It’s almost as sensitive as pulling a comb through a black woman’s hair—the conversation about her natural hair itself. Held by Curl Care by Dr. Miracles, and moderated by natural hair enthusiast and blogger Keisha Goodridge,the first of four "Curlversations" took place at Ginny's Supper Club last Thursday.
It was the first of a four-part series with many subtopics at hand over lunch provided by Red Rooster, with hairstylists and beauty editors at the center of it all. The talk specifically regarded the perception of a black woman’s hair, the discrimination involved in it, and if it has reached a point of acceptance in our communities and the wider world.The women came from different backgrounds--from upstate New York, Puerto Rico, and Philadelphia to Brooklyn and Harlem. One would think that the actual topic itself would be lighthearted since it's, “just” hair, but there's so much more lying beneath the kinks and curls. The two most important things according to the group? Confidence and beauty, each playing major roles in a black woman’s initial decision to go natural, seeing herself beautiful with her own hair, how the opposite sex looks down upon or at it in awe, and how it affects their children.
“They are just being traumatized,” said Philadelphian hairstylist Kimberly E. Rollins. “When they see someone with natural hair, even though the child might think it's beautiful, the parents or guardian—whoever’s with them, doesn’t. I used to wear dreadlocks and a headwrap all the time, and I used to see these little girls, who would ask me what’s under there. I would take it off, and when my locks fell they were just so amazed and I remember them telling their parents, ‘That’s how I want my hair when I grow up.’ And the parents didn’t want to think about it—they didn’t want to do the work.”
For black women, this revolves around what has traditionally been pretty in most of the Western world, as straight hair has soaked the spotlight up. It really wasn’t until the 1970’s, at the dawn of the Blaxploitation film era that black women were glorified with hair that most considered "nappy" and "unwanted," thanks in part to Pam Grier.
The women at the table had much to share about how they overcame these stigmas and have moved on to appreciate themselves when a man would not, and indirectly perceive things. It was also said how astounding it was that more ethnicities outside of blacks were bigger advocates for natural hair opposed to people who are black.
More discussions like these lie ahead at the Supper Club, so do stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out these sites for more info for natural hair care and stories:
Keisha Goodridge and Youtube.com/Ahsiek1118
Kimberly E. Rollins and Hair-itage Society
Nneka Hylton and Darker Than Brown
Nadine Lee-Carter and Curl Care by Dr. Miracles
Photos by Diamond Bradley