Is Natural Hair A Political Statement?

Carriene from ILNH posted this clip in Scandinavian Naturals last week with Melissa Harris-Perry talking about "the Politics of Black Hair". Guests on the show wetr  Nicole Ari Parker (her TWA in this clip makes me want to run and get my scissors and put some highlights in my hair!), Thea Butler, Joan Morgan and Nikki Walton (CurlyNikki).  

I think there are some good and valid points in these clips, and I agree, natural hair is a political statement in some sense. But in others it isn't. I think choosing to wear your hair natural is still going against the mainstream image of beauty, and it's also quite provocative amongst certain groups of people. Like Nicole said (I can't remember who she quoted) it's kinda crazy to think that it's seen as political to wear your hair the way it grows out of your head naturally. But that doesn't take away the fact that it's seen as inappropriate in some settings to wear your hair natural. I think in Scandinavia the view may be a little different than in the States and in other black communities, I think here having your hair natural is considered quite ok if it's not too big and unkept looking. But I still think that many women with naturally curly hair opt for relaxers and weaves if they are in a business setting or in a fashion setting, partly because it's more "appropriate" partly because they don't know any other way. I think afros are still seen as kinda black power/hippie/crazy hair (I touched on that in my post about wigs a few weeks back). And I think locs are considered very "new age/alternative" in Scandinavia, very "unkept", there are a lot of misconceptions about locs here I think.

If you've frequently read this blog or talked to me you know that I do think that hair is linked to identity and how we perceive ourselves, and it plays a big part in how others see us. And like they say in the clip, it starts very young with what we tell our daughters. And also what we tell our sons, how we choose to care for their hair as well.

I also like the point that Joan brings up about black women's bodies always being in conversation with other black women's bodies. I think this is true, we are all products of our environment and how we as women approach each other with relaxers or with natural hair and everything in between also affects our choices when it comes to hair styles. I think we all are responsible toward each other in one way to not treat someone badly because of their choice in hair style.

After writing this post few days ago I today found out through social media that there recently was a South African TV show 3rd Degree that talked about Natural Hair. Check it out (there are three parts). I wanted to add it to this post without making it much longer. So watch it and let me know what you think!

(In part 3 Lebo Mashile says what I wrote a post about a few weeks back: Afro Wigs & Straight Wigs)

To sum it up a person's hair style choice is personal and we all make our choices for different reasons. Right now natural hair is a hot topic and this may change. Maybe the next generation of curlies will not make naturally curly hair a big topic, maybe their experience of curls will be completely different than ours. But for now I enjoy the fact that natural hair is talked about all over the world! It opens doors to talk about other things that are related to hair and need to be talked about such as gender, racism etc.

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