On last night’s episode of the new BET sitcom “Reed Between the Lines,” Dr. Reed (Tracee Ellis Ross) and her daughter Kaci (Zoe Soul) had an interesting exchange about natural versus relaxed hair. Ross’s character bursts in on Kaci preparing to give herself a “box perm” after her daughter’s love interest tells her that he loves her hair straightened (when she’s wearing a wig for the school play and after her mom pressed out her long curly hair with a hot comb).
Ross’s message to her daughter in the episode is two-fold: one, it’s ridiculous to change your hair for a boy; two, it’s ridiculous to change your hair texture permanently when the hair you have is beautiful the way it is. She tells her:
Once you relax your hair it is never the same. Never. Never. The curl pattern isn’t the same, the texture changes. It will take years for your hair to grow out to the same length. A drastic change like this is something you really need to think about.
Despite how tired I am of the natural versus relaxed hair debate, I think this was an important message for young girls and mothers. While the mother is clearly on team natural and wanted to warn her daughter about the harsh effects a relaxer could have on her hair, she still told her daughter that if she wanted a perm after she thought about it she would take her to a professional to have it done. I like the fact that she didn’t make up her daughter’s mind for her, as many women say their mothers did for them when they permed their hair at very young ages.
I can remember asking my mother for a perm because I was tired of having my hair pressed every week and having my “kitchen” touched up because it never lasted. My mom told me I had to wait until I was 13 to get a relaxer, and I did. Of course, there is also the issue of self-acceptance that you can never beat into young black girls’ heads enough to prepare them for the negative messages they will receive from the media. Tracee Ellis Ross’ character did a great job of building her daughter’s self esteem.
Check out the clip from last night’s episode below. Was this an important message to put out for black mothers and daughters? What do you think of the series so far?