Lost in a Sea of Hair Weaves

During the eighties, songstress Anita Baker sashayed memorably through the video of her song Sweet Love. Clad in a simple black dress, she exuded a sultry womanliness that could teach the barely dressed pop tarts of today a thing or two.

In an interview back then, Ms. Baker was asked if she had a message for black women. She did have a message, one which she thought could be controversial, but which she was convinced needed to be said. Baker wanted black women to take pride in their natural hair. According to her, if you had hair down to your waist, great – and if you didn’t, that was wonderful too. The diva, who always wore her hair in a classy short back and sides cut, was expressing concern at black womanhood’s obsession with long, European-looking hair – nearly always bought in a shop.

Another hair indictment from the eighties came in a song by a man. Alexander O’Neal’s Fake goes:

“Your hair was long / But now it’s short / You say: ‘I got it cut’ / But I don’t see no hair on the floor /… You’re a fake, baby!”

In spite of this, and Anita Baker’s best efforts, the fake brigade marched on, till the black woman’s hair suffered a follicular colonisation. By the nineties, every Sarah, Sade and Nkem was walking around with multi-hued and multi-layered wigs. Added to sew-on, glue-on hair weaves of every texture imaginable – and black hair became shackled, never to see the light of day again.

One can understand some black women wearing wigs for the same reasons that some white women do; because they are losing or have lost their hair. One can even make allowances for wigs being worn for the occasional change of look. But how to explain young women with full heads of hair who will never be seen dead with their natural hair? Or those who will never admit that the fake hair on their head is exactly that? Thanks to these attitudes, the fake hair industry has grown so big that the revenue generated from it yearly is enough to sustain the economies of several small countries.

The term ‘human hair’ always conjured in my mind the image of some poor Indian woman having her hair sheared off like sheep to satisfy our insatiable desire for long, straight hair. One remains uncertain about how the ‘100% human hair’ in the shops is derived, but the image of the poor Indian woman refuses to leave the mind. Increasingly, what we are seeing is a cradle to the grave attitude to false hair. All around, we see everyone, even children, faked up in false hair. When a girl of six or nine is already sporting hair weaves, how is such a child ever going to grow up with any pride in her God-given tresses?

And the fact of the matter is, not all hair extensions look nice. Quite often at social gatherings, a lady will discreetly scratch her head and the whole hair will betray her and move like a swaying bridge from side to side. How embarrassing. Or even more bafflingly, some people will walk around with the seams of their weaves showing, like some hideous zipper. Then there are those with hair weaves so ragged, so matted, that they look flea-infested. And one cannot help but think: “Surely, your own hair must be better than this monstrosity?”

Music stars are among the most visible black women on earth, and they have not helped. Golden-voiced Whitney Houston looks ragged these days. Strung out on the twin addictions of drugs and Bobby Brown, she is but a shadow of her former self. But on the cover of her debut album two decades ago, Whitney posed with hair slicked back and looked more like a beautiful African Princess than a singing star. Clive Davis, boss of Arista Records and architect of Houston’s meteoric rise, was unhappy with the look. He felt it was too ethnic to be sold to white America. And so Whitney was ‘whitened up’ and with her second album came blonde weaves. I doubt that we have seen the singer’s real hair since then.

In an interview some years ago, Whitney gave us the great excuse of black womanhood: she weaves up to protect her hair. Pointing to her waist, she said, with the kind of attitude only a diva can muster: “Whitney’s hair is gonna be this long when she’s sixty.” Somehow, I doubt it. If she’s too chicken to show her hair at 30 or 40, how on earth is she going to do so when she’s grey? And who wants to walk around with waist-length hair when they are sixty?

At least Whitney told the truth. This is more than can be said for Janet Jackson. She has no qualms about baring her breast, but her hair, it seems, is locked up and the key thrown away. It is debatable whether we’ve seen Janet’s hair since she appeared as a fresh-faced teenager in the television sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes. Like Whitney, Somalian model Iman also admitted faking it, saying of her hair: “It’s mine. I paid for it.” But this fabulous flippancy is wearing thin.

Lauryn Hill is considered to have gone a bit loopy these days. This is sad. It wasn’t such a long time ago that the atrociously gifted Lauryn came out – boldly ethnic – with The Fugees. And with her groundbreaking solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she inspired a whole new generation of black women and female artistes; spawning a batch of natural-haired singing stars like Jill Scott and India Arie. Lauryn is contemptuous of hair weaves and sang on one track, Doo Wop (That Thing):

Look how you be in hair weaves like Europeans.”

Lauryn showed that a black woman does not have to compromise on her looks to be beautiful. So powerful was ‘the Lauryn effect’ that even Whitney Houston bought into the act. Although white Americans helped Whitney notch up millions of record sales, her ‘street cred’ in Black America was next to nil. With her career on the wane, Whitney sought to show African Americans she had been a good, ‘down home’ girl all along. She made the statement with the chart-busting single, My Love Is Your Love, written and produced for her by none other than Wyclef Jean, one third of The Fugees and by some accounts, Lauryn Hill’s one time lover. Whitney completed her ‘Lauryn’ transformation with her ‘homegirl’ look in the My Love Is Your Love video, also featuring Wyclef. But Whitney’s ‘Lauryn’ phase didn’t last; her heart was never in it.

Looking beyond Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu is another fine example. When her flowing dreadlocks were revealed to be extensions, she shaved them all off and sported a bald look for a long time, saying defiantly: “This hair don’t make me.” Does your weave make you? Which is greater, your weave or you?

Perhaps one mega celebrity that cannot be faulted is Oprah Winfrey who wears her own hair, and does so beautifully. On the very rare occasions when she wears extensions, she tells the whole world it’s a weave.

During the 60s when the slogan “black is beautifu” was all the rage, the great South African singer, Miriam Makeba, was one of those who embodied the spirit of the times, for refusing to straighten her hair. “I see other black women imitate my style, which is no style at all, but just letting your hair be itself,” she once said. Black is still beautiful, and Makeba who is now in her seventies, still wears her hair as she always did – natural.

Closer to home, Nigerian singer Onyeka Onwenu’s hair is remarkable. She wears her natural short cut with its slash of grey in front with such confidence and panache, it has become her signature. Body enhancement entrepreneur, Modupe Ozolua, wore a very low cut some time ago and was outstanding. But most of our female celebrities, sadly, are lost in a sea of hair weaves.

There is a need to reject the tyranny which dictates that the black woman should be defined according to European standards of beauty. Year-long hair weave is one such tyranny. And where does it end? Hair that must never be seen; or eyes whose brownness must be mitigated by blue contact lenses, or green, or hazel?

There is a need to go back to basics, and make peace with our natural hair.

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery / None but ourselves can free our minds,” sang Bob Marley in Redemption Song. It would seem that, for black women, this freeing of the mind needs to begin with our hair.

 

155 thoughts on “Lost in a Sea of Hair Weaves

  • Digged the article. I think the point was made several times in the comments.

    Its NOT about so much wearing weaves & wigs … its about your subconscious motivations or maybe not so subconscious… for when a black woman would rather wear a raggedy European textured hair weave vs her OWN natural hair, or growing/taking care of her own hair .. and playing off her distaste to “convenience” or all the other long list of excuses black women cling to to keep up the bullshit. Ladies YOU are not fooling anyone, not even yourselves because you wouldn’t be coming into these comments defensive & missing the whole point.

  • just to put in my 17 year old male two cents: do you boo boo. I have a preference of natural. It tells me you acknowledge your real self. I dont mind the occasional weave or wig but when you almost deny your real hair, call your weaves, wigs, and extensions ‘my hair,’ then i have an issue. Its shows me that you feel that you cant the fact that you hair is beautiful. I tell you that all the time and you still deny it, i feel like somethings mentally wrong with you. NOTE: perming, flat ironing, coloring, hair length, leweling, or race or nationality, has not been indicated here; This goes for all

  • first if all i’d like to say a a lot of these types of attitudes are the type that hold people back for those mentioning about other races the other is talking about african americans only to uplift them as a people white people have promoted fake things so if they do it that doesnt make it right and especially not for us. And for fact if you take care of your hair it will grow maybe not down to your but anyone (without hair issues like alopecia etc and medical reasons that cause hair loss can grow hair) and it is a fact that if society highlighted natural african american hair in a good light than more aa men would adore it and so would the women and it would become as natural as the european look and although you don’t go into your salon saying i want to look white that still what your doing just like white people getting tanned they don’t want to look black but thats what they somewhat do and if you want to use the excuse i get a weave because my hair is hard to manage thats an excuse for doing what you want to do.

  • to “an uknown user”-I totally agree with you-this whole ordeal and fuss that people make about black women wearing weaves drives me crazy. Not everyone wants to wear “natural” and not everyone wants to wear thier hair short-different people like different things-if your hair cannot grow 12inches but you want it to-then i dont see the issue with wearing a weave. to me its all the same for people who wear fake nails, get artificial tans,or cosmetic surgery. It’s all for enhancement. And i hate when people say black women who wear weaves want to look european-NOT TRUE. I think it’s great for anyone who wants to wear thier natural-good for them-but stop being so judgemental and what’s good for you or works for you doesnt work for everyone. Main Point-do you and stop worrying about what people wear on thier head.

  • Great article,Music stars are among the most visible black women on earth, and they have not helped. Golden-voiced Whitney Houston looks ragged these days. Strung out on the twin addictions of drugs and Bobby Brown, she is but a shadow of her former self. But on the cover of her debut album two decades ago, Whitney posed with hair slicked back and looked more like a beautiful African Princess than a singing star. Clive Davis, boss of Arista Records and architect of Houston’s meteoric rise, was unhappy with the look. He felt it was too ethnic to be sold to white America.Thanks for the great reading hair weaves.I will pass this on to our Ira clients to read.

  • ok wait a min your hair has only grown 1 inch in the past year? or do you mean you keep it no longer than 1 inch and cut it when it starts to get longer? cause if your hair has only grown 1 inch in the past year then wow your hair hardly grows. if my hair never grew past an inch I guess I would go out and get a weave too.

  • I stumbled upon this article while browsing the web. While I understand what the author’s intent was, I do not agree. Her comments were very one sided. Wearing your hair naturally does not make you any blacker that someone who wears weaves because at the end of the day, we are all black. There are many personal reasons why black women choose to wear weaves. I recently retired from the military after 20 years and I can tell you my personal desire for weaves was convenience. I tried braids but they were damaging to my hairline. I exercise sometimes in excess of 5 times a week so my hair becomes more of a nuisance than anything. After 20 years of wearing braids, weaves etc, I find it easier to wash and go. Spending 3 hours on weekends on “proper” maintenance is a time waster and don’t want to head out of my home looking “tore up” Some may think I am finding excuses but it is what it is. I too am tired of others trying to make me feel guilty because I choose to wear weaves and this comes in various stages. I have met blacks who have mixed origins and like to flaunt their long hair and make comments on those who wear weaves of like length. I say…Big deal! Who Cares! We are all blacks, we have better things to do than disparage each others.

    Signed: Sick of this debate

  • we say we believe that God created us in his own image and likeness.then why for years on end do we not wear our hair as God created it?it just does not look good to us the chemicaals we put in our hair damages the root of the hair till the new growth of the hair is much harder than it was .we are really a brain washed people.we are the only group of people who chemicalise our body system in this manner. we further lie to ourselves and give these lame excueses for this body damage. while we as a people gravitate to religeon the most we are a people who show the most hatred for our creator. in essence what we say to our creator is ” you are stupid, what you have created is no good”

  • i appreciate the author’s sentiment,and i liked hte article, i had a good laugh at some of the things said, and i do agree some people can

    begin to have a complex about weave, braids etc. but black women love versatility, they always have, our hair texture varies of course, but most of it is like 3b-4b, and not every balck woman wants to sport an afro, our hair cuticle is different from other ethnicities, so its prone to breaking after a certain point, also it does not hold moisture, which mean it constantly has to be conditioned, if you want to achieve a good length, finally hair products are catching up to our hair, and helping us take better care of it, but african hair is hard to manage,t hat’s just the truth, does it mean i hate my hair, no , i don’t but i recognize that it is unique, and i don’t always wawnt to walk around sporting an uneven short crop. sometimes i wawnt to change it up. the key is to take care of your natural hair while wearing the weaves, braids etc. and ye seven the braids are “weaves” because there is other hair in it. yes we should be proud of our hair and our roots, but please dont tell me every black woman needs to walk around with a fro or her hair sticking all over her head, i have seen those, yes some were nice looking and well kept, but alot of them honestly just didnt look all that good. it’s a woman’s choice though, natural, twists, dreads, weaves, wigs, etc. i don’t judge, but i really hate when people say we hate ourselves because we change our hair up alot

  • I think if a black woman want to wear her hair natural or in a floor length weave thats her issue. I feel that being able to change your look is a wonderful thing. Being a woman you should embrace your beauty and whatever makes her happy is what she should go for. I could care less about what a woman has on her head. I’m 18 and I can remember my mother always telling me that its not about a persons apperance its about their inner beauty. As long as that person is comfortable in their skin and their looks WHO CARES! We are all different with different veiws who are we to judge anyone by the way they look. So a woman isn’t black enough because she wears a weave isn’t that something like racial profiling?

