African-American women have always embraced various forms of self-expression. Our unique style can be seen in all aspects of our lives including the many ways we style our hair. Over the last few decades leading ladies of the African-American community have sported styles from Afros to braids & twists to waves and brush cuts, but none have caused more of an uproar than the current phenomenon known as the hair weave.
Black women across America have flocked to salons for sew-in and bonded-in weaves for the last few years. Weaves are also know as hair extensions, which can be braided into a woman’s hair, sewed in with a thread and needle or glued in with hair glue. In 2009 this not so new procedure became a hot topic for mainstream America after Chris Rock’s documentary/comedy Good Hair hit the big screens. The documentary features actresses Nia Long, Lauren London, Raven Symone and many other celebrities who bravely discuss their own experience with wearing weaves. Rock’s less then funny performance within the film left me unamused and speechless. Was this film created solely to enlighten Americans or just another way for society to take a couple jabs at our expense? While Chris’s intentions may have been good willed others couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make us the butt of their jokes.
When I heard the hoopla I laughed and cried at the same time. Laughter because I thought, ‘Are you serious?’ America, especially of late is built on fake everything! Fake breasts, butts, teeth…you name it and it’s probably fake. So now mainstream America has learned Black women wear weaves and we’re the punch line in your jokes! We are not in some back alley beating down Indian women for their hair. Why would we? The fake hair business was created and was successful well before a Black woman ever thought about wearing a weave. My question is, who was wearing hair extensions before Black women became the ‘culprits’? We all know the answer to that question.
I cried because I knew this was just another way to make African-American women look like we were less than women of other races. This set back black women who are desperately trying to climb the corporate ladder by several years. Furthermore, I was now forced to come into contact with other people who now have the belief that black women do not have real hair. So, from here on out the first question is, “Is that your real hair?”
Mainstream America has always found a way to set us apart. While Blacks belittle other Blacks for trying to conform to American culture, the truth is many Black women wear weaves for different reasons. The black women I spoke to stated they wore weaves because they loved the diversity it brings to their hair. It allows them to go from short to long or long to short in a matter of minutes without damaging their hair. Personally, I wear weaves because I don’t have the time or energy to do my own hair and I hate sitting in a salon every Saturday for 6 hours. If I have a sewed-in weave a hair stylist may not see me again for 2 to 3 months. Just think of it as baking a cake from scratch verses going to Wegmans and picking a freshly baked chocolate covered cake wrapped and ready to go. It’s just that simple people. Secondly, my hair doesn’t define who I am. So no matter if my hair is straight, curly, braided, or in an Afro, I am still a PROUD African-American woman.
Also Check Out:
Black Television: For Profit or For Purpose