Hair Like Mine

Black hair has never been properly appreciated or featured.

I got my first relaxer when I was 11.

My mom took my older sister and I to a beauty school and we came out with straight hair.

I remember being so excited to have hair like "everyone else" and then quickly regretting it.


The Media

For those who don't know, "a relaxer, also known as a perm for Black hair, is a chemical treatment that straightens curly hair by breaking down the bonds in the hair shaft." Relaxers became most popular in the '90s. Most actresses, entertainers, and models in the media chemically relaxed their hair during this time.


I grew up seeing everyone on television with straight hair. I only saw my hair when someone would accidentally go through a carwash, their hairstylist "messed up" or something exploded in their face. My hair was depicted as unkempt and undesirable.


Words related to the harm described above and below:

While the natural hair movement "has recently become popular again during the 2000s and 2010s." In the natural hair community still only acknowledges certain curl patterns, most falling in the 2-3 categories of the hair typing system. The hair being featured in films are often still the same as well as seen in the Top 10 Movies List of 2021.

P.S. This hair typing system was created by a man.


The Law

In the 1700's , Spanish colonial Governor Don Esteban Miró enacted the Tignon Laws, which required Creole women of color to wear a tignon (scarf or handkerchief) to cover their hair as a way to indicate that they belonged to the slave class. The Governor thought their "elaborate hairstyles" distracted White men.


In the 1960's, many Black activists like Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, and Elaine Brown—supporters of the Black Panther party—wore their natural hair in afros and other natural hairstyles as a political statement.


In 1976 Beverly Jenkins filed a racial discrimination lawsuit after being told she could never represent her employer because of her fro. The case, Jenkins v. Blue Cross Mutual Hospital Insurance, determined that Afros are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.


These practices of discrimination continue and can be seen everywhere:

The appropriation of natural hair styles can be seen everywhere as well.


A New Chapter


I stopped relaxing my hair in 2015. No shade to anyone who still does but my hair just never liked being "relaxed". I've been natural for 7 years now and have been told a lot of things by coworkers and leaders.


While there is no doubt we as a society still have a lot of work to do, there are definitely a lot of changes being made and a lot of work being done.


I hope one day to see every person wearing their natural hair. I hope that one day I am able to watch a movie where there are people with hair like mine. I hope that one day no one is forced to alter any piece themselves in order to please another. I hope that one day my hair will be properly appreciated and featured.

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