Black Girl In The City.


Solange Changes It Up.
July 25, 2009, 12:00 am
Filed under: Chapter Next, Fly and Fabulous | Tags: , ,

solangehair

You’ve probably heard the news on Solange’s new do, and I have to admit I was more than elated to see her new style.  Not because it’s cool and hip, and not even because cutting your hair off is the best way to start fresh and move forward (on a lot of fronts).    I’m digging this because it says a lot about Black women (especially in mainstream entertainment) and how much farther we have come.  After seeing the amount of shallow minded negativity and judgemental opinions of others on the change,  it’s only fitting that I offer my opinion on this particualr issue regarding Black women and our hair.

Some of you may remember when I cut all of my hair off and started over last year.   I’m proud to say that I’m still a natural gal despite my own personal bitch fits with thine kinky roots.  It wasn’t easy sticking to it!  Why?  Because it’s a given that the wide majority of our generation is so heavily influenced by pop culture, entertainment and media that we tend to unconsciously deem long flowing hair or Anglo Saxon looking crops to be better than kinky hair or none at all.    To no direct fault of our own…it’s just a given fact.   In a sense we’ve allowed others to paint the picture of what’s acceptable for us vs. deciding what’s best from an individual standpoint.   I hate to say it but a lot of Black women and young girls are left with the impression that longer and straighter is better – and even “Hawaiian” curly will do, so long as you can still run your fingers through it.    The cause extends far beyond the times of you and I, and over the years we’ve adapted to the adopted stance that, “The more we look like them the better off we’ll be.”

In an ideal world, Black women would be able to wear the hairstyles they want and get the same appreciation and attention as they would with no hair or natural hair, but this is simply not the case.   India Arie wrote “I am not my hair” for a reason.   One of those being that far too many women get caught up in the hair issue when we should really be focusing more on what’s inside by avoiding the temptation to adopt the judgmental attitudes taken toward the outward appearance of ourselves and others.     I was that girl who knew every kind of sew in and could master the look of a wig and pull it off as my own in a heartbeat.  Not because I necessarily enjoyed setting my scalp on fire, cutting it off from oxygen or searing my hair with a beveling iron or curlers, but because it was what I was always taught and had become accustomed to…straight is more manageable while “nappy” hair is NOT the business.    I am not saying that straightening our hair or extending its length is a bad thing, I’m only saying that we should be more accepting of women that choose to rock what they’ve been given naturally…and let me tell you why.

After cutting my hair and growing it natural for about a year now, I can confirm through experience which type of hair is deemed more “acceptable” by society and even a lot of men.   In order to stick with my stance I really had to get my mind right and understand that my sense of value in appearance did not come from the quality of my mane.   Thankfully I’m not a bad looking chick, but when I did chop it off  while simultaneously boycotting the perm, I was faced with the issue of being able to hide behind absolutely nothing but the woman that I truly was.    You know how you feel when you get that fresh weave or new silky straight style.   It’s a confidence booster and you know that if nothing else is working right on that day, your hair is in perfect place and bangin’ .   But what happens when you take away that element and confidence booster?    You are faced with yourself and forced to realize that perhaps it was that same hair (or another enhancement of outward appearance) that kept you away from your natural self on the inside.  It wasn’t until I removed that element that I realized what was really important and how much I’d been hiding behind hair that wasn’t 100% my own.  I’d been shortchanging  the  non-tangible contributions that I could make to the world by spending too much time on the things that don’t carry as much weight at the end of the day.   It was a real reality check.  By letting go of the mainstream and adopting something that I felt was right for me I began attracting different kinds of people into my life that for the most part had one key characteristic in common:  DEPTH.    I think this is because my choice to live naturally was an outward statement of my ability to think independently and rock my personal style even its not what’s hot on that day.   When you see a woman like Solange (especially in the business) above, you know that she carries the ever so important trait as an independent thinker and someone that is so sure of herself that she can assume any role – regardless of what others deem acceptable or are naturally attracted to.   Unlike other celebs who have shaved their heads due to a southbound  career,  I honestly believe that for Solange this was a personal choice (even if temporary) and for no other reason than to do her.  So the next time you see a Black woman with a natural style or no hair all,  you’d probably want to introduce yourself because there is typically more than meets the eye.

