Clueless

Adj. Having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.

Synonyms: oblivious, ignorant, unobservant

See also: Stacey Dash.

Some prominent Black actors are debating the need for a boycott of the Academy Awards after no Black actors or actresses were nominated for many of this year’s categories, including Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. While Jada Pinkett-Smith and Janet Hubert were going back and forth about this issue, Stacey Dash decided to throw in her two cents on the debate. In a segment on Fox News, she argued not only that a boycott of the Oscar’s would be “ludicrous”, she also stated that “..we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET awards” in order to get rid of segregation. To top it off, Dash also stated that we need to get rid of Black History Month.

As many of my professors would say, let’s unpack this.

Dash believes that having awards ceremonies solely dedicated to Black artists is segregation. The fact is that ceremonies such as the Image Awards and the NAACP awards, and channels like BET, came about because Black actors and artists were not being represented and recognized in spaces that were supposed to be integrated. Black artists noticed this, and to compensate for the lack of representation and the denial of the recognition of excellence that came from Black films and Black works, they made their own.

Moving on, let’s dispel the notion that racism will magically disappear if we get rid of Black spaces or anything that specifically highlights Blackness. I repeat, getting rid of ceremonies that celebrate Black work and Black talent will not get rid of racism. To think otherwise is to be unobservant of the dynamics of the entertainment industry. The Academy is not going to suddenly work harder to nominate Black actors and actresses for awards if the Oscar’s are suddenly the only awards show we can participate in. Black artists will have to work even harder to receive any recognition and exposure, and even then there is no guarantee as to whether or not they will receive it.

Black awards shows deserve their place in media just as much as predominantly White ones. If Black excellence is not being celebrated at the Oscars, we have every right to bask in it at the Image Awards. Same with BET, the NAACP, and any other organization that wants to uplift and recognize Black artists doing great work in an industry that still presents so many obstacles to their success.

And as for Black History Month, that is staying. It is crucial for everyone to learn this history and it clearly isn’t being taught well enough in the other eleven months of the year. So for the sake of pursuing a better education, I’m just going to say a flat-out “nah” to that claim.

*sigh* Celebrities really are wild nowadays.

-Ash

#WasteHisTime2016

I really thought pettiness would take a short vacation after the new year, but I was mistaken. Silly me, I know.

Just when I caught my breath from the #NewYearNewMe tweets that flooded my TL and soon-to-be-broken resolutions on Facebook and Instagram, a fresh wave of pettiness came in the form of #WasteHisTime2016.

Before I say anything else, I want everyone to know how much I love Black Twitter. I think it’s incredible that so many people who have never met can bond over shared experiences so unique to us. We broke the internet over Christmas, Thanksgiving, for the Oscars, and on random days just because we wanted to talk about growing up Black and being Black on campus. Not to mention #MelaninOnFleek and #FlexinMyComplexion. I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s lit. And 2016 is no exception.

From the very beginning, I was here for this. The shade, the sarcasm, the clapbacks, all of it. This, to me, is yet another way I can bond with people I’ve never met over shared experiences. I scrolled through every chance I got, thinking “You too, girl?” with many tweets and crying real tears over others. I laughed so hard because some of these situations had happened to me and my friends down to the letter. I finally knew that no, it’s not just me. With some tweets I could think of at least five guys who fit the description.

As with anything that women do, especially Black women, there were some haters. The Boys of Twitter fired back with #WasteHerTime2016 almost immediately.

Wanna know the irony of all of this? You know, besides the fact that some of these tweets are really just from #WasteHisTime2016 but with different pronouns…

Let’s ask Twitter.

Ah, the fragility of the male ego. It’s a wonder. So many men got hurt and offended by this trend when really…it was literally us pretending to be them. Same behavior, same dialogue, everything. And some of them, and even some women, were maaaad.

This amuses me for a few reasons.

  1. Some men actually do believe that every woman who uses that hashtag will actually set out to waste some poor man’s time. They really do think we’re all that vindictive.
  2. The best clapback some of these dudes can come up with is “Keep it up and you’ll be single for Valentine’s Day.” This just means I won’t have to share my chocolate with anyone, so honestly I’m not pressed.okay

Thankfully, some men get the point of the hashtag.

