My natural hair journey isn’t anything for the books, I’m just like every other girl who used to struggle with accepting her curls and develop a relationship with them. It’s not as simple as getting up one day and deciding, “Yes! Today is the day I wear my curly crown and put my middle fingers up!” It’s so much deeper than that, it’s psychological actually. I’m a mixed girl with very kinky curls and I wasn’t around my African side of the family while I was growing up to educate me about my hair. I went to a private school and only had my peers to reference and everyone had waspy, stick-straight hair, or hair that was nowhere near as kinky as mine. So, I would just gather up my curls and slick it back into the tightest of the tightest of ponytails which was my desperate attempt to conform my coif to fit in with the rest of the plain Janes at school. What a yawn right? My edges are still paying for all that lack of blood flow and toxic hairspray, I’m so sorry babies.
Long story short, I was not raised to love my hair which was absolutely not my parents fault, my mother did her absolute best to care for my curls and did a fantastic job while my dad, well come on, he’s a dad, he was just happy my hair was tamed, let alone did he care what it looked like. Natural curly hair was not celebrated back in the day the way it’s beginning too now, and there’s still a long ass way to go. If I wore my hair curly and out while in grade school or high school, I would get the most unwanted attention. I became a specimen or some kind of anomaly that the kids couldn’t wrap their minds around. I felt like a fucking sting ray in the petting section of the aquarium and experiences like that made me loathe my curly hair.
Fast forward about 10 years and that’s when my journey began. My journey of self-love I like to call it. By that point I have met enough people who showed me how to care for my curls in the proper way and once I reached my “fuck it” point and got sick of straightening my hair all of the time, I got a HUGE chop, cut off all the dead hair and began my expedition of loving myself the exact way God made me. It was great, having that type of attitude and acceptance towards myself actually motivated a lot of my curlfriends to join me on the natural hair quest and I became addicted to helping women find the beauty in their “curly crown”. I became addicted to helping women love themselves.
I’ve never been apologetic about my curls once I went natural, when I embraced them, I embraced them hard and wore my big hair loud and proud. It wasn’t until I was joking around with my fellow entrepreneur best friend and we were going back and forth about clients and meetings and I jokingly said, “Girl, bring me with you and I can complement the deal!” She then, without skipping a beat, said “You would have to straighten your hair first.” She meant nothing malicious by that comment, we have a friendship that is 14 years old and she knows my hair journey from the beginning. But her statement made me realize how much of a stigma having curly hair still was in corporate society, and to be frank, I just ain’t having it. I am determined to dominate the corporate world, or just dominate as a business woman period and not feel ashamed for letting my curls be free. Currently, I work for a doctor’s office in Beverly Hills where image is EVERYTHING hunnty and from time to time I will still get interesting looks, or comments from my boss letting me know, ‘wow, you’re making a statement with that hair’. Why does it have to be a statement? Why can’t I wear my normal natural hair without being stereotyped into being a rebel, or a feminist or a proud black queen? Why can’t I just be, and be good at my job?
I’m not allowing my curly hair set the standard for my work, my actual work ethic and demonstration of working hard and well is what I want to be known for and I’m going to take control of my image. Yes, they may be a little taken aback at first because you didn’t conform to corporate standards, but babygirl, I promise you, if you stand your ground and demand, through your work ethic, to be judged by how you work and not how your hair works, they will have no choice but to accept you as…well… you. Do not care what other people think, we need more warriors in the fields to continue to blaze the trail for the younger ones preparing to step into this world. Unfortunately, it is up to us to set the standard on curly crowns in the corporate world. There is such a stigma and negative connotation with curls, and I know it has a lot to do with the repercussions of slavery but just like there hasn’t been any rehabilitation provided for that psychological shift, there isn’t one for ethnic girls to accept themselves as they are and understand that they are beautiful too. Let’s face it, when America talks about a beautiful girl, they’re not talking about cute ethnic girls with kinky hair, we know exactly what they are referring too and I’m not that. I will never be that. And I love that.
Yah, sure, I could conform, straighten my hair and be a good little worker but everyone takes that road and no one is any better of a person. I have always been one to stand up for myself and make waves so this is definitely a lifelong battle I choose to fight. Yes, I love to play around with different looks but my curls are my crown and they have become a strong part of who I am. I cannot compromise who I am because of the standards society has set. I want to go against the grain, I want to give little girls hope, and I want to be a vision of inspiration to other.
I want to help change the world, one curly head at a time.