As Black women, sometimes we feel like we just can’t win. And that’s especially true when it comes to our hair choices. For the past several years, relaxed women have felt judged for choosing to still straighten their hair in the midst of the booming natural hair movement. Meanwhile, women who rock their true texture still face all sorts of stereotypes about the type of woman they must be because of their hairstyles. And while some may argue, “it’s just hair; it’s not that deep,” as one woman pointed out in a new web series on this very topic, “You’re not just talking about my hair, you’re talking about me because my hair is an extension of me.”
The web series is called “Black Hair Is” and it was created by Antonia Opiah with the support of Smooth N’ Shine to explore whether our ideals around Black hair have shifted as quickly as our styles of choice. To do this, Opiah and her team interviewed six women with natural hair and six women with relaxed hair and discussed various topics such as why they choose to wear their hair the way they do; if they’ve ever feel judged because of their texture, and what stereotypes they face as a result.
“Black hair is so versatile and diverse and our feelings and thoughts about it are equally diverse. Unfortunately, some hairstyles and textures, over time, have gotten a bad rap, usually because it served some political purpose to denigrate a certain group of people,” Opiah wrote on Un-ruly.com. “But if that’s taken out of the equation, I think we’ll find that we can all co-exist with our differences without any malice or tension. As long as we’re open to understanding our differences and not using them as a way to exert power or elevate status, that little knot that we sometimes get in our stomachs when we’re about to enter a room with people who have hair that’s not like ours can dissipate.”
A total of six videos were released in part one of the series on April 9 with part two dropping this week. Check out the entire series here and tell us what you think. Can you relate?