Some argue that petty actions like this are what’s wrong with our generation and will keep us from finding love in the future. Do I think it’s true? Maybe. Am I still here for this trend? Absolutely. And if means that some guys get their feelings hurt after getting a taste of their own medicine, then that’s fine too. After all, change doesn’t come from a place of comfort.

The bar has been set pretty high for the year in less than ten days. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Ash

My Time in Boston

I didn’t quite make it to Harvard, but my time in this charming city was pretty satisfying. Mom and I arrived mere hours before Christmas and spent a few days exploring and relaxing with family. DSC_1826The Atlanta heat decided to tag along with us and Christmas day was rather warm, but it made taking pictures in the park at night a lot easier.DSC_1838DSC_1836DSC_1833Remember when I said that I would do some bad eating over break? I achieved that goal in Boston. Plenty of pizza…20151227_181958.jpgsweet desserts…20151227_184648.jpgand pretty coffee!

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I’m a sucker for latte art.

Not pictured: enough eggnog and junk food to last me until next Christmas. I forgot how much I missed Oreos.

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20151226_120020.jpegMom and I braved the 30 degree weather to visit Boston University.20151228_145038.jpg20151228_144221.jpg

This was one of those sobering, oh-wow-I’m-actually-going-to-be-a-real-adult-soon moments. Armed with a cup of coffee and my mom’s sound advice, I considered what Boston life would be like. Easy summers, more people, winters that were less bitter than I expected but still a big change for a Georgia peach like me. I’m sure that life will lead me to a big city one day, so could I see Boston as home?

Maybe.

In the downtime and on rainy/snowy days, we watched movies on the couch all cozy and warm. My favorite way to spend a lazy day, with some of my favorite people.

I think I could learn to like Boston, if that’s where I’m destined to go one day. I can’t wait to go back!

What did you get up to over the holidays?

Sunday Dinners

Today around 3:30pm, I started daydreaming about Sunday dinner with my family. It’s not uncommon for me to daydream about food around this time on a Tuesday, especially because it’s in the middle of a three-hour writing workshop (I may have to petition for 10 minute breaks because five minutes is not enough time to get to the nearest bakery and back). Usually I dream about the tacos I just had, and today would’ve been the right day to mentally craft a menu for next week’s Thanksgiving dinner. But instead of turkey and pies, I was caught up in thoughts about my mom’s cooking on random Sundays for no other reason except the fact that I could make it home that weekend.

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Every so often in high school, I would make the three hour trip home with one or both of my parents for a weekend. Usually these trips served multiple purposes: sometimes I got my hair done, occasionally I went to dances with my friends, and on those special rare weekends when I wasn’t swamped with homework, I spent my days shopping with my mother and evenings watching Family Guy and Comedy Central with my dad. No matter what we did on Friday and Saturday, Sunday would eventually rear its ugly head. We went about our day slowly, trying to savor as much time as possible before it got too dark outside and my dad would have to drive me back to Birmingham. DSC_0713

After scrambling to pack everything I’d brought home, clean my room, and finish the homework I’d abandoned, my parents and I would sit down to one of my mom’s famous Sunday evening spreads. She almost always made fried chicken just for me, and the mac and cheese had a special flavor that I can only describe as a Jamaican mother’s love.

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Steamed vegetables and sweet potato went from plate to stomach as we joked at the table. Funny stories turned into life lessons, and serious incidents were interrupted by bouts of uncontrollable laughter. DSC_0046Time always went by too quickly during these dinners. While my dad loaded the car, I would help my mom rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher. If I lived at home, the dishes would’ve been my responsibility, but Sunday nights were reserved for wine and catching up on tennis matches my mom had missed during the week. No matter the season, I would look out at the setting sun in the kitchen window and think, “I never want to leave.”DSC_0045Things are busy for me in college, so even with the closer proximity to home I can hardly find the time to escape for the weekend. I look forward to the moments when I can surprise my mom one Friday night with a visit, and we can spend quality mother-daughter time in Shondaland with wine and popcorn. And even though next Thursday will be the day we devote to a big family dinner, I can guarantee we’ll cook up a storm on Sunday morning. For now, popcorn and mocktails will do. And do you want to know the best part? I don’t even have to rush back to school!

Hang in there, everyone. Thanksgiving break is just a week away!

