By Erick­ka Sy Savané of Bitch­es Brew Blog

“N. A. P. P. Y.” said my grand­moth­er to her friend, as she strug­gled to get a comb through my hair.

The woman, who like my grand­moth­er was so light that she could almost pass for white, chuck­led and nod­ded in agree­ment.

photo (11)c

Sens­ing that some­thing was fishy, six-year-old me spelled the let­ters back.

N. A. P. P. Y. Wait a minute! She just called my hair nap­py!

And that is how I dis­cov­ered I had “BAD” HAIR.

erickka (1)c

I couldn’t wait to tell my moth­er who tried her best to assure me that my hair wasn’t that bad, and not to wor­ry because in a cou­ple of years we would relax it.

I wait­ed on that relax­er like kids wait for Christ­mas. When the day final­ly came at ten years old life changed overnight. Free of naps, I felt beau­ti­ful, alive, ready for the world!

How­ev­er, a few weeks lat­er I real­ized that one relax­er did not a whole life make. I would have to get it done again, and again, and again, when­ev­er my new growth would come in. New growth being a fan­cy way of say­ing, my nap­py ass edges! Man how I HATED those edges.

The first time I knew they were dif­fer­ent was when I was hang­ing with my cousins who had beau­ti­ful edges or ‘baby hair’ as it was called, when they told me all they used was Crisco grease to get them to look so pret­ty I ran home like my ass was on fire! But man, I must have used half a can of grease with no result. It wasn’t until lat­er that I found out that they had “good” hair, of course. Their Dad had Indi­an in him and, well, you know the rest…

photo (11)c2

By high school I start­ed doing my own relax­ers and decid­ed it was time to final­ly deal with those edges, if I could just get them to chill… so I relaxed them three times in one week. Now once every 5–6 weeks was the rule, so this was akin to MURDER, which is exact­ly what hap­pened. Instead of beau­ti­ful­ly straight edges they became over processed and I was left with a patch of burned up weeds.

Damn

So I took a razor and shaved them to the mid­dle of my head and every­thing was fine.

Until a few days lat­er when that nap­py hair start­ed grow­ing back and I was faced with anoth­er prob­lem: INGROWN HAIRS! Ahh­h­h­h­h­h­h­hh!!!!!! I had no choice but to keep shav­ing them, and walked around for months like an old man with a bumpy reced­ing hair­line.

Final­ly, the most pop­u­lar girl at school sat me down for a heart-to-heart. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”

She was a senior, I was a fresh­man, and wouldn’t you know she had good hair! The best in the whole school! Whites, Blacks and Mex­i­cans want­ed her beau­ti­ful, long, wavy, hair. I was in shock that she even knew me, though we played on the same bas­ket­ball and vol­ley­ball team.

“Uh, yea, what’s up?”

“What did you do to your edges?”
(A beat)
WTF was I sup­posed to say? The truth? Hells no!
“Uh, I was try­ing a new look.”
“Well, I think you should grow them back. It doesn’t look good.”
“Ok.”

I grew them back imme­di­ate­ly.

So life moved on and so did I. After high school I start­ed mod­el­ing and kept rock­ing a relax­er. By then I’d sor­ta made peace with my edges and the only time I had any real issues was when I was work­ing and white hair styl­ists would try to get cre­ative: “Will it go curly?” No. “Can I wet it?” No. “Can I put this car wax on it?” No, No, and more No.

Until one day, I was due for anoth­er relax­er and couldn’t bring myself to do it. My hair was scream­ing for a break that it hadn’t seen since I was a kid. So I called Der­rick, a hair­dress­er that I met on a job, and we start­ed two strand twists that would even­tu­al­ly lock into my own hair.

Whoaaa…

The lib­er­a­tion I felt was imme­di­ate! With my edges locked up I felt free. I was unstop­pable.

carthart bw c2
Pho­to: Carhart

Sure enough, I booked three nation­al com­mer­cials that year, includ­ing one for Pan­tene and GAP, where I got to shake my hair like the good haired girls!