  • I think that the issue is a lot deeper than some of the respondents suppose. I am an intelligent black male who’s desire is to find a black woman who is comfortable with herself, the way God made her. I understand that accessories are often how a woman accents her natural beauty….but I don’t like the altering affects of weaves the way that they are frequently used; contacts, acrylic nails, etc. Take the time and grow your own…appreciate the color of your eyes. I don’t want to fall in love with an image. I don’t want to meet someone that isn’t who she decorates herself to be. A’ naturale is for me. From a real man, “I want a REAL woman.”

  • As a black man, I am saddened to see black women not truly love themselves. They can yell all day about how “strong” they are, but never get around to remove the weave from their heads. It’s one thing to change one’s look often, but when a black women wears the same weave for 10 years, something is wrong with the self-esteem. It’s to the point now if I see a black woman wearing their natural hair, I compliment them. The fake hair is a symbol that folks truly do not like themselves and have accepted the european standard of beauty. What a shame. Combine this with the use of the N-Word by many in our community shows some deep rooted issues. Unfortunately, Obama can’t make people respect themselves.

  • May I just say as a white woman with board straight thin red hair that I wish I had beautiful, wild, curly fun hair as many black woman do!!!! Its beautiful! I just wanted to say that. I think its human nature to want what you don’t have! Being yourself, being happy, loving how you look and who you are is what is important!!!

  • I’ve had my hair natural and with weaves and I like it better with the weaves….there are plenty of weaves that matchhhhh “our” hair texture if you know anything about hair. The only time you can really tell it’s not real is if you’re all up in someone’s hair which you shouldn’t be, or if it’s some outrageous hairdo or color like bright pink(which i have seen). A lot of black women wear weaves to protect their natural hair, so if it’s done right your real hair can grow underneath the weave….this has nothing to do with conforming or trying to be like everyone else. I just like my hair long, it’s looks better that way and until my hair gets to a length I like then I’ll stick with the weaves. I haven’t found many guys who really care if it’s real or not, and they shouldn’t. Plenty of “white” girls get weaves too and the only reason most people don’t notice is because it’s thought that they all have naturally long hair so no one would believe it was a weave anyways…my sister has natural curly long hair and still people ask her if it’s a weave…so in the end it only matters how you feel about your hair and what you like. If you like it natural then go ahead, if you like weaves then go ahead…I don’t see why everyone cares so much when they should be worrying about their own hair not every black woman alive.

  • I think all this criticism over black hair is much to do about nothing. A woman that wears a weave is not necessarily trying to be European…I like ur pt of view. It gives another view. Give and take, mimetism is what civilisation thrives, and thats from hair to jap aping of western technology and beating them at it, as the chinese are doing now…same as whites are aping black dreadlocks, braids, butt, lips, rap, hiphop, blues etc. We understand we shld not take more than they receive, but civilization is about power and i try to understand molara's latent angst only in that direction; everybody copies every powerful body though might has never been right!

  • Ms. Wood is right on point.

    Validated by how much ruckus her piece caused.

    Her article might appear unpopular but then,

    “Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude”

  • THE MAN WITH THE PLAN · Edit

    ridiculous!!! lol you need a way better example then that it doesnt make since to use the opinions of the older generation.. THEY”RE AN OBVIOUS BIAS!!.. if we refer to the old generation for everything, we wouldn’t have a black male in office today……. dont you think michelle obama and her family thought about the criticism her and her daughters may go thru not not being “natural” yet in every picture i’ve seen she’s all permed up…. its the new millennium.. don’t make an ant , an elephant

  • The Odds are Against Us · Edit

    We cannot pretend like this is not a big issue, we cannot escape what seems obvious to everyone in North America, Africa and all over the world.

    The reason everyone is talking about Black Women Hair is because it is a BIG issue and has history.

    Firstly, everyone who try’s to compare black weaves and hair extensions to white women and their hair extensions please consider this.

    White women DO put hair extensions in their hair, but the extension is 90% of the time a direct match to their natural hair texture.

    Lets not kid ourselves, a black weave is 100% of the time a completely different hair texture than our coarse thick hair. It is nothing more than a WIG that does not match what is NORMAL and REAL.

    The odds are against us.

    Older generations of Whites, Blacks and sometimes your everyday Asian or European see black women with weaves as being ridiculous and unnecessary.

    They will say to themselves “Psh Who is that black women trying to fool, her hair is fake!”

    Any black women who decides to wear their hair in its natural texture will take a sigh of relief and think “Ahh that’s much better”

  • THE MAN WITH THE PLAN · Edit

    as a young black male.. it saddens me to read this article along with the rants and raves of what sounds to be americas most ignorant black women.

    FIRST i would like to say if anyone thinks that weave or the straightening of hair is fake, european, or conforming to white america, your WRONG. open your beautiful brown eyes realize this is simply a hairdo & a way to take care of ones hair. And so what if their is white history behind it all most everything in society has a white history behind it, does that mean i should banish it??

    SECOND don’t let the media play you they’re r just as many if not more successful black men with black women as they’re black men with other women.. the reason why it may seem the opposite is americas media propaganda. all these successful men women are claiming to see with other women are seeing these black successful men on tv, magazines ,etc …. this isn’t bullshit a perfect example is the magazine ad beyonce was on recently.. in the black mag she was dark and in the white mag her skin tone was lightened

    AMERICA EMBRACES ITS BLACK WOMEN, EVEN MORE THEN BLACK MEN & ANY OTHER ETHNIC GROUP… EMBRACE THE CULTURE THAT LOVES YOU DON’T BE REBELS FOR THE SAKE OF REBELLION

  • I think that it is sad that whenever a black woman talks about how the ideal of white womanhood in the US has heavily influenced the way black men and black women view black women, she gets attacked. It sounds a lot like when you try to talk to a white person about racism.

    The fact is, we can shape it and mold it into whatever we want, but our culture and we as a people have been shaped by ideas of black women’s physical inferiority in comparison to ALL other women, not just white. We as a people need to first acknowledge that this is what we have become. Only then can we talk about whether people actually make decisions outside of a racist framework, because now we don’t live in a nonmracist society even if Barack has been elected President, unfortuantely that does nill to fight the concept of black female inferiority both within the black and white community. We are making the decision to perm our hair in an environment where we are taught we as women are inferior-it sounds nasty and harsh because it is nasty and harsh. We can’t even admit that we are affected by this without attacking the person that brings it up with nastiness-this is because we don’t want to accept the fact that we have lived in a country that has taught us to devalue black womanhood. Yes, we have partially fought this, but definitely not enough to try and say we’ve gotten past it. Just like in AA, one must first acknowledge the problem- here, I will start- “Yes I have been taught that my hair and other black attributes are inferior to white ones.” Just like white people have to start by saying, “yes, I am a racist.” In that they have been taught the same thing we have…about us and enjoyed white priviledg in their lives. Please, lets stop living in denial…today.

  • While I agree with some of the things the author said, I don’t think that black women or any woman for that matter should be locked into a hairstyle. Personally, I vacillate between naturals and relaxers, only getting a weave every now and then for some variety. Am I a bad person for wearing one? No. Am I ashamed of my natural texture when I wear a weave? No, shame has nothing to do with it. Do I want to be a different race because I choose to wear my hair relaxed or in a flowing, wavy hairstyle that I just so happened to not grow myself? Hell, no. It’s articles like this that can make young Black women confused. A person should do what they want and groom themselves in whatever fashion makes them happy. A person’s hair shouldn’t define them. It’s just hair. There’s more important things in life than agonizing over whether one is true to one’s hair texture.

  • I totally understand where your coming from. However, I don’t think the author meant any disrespect toward women who wear synthetic hair. What I think she meant is that in her own opinion, Afrikan American women are most beautiful in our natural state. Just because European women love to wear Afrikan hairstyles and/or sport wigs, weaves, extentions, etc. doesn’t mean we have to love their styles in return. Besides, European women do not have to endure the pain, burning, hair loss, etc. to enjoy the beauty of Afrikan hairstyles as we do for straight European-like hair. I believe natural hair is best, but wigs are not degrading as perms are.

  • I totally agree with Newsflash. Also I have nice naturally curly hair but I like to wear wigs for style. NOt because I am bald or don’t like my hair. Matter of fact I am wearing my naturally curly neck length hair today. But I have three wigs which I wear for fashion. I do kow other color women including asians who does wear extensions. My man loves loves my versatility and fashion. We down our own selves too much as black people. What about boobie, lips, and butt enhancements something I was born with. I do see caucasian women getting it. It might not be a weave but it is still and enhancement from your natural self and it’s more drastic. A weave can be removed without (most of the time) health issues. I love wearing wigs. It’s a style…just like my clothes, my shoes. I am very versatile and bold. My man loves it and so does my kids. I am admired

  • I am from South Africa and our hair is very different from the rest of Africa. It is coarse and harsh. When I tried to go natural I couldn’t handle the pain of combing it with an afro- comb. With our hair we have 4 options: dreadlocks which aren’t cheap to maintain, weave which is far cheaper,relaxer & braids. Women need a day-to-day easy hairstyle that allow us to look different from from a man, which hair extentions afford. So before ragging on women think about the effort involved with keeping our hair ‘natural’. The only time natural hair works for us is when we choose to keep it short & end up looking like a man. Now tell me who wants to look like that?

  • First of all, I WEAR A WEAVE. And it looks GOOD!!!

    People need to stop being so critical of others and how they live their lives and lifestyles. Just because a woman wears a weave doesn’t necessarily mean that she is ashamed of her own natural hair, or that she has low self esteem, or any of the other labels that some of you have accused her of having.

    I am a beautiful Black woman with or without a weave. I am very confident and comfortable with the person I am, both inside and out. I wear a weave because it’s WHAT I CHOOSE TO DO. And as long as no one else has to pay for it, I will continue to wear it as long as I like. If no one likes it, too bad. As long as I like, that’s all that matters. All of you who are “hating” and “bad mouthing” us Sistas who do wear weaves need to “take a look at your own house” and get it straight instead of criticizing others. All those celebs who wear weaves (Janet, Beyonce, Ashanti, Alicia, and ALL of those so many others) are beautiful, strong Black women, who have it going on in their lives like you probably would like to have.

    What difference does it make how women wear their their hair??? It’s what’s inside that counts. So stop all the jealousy and criticism. Life is too short.

    I’m going to keep on wearing my weave for as long as I want. And I’m going to keep on looking good, being smart, being healthy, and living a fabulous life.

    So to those of you who don’t approve of weaves — bite me!!!!!!!

  • Some people have pointed this out, but commenters still persist in citing whites, yellows, browns, who get weaves. Peopel, listen up.

    Non-black women are getting extentions that MATCH THEIR OWN HAIR. It looks like they could have grown it, if their hair had been perhaps healthier or something.

    Blacks get extentions that DO NOT LOOK like their own hair. They want to hide their own hair. Hair colors ads will sometimes show a white woman and child, the idea being that the child’s natural color matches the mother’s and her’s looks natural as if it had regained its childhood look. Ads for black hair products NEVER feature kids, because kids have natural hair and that’s what we’re running from.

    Get it? That’s what the author is saying. As far as the “plumping” lips, moderately full lips have always been popular in European beauty as well as Asian. But not as full as black lips. Tanning is not black.

    Black women don’t want to be

    white. But I do get the impression most of us would want to look something like Beyonce with naturally straight, preferably blond hair. And that is a bit different from the beauty ambitions of other races, who fantasies don’t stray so far from their own, ideal type.

    So yeah, there’s a problem. To a me a short, wavy or curly style is usually the best looking on most black women. It just looks more “me” , more comfortable and normal. The further from “natural” a black lady takes her hair, the weirder she tends to be.

    i saw an black girl, light but not that light, with a long, Lady Godiva weave. She looked deranged in a quiet way. She really seemed out of touch with reality.

