Some Thoughts On Having ‘Good Hair’ As A Black Woman

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Diana Simumpande / Unsplash

If you are not a person of color reading this and you are wondering what the hell I am talking about when I refer to Black hair as being “good hair,” you are in for an educational lesson on the historical insecurities embedded in our culture and how Black women have inevitably been affected as a result.

For myself, I didn’t always have long hair.

It’s actually very hilarious that I ended up having long hair because as a child, I wished my hair was long like some of the White girls I saw and the Barbies I played with.

I even would clip on pieces of extensions and jokingly flash my hair around, when I was a little girl yearning for long tresses.

When I got older, however, and got my first press (flat-iron) done to my hair when I was 16, my hair really started to flourish.

My hair wasn’t long then as well, but I always did have thick, healthy hair. Straightening it loosed up the curls and I guess in addition to it already being healthy, it just grew, really long.

Like, girl, when I tell you I was in love with my hair.

It was down my back at one point looking like a full on weave.

It still looks good now, but not at the length it used to be and now I am obsessed with growing it back.

Just obsessed.

I love the compliments that I get as a Black woman when someone says, “Your hair is long, and it’s beautiful.”

But there’s actually an issue with this, because this perception I have derives from the historically held belief that in order to have “good hair,” your hair should be long, you should have loose looking curls, or it shouldn’t be what a lot of Blacks refer to our hair as, which is the term, nappy. 

Historically, here is what the term nappy means.

“The roots of the word nappy doesn’t have the most pleasant origins. It started out as a way to describe a fuzzy layer of yarn or cloth, but later would be used as an insult for African slaves.”

There are also personal experiences that Black women have had when it comes to their hair, and often, as I even know for myself, it can be a quite emotional journey.

For one woman she recalls her experiences and how it impacted her life.

She states, “Black people just have nappy hair, was the words that more or less took my breath away. Hearing that said by someone so nonchalantly, by someone that I considered a friend. Though I know he meant no harm by it, all I could think was gosh, how long has he thought about ME like that?…In a sense, I felt devalued and ugly.”  

Black women on a whole, struggle to feel beautiful constantly in a world that favors a European look over what we have: big lips, a booty, and kinky hair.

And for a lot of us, we hate ourselves because of the historical connotation of kinky hair, happy hair, and not being good enough. 

For me, long tresses or not, I hope I can get to a point where I just love me because honestly, there are a whole bunch of us Black women who wear wigs and weaves because we don’t like our hair.

Historically, Black women have been picked apart when it comes to beauty and what society thinks is an appropriate look.

What I hope for you, my fellow Black queen, is that you know you are beautiful, long hair, or not. TC mark

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