-Ash

Brunch and Blue Skies

I was missing home last weekend, so I snuck back for a night. Mom was so happy to see me, even though I spent half of my time doing homework. We went out to dinner in matching shirts (she refused to let me take a picture but I will get her one day *evil laugh*) on Friday. I sat in her bed pretending to write a paper later that night while she watched some of our favorite shows: Scandal, HTGAWM, and Born Again Virgin. I’d never seen that last one before, but now I’m hooked. Also, the lead actress is pushing 50 and doesn’t look a day over 25. Melanin, ladies and gentlemen.

Sometime while I was sleeping, my dad came back from work, and we all had a giant brunch the next morning.

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Pictured above: croissants, a veggie frittata, salmon with peppers, a giant fruit salad, baked sweet potatoes, and plantains. I wish I could say I helped with the prep, buuuuut not this time. This was all mom.

I tried to talk her into mimosas, to no avail. Pineapple and orange juice work pretty well together too, so I’m not complaining.

After a few hours of writers block, I went back to school and responsibilities. Work, rehearsals with my a cappella group, a 14-page labor of love paper, and enough reading to satisfy me for the next few weeks (but I get to do it again next week yaaaaay!).

And to top it off, it was raining. Almost all day, every single day, since last week. I thought it would never end. But today as I rushed to the shuttle for my 8:30 class, I saw the cotton candy colors and a big bright thing in the sky. The timing couldn’t be better; even though I have a Spanish exam tomorrow afternoon, rehearsal again tonight, and more work due before I can truly relax, at least the worst is over. I beat my Hell Week. And if this is the worst, then I’ll gladly take it.

-Ash

Getaway

I just got back from vacation. My family and I, along with my best friend, got away to Destin for some much needed R&R. For those who don’t already know, I love going to the beach. Whether it’s in Maine or Montego Bay, I am so rejuvenated when I feel salty breezes running through my hair and waves crashing against my legs. It happens every time without fail. I dig my toes into the sun-warmed sand and close my eyes, and I forget about everything. I wade out until the water comes up to my neck and wraps around me like a warm blanket. image Leaning my head back, I let the water cover my ears so that I can only hear stillness. Tiny fish float between my fingers and I can just barely hear hermit crabs scuttling near my feet. The sun warms my face and I close my eyes, grateful for the peace and quiet…. …then my dad splashes me in the face, and I shoot up, coughing and sputtering. The moment may be gone, but my batteries are fully recharged and I’m incredibly happy. Plus, dad promises to buy me ice cream later. And how can I get mad with a frozen dairy treat in my future?

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I think going to the beach and being in the ocean is good for every aspect of my health. I always feel at peace afterwards and ready to take on whatever life throws at me next. My mind is clear, and I am so happy. Also, the extra color I get in my skin is always a plus. So thank you, Destin, for making me better. I’ll be back soon 🙂

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Our Threatening Existence

I don’t get it. Every time, it gets more confusing. They’ve gone from pursuing legitimate criminals to manhandling defenseless children. These kids don’t have weapons. These kids aren’t hurting anyone. These kids ARE hurt. Yet by simply existing, they are at risk of being attacked and then being told that they deserve every bit of abuse they’ve received.

I’m not talking about one specific incident, because it happens far too often. But I do have that young girl in a bikini on my mind. I’m thinking about the cop that dragged her to the ground as if she were a full-grown man and pinned her down even though all she could do was lay there and cry. Words were her only weapons; “This is wrong”, for some reason, was as threatening to that cop as if she’d pulled out a knife. Thank goodness she wasn’t carrying a water gun, because who knows what could’ve happened to her. At least she’s alive. Probably scarred, hurt, angry, and afraid, but alive.

I can’t say the same for Tamir Rice. All it took was two seconds for him to be found guilty of being a threat as he played in the park. I can’t say the same for Aiyana Stanley-Jones. She threatened an officer just by sleeping on her couch. Tanisha Anderson? Her greatest crime was having a mental disorder, yet that was enough to condemn her. And I can’t say the same for Trayvon Martin. Who knew hoodies, Skittles, and bottles of iced tea could be so dangerous?

I wonder what it is about us that makes us so threatening. It confuses me when strangers clutch their bags and move as far away from me as possible on the street or on a shuttle, or even as I sit on a bench with a frappuccino. I have done nothing to threaten a stranger, but the color of my skin does more than enough. If anything, shouldn’t I be the frightened one? If I can see in your eyes that you are judging me, or even condemning me for something that I can’t control, don’t I have a right to be scared and clutch my own bag? And if I have that right and I’m STILL not threatened by you, then what’s your excuse?