  • Ok…people its not that serious…let black women do and wear what they want…why are we always complaining about ourselves. No matter if a black women wears weave or a white women wears weave how does it effect you. Thats the difference between black and white people, were always judging our own.

  • if i march for civil rights, teach in my community, volunteer for causes like health and economic security, study our heritage in college and wear weave, am I less ‘authentic’ or ‘black’ than you?

    funny how people will rush to judgment about your character simply because of the way you look. SOME people are guilty of the very thing they are fighting against

  • what your hubby wants to see you with is a texture that isn’t yours. I bet it if your hair was permed, he’d love you. I bet if you had a weave, he’d love it! You women better start learning to get to know the man that you’re with. ‘is he with me for me, or is he with me for surface level only?’

  • I love articles and videos that delve into weave issue. I love women that wear their hair natural. I’ll tell a ‘sista’ in a heartbeat, ‘now you know that is not your hair! you only wish that you had hair that long and that texture.’ Women such as Tyra, Beyonce and so forth aren’t helping either. Young women of color admire them, idolize them-you name it and yet, they would rather wear blond weaves. What is a black woman doing with blond dye, or a blond weave? That doesn’t even begin to make sense. Here’s this sad black male right here, ‘i wouldn’t like my wife looking like grace jones’-then you don’t sincerely love your wife! your ‘love’ is conditional; it’s base solely on surface level. Sir, your marriage will not last long. Any relationship/marriage that is based on physical only, does not last. If your wife came out looking like Grace Jones, what would be the problem? Guys like you, I just want to spit on.

  • This article is full of *&%$#! Am I more black if I wear my hair without any weave…I didn’t think so! Sisters or even sister who are bi racial like myself wears weaves for soooo many reasons. Myself I’m very actives and I know if I put my cornrows in or my weave, then I know my hair will not look a sh*&y mess when I finish working out. Stop trying to make sisters feel bad for their prefrences. If you want to be Afrocentric and have your fist in the air saying fight the power…thats on you! Whites,Latinos, Asians…all get hair extension. So get a life and stop forcing your afrocentricity on others. For those sisters who feel like they are nothing without their hair weaves…they are weak and have low self esteem…thats another story. That is who this article should be for.

  • Lots of Asian women love curly hair and hate their straight hair, i have an Asian friend who would kill for curly hair. People of all races have issues with things that come with their ethnicity, some people don’t have any issues and just want to change it up a little. Why not just do you and let it be? There is a lot of other issues we as black women need to worry about than our hair. Lets not divide ourselves by judging on something so shallow, lets unite and work on the things that really matter. The one issue that we DO have and other races do not have is our lack of UNITY.

  • I somewhat agree with you. I do not think the author is speaking for all black women. However, similar to you I have naturally long hair. My natural hair is curly but not nappy, my hair is in the middle of my back and is not a weave and I am 5’0 tall. Furthermore, I been asked by many of people of all race how does my hair grow so long? Honestly, it is genetic.

  • You made a comparison between black and white women. What about Asia, Latinos, and Middle Eastern or East Asian women? The Asian and Latina women in foreign countries sell their hair to make ends meat. In addition, you do not see Asian and Latina women getting the hair weaves or tans or lip augmentation. Honestly, these types of women do not want a tan or lips larger.

  • I believe the point the author is making is we in society are so catch up on beauty. What people define as attractive is fake hair, fair eye-lashes, heavy make up, breast augmentation, face lift, and so on. If this is what it takes to be beautiful then in my opinion it is beauty. Do not get me wrong, it is ok to enhance your appearance. I am not against make-up because I wear make-up, hair dying, straightening or curly the hair, or occasional hair extension. However, a woman must think when you remove the make-up and take out the hair weaves the level of beauty has been reduced. In addition, the attraction is no longer and the real person is being revealed. There has been numerous of women I seen without hair weaves or make-up that were not so attractive.

    In my opinion, true beauty is natural. My opinion of an attractive or beautiful woman is a female does not wear fake hair (and style her own hair whether it is long or short, curly or straight), wear none to minimal make up, and dress neatly and still be appealing that is beautiful.

  • My Naija sister, You’re so funny…I like your humour. people should let others do to ther hair as they please, and focus their anger and energy on other important issues. Life is too short to worry about whether I weave or not

  • Sometimes I feel that black women just can’t win. If you wear your hair natural, you are ugly to black men because a good portion of them lust for the European look. If you wear relaxed hair, you’re a traitor to your culture, but your hair still isn’t good enough if it isn’t long and thick. If you wear a weave, you’re trying to look white(although white people aren’t the only people on the planet with strait long hair), and of course you must have some form of self-hate brewing in your veins. People repetedly make the statement, ” You’re hair doesn’t define you,” yet that’s all that black women are usually inclined to discuss on a regular basis no matter which hairstyle a particular woman has.

    What frustrates me about this argument is the fact that black women are accused of self-hatred when they alter only their hair, yet there are white women all over applying spray tans, fake eyelashes, hair extensions( yes long hair is a female standard/not just a white woman standard of beauty), and spending tons of money on lip plumping products, and everyone turns their heads and ignores it as if it’s normal.

    The problem isn’t the just a black women self-hatred thing. It is the American standard of beauty that only 10% of the population can fufill. Yet there are millions of us that will spend our entire lives trying.

    This country was mant to be a melting pot and is based on assimilation ( and I’m not saying that’s acceptable) that literally every women attemps to fufill and it is truly unfair to peg it all on black women.

  • Well I am a 25 year old Nigerian female with “good hair” according to other blacks. I relax my hair, sometimes I braid and sometimes I weave. I do all 3 depending on different factors. For example I live in Canada where it is cold and the cold ruins hair so during this season I will braid or weave and in the summer I may relax. When I go to do a weave people ask me why when my hair is so long….well I tell them my hair is long because I braid or weave it!!! The climate here is bad for my hair so I do not have the resources to go to a salon every week (I am a full time student) and caring for my permed or natural hair is soooo much work I don’t have the energy to be doing it every day, plus over styling any hair texture ruins hair! Even for white people! If you are going to address Nigerians or African Americans wearing non-natural styles as an issue, may I ask how you feel about Africans who wear modern clothing both in Africa and abroad? Do you wear traditional attire everyday to work? Your argument can be applied to ever aspect that “defines an African”. Additionally, I think the article is interesting (it was written in 2005) but I laugh when I apply it to today’s context (2008) where we now have white celebrities selling hair extension and weave lines LOL!!. Why not address the fact that those whites are trying to be black by now incorprating weave use, or even getting their lips plumped and also getting butt implants and even tanning so much that they are darker than many blacks! PLS stop casting this negative light on African women. At the end of the day no matter how hard you think we are trying to be “white” we still go to bed black and wake up black.

  • One thing I can’t stand is for one person to find something that is good for them and then criticize everyone who doesn’t jump on their bandwagon. Do you and I’ll do me . . .

    I love wearing a weave an even if I don’t wear a weave then I’m relaxing my hair . . .

  • After reviewing this article and most of it’s comments, I must say that I am quite intrigued. I’ve always been an admirer of women who wore their natural, unprocessed hair. I have recently decided to wear my hair natural as an adult. I love it. My hair is thick, wavy, and soft. I can walk around with a certain pride and confidence with my afro. But, unfortunately because of my job ( military service), my natural hair is not within regulations. So, in that aspect, I turn to the use of wigs or hair extensions, such as braids. I agree with the author that more women of color should embrace their natural locks, but I am hesitant to say that those of us who opt to wear the foriegn tresses are necessarily conforming to European standards in an attempt to deny their own beauty.

  • LOL @ everyone getting so defensive in this post. This person is making a valid point. Weaves and perms aren't bad in and of themselves but I think the fact that MOST black women do not wear their hair in it's unprocessed texture is indicative of a certain mindset. Black women usually purchase extensions that are straight or wavy NOT kinky like their natural hair texture so it isn't about fullness or simply protection. This is what separates us from the other races of weave wearers. White women wear extensions that MATCH their natural hair texture to add fullness MOST black women get STRAIGHT hair to COVER UP their natural hair. It isn't JUST about convenience or time management because black women spend more time and money on haircare than ANY OTHER group of people in America. Black women will sit down in the salon for hours and spend hundreds of dollars to get those stringy weaves put in so the hysterical defenses above me are rather ridiculous.

    Many Black people DO have a problem with stereotypical african features. Black women are especially concious about our skin tones, hair textures and facial features. It seems like some of the people above me are trying to convince themselves that they don't have a problem with kinky hair rather than examining their internal beauty standards. I have to laugh at the women who defend themselves by saying they lost their hair because of harsh relaxers and now they must wear (straight haired) weaves and wigs. YOU ARE JUST PROVING HER POINT. You burned all the hair off your heads to get straight hair.

    SMDH at the ignorance in these comments.

  • The writer makes a good point. We have spent decades and much money to hide our “naps” . White women are not getting rid of their hair in an attempt to imitate our natural hair type. In most Black music videos if the girl is llighter we will see a close-up of her face, if she is dark we will see a close -up of he butt and she will be shown on the background.

    I have heard Black teens make tease/bully Blacks females with natural hair. There also bully/tease black females because of their dark skins.

    When I showed Black teens pictures of African supermodels in a magazine they response is usually, “She is so pretty she don’t even look African.” This implies that the term African is automatically equated with someone who is ugl/undesirable.

  • I don't defined myself by how I wear my hair. My essence is what defines me. Black women have made stride in many areas, we should have the power and confidence to wear our hair whichever way we decide, without having to explain or justify ourselves to any one!

  • There needs to be another movement- Black is Beautiful ''Again"

    Most black sisters that wear weaves always say they can wear there hair whichever way they want and it is all a matter of choice and versatility.

    I used to feel the same way before until I got to the U.S and witnessed the way sisters with weaves are made fun of and the butt of stupid racist jokes and even sometimes avoided by both black, latino and caucasian men.

    All seemed to agree that one place they would not like to bury their noses in is between the hairweaves of a black women probably because of the smell.

    These revelations were made during a social experiment involving all races.

    Even the black woman was scorned by her own.

    We empower others economically and proceed to where synthetic or real hair to make us feel better with ourselves.

    We need to look deeper particularly the African American Sisters who seem now to be resenting the African woman.(Yes I have witnessed quite a few negative comments).

    We would never be accepted fully by white people so we need to love ourselves and enhance and sell what we have.

    As trivial as this topic may seem, it is a reflection of very deep issues that need to be addressed.

