesday, March 02, 2016
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Last December I was babysitting a little Black girl with beautiful curly natural hair. Her mom had curly natural hair, I was a new natural with a curly fro, and her siblings also had natural hair. The little girl and I decided to draw pictures of each other, so we sat side by side, and began to draw. She worked really hard on her drawing of me, up until she got to my hair. She then turned to me and said "can you show me how long your hair is?". Me, thinking nothing of it, stretched my hair and showed her my length. She then returned to her drawing, and commenced to draw me with straight hair. I asked her why she was doing that, and she responded "Because I want to draw you with pretty hair!".
That happened over a year ago, but I still think about that incident a lot. It breaks my heart to know that a little girl with beautiful natural hair and parents who encourage her to love her natural hair still is negatively impacted by the dominant discourse of European features as beautiful. It took me 22 long, hard years to learn to love my natural hair. It took me 22 years to unlearn that dominant discourse on beauty, and here was this little 7 year old girl who was headed down the same path I was. And I know she isn't alone - I know there are so many other little girls like her, who will have to grow up learning to unlearn self-hate.
I made a resolution that day to start my own natural hair revolution. I decided that going natural would not just be a phase so my hair could grow out healthier. I decided that natural hair would be an ongoing lifestyle.
I promised myself that if I had a daughter, I would raise her to love herself, to the best of my ability. I promised myself that I would surround her with images of women who were Women of Colour and strong and natural and proud. I promised myself that I would be an example to other little Black/Mixed girls and boys, so they could know what self-love looks like. I vowed that I would become a strong, natural, proud, Mixed-Race woman. Going natural is not just about me and my own personal goals. It's about the thousands of little Black girls and boys who could grow up learning to love themselves because of my example.
I promise myself that I will be the last female in my family who grows up hating her natural self. Will you join with me in making that same promise?
Cheers to a revolution of People of Colour learning self-love and self-acceptance, so that the next generation will never know what it means to hate their most natural selves.
P.S. Jenell B. Stewart on YouTube just posted this awesome video on this topic. I suggest you check it out!