But as great as it was, after some years I longed to comb my hair again, to brush it, to feel it. It was time to unlock, but damn, those edges.

Hav­ing tast­ed free­dom, there was no way I was going back to a relax­er. Soooo I cut my locks and went au naturel, a look that would allow me to make the edges irrel­e­vant and still work in the com­mer­cial TV realm.

Or so I thought

What I hadn’t antic­i­pat­ed was the change of tide and the emer­gence of the super good haired girl. I’m talk­ing pro­fes­sion­al good hair, not your high school prom queen. These girls didn’t mod­el because they were beau­ti­ful and hap­pened to have good hair, they mod­eled because they had good hair. Walk into an audi­tion room and good hair was com­ing out of the walls! It had me up late nights twist­ing, gelling, con­di­tion­ing, doing what­ev­er I could to if not beat it, at least imi­tate it. But no mat­ter how hard I tried, I’d go to a cast­ing and see all that curly, wavy, boun­cy, lux­u­ri­ous, silky, long, larg­er-than-life hair. And my heart would sink. I felt like an imposter try­ing to sneak in some­where that I didn’t belong.

ebony magazine july issue
Pho­to: Ebony Mag­a­zine

I was drown­ing.

Work declined and so did my bank account.

Erickka-Sy-Savane
Pho­to: Daniel Dis­cala

Now, now, we had a prob­lem.

But like an addict, I knew I couldn’t han­dle it on my own, bad hair was con­trol­ling my life.

So I did some­thing that I should have done a long time ago, called for help.

Sidra was first because, well, she’s bald, so there had to be a sto­ry. Did she shave her head to escape bad hair? She explained that she cut her hair because she’d been wear­ing hair exten­sions of every kind for so long that she no longer knew who she was. Shav­ing her head was a way to rein­tro­duce her­self to her­self. That was twelve years ago and she couldn’t be hap­pi­er. When it comes to bad hair she says that she nev­er bought into it because she believes there’s noth­ing stronger and sex­i­er than a black woman with nap­py hair. Hmm. If naps are so sexy, why didn’t she keep them?

Collage

Sidra Smith, Pro­duc­er of ‘Free Angela & All Polit­i­cal Pris­on­ers (Sidra’s iden­ti­cal twin sis­ter on the right, Actress Tasha Smith)

Next I called Debi, a relax­er girl. Was she run­ning from bad hair? Debi said that her hair’s not relaxed and she gets it straight­ened at the salon every few weeks because it’s eas­i­er than wear­ing it nat­ur­al. When it comes to good and bad hair she says she nev­er enter­tained the con­ver­sa­tion because in her mind black hair is black hair. A black girl who didn’t grow up obsess­ing over hair tex­ture? Humph.

It was time to speak to Ta-ning, a bestie I’ve known for six years and nev­er seen with­out a wig. She HAD to be hid­ing bad hair. Ta-ning shared that grow­ing up her mom wore a dif­fer­ent wig every­day so she sees wigs as acces­sories. In fact, she and her mom have zil­lions. And, yes, she does have nap­py hair, but she’s nev­er been ashamed of it because with light skin and green eyes she could always count on her nap­py hair to let peo­ple know that she’s black. Nap­py and hap­py?! Was it pos­si­ble? But I was inclined to believe her because her mom looks white and has real­ly good hair, so she nev­er had a rea­son to hide it under a wig. Maybe they real­ly do love wigs!

