A few days ago, while I was at work, a random White lady came up to me and told me she liked my hair. As I thanked her, she decided to try and keep the convo going, adding how much she really loved the “wild look” and how she used to wear her hair in a similar pile of curls when she was coming up.
Now, for a minute, I really didn’t know how to feel. Should I take offense to what she just said? Is this lady sneak dissin’ on the low? But then I thought she genuinely meant now harm and was just calling it how she saw it, without realizing her referral to a Black woman’s natural hair as “wild” could possibly induce anger.
But it’s not just misinformed White women who walk around likening natural Black hair to the wilderness of the jungle, plenty of Black folk do it too, especially older ones. My grandmother is always talking about how unkept and untamed my mane looks, saying how much she wishes I’d book a meeting with a hot comb. And before the natural hair movement rebooted and took off again, I had experienced similar comments as the blabbering White woman at my job from my own people whenever I stepped outside with my ‘fro hanging free.
And it’s clear why. Sadly, this world is so Euro-centricized that it has become the norm for Black women to perm and press their tresses in order to fit into the box of European beauty standards. It’s what we’ve been practicing for centuries. Everyone is used to seeing everyone with flat, straight strands, regardless of the God-given hair texture a person may possess.So when we decide to wear our hair in its natural state, it’s completely unnatural to the status quo. Thus the ignorant tags, labels and hair titles that often make us wonder what the f#%k did they just say?
With that in mind, I try not to get too upset when ignorant mofos like Chatty Patty at my job have the magical idea that I woke up and decided to be King of the Jungle for a day instead of respecting the fact that I’m simply donning the hair that grows naturally from my roots. I suppose with the increase in pervasiveness of Black women embracing our innate locs, that the world will grow used to seeing hairstyles that don’t match conventional beauty guidelines. Maybe then, there would be a decrease in the amount of foolery that comes to people’s heads and out of their mouths when they see a head full of curls, kinks and coils.
Until then, I need to know how all my naturals out there feel about this “wild look” title.
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