  • This article is well written. I am not understanding why it is such a concern about what a person is or isn't wearing on their heads? But all that aside…I think black women do not have low self-esteem or are hiding their hair, etc. I think it's just an accessory. Like no one really cares about if I'm carrying a red handbag or a blue one. No one cares if I'm wearing pumps or flats. It's just fashion. I don't believe any black woman is trying to be white. That's impossible. I don't believe any black woman wants to be white. Why waste that kind of time? I think most black women want to have decent jobs, make decent livings, and just enjoy "playing dress up", like all women do. It's just a "girly" thing. If we (humans) really want to do it right, meaning be all natural then we need to not just pick on the hair. We need to stop wearing clothes, make up, jewelry, shoes, no perfume, no deoderant, no hair gel, no hair pomeade, no hair spray, no nothing. Let's really do it. I mean, the nudists may actually be on to something? And white women do wear weaves…I don't care if the texture is similar to their hair texture or not. Fake is fake. It does not belong to them. Sometimes they don't get the straight hair…the ones with straight hair, get wavy hair, the ones with wavy or curly get straight, they even wear afro wigs sometimes. Have you seen some of the fashion shows on the runway? They do the big afro bush look all the time. They also relax their hair, it isn't only black women. There are white hair relaxers. They don't always like their hair straight. They crimp it, perm it to make it curly, tease it, etc. Many of them have been teasing it and are told at the salon to use an afro pic to "mat" or "nap" their hair at the roots, to make it not move around everywhere…like a black woman's hair. Watch I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball didn't have that swinging, bouncy, fly all over the place, straight hair…neither did Ethel. Check out Lana Turner, Barbara Stanwick, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe…they had the hair type to do all that swinging, but chose to wear it to where it didn't do all that. Therefore, they didn't wear it natural. Some people do wear their hair natural, black and white, but most people do not. Everyone's under the impression that white people don't have to do anything to their hair, they don't put anything in it, etc. Yes, they do…the perms, the relaxers, the gel, mouse, brill cream, vitalis, frizz-ease, hairspray, etc. Women are just women, the world over. They love "playing"…not everyone gets to change roles all the time on tv or in the movies. So, we do it at home in our own way. Everyone trying to be creative with colors, curls, flat irons. By the way, I have white friends who put their hair on ironing boards and iron it with the same iron you and I use to do our clothes. They spend hours and hours flat ironing or curling. Next time you're in the gym, check out all the time spent on their hair…then add another hour for their make up. They wear false eyelashes…and while everyone is getting on the black women…we tend to do things on a smaller scale than our white counterparts. (but we always are pounded on for doing the same things or even less) For example, a black lady might buy a pack of false eyelashes from a Walmart or Walgreens and put them on just to try something different. Many white ladies pay upwards of $300 to have eyelash extensions put on at a professional salon…they say they last about 3 months. A black lady might buy some contacts (and it isn't always green or blue, but if so who cares anyway) just for fun, a change, to match a blouse, purse, or shoes…nothing more than using them the way you paint your nails or eyes, and we are slammed. A brown eyed white girl buys them, and no one says anything. I don't care what you say, they are not her eyes. And no one can use the arguement that they match them better, because it isn't always the case. Black ladies come in all different hues and some of them (not just light ones) can pull it off. If you look beautiful (light or dark or in between), then you're just beautiful. Besides green, blue, hazel eyes…aren't solely reserved for whites…many blacks have those eyes. White ladies have collegen in their lips (a while ago they were injecting dead people's tissue/fat into their lips)…that's not them, that's not natural, not what they were born with…black women don't really do that (always some exceptions, nothing's 100%) but we are still slammed. White ladies, have boob jobs, black women don't really do it (nothing's 100%), same for the butt jobs, but we still keep getting grilled. We don't do much to our teeth, meaning veneers, laser whitening, invisalign…but still not good enough. We don't usually get lipo…still not good enough. White ladies keep their nails done…acrylics, etc. Those nails are not theirs, but we, the black women are still getting slammed. We don't get botox…we usually just age natually. We get a wrinkle, notice it, move on. Whites are doing it even as early as their teens and 20s…that's not natural, to inject poison into your wrinkles…but black women are still being slammed. I don't think it's a black or white thing. I think it's a woman thing, a fashion thing. We're slammed for not being true to our "Africaness", but what is it? Yes, we are "blacks", but we don't even know what each of our own individual family tribes are…if we did, it would be fun or great to incorporate it into our outfits, or a few traditions, etc. But truth is, most of us just know the continent Africa…some sisters may be from Nubia (Sudan) or Egypt…and you're telling them not to wear weaves or wigs…well that's an insult to Africa, to the actual cradle of civilization, wigs and weaves were just an everyday part of Egypt, they invented it…and we as African Americans are abandoning it. Let's just leave that part off. And if we really wanted to do everything the Africans do…we need to stretch our necks out with those rings, put bones in our noses, plates in our lips, and scar our faces with knives. And I'm not being funny. All those things are in some parts of Africa. We are not Africans people…let's wake up. Yes, our ancestry came from their, everyone's did. But can we just be Americans? I am American to the core. And not to avoid being black, can't do that…but you don't even know other people's family backgrounds. We are Irish, Native Americans, and black. I like to throw in a bit of every heritage that I belong to. It's my blood, can't deny it. Sometimes I feel like wearing a bush (my own hair), sometimes I don't…but there is no conspiracy behind it, it's just as plain as my husband putting on his baseball cap. In short, why should black women be left out of anything just because we're black? (and truth be known, we're really not even black…we used to be brown, ie. "brown sugar", "Sweet Georgia Brown", "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and by the way, we probably share the same grandfathers as some white co-workers) Think about it, are we to go back to dressing like Mammy/Aunt Jamima…meaning, potato sack colorless dresses, no make up, no nail polish, no nothing, because you're supposedly from Africa? In the Bible, the women are supposed to adorn themselves…sounds like the "Hair Nazis" are trying to take that away from us. No thanks. I just want to be what I am…American.

    P.S.

    Black women need to have a little more tact, a little more class. I think it's very tacky and extremely childish to always be picking on, or being nosy about what another lady is wearing on her head. We need to be discussing things like stocks, bonds, retirement, IRAs, second homes, insurance, being business owners…take a break from that playground, "ha ha, you're wearing a weave, it's fake" junk. We are ladies. Why can't you just give another black woman a compliment? And if you honestly can't, just don't say anything at all. Be kind to each other, please. It starts there. Why do we always have to be low classed?

  • oh give me a break you bleach your faces to look like whit monkeys and you want to talk about natural. Now thats funny. You can not even except you skin color but dreads make you aware of your cultural needs. stop bleaching your skin my African sisters and be proud of yuor face for you burn up and evaporate in the sun.

  • Although u guys are making the comparison to white women buying weaves and tanning, BUT WHITE WOMEN ARE NOT RAISED TO HATE STRAIGHT HAIR, black women with nappy hair are the ONLY group in the world that is taught from day one that their hair texture is a birth defect, let's be real

  • This Article is Good and Informing But the point you have to look at is black people have a versatile hair range i mean we can do anything with our hair and it will look good from weaves to braids to relaxing but that just a change of style i mean when someone actully hates the natural kink to there hair that shows you an they have a inferiorty complex and are white washed i think that will show that are not proud of who they are . But I cannot say if there a right or wrong its up to us black people to educate ourselves.

  • Im a 15 year old girl from Colchester, and I feel that if a weave or fake hair makes you feel good about yourself, then why not wear one? As many others have said, just because you don't like to wear your hair "natural" then it doesn't mean you're trying to be white! I'm mixed race & many of my white friends wear hair extensions too! They curl their hair – no-one accuses them of trying to have afro hair or saying they are "fake"! I admit that in later life I may not want to keep getting braids and weaves done, but I am not going to have my hair out natural just to make others happy! f I don't feel happy. Wear your hair how you like if it makes you feel good about yourself!

  • black women are not the only women wearing weaves, there are great lenth haire extensions ,hair loc extensions that are widely used by other races as well. look at britney spears. paris hilton. and lindsey logan who have all talked about having hair extension with no shame in there game. we black people are always jealous and looking down on one another. I am black with long hair, and i have black people coming up to me and asking if i am wearing a weave or not ,in front of other races. I have co-workers at work who wear weaves and their hair look just as real and good as mine . Its all about self inhancement. we should embrace the fact that we all do not look the same, we do not all have to go around looking nappy head like ceily from the color purple.

  • Is is safe to say that black woman are the most hated?I mean white women at my job wear extension.Is it really ok for them to wear it and not get criticized.Shouldn't it be a "personal" choice to rather not wear a weave?Why should you worry what who has what on their head when you don't live with them 24/7.I can't believe people are actually concern what with other people do.But then again black are enslaves to themselves.They keep slavery alive.Its a new day.

  • I stopped relaxing my hair some years back, cut off the perm, and grew my natural hair. I like it and intend to keep it so, but I do not rule out wearing braids for instance to change my look once in a while. I have no problem with people who relax their hair or wear extensions; some people like to sport different looks, others do it for the convenience it affords, and still others aspire to the kind of looks propagated by the west as 'beauty': soft, glossy hair that can be transformed into bangs, bobs, waves, etc. Now white celebrities (a lot of them) wear extensions to make their hair look fuller, luscious, etc. My view: It is not just about hair…. music videos and TV shows are filled with almost-naked females simulating sexual behaviour. And female pop stars are not left out. These are the new role models for young people today. Young women have been (and are being) conditioned to pander to sexual senses as a way of living i.e. form over substance. That is the real shame.

  • Why the attack on black women? It seems that everyone, whites, black men, and even black women are ganging up on black women for what? Most of us are hard working women holding down families. Is there anything else that you can spend your time focusing on besides the hair weaves? Focus on those of us who rise at 5:00 am to go to work, putting in eight hour days and then come home to take care of our children and be there for our spouses. Focus on those of us who hold down companies, churches, volunteer groups. So what if some of are sporting hair weaves, is that the worst thing that we've done? If so, I think you should let it go and praise us for being strong black women. The origin of "my hair" does not define me.

  • I enjoyed this article. I wear a weave most time because it is so easy to manage, and I do not have to go into a panic about my hair at anytime. It stays just where I want it. I will not give this up for anything.

  • I personally wear my hair long during winter and short during summer. It works for me…and definitely not trying to be european when i go 'long' during those awfully cold winter days! It protects my ears and my neck my ears and my neck so i wont freeze! As for going short around summer, it gets extremely hot, and the short tresses work perfectly for me. Variety is the spice of life you know. My two cents on that!

  • I think that every woman has the freedom to do what they need to do to look good and at the same time have convinience. weaves are fabulous!, less time and pain is required to in transforming yourself into a gorgeous chick? what more could a woman ask for????

  • Jolen came up with Jolen Creme Bleach a product for women safe to use and can lighten excess dark hair and skin.

  • Surely, true freedom should mean the right to do whatever we want with our hair?

    I have my natural, unrelaxed hair though which I have been growing for more than a year now, so I must agree with what you say to an extent.

    However, consider the first statement. There are two sides to every coin no?

    Great article.

  • Just b/c a black woman wears weave does not mean she is trying to be another race. I wear weave sometimes just for a change and no other reason. I am not even thinking about being white when I wear it I just want something different. What is the big deal anyway? Like India Ari says," I am not my hair". It's just hair, we don't all have to be POWER TO THE PEOPLE to be proud to be black. If you do not like weave don't get one and if you are a guy who does not like weave don't date a woman with one. It's simple. But do not tell someoone else what they should or should not do to their hair.

  • pmdaboh@yahoo.com · Edit

    Freedome of choice is a great thing! I love weave. I like the way it looks on me. I like the way it feels on me. The thing is women have been enhancing themselves for years. If we want to get back to being totoally natural, than you should not be wearing make-up either. Just wake up in the morning, comb that natural hair-do, wash, and go out as you are (Scary . isn't it)! I have been told I am pretty and very good looking, yet I love the versatility of wearing weave, changing lengths, and hair colors at will.

    If we criticize someone for wearing weave, then we should all go back natural (no way!).

    To each its own. Thank God for freedom, having a mind of my own, and knowing what I like or do not like.

    I have seen very few American (I am African American), women walking around with their natural hair (no straightning comb, no perms, no nothing). And to tell you the truth . I am glad, for to me, it would be a scary sight to behold! Matter fact, when I was in Lagos, Nigeria in January this year, I saw weave on top of weave . .I did not know that African women even wore weave, and you know what, they looked great!

  • Wow!! I can't believe that our blackness is still defined by hair for many. Personally, hair is an accessory…just like shoes, handbags and belts. When I choose to change it, I do. I've worn hair weaves for 10 years…straight, nappy and everything in between. I have relaxed my hair. I have worn it natural for 10 years. Just recently, I have decided to wear dred lock extensions in blonde (I am not ready to commit to permanent locs). I love my hair and what I am able to do with it regardless of what state it's in. The versatility it offers is never ending.

    However, I have never never defined my being and beautifulness by my hair. I choose to educate myself about my past, live in the present and plan for the future.

    Live life and stop criticizing others..do what makes YOU happy.

    IT'S JUST HAIR!

  • You've made a lot of points. This world is flooded with tons of products for every culture. Tanning lotions, lip injections, hair weaves and acrylic nails..I even saw an ad once for a pubic hair wig…(must I go on). I recall an incident when my husband got upset with me for telling people that I was wearing a wig or a weave. Numerous relatives have advised me "don't tell anyone." But, that's my comfort level because when I decide I'm sick of the weave, guess what- I'll be happily sporting my short natural fro again. Personally, I'm for wearing my own fro. But if I want to wear a weave, I'll do that too. So it's just about however I'm feeling and what I want to do today. Actually it's a lot of fun to try new looks natural or weave…I say life is short, do what makes YOU happy! Just do it with class.

  • This article is so true although a weave is pretty sometimes, the fact that I never get to actually see a celebrity's real hair is sad. I tried to stop puttin weaves in my head unless I am gettin braids or two-strands which I find acceptable because they are african traditions not European. Thank you ffor this article black women need to read this.