I hon­est­ly don’t know what I was look­ing for next, but I knew I had to talk to a good haired girl because so far noth­ing was as it seemed. I got in touch with Blakelee, a light-skinned South­ern belle who I was con­vinced grew up priv­i­leged. Fun­ny enough, Blakelee said that the only time her hair tex­ture was dis­cussed was when she went to black salons and hair­dressers would make com­ments. In her fam­i­ly, every­one had curly hair so it wasn’t a big deal. But she had to know that peo­ple viewed her dif­fer­ent­ly? At school, kids would some­times tease her about being half-white (which she’s not) but that was about it. Today, she’s try­ing not to con­tin­ue straight­en­ing her hair because she wants to bring back her nat­ur­al curl. The bone-straight look, she feels, doesn’t cap­ture her feisty per­son­al­i­ty. So the good haired girl is try­ing to bring back some kink because she wants some edge?!

This was CRAZY.

E1 krista kahl
Pho­to: Krista Kahl

My whole life had revolved around the belief that my nap­py hair some­how made me infe­ri­or.

It was some­thing not only enforced by my grand­moth­er, but count­less peo­ple that I’d met along the way who seemed to share a dis­dain for nap­py hair. One friend even told me to pick the right mate so that my kids wouldn’t have “car­pet-tex­tured hair…”

This infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex is some­thing that I had accept­ed as my lot in life so to hear that it could have been dif­fer­ent- that like Dorothy in the Wiz­ard of Oz, good hair was mine all along- left me feel­ing sad, real­ly sad.

E 4

Man, what I could have done with my life.

Like Bran­do, “I could have been a con­tender, I could have been some­body.”

But the fight was not over. And I could see clear­ly what I need­ed to do.

The mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional inher­i­tance of the Good and Bad Hair obses­sion would stop with me.

Peri­od.

E3 krista kahl
Pho­to Krista Kahl 

*Find Erick­ka Sy Savane’s Blog, Bitch­es BrewFace­book & Twit­ter

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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64 Comments on "How I was Taught that I Had “Bad Hair”"

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Missy Julien-Thelemarque
Missy Julien-Thelemarque
All I hear my whole life was, she got that good hair. My hair would be in exten­sion and I still have to hear the “good hair” com­ment. Once I asked a lady how she knew I had “good hair if I have exten­sions?” She replied, “I can tell by you baby hairs on The side.” I just shrugged it off and walked away. I nev­er bought into the “good hair, bad hair” stu­pid­i­ty. I always thought If God made hair how can it be bad? If HAIR is healthy, its good hair. Every­one has dif­fer­ent tex­tures and might need… Read more »
Kay
Since I was a baby, every­one thought I had good hair. My hair was soft and easy to braid, and I could comb through it with­out it hurt­ing. All my cousins were envi­ous and my aunt loved braid­ing my hair. The only excep­tion was that it always stayed at neck length. There was even this one time when I went to Nigeria(my coun­try, I live in NYC) they sent this Fulani lady (I am half Fulani half Hausa) to braid my hair. She just fin­ished braid­ing my cousins hair and since her hair was very coarse, the lady was real­ly… Read more »
Kay

and they all thought nap­py hair was the worst type of hair. And hon­est­ly now when­ev­er some­one says any­thing about Afro Hair I go bat shit crazy and say it is amaz­ing because of its uniqueness.I always loved my hair but the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty made me real­ize that all hair is good not just soft hair or mixed chicks hair.

Maria V.
Beau­ti­ful. Skin tone has nev­er been an issue in my fam­i­ly, but hair tex­ture has always been one of those things that seemed to deter­mine one’s beau­ty. My moth­er, the dark­est woman I know, has always had “good” hair almost down to her elbows. Her curly/wavy hair eas­i­ly takes to heat, brush­es smooth with just a lit­tle water, and can grow with lit­tle to no effort.  My hair, on the oth­er hand, has always been a source of curios­i­ty because no one else has a sim­i­lar tex­ture. It grows thick and fluffy and it has no curl pat­tern. I remem­ber… Read more »
Ashley

I enjoyed read­ing this arti­cle. I remem­ber see­ing her in some mag­a­zines.

