Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

GENERAL => Special Reasonings Archive => Topic started by: Nakandi on May 04, 2016, 11:50:39 AM

Title: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Nakandi on May 04, 2016, 11:50:39 AM
I do not know how I finally got to a point of examining my relationship to my hair as it is a conversation I have been intentionally avoiding.

When I was younger I did not have much say in how to wear my hair as the schools demanded very short hair. During the school breaks I had more of a say, but the anti-African I was back then too wanted the illusion of flowing hair so I would often opt for a braided variant. Since I was considered to have 'good' hair*, my cousins and the saloon ladies would see to it that it was constantly in a protective hairstyle when it wasn't braided. The focus on 'protecting' it made me grow up with the idea that I could lose it if I did not follow specific steps, and I would get 'bad' hair. So I would be dark skinned and small with bad hair.

*In Uganda good hair, munyerere, is the soft type that can easily be brushed. Bad hair, kaweke, is like the that of the Khoikhoi people.

At 13, now in Norway, my hair was relaxed for the first time. Mum used to do different hairstyles with my natural hair, but I always suspected that she felt it beneath her to be doing hair. She befriended a lady who did hair and put the fate of my hair in the lady's hands. I still did not know how to handle my hair, so I too trusted the lady. Besides, I wanted silky hair like my classmates so I did not object to relaxed hair. From 13 to 20 my hair was either relaxed, relaxed and braid or relaxed and weaved. At this point all I knew about it was that it was "too big" like my paternal grandma's and that it took too much time to set. And depending on what comb could be painful to comb. Like my complexion, it was a source of so much conflicting feelings. As I straightened the relaxed hair with curling irons I felt like I was rejecting myself. The worst kind of rejection I have ever known.

Since it was bringing me so much pain, I resorted to 'detaching' myself from it. I decided that as much as it was a racial marker, it was 'just hair'. I experimented with cutting it, used white hair products, blowing, curling, etc. This did not last long as it brought more sadness than relief. At this point I was also interacting with very snobbish white people who I was trying to fit in with, but knew I would never.  I decided to 'go natural'. I felt like I just had to accept the bad hand of cards I was dealt.

For the three years I had unloced natural hair, I did not take the time to learn it well. I was concerned with learning about the products that made it softer, less kinky, more curly and that would make it grow long and thicker faster. I remember using the products of "Mixed Chicks" during the first year. It was a bitter-sweet relationship. I disliked that the saloon lady (the one who gave me my first relaxer, who also used to give me free bleaching creams and later gave me slimming pills) recommended them, and I disliked that I wanted to distance myself from Africanness through my hair with the help of these products, but I still used them. It quickly took me back to how I felt when I flat ironed my already relaxed hair. I stopped using those products. I adopted other ways to alter my hair. I flat ironed it, did twist outs, head wraps, anything to avoid seeing my natural kink. I did not know that that is what I was aiming for then, I just knew that I was not comfortable with my unaltered hair.

Length has always been at the centre of talks about African hair and my expectations were no different. I had been used to my hair making leaps in length due to the braiding and unbraiding that I expected to see those leaps everyday when I had gone natural. I had not fully understood the phenomenon of shrinkage. All I observed was hair just becoming like a forest month after month, and it seemed to actually lose length. Like its growth had stunted.

I was so disappointed to learn that there are variations in (mono-racial) African hair, and I with my 'good hair' was on the kinkiest part of the spectrum. My locs would grow along the nature of my kink. About a year into my loced hair journey I decided to 'detach' myself from my hair again. "At least it is natural", I told myself. It would no longer be a source of self rejection. That wasn't true.

As I watch the 'natural hair movement' today, I wish my hair weren't loced. On further analysis I see that the emphasis is on curls not kinks and on length. It is not necessarily about accepting or being comfortable with oneself in the body they present. There isn't much information readily available about the different hair types, if it is not about how to alter it. This got me thinking of how even on the continent people do not know much about African hair. They have expertise on how to alter it, but not the hair itself.

A few weeks ago a lady I frequently interacted with in my teens said that she has never seen my natural hair. Then I thought, I do not think I have been around Africans with their hair in its most natural state over a long period of time. It is only last week that I thought to myself that my hair is a part of my body that I need to 'reconnect' with.