  • i think that this is great, the idea oof wearing your own natural hair

    however, its not about trying to match up to "european standards of beauty."

    we're all people, who should be proud. but nearly everyone wants to change

    SOMETHiNG about themselves.

    you say african americans want long hair weaves, some white women want a bigger behind or breast implants?

    who cares, we live in a world where you can do whatever you want

    and if thats what makes you comfortable

    than so be it

  • i find the article intresting, but you really need to bera in mind that every one wear weaves for different reasons. myself for instance, i wear weave during the the winter period, as it helps to keep my head warm allround, lol. but for summer, my hair is mostly in plaits, or just let out all natural, not the nicest of sight, as i have got my dad's hair line. this is not about being european or whatever, it is about boosting ur self confident.

    you did mention that the weave does not make us. agreed, but having great self confident, gives you a boots to life. natural or no natural, ppl,it all about confident.so GET YOURS.

  • i have struggled with my image as it relates to weaves and wigs. recently i lost my hair after having my baby and i shaved it off. no chemicals, weave, wigs…it's been liberating yet i still experience embarrassment…even thogh i have gotten compliment after compliment on the look. long hair is beautiful and there are too many african americans who naturally have long beautiful hair…but i always paid for mine…and my hair was never too short…i just want more and more and more. now i have none…wow. it's a harsh reality that causes me to work on enhancing my other features.

  • i think it is fabulous.ive always wondered why cant we be proud of our self and stop falling into "european beauty" thing.it realy irritates me.i think africans should be proud of their short,curly,hair-anyway it is unique.there is no other ethnic group with short,black hair but only africans.

  • Black women who wear artificial hair are not necessary trying to be white. Weaves, nails and contact lenses are a form of art on a person. Yes there are some who believe that wearing artificial items will enhance their acceptance in a group, but I argue that it is not true for all. Yes black women should take pride in their hair for that we are able to do everything to it than other women of different backgrounds. I personally do my hair in all ways; natural, permed, weaved, dyed,etc.. It saddens me to believe that we, black women, should be confined to one style which sounds to me like a type of oppression. Everyone is FREE to do as they please, we can not judge..for GOD is the only one who can judge us.

  • I agree with everyone that we all have the choice to wear our hair the way we want. But with the colored contacts, I don't like. I was born with green-blue eyes.My dad also has green-blue eyes.Yes, I have some white heritage, but I'm still black.)If you are not born with colored eyes please don't wear them.

  • "Well put Sister"….Although I must admit, I am a weave wearer, and even though I do wear my natural hair sometimes, lately it has become very rare..What's funny about the whole thign is that once you make it a habit, it becomes more difficult to be able to think of anything you hair can do naturally, or just by itself without any enhancement..It not only becoimes a habit, but also a lifestyle..and in the end it is a lifestyle that even though the results are usually always beautiful and comment deseving, it is expensive and very time consuming, not to mention the emotional toll it sometimes takes when you are stuck thinking about how and what to do with to your hair next,. without being able to "add the hair you paid for"……

  • The article sounds like the writer is even trying to convince himself. We all spend time bathing, shaving, putting on makeup etc to enhance our looks for the simple reason of wanting to look nice which in turn creates positive energy which make us (goal) feel good. But apparently that must bother some people.

  • weave wearer no more · Edit

    As a known weave wearer for many yrs I truely can say that it becomes an addiction. You start to believe that weaves are better then caring for you own hair. I swore to everyone I was going to my grave in a weave and proud of it. I grew tired of trying to make it look real and tired of spending all that money when I could take the same money and care my own hair. The problem is we really don't know how to take care of our hair without the tramatic experience of breakage, too much heat and overlapping color and perms which is a disaster in its self. I know for a fact we can grow our hair to great lengths if we have patience and knowledge about the products that we put in our hair. The hair product industry is a billion dollar industry thanks to us and our insecurities.I know longer spend money on all those false products that they market to us.My hair has grown to the middle of my back because of tender loving care. to all my sisters I will give some tips. If you like a perm then get it professionally done. give your hair a rest from the heat and give yourself a protien treatment when needed. Trim your hair 1 or 2 a yr and if you can. wash 2x a week. keep hair clean always. waiting 2 weeks to wash is not it.keep away from gels stiff sprays that take away moisture from your hair. keep hair moisturized and watch the growth. good luck my princesses out there.

  • honestly, what the heck is the deal with the whole hair thing in the black community? Geez, it's JUST HAIR. So what if a woman, OR man, wants a weave, or a dye job? That to me is just an indication of personal style preference. And on the whole Janet Jackson thing, who gives a flying flip, she still looks HOTT…and yes, she has worn weave for a while, even during Rhythm Nation, but what's interesting is how in that particular song, she sings of wanting to improve our way of life by breaking color lines, which attitudes like yours only reinforce, in my opinion. I'm under the impression that you think you're making some grand case for pride in our African heritage, and pride in heritage is GREAT, to me. However, to me, yours is not an expression of African pride; it's an expression of extreme ethnocentrism. Hey you're more than welcome to think that going "natural" or "normal" should be the way to go, but it's not cool when you take that and use it to cast judgement and criticize your brothers and sisters. As India Arie can be heard singing lately-"I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am a soul that lives within."

    And speaking of "I am not this skin," I understand your attitude towards those who feel the need to bleach their skin lighter. But I don't like how it's presented…yes there are black artists who bleach or paint their skin to look lighter, maybe they wanna look like a white person or, as you seem to love to put it, "Western". However, when you argue that they're ignoring their heritage and "the way God made them", you're implying to me that you can't purport African heritage if you have light skin to begin with. I am half white, AND my black parent's skin tone was an example of what many would call being "light-skinned." As a result, I am a sort of orange-y, beige-y color, which in my experience has been a racially ambiguous skin color. Do I resent this? No I do not. I still know where I come from and I'm proud of it, and as far as I'm concerned that's good enough. So maybe, JUST maybe, all these prominent black entertainment figures are just doing it because they like a different look…is it so wrong if they end up with lighter skin (like some with African heritage are BORN with) or even looking white? Is it wrong for a black person to have white skin when there are children of African descent born with albino conditions, making them look as "Western" as can be? God made THOSE black children LOOK white, so does that not make them "true" black people? Or, according to your view, was God NOT responsible for bringing those albino black children into the world (or any other child of African descent with some skin pigmentation problems)? All I'm trying to say here is before you start making judgements and assumptions about our people's motives for how their hair or skin looks, make sure you get the whole story behind it first, told to you truthfully. And pride in our African roots is great, REEEEEEEALLY GREAT, but to me it should not be taken to the point of reinforcing color lines or behaving ethnocentrically. What matters is not whether we may or may not look like that which we've come from, but that we know and take pride in knowing who, what and where we come from.

  • im for wearing your own hair that goes from your roots but im not 100% against those who wear weaves.it does get on my nerves when others think my hair is a weave because of the hair style i wear it in because of the the color i have it dyed but at the same time i have seen weaves that are already fixed with similar hair clor's annd styles that i choose to wear so i can see why some one would think mine is also a weave.i do think all people should realize it's not just black females who weave false hair but other races and also that every black female who has long hair is wearing a weave .

  • I have read through all the post and I am surprised at all the negativity about hair weaves. Just because a black woman wears her african hair does not mean that she loves her race anymore or less. I have seen women with their african hair and but dislike for their black peers, choosing to hang around non-black people. Considering weaves have been found on mummies, I dont have a problem with them. What I do have a problem with is africans trying to lighten their skin. That is a true dislike of race and self. I have worn afros, braids, perms, wigs and weaves. It was just what I wanted to do. No statement was trying to be made. I currently wear a weave and will be doing it over this thursday….even though my real hair is past my shoulders. I am a student and live a hectic life right now so wearing a weave for me saves a lot of time. ( i am up at 3:00am most mornings). Weaves are a way for me to have a style other than the afro puff or pony tail so early in the morning. Now when I graduate I may wear my hair I may not.. I have not decided…just depends on how I feel. Thats all. I does not mean that I am ashamed of my race,my hair, or myself. By the way my undergraduate degree is in African and African-American studies.

  • I admit to the fact that these days, black women all over the world no longer feel comfortable going out with their natural hair. However, for some of us, it is an unfortunate neccessity. I have been almost completely bald for fifteen years now and medical science, with everything at its disposal has not been able to find out why.So, till my hair decides to start growing, I'll keep on, like the song says (Unpreety-TLC ) buying my hair if it won't grow.

    Peace!

  • This is a good article. However, some of us wear weaves as a result of chemical abuse and thinning hair. Of course, others believe that it makes them more European. Then, there is me…recently, I chose a weave because I love variety. I change my lipstick, my shoes, my clothing styles,so why not my hair? I have worn it natural, relaxed, wigged, now weaved…It's not a life statement, it is a fashion choice. I'm still Black and proud regardless of my hair.

  • Currently I am making peace with my natural hair. The less I am concerned with weaving or braiding my hair the more I feel in balance with equality itself. You are so accurate in depicting how celebs glamorize the most the most lifeless part of the woman as being completing and beautiful. We Know not to who our own hair truly belongs.

  • There's nothing wrong with wearing a weave. Just b/c someone wears a weave does not mean they are ashamed of their hair. Maybe that's just the way they want to have it. And just b/c someone wears their hair natural doesn't make them mor eblack than the one who wears it in a weave or relaxer. I think the beauty in black women is our hair. whether it's natural or in a weave. We have the option. My point is you shouldn't be so judgemental. Accepted the fact that some people like their hair in a weave and some don't. Just because you are against it, does not give the right to attack others with different views.

  • This goes to #70—

    Dear lady—I do not doubt that your hair is lenghty all the way down your back. That would have been the norm if black women didn't interrupt our hair growh with frequent perms. THERE ARE VEY FEW OF US BLACK WOMEN WHO KNOW THE FULL POTENTIAL THEIR HAIR HAVE IN TERMS OF LENGTH. We just dont give our own hair a chance. THAT is what is ABNORMAL about us.

    You mention that White women wear weaves too.Yes they do,in increasing numbers these days but you see, for different reasons. The straight weaves they glue onto their heads RESEMBLES what God has given them. Straight hair is MORE (and the key word is more) characrteristic to women of European and especially Asian ancestry.Indian and Arab too etc. So you see they are not eons away from reality. I woudn't complain if a black woman wore an Afro wig. It is BELIEVABLE. Such a wig is closest to the hair texture with which she was born

    Second, and more important, there is a cobweb of psychological reasons underlying our desire to wear weaves!Most often we wear them all the way to our GRAVES!Forget what weaves the White and Asian women are wearing. Their real hair LOOKS like it. For them, its an ADORNMENT. For most of us, it is used to masquerade hair that we are ashamed of and woudn't want to be seen in. Indeed, I know people whose friendships with other black women have deteriorated because they decided to go natural.

    Now if we loved what God has so given us, why do we we go to any length to cover it? It is because of something called slave morality. Read Rousseau's Social contract or Camus' Rebel.You seem to be denial that the cause of our actions is self hate. There is nothing wrong with wearing fake hair for medical reasons or to change hairstles occasionally. When the reason we do so is because we do not deem what we have worthy enough to esteem, we are indeed thinking and living like slaves. One condition for slavery is an inability to validate and confirm what is naturally ours. In this case what is genetic to our race.

    Can you see the difference?

  • Catherine Quinones · Edit

    This comment is directed to the user in Comment #40. It seems as if you are very ignorant to the many possibilities that we, as Black women, have with our hair. First of all, why do you assume that every Black woman with hair past her shoulders has a weave?? Why is the only "believable length of hair for a Black woman" (as you so cleverly put it) above shoulder length?? Do you not realize that there are MANY, MANY Black women with hair to the middle of their back and beyond?? I am one of them! I used to get relaxers, but I haven't in 3 years now. I wear my natural hair, which is curly; and my hair length is (WITHOUT WEAVE) to the end of my back! Most of the women in my family also have very, very long NATURAL hair! However, at times, I STILL choose to wear weave. Not so I can look more "European," but for the ease of maintenance. With the weaves that I get, I can wake up, put a dollop of mousse in my hair, and go– which I cannot do with my natural hair! With weaves, I don't have to wake up hours early, just to style my hair! Also, as someone else mentioned, I don't have to worry about sweating my hair out during workout sessions! So stop judging people who DO choose to get weaves, when you don't even know the REAL reason behind it. And stop ASSUMING that every Black woman with LONG hair HAS TO HAVE a weave!! Just because the Black women that you know may not be able to grow long hair, it does not mean that ALL black women can't. I am extremely offended that you implied that a "jawline length" of hair is the only "believable length for a Black woman." I thought that comment was very unknowledgeable and ignorant. Why isn't "mid-back length" a believable length for a Black woman?? You don't think Black women can grow long hair?? Well, I am living proof, dear! If Black women would learn how to take proper care of their hair, we could ALL have hair down to the end of our backs! So stop assuming that Black women can't grow hair past their jawlines!!!

