Two weeks ago a women created a petition using change.org, the text simply read:
Dear Blue Ivy, Comb your hair.
The creator begged Beyonce and Jay-Z to use their money to ensure that Blue Ivy no longer have “matted dreads or lint balls.” One commenter stated “Because no child whose mom spends thousands on her hair (monthly) should live life looking like a sheep!” I am disturbed and saddened by the petition especially in knowing that so many black folks (including myself) struggle with embracing our natural roots. Unbelievably, the petition has reached its goal of 5,000 signatures.
Walking through Seattle’s Northwest African American Museum’s Afro exhibit personally provided some balance, hope and strength. The exhibit features stunning photos (by social documentarian Michael July) of strong black men and women who wear their natural hair proudly.
One male shared the complexity of natural hair and professionalism:
“Being out of an office environment allowed me to have no restrictions on my personal style. I decided not to cut cut my hair. The longer it got, the more free I felt…”
A woman shares the complexities of being mixed race;
I be that half breed/Bastard seed
Not in need of your validation
Brothers in need/Think I’m pretty
While brothers in know/Know the cost
They say that I am beautiful/By historical default
I am what happens when love mixes with hate
I am what’s produced when oxymorons mate
I’ve become acutely aware of the confused stares from strangers and children, and have mastered the art of deciphering the unspoken wonder from folks who silently wonder if I forgot to comb my hair. While confused in wondering why life sometimes feels akin to the stories I hear of the afros in the 1960’s being worn as a symbol of power and making a statement, I’m simultaneously empowered by the proud and few rocking their natural hair.