Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conversation With Grandmother About Natural Hair

So last Saturday, I showed my grandmother this blog. She was impressed because she had no idea that there was a whole "natural movement" online. She was especially pleased because I told her that I would scour resources for folks with long locks to help her manage hers because she battles with dryness. Her locks are probably mid-back length (damn it, I should've taken a photo!) and she has jet black hair with some gray. I remember she used to dye her grays but I don't think she much cares anymore.

My grandmother mentioned how nice it was that women had access to proper tools to manage their hair. Apparently when she was growing up all she knew of were thin combs that broke upon in her hair and how tender-headed she was. She mentioned how ecstatic she was when the hair pic came out. I told her about combing while wet and with conditioner and she just shook her head and said, Nope, not my hair! Mine was thick and bushy and nothing will work. She was curious about how the different techniques used to maintain natural hair and the products. I'm going to be ordering her some Oyin products, because she had heard of them before and wanted to try their products but didn't know anyone who had.

Another interesting thing is that my grandmother thinks all black people have nappy hair and she's not using it in a negative. Nappy for her means that you have some black in you, no matter the curl pattern/texture. She was the one who always described my hair as "silky and nappy" which I used to frown at because I thought those were total opposites and I never saw my hair as nappy. I still don't necessarily care for the word, but I don't get upset if someone would use that term to me in a positive way.  I guess I'm not into "re-claiming" words that much (like the "n" word, it's always negative in my eyes)

As for my Nana's views on women who wear their hair natural she thinks that is the best way to be. She's been through it all with her hair and she said that when she started embracing her hair in the late 60s she had a new consciousness (she also found a religion that worked for her, becoming a pillar of the community, etc). She's Muslim so always covers her head but in the summer or for a more "casual" dress she will simply just wear her hair wrapped up with some locks out. She said that women who didn't wear their hair natural seemed to be a bit more buffoonish to her as she cannot take them seriously O__o.  My nana has no issues with straightening, and thinks that a flatiron is a novelty compared to a hot comb (lol) but she said she noticed that women who wear weaves all the time and are so into chemically straightening their hair are too superficial--they worry more about their appearance more then how they carry themselves and grow as a person. All and all an interesting talk.

What do older folks in your families say about natural hair?

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