Dabney
I read this blog when it was on Urban Bush Babes. It hit me in the gut then as it does now. Though, I am just, as I call myself, a reg­u­lar ole black girl, nor light nor dark, with “reg­u­lar” hair, I remem­ber feel­ing the stig­ma of not hav­ing shoul­der length hair or extra­or­di­nary pow­ers. My Cousin, who is a love­ly shade of Her­shey Choco­late, did have hair that reached extra­or­di­nary lengths was the mea­sur­ing stick which my hair was con­stant­ly com­pared. By the time I was able to go to ele­men­tary school the mes­sage of unac­cept­able hair was… Read more »
William Sanchez
Hey Dab­ney! Good for you! Yes, the idea of “nap­py hair” or hair with African fea­tures being bad hair is racist ide­ol­o­gy that has still not exit­ed our soci­ety and will take more time and edu­ca­tion to do so. I am a Domini­can-Amer­i­can male and have noticed this form of racism present in His­pan­ic cul­ture as well. My mom is obsessed with the idea of my future mar­riage mate being a woman who is just as light as me or lighter and with hair that is not “nap­py”. In oth­er words, I should stay away from women that have too… Read more »
RukiyatG
“my aunt who permed my hair is prac­ti­cal­ly bald and I am enjoy­ing a head full of healthy hair!” Girl, tell it! It amazes me that the hair prac­tices of women in our fam­i­lies, as unhealthy as they may be, are not dis­cov­ered to be so until it’s too late. On one hand you may want to gloat over your aunt for her mis­for­tune, but on the oth­er hand you have to be empa­thet­ic to her plight and see that she was a vic­tim of the ‘black hair care lie’. My grand­moth­er espe­cial­ly, but a few oth­ers in my fam­i­ly… Read more »
cici
I have 4a hair and i feel the same way. Now that i wear my hair curly my moth­er does not sup­port me. When i wear twist or a wash and go she tells me to comb my hair. Even­though to me it is combed. She wants me to flat iron it but i do not want heat on my hair since its thin and fine. She makes fun of me look­ing at the inter­net for hair care she thinks its wrong she wants me to straight­en my hair. But i love wear­ing my hair in its god giv­en state.… Read more »
stephanieb

I hear ya Cici, my mom is the same way and can’t stand for me to wear my 4b/c hair out unless it’s either flat ironed, permed, or cov­ered over with a wig. It can be hard deal­ing with fam­i­ly regard­ing the very hair on your head, but I say hold your head up high and know that you are won­der­ful­ly made, regard­less of how you wear your hair :)

Alicia Haan

@ CiCi, Con­tin­ue to wear your hair proud­ly!! You will inspire some­one else in the fam­i­ly at some point. Don’t let your mother’s issues destroy your lib­er­a­tion :)

Cami
“My whole life had revolved around the belief that my nap­py hair some­how made me infe­ri­or. It was some­thing not only enforced by my grand­moth­er, but count­less peo­ple that I’d met along the way who seemed to share a dis­dain for nap­py hair. One friend even told me to pick the right mate so that my kids wouldn’t have “car­pet-tex­tured hair…” This right here! I loved your entire piece, but this part right here imme­di­ate­ly remind­ed me of that clas­sic Twi­light Zone epi, “Beau­ty Is in the Eye of the Behold­er” — only instead of a pret­ty woman being made to… Read more »
Jenny

PREACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ubah Luar

This reaaly brought tears to my eyes.…
I recent­ly had this dis­cu­sion with 2 cous­ings of mine.11 and 15. They are light skinned type 4 hair and they hate their skin and hair. There i was show­ing Ypoutube vids of ‘Pic­ture me nat­ur­al’ ‘XGoldn/Ambrosia’etc.. tho let them see beau­ty Where i come from, even in 2013 women are defined by their hair texture…everything thats type 4 is con­sid­ered bad.….Such a shame
Your ‘Twi­light zone’ expla­na­tion is so on point.

