The African Woman And Her Hair




Recently, I started feeling bad about us, African women. I started this year with so  much pain thinking about our long lost African Heritage. We have thrown away our own  culture. We have unconsciously embraced the culture of the white man thereby tagging  our own “unacceptable” and “barbaric”.

Like I said last week, we keep talking about slave trade coming to an end centuries  before our birth when in the actual sense we are still slaves to the white men.

It pains me when I look around us and see so much that nature has blessed us with,  but we are busy enjoying the culture of the white man and promoting everything about  them while they assist in making sure our own culture is dead and buried. Like Dr.  Uma Ukpai once said; Africans are a people who look, but don’t see; when they see,  they don’t appreciate; when they appreciate, they don’t celebrate.Girls, this is the  major cause of our problems as Africans.

I tried to do a little research into the origin of all these wigs and long/sleek  hair madness. I tried to look at those social institutions that have shaped how  African “nappy “hair is perceived. I also tried to find out what black hair stands  for in today’s society.

According to James A. Rawley, during the transatlantic slave trade (17th century),  the time when blacks were deported from the “Dark Continent” (Africa) into the  Caribbean and America; black women were dehumanized and made to feel inferior as  their hair was viewed as wild and animalistic. You know all our fathers and mothers  went through in the hands of their taskmasters. As the slave trade continued, white  supremacy rose and blacks became more inferior. Black women were sexually abused and  impregnated giving rise to children with lighter skin and longer hair close to those  of the Europeans. These mixed women were treated specially and taught how to read  and write because they closely resemble the colonists’ race. This led black women  into using heat to straightening their hair for a better relationship with the  whites.

With the introduction of relaxers in 1920s by Madam C.J. Walker, African women were  able to secure better jobs among the whites. Most black hair care companies today  are still owned and controlled by Caucasians with their advertisements geared  towards discrediting our black hair for better sales. It is really sad how we have  fallen so cheap to these antics of the white man. They use the media to make us  believe that our natural hair is animalistic while theirs is sleek and beautiful.

This is one advert I have decided to kick against. What makes them think I should  have their very own hair texture? I didn’t go too far in blaming them because we  accepted it. It was only towards the end of the year my eyes were opened to the  truth and I vowed never to go for all those attachments simply because I want to be  like them. As an African woman, I love myself and I don’t want to be like any other  person. I am one person that is so blessed with a very high self-esteem and that  makes me not to believe there is anyone better than I am. I know some of you will be  wondering; why is she talking about African hair when her picture shows the  opposite. That picture was taken last year when I was one of their slaves. Whenever  my work permits me, you will have my new pictures, but you can also see my new look  on facebook.

I am one person who does not spend on clothes what I spend on my hair. Few weeks  before Christmas, a Liberian friend called me after he saw my picture on facebook  with my natural hair. He pleaded with me not to give up my natural beauty for all  those stuff women wear. He reminded me about the beauty of an African woman which  has been lost a long time since we started struggling to become what we are not.  While he was still talking, I started reflecting on the glory of the African woman.  I remembered my mum’s pictures where you see the natural beauty. I remember seeing  some pictures posted by my older friends on facebook, pictures taken in the 70s when  women were with so much glory.

I didn’t stop there, I remembered Chris Kehinde Nwandu posting a comment on facebook  on how everything about African women is now false-false eyelashes, false hair,  false nails, false eyeballs, false pregnancy, false virginity, false, false, false.I  may not have done the false lashes, not because I couldn’t have done it, but because  I was just too scared for my eyes. But I tried to calculate the amount of money I  spend on false nails and artificial hair; my God, it was mind blowing. I realized I  have spent so much on frivolities-Brazilian and Indian hair. I also asked myself a  question; is God happy with you for not acknowledging what he has made you to be?  This and other reasons which I will let you know in my next article, made me to take  the vow never to have those things on my hair and nails again.Initially,it was  difficult for my kids to adapt to my new look, but gradually they have come to  accept  and respect me more for being real.

Girls, there is so much glory on us as Black women, but we have gradually lost it  all. I also did a little research about our own Afro hair and what it stands for. We  all know that most people look at you as weird and wild when they see you wear  afro.Girls, my finding was a very interesting one. In 1970s, African women, after  sufferi

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