Thursday, April 23, 2009

Black Folks Love Themselves Some "Good Hair".

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I pass the same lady pretty much every day on my way to work. She's a grey-haired older black lady. She told me her name once, but I don't remember what she said. So, let's call her Evelyn.

Ms. Evelyn is a very, very pleasant lady. I see her because she works at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I sorta kinda work near there, and I guess we just cross paths at the same time every day.

The weather started to break about two weeks ago and she saw me without a hat for the first time. She usually just waves at me, but she stopped me that day. Here's part of our exchange:
Ms. Evelyn: Something looks different about you today. [pause] Oh, you cut all your hair off!

Me: I never had hair.

Ms. Evelyn: Oh, so what is it?

Me: I dunno. I'm not wearing a hat today.

Ms. Evelyn: That's it! You're not wearing a hat! You need to show off that good hair!
She saw me the other day when morning temps dropped into the 30s again. I put a hat on cus it was chilly as hell that day. She stopped me again to talk:
Ms. Evelyn: I see you're wearing a hat again.

Me: Yeah, it's pretty chilly this morning. This weather needs to decide what it wants to do.

Ms. Evelyn: Tell me about it. But, see, you're young and you got good hair. You need to take that hair off and brave the cold.
Now, someone has to explain this to me. What is up with black people and this notion of good hair? While I'm up here on my soapbox I'd like also like to know why my hair holds me to a different standard.

Am I fortunate to have hair conducive to rocking a few waves and a fresh ceasar? Sure. But what does that mean in the long run? My hair doesn't advance me in life. It won't get me a better job, a Master's degree, that house on the hill I'm chasing after or that million dollars I've been asking for. That's all sh*t I have to work, not my hair.

Why do people still give a damn about the texture of someone's hair?


deonte' k said...

There is no thing such a "GOOD" hair. It's just different types of hair, and how u maintain it. I go to a school that deals all about hair and the 1st lesson they taught us was there is no such thing as GOOD hair.

Yes waves are nice, so are curls, and natural styles. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced this notion of good and bad hair as it pertains specifically to the black community stems from slavery. Ever since Willie Lynch devised his plan to to keep slaves under submission by dividing them by complexion -- putting the lighter ones in the house and the darker ones in the fields -- we as a people have been screwed up. I remember how ga-ga girls would go over the boys in school with light eyes and/or curly hair, as if those features made them instrinsically more attractive.

UrSoVain said...

Its a Slave Mentality. The notion that White is right. Blah Blah Blah... It's more deep seated with that woman because she grew up in that "Brown paper bag test" era. Not to say that the concept doesn't exist within recent generations, just pick a black female celebrity. But anyone can put some chemicals into their scalp and achieve similar results.

Cocoa Rican said...

I'm Puerto Rican, so this isn't as big an issue for us, but since the bulk of my friends are black, I would always have my hair pulled or some weird comment made when I wore it long. Today, since I am BALD (shaved to the skin!) there doesn't appear to be much talk of anything. It's silly if you ask me...I love a coarse-hair brotha who takes care of a bushell of hair!

PRIMO said...

Its The Light-Skin, Dark-Skin Complex..... There is no such thing as good hair. Some people just have finer or coarser her depending on their ancestry.

Reminds me of the all the dudes at my high school who if they had just a touch of Spanish in them and they hair waved up better than someone Else's the girls was going crazy and they paraded around like they was superior or something. I don't get it.

Hair is Hair if you ask me. As long as its Cut crispy and Looking right who cares.

kennyking78 said...

Some people have smooth wavy hair that grows in all nice-like... I am not one of those people. My stuff grows in all ANGRY-like! I keep it shaved because it is unmanageable and because I like being 6'4" with a bald head.

Yeah, I am with the majority of the guys. I think it is slave mentality, but also, I think that women think about it more because because that maternal part of them is always thinking about what their babies with a man would look like. I don't know, it just came to me.

thegayte-keeper said...

it goes back to the GOOD hair mean that you could pass because you ain't that black...

Kyon Saucier said...

It all goes back to slavery and colonization. Good hair or bon cheveaux as my people say it is still for some of our elders a very real concept though not so often expressed usually. Being that you are of lighter skin tone Warren and you have wavy hair well you fit the stereotypical paragon of the " a fine light skinned man with good hair". Don't trip though just be glad you have hair, I have to go bald cause I'm loosing mine amour....

Acoustic Soul said...

It's hilarious that because you have "good hair" your head wouldn't get cold and there wouldn't be a need for you to wear a hat.

What also cracks me up is the fact that I have naturally "curly" hair and I guess because I'm a darker complexion, every one thinks I have some type of chemical in my hair. It's whatever, but yea.. .. daze anyone?

Jamar Herrod said...

I agree with everyone especially the reference to Spike Lee's School Daze movie. Its about holding to this ridiculous insinuations that somehow that some people's hair is better. It is just different like Deonte stated.

BPS 4.0 : Soul Exposure said...

The only person or people I know who are quick to mention good hair are those mothers who do their daughters' heads. I have heard many symphonies from the naps they have to comb through just to grease the scalp and braid it. Meanwhile some little girls seem to have no problem.

But for as long as there is life in the bodies of black folks there will always be a stigma on what's considered good hair and the importance of having it just like skin color.

Why? It's just what's been taught and is still being taught to this day. We do this to ourselves.

Mister Jones said...

Yikes @ my quadruple chin in that pic tho. Ouch.

yet another black guy said...

I'm still trying to understand her wanting you to be cold for the sake of showing off that good hair.

Dr.Friday said...


Sometimes, you just have to deal with the ignorance of others and keep it movin. I've gotten used to the "good hair" comments from from the earliest age until now, whether it be from family members or from complete strangers. Meh!

Anonymous said...

As long as it covers your head, the hair is "good" to me! Unless you decide to shave it like Cocoa Rican. That's good too =)

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