    Also, Black women are not the only women that get weaves! White women, Asian women, all types of women get weaves nowadays! So why are Black women the only race of women CRITICIZED and told that we are "rejecting our race" if we choose to get a weave or color our hair???? What about all of the White women who get "extensions" and dye their hair blonde (when they are not natural blondes), get tans, wear blue or green contacts (when that is not their natural eye color), get breast and butt implants, lip injections, and put curly perms in their hair??? Would you say they are "rejecting their whiteness"?? No. Nobody says anything about them. In fact, the people of their race give them compliments on their curly permed, brunette or blonde-dyed extensions. However, when we, as Black women, dye our hair or wear a weave, we get criticized. We are not "black enough." And we just "want to be White." That's not fair at all.

  • i have sure noticed the prevalence of long, straight hair on practically every black female lately. it seems like it was all braids up until, i don't know, like ten years ago, and then everybody went from that to long, 'cher hair' that doesn't look right on some of the sisters, VENUS and SERENA especially. it is VERY sad to see people going around in this HOT, global warming climate of today with heavy fake weaves on when they could have a nice short COOL do. that's what society has done to black ladies, as whoopie goldberg satirized in her one woman show when she reenacted her childhood of putting a bath towel on her head to hang down like the envied european long, luxurious locks. <<sigh>> so sad when NOTHING looked more prideful or beautiful then the black power Afros of the late sixties early seventies. isn't it time they came back?! i HOPE so!

    incidentally, isn't it really BAD for the natural hair, not protective like some here have alleged? jennifer aniston said she had ENOUGH of weaves after having ones for films, it MESSED up her regular hair so bad.

    i DO know that tight, tight braids and even pulling the hair back in a really tight ponytail for a long time can PULL the hair out and give you a receding hair line. some women have a REALLY high forehead now, and doesn't IMAN look like she has hers receded WAY BACK with a weird comeover part thing like donald trump almost! BEWARE!

    i do have see the men liking long haired females point, as they do. black guys have been brainwashed into thinking the longer the hair the more feminine. fortunately, there are STILL real men around who like shorter hair!

  • its hair, its there..

    I hated my hair growing up, im half arabic/white with a natural fro that wants to lock up. I still do spend alot of time wishing it were straight- So i did- i realized that it just didn't look right with my body type and hair type that only knows one direction (up) I am learning slowly that my hair will do what it needs to do and go where it wants to go. Im tired of hiding it, this article made me feel better about my hair.

    thanks

  • I am 22 years old and have been wearing hair weaves/ braids since I was 18. Having read this article, I feel somewhat guilty for rejecting the obvious…. and that is 'natural is beautiful'. Wearing weaves has never been about impersonating the European woman for me, far from it. It has instead been the result of literally bowing down to the pressures of the society we now live in to look perfect. I admit, however, that a slavery of the minds does exist amongst black people to 'be lighter in skin tone', 'have straighter hair', etc. It doesn't help either that every hip hop R&B video these days feature more lighter skinned black women than darker. We forget that it was the pressure of the white audiences many moons ago which forced early black stars to conform to a 'white washed' image…. It's sad.

  • Your article was interesting, However the turth of the matter is…you need to get into the heads of Black men.Black women of every nationality see the type of women or should I say the idea beuaty that the majority of Black men worldwide prefer. Look on the arms of sucessfull Black men….you will see either natural long straight her mix types, seldom will you see a dark skin beauty with a long weaves. Ultimately you will see what they really hold as beauty a white women with long straigth hair.

    Peace and Blessings

  • she does not make sense in this article because a lot of african american women has natural hair that is different textures, not all black women have nappy natural hair, Iam black, and my hair is naturally long, my hair hits below my mid back and I am only 5'3, and my hair is slightly wavy, and it is no weave, and all my own hair. SO hey writer, you are dead wrong about black women!

  • This article is definitely an eye opener. I myself have struggled with wearing natural hair or opting for a weave, at times the excuse was convenience. Which is really an excuse, our minds have been programmed by something that occurred so long ago and is still working today. If you have the time read a book that contains The Willy Lynch Letter this letter was designed to control the minds of black people amongst other things. Thank you for the reminder we all need one sometimes…..

  • Egyptians, wore wigs all the time.

    Can you say that they were ashamed of their natural hair?

    Many African tribes braid and add extensions to their own hair.

    Sometimes it is just easier to pop on a wig.

  • to no.58:

    "A womans worth can not be judged by her hair." So you say in defence of the prevalent use of artificial hair by black women. But this is the very reason black women use it; because they are judged on their natural hair.

    Funny how the lie becomes the truth.

  • This is the writer of this article.

    People can attack my opinions all they want. Facts, however, are sacred. I must therefore correct the mis/correction of No.59. Janet Jackson did indeed appear on Diff'rent Strokes, in a short stint in which she played the girlfriend to Willis (Todd Bridges). I saw the episodes in question & you may also want to check this link:http://epguides.com/DiffrentStrokes/

    M.Wood

  • Hair styles including weaves are an expression of art and personality. A womans worth can not be judged by her hair.

    DeNitra

  • As black women we have such a problem loving ourselves and loving each other. Since when is it ok to judge a female based on outer appearance. Is it fair that whites may think you are "ghetto" or a criminal because you are black? No, we all speak out against that. But for the article and the supporters of the article, we are not supporting other black women and the choices they make. The way you wear your hair is a trivial matter at best and I can think of a thousand other social issues we should be spending on time which promote positive thinking and the promotion of Africans/blacks of any all decents world wide. But instead people choose to speak out against wearing weaves as being "un-natural". What about make-up, and eye-liner, bleaching cream, mascara, lotion (naturally we are "ashy", so why is it we use lotion?), deodarant? Ask yourselves these questions, being natural or wholesome is a state of mind, not how you wear your hair. I wear my hair natural, so what but I wear make-up, put on lotion, and other things which may enhance/change what I am naturally. Does that make me any better of a women than the sister who wears a weave? No, it does not. To all my sisters no matter how you wear your hair more power to you. As long as on the inside you are happy and confident, who am I or anyone else to judge?

    p.s. Oprah does wear a weave and she wears it well. Whether or not she tells us its a weave is her business, not mine. I'd rather her write me a check then tell me about her weave. peace

  • The ingnorance in this article is suttle but shoking. every black women who even tries a weave automatically wants to be european and is a sell out. I resent that greatly. What happens if i white girl gets a curly perm is she trying to be black. or if she dies her hair black is she trying to be mediteranean. I wear weave every so often i don't depend on that foe confidence. I had overprocessed hair that started falling out. i got a sewn weave and i have unrelaxed protected hair past my shoulder and it's healthier then ever so now i wear weave somtimes for thicknoee and i never let it pass the lenght of my natural hair, and i keep it my natural color jet black, So what? does that sound like i want to be white? for someone supposedly so cultured. I resent you unyielding ignorance. if u want to let your beautiful natural hair stand alone, please do. But don't you dare defame black women who enjoy experimenting with options because thats all it is options.

  • We need to understand the type of chemicals used to create "PERM" products for women of color, especially black women. From a health stand point, is not a good thing. We really should be saying no to perms. I have a friend who is a photographer for the city morgue, she informed that layers, and layers of old perm (hard as cement) is found underneath the top surface of the scalp of the deceased black women. Do we want to continue to say that it's much easier to handle our hair when straight vs natural. Please sistas start embracing ourselves as the universe intended. Get that old time slavery effects off our backs regarding, how ugly our natural hair verses straight euro-type hair. With much love, Imani

  • A passionately written article that speaks to all women who hide from their true looks. We all need to take advice from this and accept who we are!

  • I coudn't have said it better myself. I am so sick of this FAKE HAIR everywhere you look and hope it ends yesterday!

  • Oh here we go again, attacking (fake) african women as you put it(indirectly, if you have got it flaunt it! if you havent…fake it!

    I must say weaves are the best invention next to the telephone…it is easy to take care of,makes one look sassy atleast making an effort once in a while makes u even more presentable and funny enough increases confidence canoodling with the public! Natural afro hair i admit is so difficult to maintain,i dont have the time to keep un-knotting the black, bushy(oh it hurts when i comb) mass of hair,its up to you wether you where weaves, wigs, or even go bald, offcourse i appreciate everyone's opinion, nevertheless its all about what makes you comfortable, wearing weaves doesnt make you one less of a beautiful african woman, as we all know beauty lies on the eye of the beholder otherwise keep it to yourself!

  • Bravo! It's about time someone spoke up about this constant obsession with long hair! A lot of us cannot grow our hair long to save our lives, indeed the good Lord meant for us to have our short, sassy and pretty hair rather than being a poor imitation of Malibu Barbie or something! But let's face it: the bottom line for most women whether they want to admit it or not, is that they go for the long "fake" look for one primary reason only…and that's to GET A MAN…because the men's heads always turn when a woman with hair down to her waist goes sashaying by…

  • Thank You, Molara! for writing this article. I am very biased, being a natural sistah with an afro out to here. For me, perms are as political as Black Men with White Women. But it depends on the person. To each his own, right? Yeah, that's why we are in the state of things that we are.

    The bottom line is this: we can either embrace and proclaim all that is naturally ours, or we can go the other way. By not doing the former, we run the risk of being the very reason our own heritage slowly dies.

    Vanity is not the issue. Braids are AFRICAN, plaits are AFRICAN, dreds are AFRICAN. There is a difference between ebellishing that which is ours naturally and destroying it with products created for just that purpose. As Sistah Naa said, our strength in numbers is SO, SO unrealized. Please, let's stop fearing reactions and start fearing what will happen to our people when we have been completely blended into Western amalgamation.

    The fact that so many respondents still compare our hair issues to those of white women speaks so LOUDLY to the facts of this article. White women wearing extensions that look like THEIR natural hair does not deny their heritage–or lack thereof. White women with extensions has nothing to do with the African self-hatred that births everything from tribal genocide to skin bleach!!!!!!

    Rukayat

  • How far have we come, if we are going to judge a person becuase of their physical traits, i mean by looking at the hair on their head we can put someone in a category. If a girl has a weave that means she's trying to be white?? or doesnt have black pride?? Come on now we are above that kind of ignorace. DO YOU!! and dont worry about what everyone else does. Because you do not know what their reason is behind their choice.

  • Enjoyable article. No one way works for everyone, it's all about personal preference (for whatever reason/s) and the freedom to choose. All cultures since the dawn of man has embellished vanity, take a look at our ancestors the egyptians… There are greater troubles in the world than whose hair is real or fake. Regards, Sarah

  • It's awesome to see such an eclectic mix of responses and thoughts! I agree with everyone, having said, I think it' about self esteem – because at the end of the day, that's what really matters. Fake is fake, if you have a natural and that's not you, it's fake..if you are wearing a weave to be someone else, then that's fake. I think what everyone is saying, is that somehow we have "lost ourselves" in this neverending quest to be beautiful..It clearly demonstrates the difference between the have and the have nots, those that have the self esteem and mental clarity to be who they want to be with a blatant disregard for what EVERYBODY ele thinks and those that have no clue who they are and are conforming to various images! To answer the most popular question on the blog: We will see Janet's real hair, when we ever get the chance to see the real JANET! Kudos to all the intellectual women and men who responded, your thoughts are truly insightful. Ms. Woods, keep writing, you inspired me! GOD BLESS U ALL….

    http://www.thebalanceinc.com

  • Right ON! I don't know who you are, but YOU need a talk show, we got a lot of work to do and somehow, somewhere, everybody left the village…come back ya'll…come BACK!!

  • I agree with the author. My mother made me wait till 12th grade to relax my hair. Now as an adult i wish that i had not. I think that my hair was ever so beautiful, and might I add mid-back length natural. I encourage those who are contemplating giving up your natural essence to embrass it instead.

    Chantal

  • This is in response to comment #24—You said "it's a shame that we africans and blacks have not embraced the diversity amongst us, it's a shame that we have to have one particular picture of what is means to be black."Nappy does not equate what it means to be black"— You seem to be have a very poor sense of self.You seem to be missing the point of the arguement. She is encouraging ALL peple of African descent to be proud of the hair that God has gien us .Go to any major city, metropolis, rural area in America and you will be hard pressded to see a woman of African Descent sporting and taking pride in her hair.Yes we have the option of weaves, braids(with fake hair)and those hideous things that are sewn onto our heads. However the issue ceases to be one of style and becomes one of self-esteem and self-concept when Balack women wear fake hair MOST OF THEIR LIVES!!!