I wonder what it is about Black people that makes other people try so hard to justify our mistreatment. It blows my mind when I see or hear people aggressively try to defend George Zimmerman, or when they bring up a victim’s criminal record from the 70’s. Yet these same people will try to find any reason to have mercy on a suspect who is a few shades lighter. I don’t care how sweet the serial killer was in elementary school, what their favorite color is, or what shows they watch on Netflix. A serial killer is a serial killer, just as a boy carrying Skittles is a boy carrying Skittles on his way home. I’m tired of the second-guessing and the insinuations. These were not gangs at a restaurant killing each other. These kids are not serial killers. There are kids. So why are we treating them like adult, seasoned criminals?

Back to Black

Sometimes I wonder if there is truly a ‘best’ way to raise a Black child that allows them to treasure their Blackness, to know that it is something precious and wonderful and something to be grateful for. I’m sure there are many great ways to do it. I’m just as sure that it’s possible to forget this part of upbringing even with the best intentions. I guess it’s hard to really know if you’re not a parent or caring for a child.

When I named my blog Nigra sum, which is Latin for “I am Black”, I didn’t know all about the deeper meaning. For my 10th grade music history project, I chose to present on Palestrina, one of my favorite composers. My teacher gave me a CD with a mass, Nigra sum, to present on as well. The music was so beautiful that I would spend hours listening to the mass on repeat. It stuck with me for years, and still does to this day. It gave me a sense of inner peace and strength when things got tough, so I thought it would make a good name for my new blog shortly after graduation. Nigra sum is still a perfect fit, but for a new and different reason.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I had an incredible foundation when it came to loving my Blackness. Growing up in West Philadelphia provided daily opportunities for me to feel like part of a group, be it with my family, neighbors, or friends. I never felt like the odd one out, because just about everyone looked like me, and those who didn’t still treated me with respect. My very first elementary school, though private, was predominantly Black and I had Black teachers from ages 4-9. They taught us Swahili; my dad still laughs about how I would come home singing a song about numbers that he didn’t understand, and how I would try to teach it to him. They taught us history; not just American history, but African-American history just as frequently, if not more. Everywhere I looked I saw posters for different important figures: Martin Luther King, Jr, Madame C.J. Walker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Jessie Jackson, to name a few. I knew their accomplishments, their beliefs…in some ways, I felt I knew them. I was surrounded by Black excellence all those years, and taught to live up to those standards. I was taught that Black lives mattered, that my achievements were just as valid and worthy of being celebrated as anyone else’s.

When I left my first school, I spent a year at a charter school, again among a predominantly Black student body. This was my first time being taught by non-Black teachers. There wasn’t a sense of home and belonging in this place, no sense of my history, and other than a handful of friends, it was hard for me to adjust and feel accepted. I’m sure part of it was due to the fact that many of my classmates had gone to school together for years while I was just one of the new kids, but I don’t think that was the only reason. I missed talking about important figures in Black history, past and present. I missed learning about Black things, Black cultures, things that I could identify with, even though I enjoyed learning about things foreign to me.

Moving to Georgia after that year in charter school provided me with so many new experiences. Southern culture was so foreign to me; it was something people talked about in the North but never really explained. That year, fifth grade, I found myself in the most diverse class I’d ever encountered. My teacher, who was Black, made me feel welcome, and so did a number of my classmates. I think this healthy mix was good for me.

But not all of my peers were so kind. One spring day, at recess, I heard the N-word for the first time. Said to a Black boy in another class, by another Black boy. I don’t know the context, I just know they were arguing and out of nowhere came, “Shut the fuck up, nigger.”That still sits with me, because the boy who said it didn’t say it in the way most Black people say ‘nigga’ today. He said it to hurt someone else. He said it to make them feel angry, dirty, and ashamed. I still haven’t quite figured out why. I knew what the word meant, of course; it’s hard to learn a certain amount of Black history without needing someone to explain it. But I think that was the first time I ever considered skin color to be a bad thing in someone else’s eyes. It was my first experience with anti-blackness.