Bless­ings Ubah

Cami
@Ubah My heart goes out to you my sista and your dear cousins. God bless you for try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in their young lives and for being proac­tive in show­ing them that true beau­ty extends far beyond the 24–7 lie being per­pet­u­at­ed and shoved down our throats by the media. And you know what Ubah? You are absolute­ly right, it is a cry­ing shame that even in this day and age, we as black women are defined by our hair, our skin col­or, our appear­ance, and even our place in the world, rather than the con­tent of our… Read more »
sadesia

@Cami

25,000 thumbs up!!!!!!!!!

Cami

@Sadesia

Thank you my sista! Right back­atcha girl!

dicey
I often see female chil­dren are made to wear too many ornaments.This obses­sive use of orna­ments appears to be used on lit­tle girls with 4 c tex­ture. Their moth­ers are con­scious­ly and sub­con­scious­ly ashamed of their daugh­ters pure phe­no­types, that they sat­u­rate it with dec­o­ra­tive orna­ments, so much that you may not even see their hair. With male chil­dren they make them shave off the hair if it is 4c. I notice this is not done if the child has hair that is nat­u­ral­ly straighter or wavier. Small chil­dren are not stupid,they can sense or fig­ure out that par­ent and… Read more »
eve-audrey

“many black par­ents are at the root of self-hatred and infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex­es”
you know what? if i could i’d like that com­ment a mil­lion times. i stat­ed the same on anoth­er top­ic and i’ve been accused of “show­cas­ing” a coon behav­ior. it’s nice to see that some­one shares that point of view

Ubah Luar

This is true i see it alot!
A bestie of mine with 3abc/4ab hair is so scared that her girls get 4c hair(her hub­by is 4c)
Now one daugh­ter has 3a her and the onther one more 4bc. She yells tucks the the girl wit the nap­pi­er tex­ture. Also se tend to be jeal­ous ad her sister’s daugh­ter who has 2a hair and com­pares her “4c daugh­ter” hair with her cousins “2c“hair. And says ‘eyah its bea­cuse there the same age…bla bla
Its so sad that i cant stang bing around her i real­ly dont.

Lana

I don’t know how to express how much I deeply love and am con­nect­ed to this sto­ry. I didn’t have the same expe­ri­ence but I felt all of the feel­ings of frus­tra­tion and inse­cu­ri­ty, we car­ry because of our BEAUTIFUL hair. Mad love and respect to Erick­ka for this sto­ry.

Krista

Neat sto­ry. Next time, can we remove the curs­ing?

Leslie

Wait…there was curs­ing? The great­ness of the sto­ry over­shad­owed it I guess…smh

Go to Sleep..

Grow up. What dif­fer­ence does it make if the cuss­es are in a sto­ry or on the street. Go to sleep..

Krista

You can refer to the above com­ment to like­wa­ter­for­choco­lat as well. :-)

MizzB

And you can refer to my ass..K thanks

Nappychique

go read some­thing else…this isn’t about YOU. sounds like the green-eyed mon­ster has escaped and is rear­ing its ugly head…

Likewaterforchocolat

Why? This is some­one else’s tes­ta­ment to their strug­gle with their hair. It’s THEIR story.I actu­al­ly had to go back and read it because until I read your com­ment, I didn’t notice any curs­ing. I was so cap­tured by the actu­al con­tent of this arti­cle.

Go to Sleep..

Agreed!

Krista

It may be her sto­ry and she can express her­self, but the point can be lost if oth­ers are put off by your use of lan­guage.

Clarissa Evans

Then go watch sesame street, the rest of us will con­tin­ue to live in the real world. -_- Hon­est­ly, she’s a grown-ass woman she can use what­ev­er lan­guage she choos­es. If that’s all you took away from the arti­cle any­way, you read it wrong!

Nappychique

I don’t see any curse words…B…F…the arti­cle is her voice, not any­one else’s. write your own sto­ry and stop try­ing to san­i­tize another’s to suit your tastes. who is put off will be put off. tell the truth girl!

