Having curly hair doesn’t necessarily mean that you are meant to have a conflictual relationship with it. My parents played a strong role in my hair acceptance journey as they always told me how great my hair is and explained why relaxing it wasn’t an option.
The reason for this was quite simple: my hair is part of me and altering it would alter the essence of my identity.
However, having parents encouraging you to accept your natural hair doesn’t mean that they can actively help you with it. My mother has very straight hair and doesn’t have a clue when it comes to curly hair care. Result? A childhood with dry and ugly hair all the way through!
Hair and identity are interdependent, but even in 2017, people still struggle to get it.
Several years ago in class, while we were studying American history, the teacher referred to the civil rights movement and the Black Panthers’ encouragements to go back to natural hair.
This latter aspect of history made everyone in the room laugh,including the teacher who said that she too, was finding it trivial and ridiculous.
At that point, I realised that if you are not ‘experiencing’ curly hair, you can’t understand the historical and political angles linked to it. For some people, hair is just hair, while for us, it’s way more than that!