    Secondly when the VAST MAJORITY of us see long ,straight as essential to being accepted,then our self awarness and pride as people of the African continent should be SERIOUSLY called into question. I know few black women who will even give their natural hair(the curly God given hair with which we were born)a chance to grow in between perms. When we rush in panic to the nearest salon with our relaxers in hand, we send a loud resounding message to the rest of the world that what we were born with is not good enough. We seem to be afraid to explore what lies beneath our weaves,fake braids and what have you. I have friends in college who panic when the braids come out and they are forced to wear their "natural" hair because the hair dresser has gone out of town!! This is not a matter of "I paid for it" It is a matter self-marginalization and self hatred. Another friend of mine recently complained "Oh X and I have been ,married for 5 years and he has never seen my real hair.She had been sporting weaves throughout her marriage. Her husband hadn't even seen her hair in perm, let alone "natural" And for all those who will read this, i am not happy when we refer to our God given curly hair as"nappy" Simply because it is always said with such negativity.as if our hair is a burden.

    Tell me which other ethnicity of women drastically alter the natural state of their hair month after month, year after year,throughout their lives. O.K once in a while we see Caucasian women and men with dred locks, and more recently braids. And I will say that those who braid do it sporadically because it tends to break thier thin strands. At the end of the day, it is the degree and scope to which we black women reject what is natural that begs the question. We do not seem to appreciate anything African until the West condones it. Until they say "Oh yes, that will do" Look, these Westerners are very envious of EVERYTHING we possess. From our black skin to our full lips to our versatile hair and our continent. The Dutch got to South Africa and they haven't left since. Our "thick lips " were not too good, But now look who is dying to have it? And as for our skin, oh you know the story and yet we blacks are not the ones forever baknig in the sun…Summer is almost here….they will come out. …!

    Some Black women in the Corporate world would say "it is against the culture to sport my natural hair. It is so untidy (the closest they will get is to sport braids with fake hair). However what if all of us, all the millions of us showed up at work, and social events with our"natural" hair, could anyone stop us?What "culure" would we be breaking if X million of people support it? It is about time we

    came to appreciate that we have strength in numbers.

    God hads given us the most unique hair texture,that no other ethnicity can brag about having . We can look like them but they can never look like us. That is POWER my people. Our hair is our most distinguishing feature as a race. Nurture it, lets be proud of it. We are soooo unique!! Everywehere I turn Black people seem to be looking for self validation. I know for a fact that self validation and self love came hand in hand with the end of my perm years. A year and a ahalf ago, I decided to wear my hair natural and take as good care of it as i had my permed hair. I have been using Caol Daughter and it had wonrked wonderfully for me. My hair is softer, manageable and I love who i hae become as a result. Nowadays i find myself always looking in the mirror and feeling validated at the image reflected. Now i do not avert my eyes when I look in the mirror. Love you my sisters, lets love our hair, lets nurture ourselves.

  • I couldn't agree with you more. It's so very sad. My thing is – ok – you can get a weave but why does it have to be longer than the average natural hair length of a white woman? Why does it have to be sooooooooooooooo long? What is the matter with black woman — flinging this weave like white woman do. I had a weave back in the 80s and it was sewn in. Nobody could tell I had a weave because it was jawline length — a believable length for a black woman — not down to the middle of my back. I'm thinking about getting a weave for the summer. But trust me — it won't even be on my shoulders! I just wish black woman would stop with the Yaky, long, flowing, bone straight hair. I guess in order for some of us to feel beautiful in any way we need long hair." I wonder why. Examples, Venus and Serena. Vivica Fox. Yolanda Adams. Bad weaves and awful hairstyles. You have to wonder — do they have any hair? Just say NO to YAKY!

    OLD SCHOOL

  • I enjoyed the article, for its claims do represent truth in many ways. However, not all black women wear hair weaves to conform to European standards of beauty. I have very thick, long, curly hair that is really an inconvenience to deal with at times. I like to wear it straight; however, I also like to workout. The salt in sweat is not good for the hair and causes breakage. As a college student, I do not have the time to wash my hair every few days and deal with the stress of detangling it. Of course, I could wear it natural, but natural hair requires much attention and care as well, and I prefer it straight. I'd rather wear a weave, sweat as much as I have to, and wash and go. Am I at fault for that? I do not think so. I think many black women wear hair weaves for convenience purposes, i.e. excercise. Did you ever wonder if part of the reason many black women are overweight because they may be afraid to sweat during a workout? I refuse to compromise my health and fitness just because people think I'm being fake and afraid to show my natural "African beauty."

  • Nicely done. I loved the article and I think that it is important to remind us that there are things about being African that makes us special or different. No other group of people can have the versatility and creative ability to design and wear their hair. Our hair is one of our most pride possessions. Although we battle with the notion that people of African descent are conforming to European looks, we must also look at the great differences in the styles. Weaves have enabled African American and African stylists to fashion elaborate works of art with hair. I love the fact that my hair can be long today and short tomorrow. Even Caucasians are using weaves to change their look.

    About a year ago, I cut all of my hair off and decided to go natural. I was tired of burns from relaxers. Going natural was a great decision for me because I finally gave my scalp a chance to heal. However, once my hair grew longer the more difficult and time consuming it became. Having natural hair has forced to find more creative ways to wear my hair and make it more manageable. I have received so many compliments and envy from people because of my ability to constantly change my look and reinvent myself. Some days I like to wear my natural hair in an Afro or two-handed twist or braided in cornrows or micros. There is nothing wrong with wearing weaves, but there is definitely something wrong if you are not proud of your hair and who you really are.

  • Don't be fooled. Where did you get the impression that Oprah doesn't wear weaves? She does, she just has an impeccable hair stylist. When you're serviced by the best, no one knows your secret.

    I used to be an avid fan of hair weaves but dandruff and heat have taught me a lesson or two. I am more comfortable in my own hair than I would be in fake hair. The only other fake I employ is cornrows but all the same beauty is how you perceive it.

    Just my three cents..

  • So many truth in this article ! bravo sista !

    I am natural myself (locs) but most of my black friends hate my natural hair(but i love my nappy hair and that is what counts!)so are so right about the weaves that most of our people are wearing it makes me wonder why they hate their natural hair so much.

    Meg

  • I thought the author had a great point. I don't live in Nigeria, but I watch a Nigerian movies at least 6 timeas a month and I laugh at how pathetic the looks are, but we have a long way to go and only God will help us!

  • To be black is not reflected in one's appearance or how they act. Being Black just is. My hair is natrually wavy but kinky and I CHOSE to relax my hair b/c it looks better and easier to handle. Its softer, shinier and I take good care of it. Go to longhaircareforum.com and you'll see. My hair is all mine and down past my elbows. Whether or not black women have weaves doenst matter to me. Black women are evolving,..people are evolving. Its not 1950 its 2006. The real problem is the lack of information by the mass media of how to properly take care of black hair natural or not. This can drive most women to weaves b/c there really is not many avenues to find proper hair care advvice or products. When did the responsiblity of being true black was up to the black woman?? Some(but not all) Black men alike relax,color and wear contacts, and even abandon the black woman altogether. I wont even go there. Black people as a whole are the most creative, versitile beings on the earth. Let the image of the Black Woman rest b/c music videos, media ect. are always bashing the black woman. Let us rest already. Can someone write articles why brunettes and most white women go blonde? Oh its o.k for them to chose what they want to do just not black women.

  • Didn't like it. Why should some stranger care about what's on my head? It's no one's business what I do to my head. I've made peace with my hair. However, I am a scientist and run 12 miles a week. There is no place in my life for a natural. Personally, I like the way my weave looks and that's all that matters. There are far more important things to worry about in the world than who is wearing a weave.

  • i am a young african girl who live in france.

    what your article describes is so real and so terrible but even in africa women done wear their natural hair.

    We are slave of a picture that slavery and colonisation have left: we are shame of our original appearance

  • I must say how disappointed I am at the level of personal abuse directed at the writer over a subject that is up for legitimate public discussion. The vitriolic remarks may mean that people think the debate over hair weaves is enough already. It is not. I am also amazed at the level of denial by many of the commentators. People keep citing emotive instances like Cancer or Alopecia. BUT the article already makes allowances for these, specifically with words of understanding for: women who have lost or are losing their hair. It even makes room for the occasional change of look. But what I see people doing here is pretending as if by writing against hair weaves, the author has attacked people with unfortunate circumstances where weaves are needed to cover hair loss. That is not what the article is about. Bottom line is: except in small cases, 99% of those who cannot live without weaves have no medical conditions that affect their hair. Get real people. I write this as someone who occasionally wears weaves, and who still sees some sense in what this article is saying. I don't think the writer has attacked me personally nor has she been callous about people with any kind of medical problems. I think we should discuss issues surrounding fake hair more often, instead of shouting down anyone who dares to utter a contrary opinion. I would like to commend all those who have kept their comments civil, and also commend the writer of this article for her courage. SN

  • I dont see anything wrong with wearing weaves , its not limited to the African woman alone,every fashionable woman who loves the vasatility and ease of wear needs a weave or wig. we grew up seeing our mums in plaited hair with threads(whats the difference? threads or wefted threads), which was conceived to liberated women way back , so they dont look mad every 20 mins from not setting an alarm clock for comb time reminders,when their hair knot up into dred locks that quickly.The only down side is the shedding, I hate the sight of strands arround leaving an unwanted tell tale sighs of your prescence.

  • Why does it all come down to fake and not? We all have free will to do as we please. Let's remember that black women who want straight styles have the option to permanently relax their curly hair just as european women have the option to permanently curl their straight hair. There is so much publicity over artists like Lil' Kim (who I dislike personally but that's beside the point) and why she has blonde hair, boob job and contacts to look like Pamela Anderson. Let's remember that Pamela Anderson is not a blonde either, and she wears extensions to add fullness to her hair.

    This whole idea of being "true" to yourself and going natural and embracing your heritage is fake. It's false. No one is telling black women not to eat pizza because it's not being true to their heritage. No one is saying that we shouldn't wear pumps because our ancestors didn't.

    The 'Sea of Weave' I think became a way to perpetuate self-loathing in black women. We are told that we're too rough around the edges, we have too much baggage, we're too shapely, our lips too full, our hair too natural. When we start competing with European styles, all of a sudden, we're not being true to our 'natural blackness'. I don't have to be true to what I am. And no one defines what I am or how I should be except me.

    This whole idea of fake vs real is not really the heart of the issue. A bad weave is a bad weave. In the 60's while some women wore afros, others wore wigs as was common with Diana Ross and the Supremes let's not forget. Butt-long ponytails and big beehives were the order of the day.

    Our flair is our hair, and we can weave it, bead it, perm it, rock the locks, shake our twists and go super-short just to start over again. IT'S JUST HAIR! No one is saying that white men aren't being true to their natural selves when they wear toupees. Let it go people. Let's talk about women getting equal wages in the workplace. THAT'S something to spend some time debating:)

    Peace and Love…

  • Okay…so of course I see where you're coming from, but I also believe in freedom of choice. And I've found that it has become an unfortunate stereotype that all women who wear weaves are part of said "Fake Brigade". Why have options if in choosing one you are immediatly judged as being fake?? If a woman wants her hair a certain way, does it have to mean that she is ashamed of her natural hair. Maybe she just wants it that way…it really is beyond me why this needs to be such a big deal. I mean, if this is an argument about loving our "natural" selves then all other cosmetic factors should be attacked too. Dont wear eyeliner – because it means you dont love the way your eyes look naturally. I mean, come on…it's a bit of an incomplete argument. And as another reader pointed out, not only black women are guilty of it. Many black celebrities are mentioned in the article but many white celebrities popularly use extensions too. Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and Victoria Bekham to name a few. Their indusrty is as wide and lucrative as is that for extensions for black women. I just really think that it's not always about being ashamed your ethnicity although granted in some cases there is insecurity underlying the reason to get extensions. However, in many, many cases women get extensions not necessarily for length but for volume…just like many women buy volumising/lengthening mascara. It's all the same. The beauty of being a woman I believe, is the power of our preoragative to decide how we want to wear our hair, do our makeup, make our bodies look. We have all the options and the choices are for us to make for ourselves. I don't think that we should have to subject other women to judgements or stereotypes that they are being enslaved by the need to lookn different. Why don't we instead view it as a celebration of freedom…freedom to choose. And within that freedom, we have a responsibility to protect one another's freedom by not condemning the choices others make that may not necessarily reconcile with our personal choices. I make these comments as someone who doesn't wear weaves, but I do have my hair braided with extensions because I prefer the fulness. I wont say that I've been blessed with long hair because that would be insinuating that people with short hair aren't blessed. But…I personally have never had any issues witht he length of my hair, but maybe one day I'll want to try out hair down to my ass and I dont want to have to read articles like this that make me seem like a traitor to who I am simply because I have taken a choice which is available to me. Similarly, I feel very hurt for those friends I have who do wear weaves because that's their style, their look…how they prefer to wear their hair and yet are made to feel guilty about it. I have the same issue with women who are condemned for cosmetic surgery, but that I suppose is a whole different story. With kind regards…

  • I don't believe it matters one way or the other weither you wear weaves or natural hair, the source of true beauty still resides from within!

