I was cleaning my bookshelf over the weekend, something I haven’t done in a while because it’s such a tedious but necessary task. Going down memory lane dusting of all the textbooks that I eventually discarded and the yearbooks of faces that have since changed from twenty years prior. I came across a book that will forever be in my library of literature, Paulo Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’. In the view of the author, “the key to liberation is the awakening of critical awareness and the thinking process in the individual.” I was merely an aduIt when I had to purchase, analyze and create content surrounding the words written in this book. Pedagogy, meaning the method of teaching. Oppressed, to burden with cruel or unjust restraints. When thinking longer about the two words and in the context of topics in which we discuss, I wonder about the pedagogy of kinky natural hair.
The lack of knowledge that men and women express with a strong volition when discussing our natural hair, is unnerving. Why in this year, do black people along with others, continue to place divided lines when it comes to the beauty in hair that has come from our heads? Dialogues around kinky natural hair have sparked controversy, from brands that continue to advertise, in their opinions, their view of beautiful, to the uneducated follower that would rather create a version of beauty that does not resemble any person in their family circle. Where does this come from and how do we influence change to creating a better ideology of valuing the image seen before you?
If you mention slavery…I will not entertain that comment, so please do not. Unless your grandmother was a slave and you were a direct influence of that mindset, then you my dear curl friend, should move on and voice a different opinion that keeps you from being oppressed to believing there is good hair and it is directly related to light skin tone. This is far from a truth! There are many women in the natural hair community alone, that do not have a dark skin tone and kinky hair just as coiled as my own.
As a natural hair blogger with thirty plus years of kinky hair, I think there is a lack of learning within our communities, within the change of generations and it’s unacceptable. How many of you were taught how to braid, cornrow hair? How many women know how to care for and protect a baby’s hair before sliding an electronic flat iron over and over again to alter the texture? How many of you care to learn? Or is it easier to just say, “I can’t”, and then move on to having someone do it for you? There is no excuse for this lack of care when it comes to your hair, your child’s hair, my hair, his hair. This think process leads you to a salon, and with the hope that the stylist can restore the years of damage that you created. All takes time.
Kinky hair is not a new trait of a disease that requires highly knowledgeable techniques to have it behave. Kinky hair does not equate to poor, unhealthy, unmanageable, unable to advertise or appeal to sponsor type of hair. Kinky hair deserves more. Black women with kinky natural hair deserve more. Kinky hair does not require special formulas of product lines to have the less informed so confused, that they pick the most expensive or more advertised brand on the shelves. Kinky hair shrinks. Guess what? So, does the looser curl of hair. Kinky hair does get dry, but doesn’t all hair if you don’t keep it moisturized?
“I want to have kids with him, so my babies can have good hair.”
Oh, really? DNA plays no part? Did you discuss with this so called, good haired man about his lineage? When your blessed child grows, and their hair appears kinky, because of, you know DNA, what happens then? I discussed our family tree with his mom, his dad passed at a younger age. From either side of our families, our offspring could have very fair skin with green eyes, loose curls. Have you seen me? An even darker dad and combined we have a caramel beauty. DNA plays a vital part. Communication with the one you want to or by accident create life with is important.
The pedagogy of kinky hair should become a subject you should invest in not only for your mind, but the minds of future children. We shouldn’t be oppressed in this light versus dark, loose curl versus tightly coiled hair mentality within our own communities. If we learn and begin to articulate our learning, we can then teach others to open their minds to see our kinky hair for more than what it once was.