People who don’t understand Black hair want to talk about it without saying anything worth hearing.
For example, recently, instead of concentrating on filing for bankruptcy, rapper 50 Cent had the time to insult a woman on Instagram because of her natural hair. However, “The Hair Tales”, a video series created by writer and activist, Michaela Angela Davis, fights the stigmas associated with Black hair by letting Black women personally tell their narratives and we couldn’t be happier.
In an interview with Elle, Davis discusses the vision that she had when creating “The Hair Tales”, a weekly web series that highlights famous Black women like Tasha Smith and Regina King and their experiences with their hair. When Davis first thought of “The Hair Tales”, she wanted the series to be like the Vagina Monologues but for Black women and their hair. While examining and celebrating the beauty of Black hair, Davis says “I’m most inspired by the beauty, ingenuity, and creativity of Black women, and our hair is a metaphor for all of that”.
A recent installment of the series featuring Regina King celebrates the versatility of Black hair and discusses how other cultures envy it. King suggests that women of other nationalities are jealous of how we’re able to change our hair so frequently. This jealousy has been fuel for the media to construct our hair as foreign and unwanted. While white women are celebrated for wearing Afros, cornrows, and extensions, Black women are told that they look like they smell like weed.
The critics of Black hair always have something to say. They have said our natural hair is unprofessional or nappy, our braids are strange, and our weaves are ghetto. After all this, the critics want to learn how to make Afros on white hair.
Mocking Black women for their hair while celebrating white women for appropriating Black styles is blatant racism and disrespect for Black women, our hair, and our cultures (this is exactly what Amandla Stenberg meant when she accused Kylie Jenner of cultural appropriation). Many Black women, like myself, learned to be ashamed of our hair because of this disrespect and racism. I grew up with wigs and curl activator hiding in the cabinets and throughout my home. For my sisters and I, changing our hair was normal. However, for my classmates it was bizarre. In the span of a week, Black women are able to go from having an Afro, to braids, and then to a Halle Berry pixie cut. That just isn’t the case for everyone else.
Growing up, it was annoying having to explain why my hair was different to my friends who did not understand Black hair. Years after feeling embarrassed about my tresses, I realized how silly this self-inflicted embarrassment was. I realized that was their problem, and not mine. I don’t have to apologize for my beautiful and magical hair.
Talented celebrities like King declaring how amazing Black hair is makes room for Black women to exist authentically. Our hair is our story that we deserve to tell and celebrate.