  • I thank my lucky stars that there is such things as hair weaves. My

    daughter suffers from alopecia areata, at the age of 15 she has more than 50 percent hair loss. Her options are wigs or hair weaves.

    While the products are costly,it is a price I am willing to pay for her to maintain self-esteem and confidence during such a trying time.

  • Who's business is it that someone wears a weave or not, when did it become a fact that for someone to truly display their "african-heritage" or "black-ness" they had to carry "nappy-hair". for your information alot of us africans naturally have nice long "non-nappy" hair, so tell me are we less african because we were born like that. My mom is cape-verdean and my dad is nigeria, (both african countries) and because of this I am dark with nice long black hair (all mine!). I frequently have people ask me if my hair is real or not, I don't get offended because who cares!!! is it your hair?? it's a shame that we africans and blacks have not embraced the diversity amongst us, it's a shame that we have to have one particular picture of what is means to be black. if you have ur natural hair, fine that's ur business but don't try to convince other that that is "African" or "black". black people come in different colors, sizes and hair textures and we must embrace it! Stop discriminating because u see nkem with long black and automatically it has to be a weave! okay now it's a weave na wetin concern you? abeg write about the fact that the AIDS epidemic is wiping out the black race faster than the speed of light, instead of one long rubbish article about "weave-hunt". again "NAPPY does not equate what it means to be BLACK"

  • I don't see weaves as a big deal @ all. I have them sewn in sometimes… not that often, but I really don't care. If some1 asks me if it's real, I will gladly say no. It's all about options 4 me. I can wear a wig, braid my hair, sew in a weave, or just carry my hair like that… wat difference does it make? It's d same thing as wearing perfume… everyone knows thats not my natural smell. It's like wearing makeup… so abeg, una dey yarn too much jare.

  • I can understand that this is your opinonated editorial, because it is viewed differently. I say, if you paid for it, you buy it because if you get tired on one style your natural hair has carried for years, you will eventually need a change. The hair weave is a good way to change up a style than to just look very plain. It has worked for me, and if my hair (it has almost grown to my back, as a result) gets waist-length, I will never ditch it.

    Your views are respected, but look at it as a need by people who have a dilemma keeping their styles updated and "Good enough to take to Chinatown" (as Fred Sanford would say) with. Busy people, stuff like that.

    And, how about the cancer/leukemia patients–women, especially–who had just taken chemotherapy? The chemotherapy sheds all their natural hair off, and God knows how long it takes to grow back. I know I wouldn't be one of those people walking around with just my bald head.

    When you mentioned Erykah Badu's shaving of her locks, saying that it didn't make her. Sure, that was in her own opinion. Hair makes us, in our own way. It is our crown of glory. I say if there's something wrong with the look, enhance. I would go more into detail but I just decided to make it as generally brief as I can.

    So, no offense, I hope. This is the way of the American spread.

  • I dont see any wrong with fakin it as the article implies…..Some of us do not have the right hair care professionsl who encourage or embraces that notion. They all ways want to "slap" in a relaxer in a minute , and swear they have no clue what is a straight comb for that simple press and curl. Everybody entitled to their opinion, I feel like the supermodel Iman says," It's mine I paid for it, theme. Honey I know that I am black , I wake every morning knowing that, weaves and colored contacts are a accessories to me, options if you will. Life is too short , if I want to have a weave down my waist, why ist it hurting you and I am having fun. Isnt want life should be!

  • I'm not being difficult but I know exactly who I am and where I come from. My hairstyle does not say that I aspire to be European. Life is about making choices for the right reasons. Suggesting that hairstyle choice is what gives you pride in your herutage is just plain ridiculous. What has Erykah Badu evr done besides sport fake dreads to show pride in the African heritage that she made her fortune off of How many hiv positive orphans in Africa has she sponsored Because in my opinion she owes them. She became famous by bastardizing and attempting to exploit their culture.

  • I Feel That More Articles like this Should be distributed among young African- American females. I have to admit being 15 years old during this times, I often seem to get caught up with my looks, especially my hair. Society made us believe that straight and long hair is the most accepted and most beautiful. But that becomes such a struggle for black women to keep up with it, because our hair is of course beautiful, but just not textured as perfectly straight. Basically, I feel that I still have more confidence and acceptance to gain within myself, But I know if i continue to read and understand articles like this I will surely be on my way to being so confident with myself that all negative energy will just bounce right off of me.

  • All whom agrees with this article should consider women with alopecia, dermatitis ,and balding , hair weaves and wigs should not be a issue if the world says a woman is not a woman just because she dose not have what should she do sport her baldness or should she buy a wig like how I have to do I would be a fool to sport my hair medical problem and show it to the world if I will be shund for bald/balding so watch the way you feel about something because you never know when the day will come when even you (The Author of this Article) will be looking over the counter at you local hair store trying to buy weave to cover up a spot or not Even you it may be your child or someone you love…. You never know until you have walk in someone else's shoes. DSA/CDM

  • This article is wonderful. Thank you so much for breaking it down…although it was sad to see individuals reference looking like Grace Jones as a bad thing.

  • A word in time for the black ladies of this generation. Value what you have. If you don't know, a man will appreciate your being natural and not otherwise. Men know what they are looking for!

    Adewale Ajani

    mikeajani@gmail.com

  • Excellent and so perfectly stated. Black women are addicted to hair weaves, and not for reasons of versatility of style or protecting one's real hair. Their negative attitude towards their hair can be seen with the labels 'good and bad' hair and 'nappy' hair. Or even, the Black hair product labels of obtaining 'shiny and silky' hair when Black hair is more fluffy with a soft sheen than shiny and silky. Well researched. Elegantly written.

  • Well, It's all good for women to flaunt their natural hair and all, however it is really time consuming, expensive and sometime damaging to continue pulling, tugging, relaxing, braiding, weaving and all the ingings on our natural hair. Most of the times it difficult to find a trustworthy salon for ones hair. To be honest, I am not into the natural hair thingy. Yesooo, I am proud of my natural black hair but there is no way I am willing to spend 3 or more hours of my life going through the rigours of making it look presentable. My hair is Natural all the way (I do not relax my hair and never have) but there is not much I can do with shoulder length natural hair without looking like a newly deranged woman parading 'Ahiaeke'. I give kudos to thoes that have no qualms with relaxing their hair or thoes who spend up to 6 hours braiding their hair and then keep it for months without weekly washing. Anyhow, I enjoy Wigs, I love wigs, I swear by wigs! All I have to do is slip one on my head and I look good. Besides there are a massive variety of them so one can never go wrong and if you buy them in Nigeria you are bound to save a fortune. When I wear my wigs, I feel confident and I look cool and people don't really know the difference (Not that I care if they do notice the difference!). Wigs are very economical and easy to handle and ones does not need a hair dresser. I am the proud owner of at least 15 different wigs and counting. They serve me well and I look different with every wig and they only cost 1500 Naira each (Nairaooooo not pounds or dollars). in the words of Mcdonalds, I'm loving it!

  • Very good article. I personally think the most beautiful women in the world are black women with natural, unrelaxed afros or natural, unrelaxed dreadlocks. One thing that makes seeing natural hair so exciting is that seeing it is so rare (on females), even here in New York City or New Jersey. Most of the time sistas have boring, ugly, relaxed hair. They take the beauty in their own genes for granted! My own sisters, my mother all relax their hair. What a shame. As a young man I make a rule not even to date women with relaxed hair. Personally I'm a US born Nigerian with a medium-sized fro, and I like that. More woman should boycott the colonized hair mentality by wearing it natural. I'd imagine a lot of black men would come to dig this a lot. It IS political, the choice most black women make for their hairstyles, excluding cases of baldness, etc.

  • smokeysmokey48238@yahoo.com · Edit

    This commentary reminds of a few young friends of mine, teenagers in fact. I live in a part of American where blacks are quite rare. So I had to give a few lessons on why the African's skin is dark (melanin production) and the reason for the texture of the hair. They were intrigued because one boy said to me and i Paraphrase, now I know why when I wrestle with James (who is black and in an opposing wrestling team) i get red and raw from grabbing his hair!

    We are constantly looking for ways to manage black hair, weaves, wigs, attachments (braids)…just as we are intrigued with euro-hair, caucasians are intrigued with ours. I have a number of white friends that just die of envy when I braid my hair.

  • While most of what you the author wrote is true about weaves and weave wearers, it was one sided because it focused on African Americans only. And that was in a negative light only. I would have like the author to write about African woman wearing their hair straight and the high usage of BELACHING CREAM among native african woman. Tell the WHOLE story!

  • While this article is the opinion of some does not make it right nor wrong. It is simply one's opinion. Personally, I suffer from Sickle Cell Disease which has taken a toll on my natural hair. I have a couple of choices, wear my hair natural which is very broken out or opt for a wig or weave. I choose to wear a weave because it enhances my self-esteem which has been somewhat altered due too an uncontrollable circumstance.

    Just a thought, you never know what a person's reasons are for different things they do but give it more thought before you choose to criticize them.

  • I think women should wear their hair as they please…But I must say that the cost of these weaves and fake hair are exorbitant! That alone would make me not do it. And to start teaching your little girl to spend big to make yourself look 'pretty' is a no-no JMHO

  • Mmmm… Anita Baker did say it would be 'controversial', didn't she 'Cos she knew people would not want to hear this truth. And I can already see what Ms.Wood calls 'the Fake Brigade' fighting back. Interesting.

  • For god's sake, choose life first, let people have their vanity if it makes them sane. Let there be 'Tolerance', love yourself, love all. Bob Marley also sang "One love".

  • Newsflash! White women (and white men) buy hair attachments. They are big customers in the stores that sell customized "fake" hair. I know a few white women that have been interlocking their hair for years. So why is it such a big deal when black women do it

  • I think all this criticism over black hair is much to do about nothing. A woman that wears a weave is not necessarily trying to be European. Anita Baker is shown as an example of a woman who takes pride in natural hair. Hello excuse me, but relaxing your hair is not natural. The author should define what she means by natural. Hair that is relaxed, texturized, or colored is not natural and thats the truth

    She says When a girl of six or nine is already sporting hair weaves, how is such a child ever going to grow up with any pride in her God-given tresses I think perms, relaxers and dies can do just as much damage to a young girls appreciation of her hair as a weave can.

    Lets consider the women who came before us. I remember that some of my aunts (In Nigeria) use to plait their hair with thread AND add filler to it. To me, adding filler to plaited hair is akin to braiding your hair with kenakolon.

    For me, its all about versatility. Black women have different options with the way they can wear their hair. And I dont think we should be ashamed of that. Rather, I would say that we should be more educated on how to take care of hair as we adopt different styles.

    Currently (and for the past 2 years) I wear my hair natural no relaxer, no textuizer, no nothing. Its 1 inch of black forest Sometimes I think I look like Steve Harvey. Its not the most attractive thing in the world. But I wear it like this for one reason it affords me more time to attend to my family. That is the only reason I sport my hair like this. Now, my husband hates my hair like this. He says it makes me look like a man. But he also doesnt like braids. You see sometimes you just cant please everybody .. so you gotta please yourself.

  • I loved this article. I have a natural hairstyle and I love it. I thought your article was very inspiring and thought-provoking. I will share this with my hair weaved friends!!!

    mrskenna

  • although am not a woman but i still enjoyed it, irrespective of the fact that i wouldn't like my wife looking like grace jones.

    But if you argue that women putting on artificial hair is a slavery thing then what about the white people that embraced tatooing which was an african insignia what about the general breast enlargement/reduction or the age defying face lift that both the black,asian,hispanic and white take part in i think women are synonymous with fashion and they like to update their style frequently whether it's better or not. All i know is that the white folks will forever be looking down on us if all our black sisters continue wearing these false hairs,nails and pupil. Girl you need to talk to my own sisters.

    …obiora.

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