I am still struggling with the idea that hair plays a big enough role in self acceptance. I feel that it becomes political, and I am not comfortable with African hair being political. Is it political? What role does it play in racial identity?

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Ayinde. on May 04, 2016, 03:25:24 PM
I requested that Nakandi post this topic here for discussion. I am inviting all who have access to this board to participate.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Leanna on May 04, 2016, 05:04:10 PM
After reading this post I had a reasoning with Mr H. and coming out of that several things came up. In addressing hair issues I must first state that my approach is coming from a more privileged position.
I too have made observations of the natural hair movement and their preference for curls and not kinks, and their focus on growing long hair. However, because my hair type is what the natural hair movement caters to and I can find several of the popular and most subscribed to natural hair youtubers with a hair texture similar to mine, I was able to take and dismiss certain things they were presenting. This may have been easier for me to do coming from this more desired position. I do not buy into the hype of products and things to make my hair long as that is not what I am about.
Since I have always been more comfortable than most with my hair I could then look at the techniques and information being offered about growing your hair long or on altering your hair and focus mainly on what I consider useful information about understanding the structure of kinky or curly hair and also general hair care practices without making length my focus but rather on the health of my hair.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: leslie on May 05, 2016, 03:29:39 PM
Growing to appreciate one’s hair, especially kinky African hair, is one that many of us have to go through. There was a time when I absolutely HATED my hair and was happy to receive a chemical hair straightener after I begged for it for years. Within four years of straightening it, however, I made what I think was my first important political decision: to grow my hair out and cut away the straightened ends. This was after reading history and understanding how our colonial past influenced me hating what was mine, including the colour of my skin. Of course, that did not mean liking my hair texture over night; it just meant that I was going to deal with it because I understood the root of the self-hate.

While for me, my natural hair was/is a political statement, I know that many try to distance themselves from that. One often hears that “embracing natural hair” is not about reclaiming African identity. Most who decide to “go natural” suffer damage such as breakage from the chemicals and decide to grow their hair out in an attempt to save hair length or manage their receding hairlines. In fact, many of these natural hair “youtubers” as you noted do as much as they can to achieve long hair and manipulate their strands to gain hair textures associated with mixed hair. Many of them also flaunt their white boyfriends and husbands who “love them the way they are” along with their mixed race children, so natural hair is not necessarily about black pride. Further, many of them claim to wear their hair in so-called protective styles which, a lot of the time, consist of wigs and weaves.

I also hear another argument which states that kinky or curly hair is what grows out of our heads and, therefore, should not be politicised. While it is understandable that one may not want to politicise something that one was born with in the way that white folks have the privilege of not doing, in this current dispensation where non-African hair, followed by mixed race hair in order of waviest to curly types are preferred, then choosing to grow one’s kinky African hair can be political if one views it that way. That could only come with an appreciation of one’s history and a deliberate effort to appreciate one’s body in its natural state.

When speaking about hair, I, like Leanna, also have to speak from a place of privilege…texture, yes, to some extent given that it is not the kinkiest hair type, but more so its fullness and especially its length. Thus, despite the struggles with my hair, I feel that I need to be at the background of such discussions. Yes, I can give my history when it comes to hair, but less and less do I share my hair routine with people out there in society, some of whom may genuinely admire it (partly because it is in-your-face and you can’t not notice it), but mainly because it is long and thick. Most of them don’t see my hair as a political statement. But then again, for them to know this would mean me saying so to whoever I meet or by me wearing a t-shirt spelling that out.
I feel proud, given my past, which included dreaming myself as someone of a different race with long (or longer), flowing, straight hair, that I have learnt to embrace what is mine despite some difficulties still in managing it. I also had to learn that not all who stopped chemically straightening their hair do so for political reasons. But for me, many of the things I do and the decisions I made or make are political. To me, that is a source of pride because it means that I deliberately made some decisions which required a lot of thought, reasoning and courage.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Makini on May 07, 2016, 02:04:03 PM
I find it interesting that in different societies “good hair” is so relative. Nakandi, how you describe your hair as being considered “good hair” would not be the case in Trinidad. There is so much diversity in hair texture that your kinky hair, even if it was soft-textured would be considered on the bottom of the desirable hair type range which starts from straight to wavy to curly and then to kinky in that order.

