Thu | Oct 17, 2019

The fro still not so free

Published:Sunday | August 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Coir Connection
Coir Connection
Coir Connection
Coir Connection

It is the 21st century, but when it comes to natural hair, black women are still finding it hard to celebrate and accept it in its truest form. This is just one of the main issues that came out of Coir Connection by Patrine Joseph.

Panellists like Candice Williams spoke about her experience as a contestant in a local beauty pageant, and was asked to tame her hair.

"Tame? I was like, what do you mean? Because in my head, I was saying, my hair isn't wild to need taming," she told the audience.

She wore her natural hair for the entire competition and the woman who initially criticised her, told her that they liked her style.

"Even though I didn't win, that made me feel like I won, because it changed her perception of hair," she admitted.

Then there was the individual perception of hair with individuals asking how can one groom their hair to get the perfect twist out, or be socially acceptable. What exactly was good hair? The panellists - TV personality Empress Golding, lecturer and author Dr Lisa Tomlinson, natural hair enthusiast Candice Williams, and blogger Dayna Palmer - explained that a part of being natural is the different textures and accepting and understanding your hair. The need for ringlets instead of kinks still comes down to acceptance and the belief that straighter is better, and understanding that we are all different and all are beautiful.

Dr Tomlinson mentioned that this is not anything new, because black girls were taught that straightening (their hair) is better. This is why there are so many relaxers on the market and many children got their hair processed at an early age to make it 'manageable'.

While India Arie might have sang I Am Not My Hair, the conference showed that while we might not be our hair, our love for our hair in its purest form is important. Nothing is wrong if one wants to place it in a protective style, or braids, but it should not be due to the hate of what's coming out of the roots. Because you can't say you have love for self if you don't love every inch of you.