My dad is from Martinique but has Indian origins, which resulted in him having very thin, straight hair. My mother is from French Guyana and Surinam and has very dark skin and thick, kinky hair.
For a long time, I was very frustrated with not having my father’s hair as I always thought that my life would be easier with more 'manageable’ hair.
This resentment was surely linked to the fact that in Martinique and Guyana, the kinky hair type is very negatively perceived, and kinky haired women are confronted to the stupid idea that beauty is only possible if the hair is long and silky.
Around 16, I chemically relaxed my hair. The outcome of it was simple: I became a slave to relaxers for about 10 years.
It was clear to me that a hair product wasn’t supposed to burn my scalp and break my hair, but I wanted to be beautiful, as they said…
It took me years to accept my natural hair after I stopped relaxing, it was almost like a new hair type to me, a type I wasn’t educated and prepared to.
Hearing my mum and my aunt suggesting that I should marry a white man to have kids with ‘easy hair’ and to ‘save the color of the family’ didn’t help me at all in the process.
I am saddened by what black women make themselves go through just to be pretty. Many women don’t even let their hair out! Never! They live with their partner and never show what their real hair looks like to this person! What made us feel so ashamed of ourselves?
One of my black colleagues (male) recently came to me to comment on my hairstyle - nice cornrows tied at the back of my head. He simply asked me why I didn’t get my hair done in the morning.
After discussing with him, he made it clear that what is prettier to him is a long and silky weave…
There is way too much pressure on black women in regards to how their hair should look like, the worst is when you see this pressure coming from your own community.