Seeing school girls in Kenya with shaven heads brought to mind the ideas that hairstyles, hair texture etc. is a sort of badge, image or status that parents project through their children, more so in the West. Additionally, children themselves prefer more mixed or straight/straightened textures/styles if given the choice. In primary school, in particular, I remember the more popular children had “nicer” hair as in mixed race or straightened hair; if you were dark skinned, you would have had to “at least” have “good hair” to redeem you.

Hair length is also a topic of discussion here in Trinidad. This is so because long hair is still strongly ascribed to femininity. Thus, darker-skinned, kinky hair females with sometimes comparatively shorter hair, are seen as less feminine or less beautiful. From my observation, this is part of the motivation for many females to grow locks. A lot of hair length bias and beauty issues were instilled in me from visuals in many television cartoons and movies; Walt Disney’s Pocahontas and Jasmine were particularly impactful to my young mind, as well as the absence of popular images of African beauty.

There are definitely many layers to hair issues and racial identity. My hair texture is in between Leanna’s and Leslie’s, but being around many other part-European, mixed race persons; many Indians with straight hair; and many douglas (one parent African/one parent Indian); I also wanted to have “more curly” hair, or “naturally” curly hair. I did not want the kind that was only curly when wet, when products were added to it, or when physically manipulated.  Nor did I want hair that, after all the aforementioned effort, frizzed after a while. This was not only from my idea of how I wanted my image to be perceived, but from the endless comments and feedback I have gotten from others throughout the years.

I also agree that often, when persons comb your hair, they manifest their own covert racial biases in the styles they chose and in what products they use. However, experimentation with hair products is not a bad thing in itself if persons are informed and their motivation is unrelated to physically altering hair texture temporarily or permanently to gain more European or mixed raced characteristics. Relatedly, words such as “manageable”, “groomed” and “neat” are used to disassociate one’s self from one’s genes and used as an excuse to “tame” what isn’t actually “wild” but natural to many African hair types.  In other words, such language denotes Anti-African discrimination or rejection of African identity. After beginning to develop, and after a lot of reasoning, I started to redefine what was manageable hair for me, which is something that I am still developing. So my hair definitely has been very important in defining racial identity from my experiences.

I was also referred to Youtube and various Facebook pages as a source of information on hairstyles, but only after beginning the process of trying to understand colorism and becoming more conscious of the many ways it manifests itself. For me, it was quite quantitative. Colorism can be clearly measured on these sites because lighter skinned females with curlier, wavier, or straighter hair get far more views as well as likes, compliments and shares than darker skinned females with less mixed race hair textures. However, volume and length also show up as being desirable. Very dark skinned females with kinkier hair get the least views, with size also adding to the discrimination. This is also somewhat more glaring for photos on Afrocentric Facebook pages. I agree with what Leanna said about gleaning the useful information, but at the time for me, I could not or did not want to work through the discrimination and racism to get to the useful points. Generally, I preferred reading articles on hair which reduces some of the visual cues, physical features and behaviour that are normalized, petted or praised.

Once a Xhosa South African friend with very kinky, short hair asked me how she could get her hair to be like mine: curly. She wanted to know what product I used for her to achieve a similar result. Of course, it was not a product, but I understood her interest as a longing or desire that I also shared toward persons with curlier or wavier hair than mine in the past. She told me she spent 800 pounds for the human-straight-hair weave for her wedding to her white European male. She said that it physically pained so much to put it into her hair but “it was worth it.” At that time, I was looking for hair products and I remembered I could not fathom spending 16 pounds for a container of hair grease.

Years after, reading the post “Fake or Free” (, I began to understand aspects of my own hair privilege, similar to Leanna and Leslie. I learned that my not strongly desiring altered hairstyles like straighteners, braids or weaves, was associated with my curlier, more socially-desirable hair texture. At the time, my not spending large amounts of money on hair products was not because I had a better worked-out position, but because I had less societal pressure to present my hair in a socially-acceptable manner (internal pressure is another story). With this realisation, I also saw my older brother’s choice to Jheri curl his hair (which was markedly kinkier than mine) while in secondary school, in a different light. At the time, I was now forming ideas in my head that repeatedly chemically altering my hair was not a healthy self-image. Looking back on that time, I appreciate Mr. H’s comments that having African content, and more history content on a whole in my school curriculum, may have helped me to better form my ideas of why straightening my hair was a form of rejecting my African identity. Now I can truly appreciate that choosing to stop straightening my hair at 16 years old was a political decision.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Leanna on May 07, 2016, 11:33:20 PM
After reading Akilah’s post I had a conversation with Mr. H and he asked that I share some of it here.
I can relate to some of the things Akilah explained. She stated that she not spending a lot of money on her hair, or not having a strong desire to straighten or alter it, was not because of a better reasoned out position but because there is less societal pressure on her where that is concerned. The same applied to me. For the most part, my hair is accepted by the general public in its natural state.

