This year, it’s time to take a different approach on black history month and focus on current issues which uniquely affect the black community.
One such issue, being is our hair – This can especially be applied to black women because of beauty standards that conflict with the idea of afro hair.
Our hair speaks volumes
The standard in the beauty industry has a bias towards hair that is perfectly straight, long and tamed that effortlessly falls flat. But, for the majority of black women, achieving this is pretty much impossible. At least naturally it isn’t, because our hair just in fact does not work like that. The way it grows is delicately and coils, it bounces back up on itself to show that it is healthy.
It shouts volume before anything else and length is a slow process. Therefore it suggests that we are already placed at a disadvantage in making it in the beauty industry with our natural hair, compared to other ethnicities.
Wigs & Weaves
Additionally, because the imposed beauty standards are of straight hair and not curly or kinky, there is a lot of pressure for black women of all hair textures to invest in wigs and weaves to fit in with the definition of beauty.
This is not to say that wigs or weaves are a sign of hatred towards our natural hair because these styles allow us to be creative and diverse (we all like to change it up once in a while), but if you feel pressurised or obliged to have to cover the natural hair on your head, then this is a problem.
The representation of afro hair in the beauty industry is still minimal. We mainly only see natural hair in its true form when companies are advertising for a person that looks chic and care free. Someone who is creative and edgy.
But when it comes to sexy and glamourous, why is there a lack of representation here, is our hair not considered good enough? If our hair is not desirable, are we then not desirable?
I say this because hair is, nevertheless, part of a person’s identity. The way you wear it, if it is shaved short, dyed purple or presented as deadlocks – it can unlock something to do with your personality. Even so you will be judged for the way your hair is styled whether like it or not. But why are there still negative conceptions about afro hair?
In the workplace, our hair can sometimes be classed as unprofessional – even if it is not explicitly said. We have to wear it in sleek or protective styles to be taken seriously in a professional environment, otherwise we risk being told that we look unkempt or untidy.
Due to these norms in society, most of the time we are not going to destroy the prospect of doing well in our career for the sake of how we do our hair. So we conform. But it’s not right.
Keep ya Head Up
Earlier this year, famous UK Artist Dave – released a new album named ‘Psychodrama’. It was in this album where he included his hit single ‘Black’ – where he, very briefly, touches on such a matter.
He states ‘Look, black ain’t just a single fuckin’ colour, man there’s shades to it. Her hair’s straight and thick but mine’s got waves in it’. Dave says ‘there’s shades to it’ referencing the fact that there is a spectrum of black people – with them, comes different types and styles of hair.
Our hair speaks volumes – Why, then, do we have to face challenges based off how we express our hair?It is so versatile and can be worn in multiple ways and styles but not all of them are welcomed.
There should not be a regulation on how our hair should be worn because – how can something be so wrong in its most natural form? Only if society tells us that it is.
Down below, you can find a short video showing why black hair is different – go check it out!