Likewaterforchocolat

She “can express her­self?” It’s good that she gets your per­mis­sion. I think I feel this way because this arti­cle talks about one thing be “accept­able” vs. some­thing not being accept­able as deter­mined by the appro­pri­ate police and the things that are deemed unac­cept­able should be changed for the pre­sum­ably better.Why should she dilute her words for “oth­ers”? In read­ing her arti­cle, it seems that she has done enough chang­ing to suit oth­ers. If there are peo­ple who are “put off” by her use of lan­guage, per­haps the sto­ry is meant for them and they should move along.

Krista
Per­haps you should sep­a­rate your emo­tions from the sit­u­a­tion and stop being so defen­sive. Per­haps you too were once told you had bad hair and that’s why it res­onates so deeply with you. The curs­ing and her sto­ry are TWO dif­fer­ent things. That might reach you, but it doesn’t reach me. We are all grown and should be pro­fes­sion­als at some point. There are clever and wit­ty ways to broad­cast your per­son­al­i­ty and sto­ry to the world WITHOUT using pro­fan­i­ty. She can do that all she wants on HER web­site and if that’s your cup of tea, then hit her… Read more »
Michaela

I don’t think she is try­ing to be offen­sive or any­thing by not lik­ing curs­ing. Some peo­ple view things dif­fer­ent­ly. Some peo­ple pre­fer curs­ing and some are offend­ed by it. Its not that deep.

Sunny

You are gor­geous and so is your hair. But the “good hair” and “bad hair” sounds so igno­rant. “Good” only means clos­er to white, which in the US means the slave mas­ter assert­ed his priv­i­lege in ways our fore­moth­ers were pow­er­less to pre­vent. So do I con­sid­er my hair tex­ture some badge of supe­ri­or­i­ty? Hell no. I call it what it is: plan­ta­tion hair. And do we real­ize that “bad” means black? Please let’s stop the mad­ness.

lonnie

Sun­ny

I think the writer was using ‘good’ and ‘bad’ hair to illus­trate the point and the igno­rance of using those words and the men­tal­ly that is engrained in so many of us sur­round­ing its use. I don’t think she believes it.
I don’t know, I think the per­son who is capa­ble of writ­ing such a beau­ti­ful, well-thought out piece is way smarter than that.

tj

This is an awe­some article!This speak truth all the way to the bone!
Love how your final­ly ‘found’ your­self in what you thought you hat­ed the most..funny how that hap­pens?
Con­grats :)

Stace

BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO !!!! Stand­ing ova­tion.

Amber

LOL We could have grown up under the same roof…! Like you, once I grew out my locs I booked com­mer­cial after com­mer­cial. All those years I’d spent try­ing to con­tort my hair into some­body else’s…lol…nice to know we aren’t alone. lol

Midwestnija

Awe­some.

Karisa C.

I loved this post! I tru­ly feel that this post screams out to the expe­ri­ences of young black girls with kinky hair every­where. My hair expe­ri­ence effect­ed every­thing… my self image, my choic­es, and tons of bad rela­tion­ships… I thank God for beau­ti­ful sis­ters like you who inspire us to love US… just as God intend­ed the first time…thank you.

Michelle Hubbard

It all depends on how we learn to look at peo­ple. It took years for me to look at indi­vid­ual beau­ty and not believe in the racial hier­chy of what is ‘nor­mal’ there­fore more beau­ti­ful. I can admire a halo full of healthy, tex­tured coils the same way I can look at long, shiny,wavy hair and admire it as well-I can see the beau­ty in both. I also have learned to look at peo­ple this way, whether they are an olive-skinned Ital­lian or a jet-black Sene­galese girl, I can see the beau­ty in both if their faces have sym­e­try.

lablooplah

God is not bor­ing. He knew what he was doing when he cre­at­ed us. I agree with you 100%

Sandy

Your writ­ing is quite cap­ti­vat­ing and def­i­nite­ly on point! These are my sen­ti­ments exact­ly. My mom who is going nat­ur­al again is still very neg­a­tive toward nat­ur­al hair. I love my curls and have cho­sen to love and appre­ci­ate the hair God gave to me. This is not to say that I don’t occa­sion­al­ly wear a weave or straight­en my hair. I have final­ly accept­ed me! I’m beau­ti­ful with kinky hair an all. Thanks for shar­ing this arti­cle with our nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty.

