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Getting Wiggy With It

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I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am not your expectations. I am the soul that lives within.    India Arie – I Am Not My Hair

Speaking from the standpoint of a woman who has no clue what her natural hair looks like, I hesitate to jump in feet first to the natural versus processed hair debate. I’m in no position to judge what a woman wants to do with her wig, weave, locks or tresses. Recently, however; I had a brief debate with a gentleman who told me that women who are natural are less influenced by the man and are more in touch with their Africaness. Ahh, okay. While my picture has never graced the cover of the Dark & Lovely box and I’ve never been photographed pro Panther with an Afro pick in my hair and my fist raised, I’m still a sister to the core. Sadly, it seems I don’t have the hair to prove it.

I dig my sisters sporting the fro, the loose wave, the all-out kink and the buzz cut. That they have embraced their beauty outside of the Yaki versus Remy hair war–it cost $200 for a decent weavologist to take my hair from Badu to Beyoncé blood feud—I’ve been at the hairstylist for three hours trying to torture my hair beautiful power struggle, is great. I admire the Shea butter, coconut oil and Miss Jessie Pudding wearing sisters. I do not, however; bestow them with an instant American Express All Black card of consciousness because their hair is kinky and mine is straight. No can do. I know natural ladies who have never read, much less written a book. I know women sporting an Afro for the mere reason that the perm made all their hair fall out. They are not addicted to the creamy crack based on any political stance. To say so would be ludicrous. While natural and beautiful, these women are neither less nor more blacker than me. Naturalness is a choice, a decision, a lifestyle change and I dig it. But I Am Not My Hair and a woman’s hair is not the sum of her parts. I have 99 problems but my relaxer ain’t one.

One day I will leave the lure of the pressing comb, the perm and the flat iron behind. I will not be drawn to the long ponytail to supposedly validate my existence. I will reject the establishment and go full-fledged I’m natural and a woman hear me roar. Not today though, today I have to go to work and the gas bill is due.

Does it make sense to divide women based on natural versus straight, dark-skinned versus light-skinned or field versus house chick? Can the processed and the permed sister still call herself black, conscious and African if she’s still Getting Wiggy With It?

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