Throughout middle school, I began to lose touch with my Blackness. As I got into more advanced classes, usually taught by non-Black teachers, the number of Black students shrunk. The only places I could really interact with Black kids in a social setting were Homeroom, Orchestra, and any extracurriculars that I did outside of school. When I became First Chair of my viola section and joined the Chamber Orchestra, I was practically alone. I was attacked, with increasing frequency, for things I couldn’t control: the way I spoke, the clothes I wore, the music I listened to. Never mind the fact that other Black kids were in the orchestra too; I was singled out because I actually liked classical music. I may have been the Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook, but for the most part everyone preferred to take direction from a White student. I won accolades, but they barely meant anything to me because so many people told me that I only received them because I was Black…and I was starting to believe it. By the end of eighth grade I felt so alone, and I began to wonder, “Is my skin color a mistake?”

I wish I could say that high school was different. I wish I could say that I learned to love my Blackness again, that I found my confidence, that I blossomed. I did well, but I was far from Black culture. The only Black adults I encountered cooked food in the Dining Hall or cleaned the buildings on campus. Out of over 250 students, I don’t think the number of Black students ever went above 20-25 any given year. I still got the “You talk like a White girl” comments, and now I got “You’re not even a real Black girl” from Black and White classmates alike. No, really, I would walk on campus with some of my Black friends and hear, “Oh look, here come the Black girls…and Ashley.” It was a confusing time, because I didn’t know if going to a school near home would help me any more than sticking it out would. My teachers were wonderful and understanding, but they didn’t really know how to help me with these situations. Eventually I found happiness again, but not without suffering a lot of micro- and macro-aggressions along the way.

Towards the end, in my last semester, I stopped caring. I had college on the horizon, my DREAM college to be precise, and I couldn’t care less about the negative opinions people had about me. I started to really think about what made me happy, and without even realizing it, I started to love natural hair. I had always shied away from it because I didn’t think my natural hair looked good before I started relaxing my hair, but I started entertaining the idea of going natural after graduation. Why shouldn’t it look good on me? Why shouldn’t I embrace what God gave me? Of course the rest is history (although if you’re curious you can read about it here and here). I don’t want to say that I cut my hair just to prove my Blackness, because I didn’t, but cutting my hair did help me become more confident and grow to love an aspect of my Blackness.

Along with thousands of other reasons to be scared and excited about meeting new people in college, I had anxiety about meeting new Black people specifically (not to be confused with New Black people). I was afraid that I would be judged before I had the chance to really show who I was. I didn’t want my love of classical music to turn people away because I still loved reggae and hip hop, too. But I was scared for nothing. The Black community at my university has been incredible. I’ve met so many supportive, caring, funny, successful people who know what it’s liked to be judged for the color of their skin, the way they spoke or dressed, the neighborhoods they grew up in. In spite of everything, they continue to be great. I’ve learned so much from them, and I’m so grateful for the acceptance and love that I’ve received.

I say allllllll of that to say that I’m finally comfortable with my Blackness. I could never see it as a mistake, and this time I know that feeling won’t go away. I’ve also realized that there isn’t one standard of Blackness. It’s deeper than accents and music preferences. It has to be felt in a way that I can’t really describe. I’m not sure if I had one defining moment where I embraced my Blackness. I think it just happened over time as I started pursuing things I had always loved. I found that comfort by celebrating the amazing things that come with being Black. I give thanks for my gravity-defying hair, my full lips, and my curves. I give thanks for Black history, music, food, and culture. I celebrate the special kind of resilience that comes with being Black, the kind that allows us to pursue greatness regardless of the obstacles and prejudices we face. I’m thankful for the knowledge that the color of my skin is a blessing, and that it is a source of strength and pride.

Nigra sum, et formosa. I am Black, and beautiful.

Ashley

Reflecting

It’s been a while.

Not much has happened since Christmas, despite all of the elaborate plans I made for the rest of break. My cousin went back home to prepare for her semester abroad in Germany (Sham, if you’re reading this, I have one thing to say: chocolate) the same day I went back to Emory for the start of my own semester. Most of our post-Christmas days were spent napping, cooking, watching TV/movies together, and sharing stories about our family. Sham is my cousin on my dad’s side and she’s close to a lot of relatives that I’ve either never met or have very little memory of, so it was great to finally connect names to faces and events. So even though it wasn’t the exciting Winter Break that I always imagined, I think this is exactly the break that I needed.

