Being Afro in a Straight World:'You look like a black power to the people person'


Fall of 2005 I started thinking about what I would look like if I were to wear my hair natural. And I had a flashback….

(In 2000 I sat in the salon chair of a hair extension specialist. This white man has been in the hair industry for over 20 years and made a name for himself by being cutting edge with hair extensions and weaves. At the time, I was considering getting a weave and he said to me. “Tina in 5 years you will be wearing your hair natural….afro’s and twists and twist outs.” I laughed in his face !!!!  and thought that hair will never be taken seriously or considered beautiful)


So now here I am pondering the idea and I remembered that conversation.  A few weeks later, my younger sister Onnie casually walked into my house with a hood on. After several minutes I pulled it off and said… “what is going on underneath there.” To my astonishment, she had cut all of her relaxed hair off and only natural hair remained. The new growth hair was twisted and the ends dyed blonde…..My face exclaimed “Yikes, what the heck are your doing? You look like a black ‘power to the people’ type of person.” I was taken back for a few reasons… 1. Because of the drastic change. 2. Because she didn’t discuss it with me, she just did it. Later she told me, she did that because she knew I would never approve.


Now the real question is why did I have these passionate thoughts? Thinking that in some way she had crossed over… over to what? To being black? She was already black! And now she was simply choosing to wear her hair in its natural state. Did the choice make her ghetto? It did make her look more African. All of these thoughts were going through my head and I was embarrassed at my self-hatred and contempt. At this point I realized the depth of this change extended beyond simply getting a new hairstyle. I was going to have to address buried emotions of why I have been called “the white, black girl” and my disassociation with my ethnicity.


My sister just recently sent me this picture and she and I chuckled together because I look soooo much better with my hair natural than I do with this straight hairstyle. Who woulda thought!?? I certainly would not have…..


However, I want to make sure I am not coming across as natural hair absolutist.  I think all hair styles, hair colors, hair lengths are beautiful. But I do think every woman should love her natural prettiness and seek for her own afro glam beauty and confidence even if that means she does not look like the latest magazine cover girl.


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