This blog is all about the story of me and my hair.
Like any black African girl, my hair has always been a very big deal. Chis Rock’s recent documentary, Good Hair illustrates this point very well. About 15 years ago, I read in Black Beauty magazine, that black women spent five times as much money on their hair as white or Asian women did. At the time, I never questioned why this was the case. I just accepted it as a fact. Unlike many of my white friends at the time, I could never just wash and go as the Vidal Sassoon shampoo adverts promised.
Fast forward to 2004. I had just spent three months in Holland doing a course in development and was full of righteous activist fire. From Holland, I spent a month in Bermuda where my visit coincided with the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. I had had my hair in braids for four months, meaning there was considerable undergrowth where my long relaxed hair was being challenged by my nappy roots. I was an angry black woman of 25 years and I felt the need to do something radical for a couple of reasons:
Number one, I felt I needed to challenge people’s long held view of a conservative good girl. In confirmation of the widely held opinion of Masuka, the thought of taking up a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, didn’t occur to me.
Number two, I felt a need to reject what I termed ‘western concepts of beauty’. A friend later pointed out the flawed nature of the second point, seeing as I still wore western clothes and ate western food. Still, at the time, I didn’t want to quibble about such details since I was bent on making a political statement.
So ends, part one of the beginning of my natural hair story.