If you consider your current hair style to be a matter of preference, ask yourself why.    Are the reasons good enough?   If you do need a little boost in finding out who you TRULY are, cut it all off and  refuse to perm it for no other reason than just doing you.

-black girl.

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18 Comments so far
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I super feel this post and solange. I started locs in January and everyday I feel good everytime I step out the house. It’s really freeing but ppl do feel some type of way about a naural young lady. Older women feel like your worthy of conversation, men find you intriguing,ppl in my age group just question the f**k out of me but nothing ever changes how I feel about me.

Comment by NotForTheFaintOfHeart

Thank you for doing this post. I have had natural hair for over 10 years and I too started out with a shaved head. On July 9, 2009 (my 32nd birthday). It was definitely a freeing experience and I am happy I did it. However, it has truly amazed me at the responses that I have gotten from people of color. Don’t get me wrong a lot of people have complemented my new hairdo but for the people who have negative comments it is like they are offended that I would dare do something like this to may hair. It is very disappointing that people are so brainwashed that they do not know themselves and get mad at others for being comfortable in my own skin and hair. I must say, when I saw Solange’s hair for the first time I smiled and remembered that I wasn’t alone. Your blog has also solidified my feelings that there are girls just like me who aren’t making some crazy statement or rebelling. We just want to be our beautiful selves.

Comment by Alicia

I have short hair. get a shape up every week.lol.To be honest, i could care less about Solange and her hair. She has never been a big influence on me or my girls. Just another B celeb. Now if it was her big sis, i am quite sure it would be more news, essence,ebony, on the web all over until then I hope my lifestyle influence my family, job and neighborhood. As you BGITC will influence those around you. I am not impress.

Comment by BabyBear

Wow. I am just blown away. Thank you so much for doing this. I didn’t even look at Solange the way that you presented it. I learned a lot from reading this. I too am natural and I feel so free and so real, because I’m not living to anybody’s standards. I’m doing me, lol.

Comment by Kendra

Well I am glad you did this post because some of the things I have read on other sites from people have been crazy. I myself have been natural over 14 years which means I have been bald, afro, cornrows, bantu knots, bald again, mini afro etc., etc.,etc. However my daughter who is 16 has never had a perm or her hair straightened. The response to her is beautiful to watch there are people (older women, younger women, older men) who go out of there way just to speak to her and tell her they love her hair. I applaud Solange because at the end of the day it is her journey and we are just spectators.

Comment by 3piece

It’s funny that this is your topic. The other day, I just took out my braids and I was debating on keeping my hair natural or getting it permed. I decided to do the easiest thing which was get my hair permed.For some it’s not about, Anglo-Saxon ways of thinking, its for convenience. Managing hair, “our” hair can be quite an challenge, especially on an everyday basis. And, with that said, kudos to those that decide to go natural. Trust!! I understand, why go through the burning of the scalp and the frying of the roots, when it isn’t necessary?

Comment by Tavie

I agree with the matter of preference! Sometimes it is for a matter of convenience and manageability, and even for some a difference between all of your hair breaking off or keeping it. Valid point Tavie. 🙂

Comment by blackgirlinthecity

Great article and great blog, for what I have understood (I’m french)!

Comment by Blingcool

She looks like the poet Sunni Patterson of Louisiana. Almost like identical twins. What do you think?

Comment by LaTonya Bynum

Hey, I don’t think that anyone should be congratulated or condemned for their choice in hair syles. I have seen black women with naturally straight hair who decided they wanted it curley, it’s just a choice, and a change. People just like to change up, damn.

I don’t think that Solonge looks particularly attractive with this cut, I think it could be neater, but that doesn’t matter. She obvisoulsly likes it and that’s fine with me.

No one knows whether she is making a “statement” or not, but does it matter, NO.

