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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To Be or Not To Be Your Hair: That Is the ?

Singer Kelis After Cut

I was having a conversation with some friends and family who all have natural hair about the reasons for having natural hair especially locks. I was saying that I miss the vibe of my traditional locks. It seems that many of those I have met with traditional locks see natural hair (particularly locks) as a more liberating or spiritual experience. I am finding that with Sisterlocks it's a different vibe. The Sisterlock wearers I have met make me feel like it's part sorority and partially like the wearer has just discovered a new type of weave to be used in the arsenal of never ending hairstyles that any "stylista" should have.

Singer Kelis Au Naturale

Ultimately, every person is going to have a different idea about what their hair means exactly to them. But on the other hand, shouldn't being natural be more than just a hairstyle. When you are no longer perming and/or weaving your hair and/or accepting what you were given, should that not be a celebration? Many people change their eating habits, spiritual practices and attitude when they get locks. Other people don't at all. I think most people are somewhere in between; but I think if locks can be used as a catalyst for liberation, why shouldn't it?

Phina Oruche After (Weave) and Before (Locks)

I am not advocating a hairstyle being a lifestyle. I think that's far too narrow to group people into, but I think being natural can be a wholistic lifestyle if it is allowed by the "naturalista".

I have met a the full gamut of women with natural hair here in Atlanta, which I love. I've met the woman who told me she was too dark to wear red though she had a red afro. I met the woman with Sisterlocks who said she wears wigs because they go better with certain outfits. I met the woman with free form locks that she called a beaver's tail, professing that she would never cut it. I feel people should do exactly what they want when they want regarding their hair. However, I think knowing why you want locks, a weave, or even a cut is important. I think it's the responsibility of everyone to be present and conscious of their decisions and it's impacts.

Erykah After and Before

Obviously, it's just hair. You could lose it all at any moment and attachment to anything can lead to unhappiness. But if it's only hair, why do Black women spend more money to care for and alter their hair. If it's just hair, why is nappy still perceived as a bad word? If it's just hair, why did I spend 30+ hours to get Sisterlocks when I could have brushed my hair in a ponytail in 5 minutes? If it is only hair, why did I feel such remorse for cutting my waist length hair at 18? Is it just hair?

And then there is the infamous, I am not my hair. Really? I thought I would take a moment to reference India Arie's interview. I think her intentions have been misconstrued. I posted them below, but if I am not my hair, then my hair must be really important to me. After all, I have spent lots of $$ to maintain it, I blog about it, and have accepted it's ride to liberation as my own journey. Have you?

India Arie's Interview from
India Arie with Extensions and Without

What is the inspiration behind I Am Not My Hair?

India.Arie- Of course it started when I cut my hair. When I started writing the song is when I became free to play around with my hair. That's when I really started to write that song. For awhile I wore it bald, a lot of people don't know that because I didn't have any videos or anything with it that was when I was taking my break. I wore it bald and I started to be free and just experiment and wear braids and everything. That's the inspiration behind it but the song is really saying I don't have to live up to anyone's expectations and I also don't have to have a bunch of expectations for myself. I can just be free and continue to create myself.

There are some misconceptions and maybe you can set it straight that maybe you are anti-hair weave. What are your feelings about women who wear hair weave?

India.Arie-I think people should do whatever they want and be comfortable with it. My whole thing is a person should be doing it because that's what they want and not because they are trying to be something. I think people should do whatever they want. On the cover of the "I Am Not My Hair" single I have long braid extensions all the way down to my booty. I have no problem with that I just think people should express the truth of who they are..let me backtrack for me it's important to express the truth of who I am. That's what I sing about in my music. People think that I'm always trying to tell somebody something but I'm not. I'm expressing myself. If people resonate with it that's a beautiful thing and that's my goal. If God would let people connect with the music. I'm talking about myself and that's it. For me I want to be myself. If someone else has a weave that's them. In my opinion I like to see people do things because that's what they want and not because they are trying to buy into someone's stereotype of who they should be. Whatever they want.

Is your hair a trend, a mere hairstyle, a lifestyle, convenient, or a necessary evil? What does your hair mean to you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Future of Sisterlocks: Extensions?

I don't feel like arguing or being verbally blocked by anyone. LOL! But I am not a fan of this at all. Alas, my blog is about information regarding natural hair especially. So here you go. Please comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Here it is. The installation of "Sisterlock" Extensions: