Lauryn Hill (Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
[I’m speaking on a panel entitled, The Men’s Perspective Panel, on Sunday, August 3, about men’s opinions on women and natural hair. I figured I might as well get a few thoughts out in advance spread my wings a bit. The panel is apart of the Naturalista Hair Show happening in Silver Spring, MD, on both August 2nd and 3rd. You natural haireded women out there, take note.]
Like most things in my life, my introduction to all things natural hair started with my older sister. Or at least I’m going to give her credit for it. I went to high school in northern Alabama and I can’t for the life of me think of a single person in my high school with locs or anything resembling what I come to think of as natural hair today. Then again, natural hair wasn’t a “thing” back then like it is now so I’m sure there were a lot of “naturals’ running amuck through my high school hallways.
But my older sister was five years older and one of those open-minded individuals who went to college and gave a lot of things a go in attempts to find herself that trickled down to my life. In that role, and briefly, she started hanging with people named Air and Hakeem so there were lots of ankhs, headwraps, and locs in her cirlce when I joined her back in Atlanta for college. By the way, the dude Air (a real person beeteedubs) told me the DUMBEST story of the African American experience and existence ever only for me to realize MID-STORY that he was recounting to me The Lion King…which I pointed out and he copped to. I never saw Air again after that.
Now, at that point, I’m sure I noticed but didn’t really think much of the folks with the sheen-so-shimmery afros and locs and any other hairdo that would fall into the “natural” category. I just knew they were doing a “keeping it real” type steez of sorts.
[Clearly, I”m not an expert in what makes hair natural short of it ain’t been hit with the chemicals of despair or something. Most of the women I know are natural – or at least most of the women I hang with and are apart of my cirlce – so in my life, it was never a thing. I had no idea the wars that existed betwixt the creamy cracksters and the natural knights of the hair table until the Internet was founded in 2012.]
All that to say, my older sister exposed me to “the hair”, but I’m guessing that it wasn’t until I fell for the woman who would be queen if she weren’t 10 crazy that I really developed my true affinity for “the hair”.
My boo, Lauryn Hill.
There was a solid two year stretch where you could not convince me she wasn’t the baddest thing in a b-cup and two legs on the planet in the history of creation. I didn’t even love Miseducation, but I loved the woman responsible for it. I loved her style and grace. Her smarts. Her confidence and realness. And especially, I loved the way she wore her headwraps. And her locs. Lawdjeefus. Oooooooooooooh…I just wanna lay in her hair. I was enamored with her whole essence and loved her hair especially. Or did. Like 112 sang for Bad Boy who then said to 112, it’s over now. But ’98-’99 Lauryn Hill? All Century Team in my book.
Not to mention I went to college in Atlanta during Lauryn’s heyday at the real bastion of Black wonderfulness, the Atlanta University Center (AUC) where I ran into women from all over the country who had all types of bad ass hairdos who all seemed to be inspired by Ms. Hill. From Seattle to Brooklyn, super bad women were out in full force. It was there that my affinity truly blossomed and it remains today. While I know all women swear they aren’t their hair (while totally being their hair), I found myself attracted to a particular type of woman and she always had a particular type of hair and it was always natural. Obviously, I didn’t always date women with natural hair. But I was always super attracted to it. Like a super bad chick is one thing. A super bad chick with locs?
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiign me up.
And it wasn’t just locs. It was chicks with huge hair. Like flowing to da gawds style hair. And an HBCU (well certain HBCUs anyway) is a buffet of women with big ass hair. So is DC, and the northeast for that matter. No matter where I goooooooooooo, I see the same styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyles which is a win for me in so many facets. So since I was in undergrad, I’ve constantly been surrounded by women with big ass hair, afros, locs, and twists which is all hair that I assumed made it natural. Until I found out that womenwith natural hair also just straightened their hair too, which…*mind blown*.
This was also the point I think I quit caring. And by caring, I mean caring about trying to figure out who has natural hair versus who doesn’t, etc. I got to a point in my life where as long as your hair doesn’t look at hot damn mess than I can rock with you, even if you are un-beweavable. Which I’ve dated. The funny thing is, while I know what I like, I’ve also found that I have no effin’ clue what folks are really doing with their hair. I have been told somebody had a weave and I was like, “really?” It’s not that I couldn’t tell, I just never thought about it.
Seeing as your hair or lack thereof is an extension of who you are (usually) I just felt like what people chose to do with their heads was their business. While I can’t really get down with a head full of red hair straight out of the Kool-Aid pack, I also can’t be mad at you for doing you to your own head. Whatever makes you happy, boo.
Which brought me full circle. See, while I’ve always been attracted to women with natural hair I’ve managed to achieve Master Spliner status at the “Do You Boo School of Whatever The Fuck Makes You Happy”. If you look bad as hell, you look bad as hell regardless of your hair being natural or nah. Which is why I’ve often been surprised at men who are vehemently against natural hair. Hot is hot. I can understand not liking a hair style, but some cats are like anti-natural hair, actively. This has befuddled me. Hair upkeep is a ho for everybody, even if you don’t have hair. AXEMEHOWIKNOW. So I’m not even sure what the deal is, but to each his own and God bless the child who has got his own.
I also don’t understand the Hair Wars that exist between women. But I can dig a good educated woman chick fight like the rest of ’em so I’m like all my perm-chicks to the left, all my nat-ur-al chicks to the right, they like she gon’ stop lookin’ at me before I knock that *CENSORED* out like fight night. And I’m here for it.
I wrote all this say, basically, I love natural hair and stylings. I like to touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it, turn, leave it, stop, format it. It makes me happy. I will almost always notice a woman with a natural hair do and almost always wonder about what our lives could be like together. Then I will snap back to reality quickly as I realize that just because you have natural hair doesn’t mean you’re favorite singer isn’t August Alsina. Who I like, but nawwwwwwl, *CENSORED* I said nawl.
To my natural hair sisters out there, I see you and I love you. You make me happy. All of you.
The rest of y’all are aight.
(I’m playing. I love you all. Really.)