Nappy Hair? Don’t Care!

When I was about to be a freshman in high school, I made the decision to go “natural.” In the black community, this means to wear your hair how it naturally is instead of processing it with perm to make it straight. Historically this was done in order to fit into white or American beauty standards. Wearing an afro was a powerful statement in the 1960s, when black pride was an adamant development, but dialed back down after the civil rights movement ended. Wearing a natural afro then became a statement of being unkempt or not fit for society, especially in a professional setting. 

What’s even more disappointing is that in July of 2019, California became the first state to sign into law an ordinance that prohibits organizations from discriminating against (usually by not hiring) people of color for their hair styles. This is a bittersweet legislation, as it makes it illegal for businesses not to hire because of a certain hair type, but at the same time, why should an individual not be hired for work just because of the hair they were naturally born with? One can not control the hair texture that he or she was born with, and should not be obligated to do so, in order to obtain income. Even more, I assumed that the Fair Employment Opportunity Act established by the EEOC in 1972, would have made that loud and clear, but additional legislation is what it takes. 

My hair was always the part of my identity I struggled with, since there were not a lot of people who looked like me (being a Carribean immigrant) in the media. I researched how to take care of natural hair and the best things to help sustain it, as it takes a lot of work. I tried different methods and blends of oil and started making a bottle that best worked for me (as products in stores were not promoting the healthy hair growth I wanted after all the damage I acquired from years of perm damage.) Soon enough, friends and family would comment on my hair: how thick it had become, how soft it was, and how it was growing. I would always give advice as to what they should use depending on their hair texture. I realized that there was a market for this when people started asking me to make a bottle for them. I then began selling ten dollar bottles of oil blends to friends and family as a side hustle, but never took it further than that. 

As time went on, I saw that more and more people of color were making hair tutorials online on how to take care of hair. Now I see that there are plenty of colored people who want to go back to the era of black pride - as the media has become more diverse in representation- just as I did when I was discovering my identity as a Carribean-American. I hope more people are able to love and own their natural hair (no matter how they choose to wear it) instead of caring so much about whether or not it fits into society’s standards.