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All good things must come to an end, I guess. Now that I’m back at Emory and have started most of my classes, I can safely say that this will be a straightforward and enjoyable semester. At the very least, I like a lot of my professors, and some of them are a lot funnier than I expected. From conversations about Frozen and how it ties in to mythology (I had no idea about the story of the Snow Queen) to the excitement of creating my own species account….I just feel so ready to dive into my studies this semester. That’s saying a lot, especially since I’m taking my first PE class in almost five years. I’ve always wanted to try cycling, and after doing it a few times I’ve realized that I can easily reach my fitness goals by taking this class. Plus, a little sweat never hurt anybody.

I think that this semester, I will truly be able to show what I can do. It feels so good to be excited about school again!

 XOXO,

Ash

Natural Hair For White Women- A Naturalista’s Response

So I just stumbled across an article called “Natural Hair For White Girls” and it got me thinking. Normally I wouldn’t go so far as to write a blog post about someone else’s article, because everyone has the right to say what they want to say. And I’m aware that this author is known for writing satirical articles. But I would hate for someone to read this article and get the wrong idea about natural hair, so I decided to put in my two cents.

First, I don’t like how the author proclaimed that American women “belong to one of the most statistically oppressed groups of people in the entire world”. Yes, many American women take society’s views of beauty very seriously, and standards of beauty are almost everywhere in the media. But no one is forcing us to adhere to those standards of beauty. No one has ever forced me to put on makeup or straighten my hair. No one has taken money from my wallet and told me where to spend it and what to spend it on. I like to think of advertisements, and the media in general, as friendly suggestions. As an American woman, I have the freedom to make my own choices, as opposed to women living in other countries who have little to no choice about what they do. We have the freedom to adhere to society’s standards, and we have the freedom to ignore them. I can’t speak for all American women, but I certainly don’t feel oppressed when it comes to my hair or my beauty routine.

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Second, I don’t understand how the Natural Hair Movement excludes White people. I may be new to this, but I thought the goal of the Natural Hair Movement was to help people learn to love their natural hair. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard my White friends wishing for their beautiful curls were straight or for their beautiful straight hair to be wavy or curly. This is not to say that White women are the only women that do this; I and plenty of other Black women have wished for a texture other than our own. I’m sure women of other colors have felt the same way from time to time. Loving your natural texture/color/look is something that shouldn’t be exclusive to one race.

As for natural hair being a slap in the face to White women…..first of all, what? Second, maybe this is just the Black in me speaking, but I personally that this ‘slap in the face’ is nothing compared to what Black women see in the media EVERY DAY. We can’t go a day without seeing some image of a beautiful White woman and being told: “THIS is the image of beauty that our society has, and THIS is the standard of beauty that you should adhere to.” The message is hardly ever that explicit and you might say, “Oh, no one takes it that seriously.” But think for a second about all the little Black girls who want White Barbie dolls instead of Black ones because they think the White ones are prettier.

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Think about the slightly older Black girls who want to be White when they grow up and beg their mothers to let them chemically relax their hair so they can stop being teased at school. I know; I was that little girl. I relaxed my hair at age 11 because I was so desperate to ‘fit in’ and for people to like me, and because I thought my natural hair was ugly. It’s no picnic, and I always wish I could take it back and not have to spend years growing out my hair and healing the damage. You, as a white woman, are lucky; as long as you’re safe about it, you can achieve the look you want by straightening or curling your hair, and it will LAST. It will last more than a couple of hours (less if it rains that day), and if you don’t like it you can wash it out and go back to being natural.

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The part where you mocked the bleaching and relaxation process may be the only part where satire worked for you. A lot of ‘relaxed’ Black women don’t realize how potent the chemicals in relaxers are and how appalling it would be to see these chemicals out of context of ‘creamy crack’. (check out this clip from Good Hair, if you’re interested .)

To finish, Ms. Mullen, I understand why you admire us Nubian queens (as you put it). Personally, it’s such a blessing to feel so liberated and confident about my look. Your two Black friends, Acura and Delicious, might be inclined to agree with me, based on your observations. I hope that one day you can feel the same confidence as us Naturalistas, and I hope you find the strength and confidence to start rocking what you were born with, learn to deal with the things that frustrate you about your hair (because let’s be real, Black women aren’t the only women to be frustrated with their hair), and REALLY start to ‘smash the patriarchy’.

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-Ash