Examining the african american hair obsession

“Nappy hair.” “Bad hair.” “Good hair.” “Weaved hair.” “Curly hair.” “Kinky hair.” “Permed hair.” “Short hair.” “Natural hair.” “Dreadlocked hair.” And on and on and on.

Nobody, and I mean nobody is more obsessed with our hair, how it looks, how it feels, how others feel about it, and how we feel about it than African-American women (also known as “Sistas”).

I want to get right to what ails us, and it ain’t our hair.

The recent controversy over Olympian Gabby Douglas’ hair and how she wore it in a slicked down ponytail during her gold-winning performance has frankly been dissected and discussed enough. I will not do so here. We as black women in particular should all be proud of her. She represents a fresh new generation of young black women who are comfortable in their own skin, comfortable with whatever hair God gave them, and who are unabashed about their drive to be successful no matter what or who does not like their hair, skin color, or background.

Yet, if we are honest, we as black women know that we have been defined in ways for centuries that are frankly unflattering, unkind and denigrating. Our hair, along with who is lighter skin vs. darker skin has always been a huge issue in our community. It dates back to the 1700s and American slavery. It dates back to black women always being defined as second best to our white female counterparts. We were always defined as less than human, less than attractive, less than worthy, less than marriageable and plain old less than. Take this mantra and multiply it 100 times, over the course of hundreds of years or more and what do you get?

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Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel, Publisher/Master Loctician for healthylocsblog.com

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