I find it to be a source of constant amusement and great interest that the issue of this thread and many others of late keeps being distorted and shifted. I however will address the issue raised by Kelani.
The question of hair for us has never been simple. People are free to express themselves, their individuality or lack thereof in anyway they see fit- natural hair, ‘fashion Ras’, relaxer bald head whatever, it makes little difference to me. However I can look beyond that and see the damage that is done daily to the minds of African children who find it hard, even impossible to see images in popular culture that reflect THEM IN A REAL WAY.
Images of African women are especially under assault. Popular culture, when it presents black images at all, seems to revere the long haired, light skinned black woman as the symbol of grace poise and beauty. The darker skinned, natural haired female is often relegated to the ‘quirky friend’ role, the sidekick, never the leading lady, never the object of beauty. This is not accidental, nor is it mere coincidence that so many black women chose relaxed hair as their preferred hairstyle, using the excuse of convenience and versatility. It is part of a long standing legacy of teaching us to hate ourselves. The methods may have been altered but the motive is the same. It should then come as no surprise that a black man and woman were the inventors of both the hot comb and the hair relaxer. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blwalker.htm, http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_Walter_Sammons.htm
While natural hair seems to be becoming an ‘acceptable’ fashion statement, I remember well the years of teasing I endured for choosing to never relax my own hair. So even now when people compliment me on my natural hair, I am not amused. We always seem to require validation and acceptance for doing something that we should be doing naturally anyway. We also seem to have this strong desire to pay lip service to issues instead of addressing them head on. Having natural hair, wearing head wraps from now till forever or calling your self African does not really change much. Yes it is an important step to reconciling ourselves with OURSELVES, but by itself it is simply academic and cosmetic blather.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml