I Am Not My Hair

Soon after I announced my intention to start this blog, a guy I know commented that the India Arie song must be my inspiration. It was said sarcastically, but unbeknown to him at the time, I had actually never listened to the song. I had heard of it and I knew that she had a song about hair. So, I looked it up on YouTube and Wikipedia and liked what I saw.

According to India Arie, the original version of “I Am Not My Hair” was a duet with pop rocker Pink. Most people know the version that she sang with Senegalese/American star, Akon. The song’s original concept originated from Pink’s decision to do away with her pink locks, while the last verse was written after Arie watched Melissa Etheridge’s performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards, where she appeared bald from chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. You can read about it on Wikipedia.

I appreciated knowing the background to the song when I heard it. In many respects, our hair defines us or we are defined by our hair or lack of it. People with good hair, bad hair, no hair, too much hair. so, even though I went to the extent of starting a blog about me and my hair, I can confidently say that I Am Not My Hair!

This is the original ‘Pink’ version.

While the more popular Akon version is here.

I Am Not My Hair lyrics (Akon version)
See I can kinda recall little ways back
Small tryin’ to bawl always been black
And my hair I tried it all, I even went flat
Had a gumdee curly top and all the crap now

Just tryin’ to be appreciated
Nappy headed brothers never had no latest
Then I hit the barber shop real quick
Had ’em gimme little twist and it drove them crazy

And then I couldn’t get no job
This corporate wouldn’t hire no dreadlocks
Then I thought about my dogs on the block
Kinda understand why they chose a stealin’ rock

Was it the hair that got me this far?
All these girls, these cribs, these cars
I hate to say it but it seem so flaw
‘Cause success didn’t come ’til I cut it all off

Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen and I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter

And fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and I went all natural
February two thousand and two I
Went on and did what I had to do

Because it was time to change my life
To become the woman that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlocks all gone
I looked in the mirror for the first time and saw that, hey

Hey, I am not my hair, I am not this skin
I am not your expectations, no, no
I am not my hair, I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
It’s time for us to redefine who we be

You be shaving it off like a South African beauty
Get in on lock like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight like Oprah Winfrey
If its not what’s on your head, it’s what’s underneath and say, hey

Hey, I am not my hair, I am not this skin
I am not your expectation, no
I am not my hair, I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

Who cares if you don’t like that
With nothin’ to lose post it with a wave cap
When the cops wanna harass ’cause I got waves
Ain’t seen nothin’ like that, not in my days

Man, you gotta change all feelings
Steady judging one another by their appearance
Yes, India, I feel ya girl
Now go ‘head talk the rest of the world

Does the way I wear my hair
Make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair
Make me a better friend?

Does the way I wear my hair
Determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity


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