Hair I AM
I am not my hair... but is my hair ME?
So my hair has always been an expression or extension of me, and I think this is a double-edged sword.
On one hand - I love playing about with different hair colours, cuts and styles. As this offers an expression of my fun, quirky, unique fashion and personality.
But on the other hand - if my hair wasn't behaving the way I wanted it to, it would seriously affect my self-esteem and at times I would just not go out!
So from birth until my first year of secondary school I was natural. With quite a different hair type to the other female members of my family, I learnt from early I was different. I was told my hair was 'tough', 'hard to manage', 'too coily'... and this was by family! My confidence further diminished after swimming classes at school.
I was one of three Black girls in my primary school class. The other two were twins with a 'looser hair texture'. Google hair shrinkage if I've lost you.
I begged. And begged. And begged. AND begged my mum for a relaxer!
The Just for Me children's relaxer
This was the brand I used, and was the beginning of the programming most black little girls face - to convince them their hair is not enough. That alongside the programming of sitting still for hours, and sitting through a scalp on fire are remnants of colonial oppression.
I can still hear the cassette tape included in every box with the jingle -
"I want style, body and shine. A look that's totally all mine. Hair so soft, silky and free. I want something just for me. Just for meeee!"
A spooky fact is that LaTavia Roberson - a former member of Destiny's child was one of the girls on the box and singing the jingle.
Check out this post on reactions to the Just for Me children's relaxer.