It’s not a black thing, its a hair thing.

Comment by Amethyst

so very well said.

thank you.

Comment by flytie

Like everyone else who’s left a comment, I’m very glad you left this post! When I first saw this pic of Solange (before all the backlash) my initial thoughts were “She must be going natural!” Never did I think “She’s tryna be like Amber Rose” or “She’s trying to get some attention.” But it seems that’s what everyone is thinking! I feel bad for her, I really do. I actually wondered why I felt so bad for her and I realized, I went through the same thing! I cut my hair (multiple times) and the remarks my friends and family made were never parallel to how I felt. “You look a mess!” “Why’d you cut your hair in the first place?” Honestly I don’t really care because it’s my hair and I can do what I want with it. It’s unfortunate, though, that Solange is getting the same criticism from the media (which definitely exceeds the number of people who criticized me!) I’m a newbie in the natural hair realm (Oct ’08) but I feel like my hair is healthier now than ever and I don’t have any regrets! Long live natural beauty 🙂

Comment by Allie

I HAPPEN TO LOVE THE CUT AND FROM MY KNOWLEDGE THIS ISNT HER 1ST TIME WEARING IT THIS SHORT, SHE LOOKED GORGEOUS THEN & STILL DOES THIS TIME AROUND. ITS AMAZING HOW IF SOMETHING ISNT WHAT PEOPLE PERCEIVE AS THE NORM THEN ITS WRONG, TRYING TO FORCE SOME1 TO LIVE HOW U ASSUME THEY SHOULD IS JUST CRAZY TO ME. SMH…

Comment by SHOEFIENDISH

Wow this is really deep and I applaud black women who have the courage to cut off all their locks especially in this hair and complexion obsessed society. I say more power to solange and the other celebs who stepped out of the box and walk to the beat of their own drum (as cliche as that sounds)

Comment by kay

LOL…Solange looks like Julez’s older brother with that haircut. That girl will do just about anything for attention…but I guess you have to do something when you are on the “B” list and trying to swing on your big sister’s coat tail to the top !

Comment by Monique

Heyya Girl

Just wanted to point out not all Balck people have kinky roots. I am from Africa, the horn to be specific and i have to say my hair is actually much softer and has mrore volume than ango-saxons. Even though my hair looks natural and healthy, I gets asked a billion and one times…even have some tug at my hair to believe, now i am not light skinned, but by complexion is a shade darker than sanna lathan, alot of ppl ask if i am mixed or from india…

so nop i am born in africa, both parnts are african, and suprisingly ppl from my country have amazing healthy hair, but everyone is differnt, however i just wanted to point out anglo axons are not all that and i just hate it when everything has to be in reference to them…

cheers!

Comment by monalisasmiles

Thank you so much for this. People will continue to speak negatively about things they don’t understand, and as a new natural, I’ve learned that it is important to not hide behind your hair. I recently cut off my permed hair because the value I used to place in it, was completely gone.

I have now become able to see myself rather than the hair, have new baby-dreads, and am ready for the future!

Take care and much success unto you.

Comment by B

I’m also glad u posted this blog. I felt the same way u did when i first saw Solange’s new do. First off i think she’ a beutiful young lady and she can totally pull it off. I’ve been growing my hair natural for about a year now. Outside of baby pics, it’s crazy because i never knew what my natural hair looked like or could do until i stopped getting relaxers. My main purpose for growing my hair natural is due to the fact i like to dye my hair blonde and double process dryes my hair out. Over the past year i’ve been doing research on kinky hair and products that cater to kinky hair and i was plesantly suprised. I love my natural hair. It has a really tight corkscrew type curl that is so cute, but i have to admit that i still haven’t been able to chop it all off completely i’ve been gradually cutting my relaxed hair off and wearing cornrolls under wigs or I will straighten it. I have a small head and really want my hair to grow out a little more. I feel the whole go natural movement is inspiring and empowering. I cant wait to fully show off my true crown n glory!

Comment by Nichole




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