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More Than Just Hair

More Than Just Hair

An Expose' on the Hair of Black Women and Girls

For Black Women and Girls, our hair is one of the key elements of our identity and experience. Over time, we've been envied for our hair, we've been ridiculed for our hair, we've used our hair as symbols of status. We've used our hair to create maps, we've used our hair to carry and conceal seeds of survival . We've been forced to cover our hair, pressured into relaxing our hair. We've lost jobs for daring to embrace the magnificence  and beauty that is our hair. For Black women and girls, our hair is so much more than just a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Our hair is a God given natural adornment. Our hair is our beauty, our hair is our power. Our hair is a universal unifying element of Black sisterhood.

We show our hair so much love and give our hair much respect. We invest in our hair-literally spending a fortune finding the products that our hair loves best. We make monthly, bi-weekly or even weekly trips to the shops and salons to keep our hair looking and feeling just right. We spend hours watching tutorials and How-To Videos, trying to DIY our hair. As little girls we spend hours upon hours sitting in mama's lap as she prepares our hair for the coming days. We even have a whole day dedicated to washing our hair. Because, yes some of us need a full day to properly care for our hair- and yes, by the time we finish, either the whole day has passed, or we've used every ounce of energy we had, on nurturing our hair.  We find and create Protective Styles for our hair, because something this precious is worthy of protection. We spend countless hours tending to and loving on our hair. We spend time picking the perfect hairstyle for vacation, or seasonal changes. Picking the perfect hair for special occasions, the perfect hair for exercising, picking the perfect hair for the first day of school, the next day of school and every day after that. We must pick the perfect hair for the job interview, because it is imperative that we make "the right" first impression. Then we spend time contemplating on the right time to introduce our job to our "real hairstyles."

To be a Black woman is to spend an immeasurable amount of time focused on your hair. To be a Black woman is to have hair so versatile that you can "become a different person" monthly, weekly, daily, or however often you choose. To be a Black woman is to love, care for and provide for your hair. To be a Black woman is to have an intimate loving relationship with your hair. 

So for us, it is so much more than just hair. For us, it is that big of a deal. We do want credit and recognition for the hairstyles we've created. It is problematic when we are ridiculed for our styles and non-Black women are celebrated for them. It's more than just hair, it is a piece of our identity.

-Chelsae Moreland


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