Johanna
Great arti­cle! And you are so beau­ti­ful! I have 4b/4c hair too. And I grew up in haiti. I remem­ber how peo­ple would tell me that I have good hair!!But at the same time, nobody want­ed to comb my hair because they new how hard it was. I had a friend, she had 4a/b hair and her moth­er would tell mine that she wish her daugh­ter had my hair… It’s not the best thing to com­pare chil­dren like that. But what I’m try­ing to explain is the per­spec­tive we have on our hair changes depend­ing on where we are from. Today… Read more »
lablooplah
Yes that is true. I grew up in Kenya, Africa where every­one thinks that all our hair looks alike. Type 4 hair is the dom­i­nant hair tex­ture in Kenya. Any­ways I got the same com­ments (i have 4c hair although I’m not sure I think I just have the usu­al tex­ture I grew up see­ing) I was told my hair was healthy, full, and thick, but a night­mare to braid because it took for­ev­er. Although africans perm their hair, the good hair/bad hair thing is an amer­i­can thing. Besides I remem­ber my child­hood (before weaves became the dom­i­nant hair­styles) we… Read more »
Je

Typo No one

Je

@Cece know one can teach you to love your hair. Love you and all of you!

Britt Britt

I didn’t know Tasha had a twin sis­ter! CooL!

Michelle A.

They actu­al­ly tried to make you think you had BAD hair??! You actu­al­ly THOUGHT you had bad hair!? Shooot! Girl your mir­ror bro­ken or sumthin’; cause you woul­da seen the beau­ti­ful hair that I’m lookin at in these here pics!
Seri­ous­ly though, I’m hap­py that you’ve got­ten over the ‘bad hair’ hump. Your hair is thick and love­ly.
Thank you for shar­ing.

Cece
I got my first relax­er at 2yrs old.Im in high­school now and I had long relaxed hair until it start­ed drop­ping so I stopped because it wouldn’t make sense to keep relax­ing if my hair was gonna for­ev­er stay short.I went nat­ur­al because I thought I had ‘good hair’,but nope(it only looks good when curls are showing).Whenever I wear it out at school peo­ple would say ‘Are you going rasta?’,‘You need to fix your hair’ or ‘You should loc your hair’,I get so offend­ed because they’re telling me my hair is too nap­py to be worn out any­way some girls… Read more »
sady

LOVE LOVE LOVE this girl’s writ­ing! I just start­ed fol­low­ing her work at Bitch­es Brew blog and I am OBSESSED! Thanks for shar­ing this post because I think so many women will ben­e­fit from read­ing her hon­est depic­tion of life as a black woman. And though I love her blog­ging, I hope that a book is in her imme­di­ate future because every time I read, I end up want­ed some­thing longer. I keep want­i­ng MORE MORE MORE!

eve-audrey
i liked that piece. i was lucky enough to grow up in a fam­i­ly where peo­ple had some­thing else to care about than skin tone and hair tex­ture and i was taught con­fi­dence. even now that i live in a place where i’m sur­round­ed by peo­ple who don’t look like me and have dif­fer­ent hair tex­tures i don’t care and i love mine.  even though peo­ple from oth­er com­mu­ni­ties might have prej­u­dices against us and our hair i find that black peo­ple are often the ones who obssess a lot about that and make stu­pid com­ments. i wish we would as… Read more »
Just me

Sim­i­lar­ly, in my house the good hair vs. bad hair debate was for­bid­den and a sense of pride was the empha­sis. That les­son was price­less because when I do encounter black folks (cause black men have THAT con­ver­sa­tion too) I am ever so grate­ful that I am can­not relate! Great point! Instead I keep say­ing it’s not what you have but how you have it.