However, maintaining my hair now is costly.  This is so because I try to purchase products with the least chemicals while ensuring that I understand the ingredients my hair likes and dislikes.

Akilah pointed to the fact that me having preferred hair made these videos easier to watch. Being brown skin further contributes to this ease. I had no struggle in looking at the videos to get information as I wasn’t thinking about racism or colorism at the time.

I am not sure how I feel about me watching those videos and not be overly affected by the racism and colorism in them.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Nakandi on May 08, 2016, 03:16:44 PM
I appreciate all the views shared here. Reading through the replies I got some thoughts that I would like to share, for perhaps further development.

Due to a smaller diversity in races in many continental countries, the race related concepts tend to be a little different from diasporan definitions. However, I find that they all represent the same thing; anti-Africaness. Of all the continental communities I have been part of, any kind of hair that doesn't look like the Khoikhoi hair is 'good' hair as it is step away from a very African trait. There is of course a hierarchy of 'good' hair . Another difference I have noticed is what continental Africans attach to length. Before it is about femininity, it is about whiteness. When I was growing up length was married to straight hair, and/or hair that 'falls' naturally. These were characteristics of non-Africans, notably the white female. When a person with munyerere hair (good hair) grows out their hair, the 'beauty' in it is said to be its resemblance to white hair.

Language used about kinky hair is indeed another anti-African outlet. Whenever I braided my natural hair it was because it was 'hard' to manage because it took so much time and I had to study for exams (eye roll). That might be true to some people, but I know for me, the anti-kink hairstyles I wanted were what demanded that much more work. It became harder to manage if the style wasn't at all suitable for my hair. Because I could not achieve the flawed looks I desired on most occasions, I deemed my hair unmanageable. 

The non-kinky haired (and light skinned) YouTubers getting many views has led to a growth in hair product variety for their hair types and the competition has led to cheaper prices too. It is thus harder to find reviews of products that could be better suited for kinky hair, and when found they are quite costly. This continues to make experimenting more challenging. Although I know that people are usually more willing to spend a lot of money on the upkeep of non-kinky hair...

Leslie, this is how I am understanding what you said about hair being political. That it isn't the hair itself that is political as it is the choice to wear it natural.

Continuing on the topic of it being political. What I eventually gathered from the "4C" YouTubers is that making that political decision does not necessarily mean that one likes ones hair. What this has created is a pseudo pro-African self love movement, where kinky hair is okay when not kinky.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: leslie on May 09, 2016, 03:39:52 PM
Nakandi, yes, hair in itself is not political; but it is more than choosing to wear one’s natural hair that makes it so. For example, some religions may require “modesty” which may entail one not straightening or overly styling one’s hair; it could be that one may feel that one is too old to indulge in hair straightening and thus stop processing it; it may be because one can no longer afford to straighten one’s hair; one may fear losing length due to chemical damage; and the motives can go on and on ad infinitum. These choices are just some of the reasons that I’ve seen, heard or observed why people wear natural hair.

Natural hair being political is about knowing how one can be perceived by wearing one’s hair in its natural state, having an (historical) understanding as to why the very hair that grows out of one’s head may be seen as anti-establishment or controversial, not conforming to or resisting Western standards that continue to promote racism and colourism despite possible fall-outs and criticism, and being very clear about that choice. Of course, people with the kinkiest hair types have the ability to make the biggest political statements or can have the deepest political impact depending on their motives.

In my view, making a political statement about one’s hair does not automatically translate to self-love. Like for me, it can be a first in many steps towards it.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Leanna on May 09, 2016, 08:04:09 PM
Nakandi said: “The non-kinky haired (and light skinned) YouTubers getting many views has led to a growth in hair product variety for their hair types and the competition has led to cheaper prices too. It is thus harder to find reviews of products that could be better suited for kinky hair, and when found they are quite costly.”

