My hair is a friend as much as it is an enemy. My hair is a strength and a weakness.
It can either be perceived positively or very negatively and when it’s the latter, my hair will be the only thing people will remember. My personality won’t matter anymore.
I am now getting older which really helps me to embrace my natural hair and wear it proudly.
I grew up surrounded by straight hair. My friends but also my mother, who was my ultimate beauty example, had straight hair. It was hard to get away from the straight hair goal!
Going to university was an eye-opener for me. I was going to class with women who couldn’t care less about what people said or thought about them. So many were coming to uni wearing pajamas… If they were able to ignore people’s opinions, I could do it too.
To me, being mixed-race meant that both sides of my family had a particular perception of my hair.
My white mother has always been very supportive during my hair acceptance journey. However, my dad’s Congolese family, especially my aunties, considered that because I had curls, I had to style my hair and use the same techniques as them.
I couldn’t understand this pressure until I realised that they always saw me as a black girl instead of a mixed-race girl. Therefore, they were convinced that their hair and mine had to be treated the same way.
It’s painful to think that my curly haired kids will grow up in a society where their hair won’t be seen as the norm. Curly hair today is still being portrayed as the exceptional type, it’s ‘exotic’ and fun. In fact, it’s just hair and should be seen as it is.