“I am not my hair….

I’m not this skin, I am the soul that lives within”–India.aire

I’ve been natural for almost 5 years. I sometimes alternate between sporting a short fro, braids, wigs, etc., but I’m mostly a natural girl. It’s hard being a natural-haired black woman.  Despite a growing movement, natural hair is still seen as an anomaly. Especially, when one lives in  white dominated cities. Unlike other hairstyles, natural hair is not respected/affirmed in mainstream OR black media. Heck ( if anything), visibly looking black women have been slowly removed from the media. If you are not ambiguous looking (being a light skin black woman is even becoming passé), you get no shine. So, for the natural haired black woman, you are especially invisible.

BUT…you are also more visible at the same time. By this I mean folks become extra zeroed in on your hair. Folks tend to think they have a right to black women’s bodies, because of  our society’s racist/sexist history.  They think they have a right to get into our personal space and ask us a thousand questions about our hair. Some even feel they have a right to touch it!

I personally have a no explaining about hair rule to non-black people. It’s tiring, and folks really don’t care. It’s just another way to gawk at black women, since many think we are some different species.  So, I can’t understand why a black woman would willingly let a non-black person paw  at their hair. It’s unimaginable to me, but some folks are doing it.

FROM THE “UNRULY” website:

an interactive public art exhibit, dubbed You Can Touch My Hair, where strangers from all walks of life will have the welcomed opportunity to touch various textures of black


Say what! They so crazy! You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do some mess like that. It just seems wrong to me. Black folks can’t spend our lives educating non-black folks, this is another form of oppression. How many years have folks been living side by side us, and they still don’t know 101 things about our culture. It ain’t our responsibility. This event should be cancelled. But some folks gotta learn the hard way :/

Author: Tonya J.

I enjoy reading, writing, and traveling!

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