Certain products may be popular among YouTubers with non-kinky hair; however searching for reviews about hair products based on hair texture is a common mistake. Certainly products are used more commonly by people with a certain hair texture. However, from my research and experience in dealing with my own hair, texture is not a main determinant in buying a hair product, many people believe that. However, factors such as porosity of your hair, the natural colour of your hair, if your hair is protein sensitive, the weather (persons alternate products based on seasons) and your work place -- if you are in air conditioned rooms for a long periods -- are some factors to consider.  Based on some of these factors you may want to avoid or opt for a humectant like glycerine as well as avoid certain oils or butters when choosing a product.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Nakandi on May 10, 2016, 10:07:01 AM
Leanna, I am indeed one of the people who fell for the trap of texture dictating hair product choice. Which on further thought is a bit of lazy thinking given that people with kinky hair tend to have a combination of textures, and this is true to me.

I recently took to learning about the physiology of hair. In addition to the factors you listed there, I found the role the endocrine and exocrine climate play intriguing. In that those two factors alone can change how one's hair reacts at different times to a product, in identical settings. I have a number of unfinished products that once did what I wanted for my hair, but then stopped. I have concluded that the change could have been brought on by my inner climate change.

It might not be a political or noble lesson, but there is a tranquility that is coming with me learning about the nature of kinky hair. Seeing images of how the kink forms and understanding the phenotype a little better came with an acceptance (I did not expect). Understanding it on that level makes the colonial way of grooming I was taught simply unnatural and nonsensical. 

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Iniko Ujaama on May 10, 2016, 07:24:16 PM
When I grew up most adult females had their hair chemically altered or in braids. A few had locks. In fact I could only think of one (who had locks) and when I first saw her she had just come out of prison. Most males had their hair in one of the haircuts of the time, high top fade or whatever else. I remember as a little boy wanting a high top fade like an uncle of mine. Was also my first experience that I remember of wanting to be like someone other than myself.

To a large extent, hair was connected with age. For young males like me, our hair was usually cut at home and it was usually a simple plain haircut. For young females, they wore their hair natural. The distinctions for females was in the intricacy of the styles they wore and how they adorned their hair (all the accessories). For females, long hair was admired and drew attention from both males and females. I remember having an experience in Standard 3 (I was about nine yrs old) with this girl I was attracted to (she had come in from Barbados). At some point, her parents cut her hair and then I did not want to be seen with her any more.  

For  us males, who had the ''baddest'' haircut was the standard. There were few people with straight or wavy hair and for the most part they were not admired as such because for other reasons they were not considered desirable (either they were less economically well off than most of us, and most of us were not) or were unkempt. I remember two people in my class over my many years in primary school who could be considered Indian, one male and one female. There was nobody I encountered who was white. Everybody was different shades of black(very light to very dark).

A lot of the talk about hair at school, home and in the community was around the degree of kink in the hair and you would hear words like ''knotty balls'', ''corn curls'' and ''steel wool''. Back then I thought of the first two as something that happened to your hair if it was not ''properly combed''. Of course steel wool spoke about the the difficulty people found with managing Africa hair.

 As I moved up in age and into Secondary/High-school (which coincided with moving to a new more diverse and higher class neighbourhood (as well as being in the city more) I began to see more of the bias toward so called ''nice hair'' in which females with ''softer hair textures'' got more attention or were talked about more. There was also some of that where the lighter skinned and wavier hair males were concerned. However these were still few in number and associated with certain(middle to upper) classes. Many of them that I knew would socialize in spaces that I would not usually be unless invited. While I was aware of these differences I did not give much thought to them for a number of reasons: 1. Those who fit the aesthetic were relatively few and were considered outsiders in other ways 2. I was fairly confident in myself and used other standards to judge who I wanted to interact with both male and female. I also had my biases where upper class people were concerned so I did not make much effort to socialize with them.  

 I was also surprised to find out that females and males with whose appearance I saw no problem and even found beautiful were considered undesirable and sometimes felt that way about each other. Later on especially on attending school in a place(UWI in Trinidad) where there is a much larger population of ''nice hair'' and ''light skinned'' people I realized that I had not gone past these biases where hair (and other features) was concerned even if it was masked behind or within or mixed up with other standards that I used in sorting my interactions.

