We were all taking a lunch break in the conference room and three of my colleagues, one Nigerian male and female, and one African-American female, got together, strategizing on how to climb higher on the success ladder. As one conversation rolled into the other, the African-American female stared at me and noticed something different about me, omg is that all your hair? you look nice sean (seun). Mind you, I’m a chronic wig addict/wearer and this was the first time my natural hair is exposed around my colleagues. The Nigerian male then responds, “why would you say such a thing, I’m a man and I know what I’m saying, turns to me and continues, please don’t be offended but your hair looks haggard.” All the attention was diverted to my hair within seconds with my pupils dilated to about 7mm and my jaw relocated to the floor. The African-American female then fires back on my behalf with her head twirling on her neck….why would you say such a thing, omg!!! that is so rude.
My natural hair, about 10-11 inches was tightly tied in a pony tail and then into a bun with a side part pinned down past my right hair to prevent potential strands flying off. I’m not even sure what his definition of haggard was but it dawned on me that he might just be referring to the kinky curly texture of my God-given, unrelaxed and unpressed hair. Although the apology flew as fast as his ignorant remark. He conveniently swam deeper into his pool of ignorance when he mentioned that he knew the look I was going for but the whole natural hair movement is not my thing. One of the most painful aspect of maturity is concealing one’s rage, however, I refuse to let my rage contradict my positive character.
I’m really not the type to sit and make hair a controversial topic, as it’s all vain and have little significant on my modified Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. However, the thought of a grown educated man referring to another person’s hair as haggard baffles me. I’m pretty much aware of the texture of my natural hair and the ignorant remarks was not a surprise as he is not the first on the list. The other Nigerian female then chipped in, well maybe you need a keratin treatment. Well may be you need to focus on your chopped off edges, was my first thought but I decided to refrain from the pettiness and asked, she might just have good intentions, sistah support maybe? but my expectations fell flat.
Me:Well why would you think that
Nigerian Female: Your hair is thick and nappy, i’m sure you cannot get a comb through
Me:I’ve had an experience some years back with the dominican salon and I’m not so sure i liked the experience as my hair suffered from some heat damage. Plus humidity will restore your hair to its naturally kinkiness anyways so why apply more heat.
Nigerian Female: That’s probably because you went to a cheap store and they have no idea of what they are doing. My sister has natural hair and she gets a Keratin treatment all the time with no problem
Me: ok wait! its only an expensive salon that can perform miracles on my hair or me and your sister are biologically related that our hair reacts the same way to the same products. oh alright but this is my hair on my head, (fake smile) ok. I am the one carrying it and would love to leave it the way it is.
Nigerian Female: Well I’m just saying, you’re the one complaining about the thickness and all, you might as well relax or get a keratin treatment
Me: Hmm hmm
African American Female: I know that’s right (in her Tamar Braxton voice)
At this time, my blood was beginning to boil under my skin. How come people seem to come up with their own rules over something that has little to no effect on their lives. I thought to myself, not everyone with education is literate enough to have an open mind to accept views different from theirs. Another mind bugger is the fact that my naija peeps were the first to condemn my hair. More than likely, we have the same hair texture, if they ever decide to grow it out naturally, but no judgement here.
I have experimented a lot with my hair to know what is good or bad for my hair or its overall health. I don’t necessarily get mad when people come at with their various recommendations or opinions. However, what drives me nuts is when they repeatedly insist on doing what they feel is right for my hair. Get a treatment!, get some highlight, colors, henna, relax that sponge on your head!, girl if i had your hair i would do this and that. Are you kidding me in this life that we live??? To those who inspire to go natural, please learn to shut out ignorant comments. Most of the time, I don’t dispute that they have good intentions or comes from a good place, however you are in charge. And to my relaxed babes, please don’t be under any pressure to go natural, especially if you cannot handle the pain of the detangling process. As long as its neatly kept and worn appropriately to suit the occasion, whats the fuss about:)