Guest Post: Afro Love
I started my natural journey to afro love in 1997. I’ve been fully natural, worn dreadlocks (on my third set now), pressed my hair, went back and forth between relaxers and naturals and I’ve worn a few weaves and wigs. I can truly say that I have walked in all shoes when it comes to black hair care. I can truly say that I am full of afro love.
It’s both liberating and unfortunate that black women have to embark on a journey just to wear their hair the way it grows naturally. Nothing against those who choose straight hair or enhancements, I’ve worn them all. I just wonder what it would be like to have always been natural. I wonder what it would’ve been like to have afro love as a girl. What would it look like if the beauty of our unique texture had always been part of society’s beauty standard. Isn’t there room for afros and dreads in what the world sees as beautiful and acceptable? This movement is not a trend, not a statement, not a journey – just us loving and wearing our natural hair. Just us enjoying and spreading our afro love.
We are forcing the expansion and reclaiming our beauty, but there is still resistance. We still feel the need to conform and fit into society. We’ve been so adamant and flexible in conforming to those standards that we have collectively forgotten how to care for and maintain what naturally grows – hence the journey. We resist because many of us are afraid of change. Many of us worry that our natural kinky texture will not be accepted by our friends, co-workers, mates, and even ourselves.
I sometimes get negative feedback about my hair or see negative content on the internet. My reaction has evolved in that I realize the negativity is a by-product of fear. I think we can all agree that most people do not begrudge your personal decision to wear natural hair. The natural hair movement is working and I think that more exposure to our texture will continue to erode the misconceptions and fears surrounding afro beauty. The natural hair movement is about afro love not about limiting one’s choices regarding beauty.
I once watched a video where a hairstylist wearing her curly blonde wig was saying that little girls want straight hair and not to make your child wear a natural. Some of the comments about the video proved that she ruffled a few feathers. My take-away is that little girls need to see more of us wearing our hair natural. Little girls need to see more of their roles models embracing and sharing afro love. Little girls want to know that their natural hair is beautiful and acceptable. If mama has a long straight or wavy blonde wig, then little girl may want the same. She may wonder why she is stuck wearing these twists when mama and her favorite singer have long straight or wavy hair.
For example, I volunteer at my son’s elementary school. As we know girls in K-5 most likely have natural hair. I have seen a few braid extensions and relaxers, but most of the girls are natural. I notice that whenever I am there the little girls are so curious about my hair. Some will give me compliments while others smile and stare. Once I noticed what was happening, I started complimenting their hair too. I started sharing my afro love.Imagine what black beauty will be like if dolls, books, barbies and cartoon characters continue to feature black girls and boys wearing their natural hair. Imagine super boy wearing an afro or wonder girl rocking some puffs. What if that is the norm and not a sub-culture created because naturalness is ignored or not represented. What if we celebrated and shared our afro love as a regular part of ourselves.
I think we are on the right path and natural hair is more than a trend. Black culture is expanding the definition of beauty by embracing how we are made naturally. This afro love will change our children’s view of their hair – creating a generation that embraces our natural beauty. That is why, I look forward to every article, photo, barbie doll, book, cartoon character and celebrity that boasts the beauty of our hair. Our movement is in establishing that we are not our hair. Our journey is in embracing that our hair is kinky.
Thanks for reading. Be natural and free.
Author: Kinky Hair Diva
|“Kinky Hair Diva” is a writer and published author of the book, Natural and Free. She loves to provide tips and inspiration to those with a love and appreciation for the beauty of our kinky textured hair, on her blog at http://www.bnaturalandfree.com/
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