Anonty

I hope she can over­come the good hair/bad hair thing because being hon­est, it still exists. I fear it always will. What she says about the cast­ings she went to where she saw all the ‘super good hair’ is what we have now with the new nat­ur­al com­mu­ni­ty. Pop­u­lar blogs are full of girls with ‘per­fect’ hair in length or curl and so is youtube. It’s a shame that when 4Cs start some­thing on YT less peo­ple sub­scribe. I liked her sto­ry any­way even if I long for the day when no one says ‘good hair’ ever again.

Faith

You are so right. I have 4c hair as they call it and it’s extreme­ly kinky and TIGHT. I start­ed not to like my hair because it wasn’t like every­body else’s. I had to stop watch­ing YT for a while. 3 years after the infa­mous BIG CHOP I have grown to love my nat­ur­al hair all over again.
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stephanieb
I so agree Anon­ty and this arti­cle was excel­lent. I too have 4b/c hair and always heard from my mom, aunts, etc., grow­ing up that I had hard hair to deal with and that my hair wasn’t like the rest of the women in my fam­i­ly, there­fore I couldn’t do what they did to their hair. I didn’t have the “good grade” of hair, so they called it, so I was stuck with only relax­ing my hair or perming it, both of which over the years ruined my hair. I am 33 yrs. old and still deal with this mess… Read more »
Amarmi
This good hair/ bad hair thing… It’ll go away if we all teach our­selves and our chil­dren that if it grows out of your scalp that way, It is the best hair. Every­one has the best hair. Because God nev­er gives us sec­ond best. And hon­est­ly, i’m sub­scribed to a few loos­er curled nat­u­ral­is­tas like Nap­tural85, because I get a lot of DIY tuto­ri­als that are use­ful. But I HUNT for 4c nat­u­rals bcuz I want to know what prod­ucts look like in hair like mine. I’m not gonna spend hours look­ing at hair that is noth­ing like mine, and… Read more »
Jacky

Great story,i loved the pictures,thanks for shar­ing this post

Kellie

I think we all go through this where we believe we have infe­ri­or hair, and going nat­ur­al changes that per­spec­tive-its part of our growth into con­fi­dent women. In all aspects of our­selves, not just hair, we might have body issues, rela­tion­ship issues etc, until we con­front our­selves and love us the way we are..in the end we become con­fi­dent and empha­thet­ic women. I love that, God authors our lives, self-doubt and low self esteem, all hap­pen for a rea­son, its part of wom­an­hood and I think we all can relate to that.

maxine
This post was great, had every­thing from good old fash­ioned sense of humour to the issues that black peo­ple still face today. The fact that her grand­moth­er is light enough to pass for white or one ladies hair is silky enough to get a free pass,sometimes even with ‘nappy’(not a term I’m that com­fort­able using so I will use coarse)hair the fact she has light skin and eyes gives her anoth­er pass as well as the dark girl down the road who gets a pass just because her hair is long. Her grand­moth­er does reminds me of a neigh­bor who seems to… Read more »
Chaka

Your writ­ing is cap­ti­vat­ing. I went over to your blog. Phe­nom­e­nal blog entries. You real­ly need to write a book. Yours is a voice that would speak to many.

lonnesha

You’re so right! I went to her blog as well and I feel like so few peo­ple write like that any­more. At least not for blogs. Her work feels like a throw­back to days gone by when writ­ers real­ly wrote. Peo­ple like Bald­win and Zora Neal Hurston but she’s con­tem­po­rary because her voice is also very much for today. I deeply con­nect to what she has to say and I also hope she writes a book. I would buy it. But I also hopes she con­tin­ues to blog because I’m enjoy­ing it immense­ly!

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