Thursday 23 September 2010
Going Natural And Taking A Thousand Heads With Me
Ever since my eyes were opened to the strangeness of permanently altering your hair with toxic chemicals, I've become a natural hair street preacher of some sorts. Repent, for the death of your follicles is near, is my new waking, sleeping and eating cry.
Not surprisingly, my friends have grown a little irate over my zealousness.
"It's my hair."
"I like it straight."
"Natural hair does not fit everybody."
"It's not that expensive.'
"I'm not trying to be white."
"My hair is too hard to go natural."
"Leave me alone."
"I'm glad to be enslaved by Western ideals of beauty."
Some of these are a few of the retorts that they have thrown in my well meaning face. Recently, these so called friends have left the defense and moved to the offense. Whenever I try to warn them of the dangers of the sodium hydroxide chemical found in relaxer, they assume attack position immediately. First, they start every sentence with "Since you are going natural," then they launch into the demolition.
Since you are going natural:
"Why don't you wash your hair with juices and berries?"
"Why don't you make your coat from ankara?"
"Why are you wearing trainers? Let us buy you leather sandals from the North?."
"Why don't you brush your teeth with chewing stick?"
"Why do you wear a bra?"
"Why do you speak English?"
"Why do you go to school in England? There are good Universities in Nigeria."
"Why do you go to the cinema?"
On and on the barrage continues.
I don't understand the antagonism. It's not that I want them to stop perming their hair. I just want them to start thinking about what they're doing. If you were going to permanently alter your nose, you would think about it. If you were going to permanently alter your mouth, you would think about it, but most people I know don't even think about what they're doing before they permanently straighten their hair with dangerous chemicals.
So you see my dear friends, it's not just that I want to convert you to the 'fro brigade. I just want you to think about the social and cultural reasons that make you feel the need to permanently alter your hair.