When I began to grow my hair and at some point decided to wear it in locks I had other experiences with it. For most of my life my standards of hair was about style and I usually took that from the TV and my peers. Later on I came to see growing out my hair as a form a freedom, not so much making a statement by doing something I was entitled to do. I started wearing locks very hesitantly. I saw it as representing Rastafari which I saw as a group which had suffered a lot of indignity and persecution for wearing locks. So I did not feel comfortable just randomly putting on locks without having some appreciation or connection with that movement. When I began to have some awareness of myself as an African and started better informing myself I decided it was okay for me to wear it. People had their own interpretations of it all based on views they had about Rastafari. Eventually I found it was a bit stifling to interact with persons already assuming their know your position of everything or projecting their attitudes toward Rasta on me. So I cut it off.

These are some of my experiences with hair personally and in terms of interaction.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Ayinde. on May 17, 2016, 12:41:37 PM
I could identify with what Nkrumah is saying.
My earliest memory of paying attention to hair was back when Afro hair was in style; my hair never grew like the most popular big, fluffy Afros around. For me, that era mostly celebrated the hair of mixed race folks who had the biggest Afros. I wanted a big Afro, but eventually accepted that it was not for me. The hippest guys back then were brown skin to light skin in complexion with big Afros. Dark skin, very kinky hair folks (as well as lighter skinned ones with kinky hair) had to plait their hair to stretch it out in order to sport a big ‘fro which still collapsed after a while.

I once had a girlfriend who was a hairdresser; she used an iron comb in my hair and I finally had a big Afro for that brief period. The fact that she had to apply heat to my hair to achieve this appearance bothered me, so I gave that up. I accepted that I could not have that look and reverted to my normal trimmed look which I remain fond of.

I always had a feeling that I was ordinary—not very attractive, but not ugly . . . just okay enough. Therefore, I surmised, many things were not for me and not having the most popular features was not a big deal.

When enquiring about hair products, beyond the petroleum jelly which my mom introduced us to, I was often told that such and such a product would make my hair “soft”. This always confused me. What is soft hair? Are all people’s hair supposed to be soft? Who decided that we should all have this soft hair? Why is soft hair so desired as opposed to however my hair was? I just did not get it. These questions bugged me so I just stuck to the basic products I was introduced to as a child. To me, once my hair could easily comb and shine a bit that was good enough, and that was easily achieved with Vaseline, especially since I mostly kept my hair short. Other times when I grew my hair, I still never understood what soft was supposed to mean.

When I was younger, around five or six, my family and I resided in a mostly African community with few mixed race folks who were not seen as special as they were mostly ‘poor’ like the rest of us. It did not occur to me that they were to hold a special place in the society until I moved out of that community into a more middle income one where there was a wider range of races and colors. There I was quickly introduced to the social pecking order of white, over red, over brown, over black. I remember thinking how fortunate I was to be able understand these hierarchies that we were boxed into which would not have been that obvious had I remain in a predominantly black community.  

Growing up, I suspected that most people in my former black community did not really get how much this color hierarchy influenced decisions that affected their lives and the development of the community.  It is easy to see how many people could believe they are not bothered by racism, especially residing in a country where Whites, a numerical minority, are hardly seen. Racism was viewed as insults about how one looks by people of other races. It took years to grasp that racism also included the demeaning attitude members of the same group have towards their race and, more so, the general negative perceptions and conduct people have against their own selves.

From about seven to eight years of age I understood which features were desired and which were not and even so, I was not overly bothered. At that time, I liked observing people and learned the most from quiet observation and contemplation. Most of the ‘hip’ dark skin Africans I observed in our mixed community smoked marijuana and did not behave smart either. They were usually the foot soldiers for getting the drugs and alcohol for the mixed and white youths and were the ones who got arrested. It was in these formative years that I thought whatever they were smoking could not be good.
Anyhow, back to the topic of hair. Although I understood that my hair was not the preferred type and I could not have the big Afro, I was comforted by the fact that the size or length of my hair did not determine my intelligence. Back then, my attitude was that people could be prejudiced as much as they wanted as long as they did not bring their crap by me.

I never struggled with hair issues, but I can appreciate that hair is a bigger issue for women as it is tied to notions of femininity and beauty to a far greater extent than with males. But, I still don’t get the soft hair bit.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: leslie on May 30, 2016, 03:38:47 PM
The video below is of another hair perspective—a male one—about having kinky hair.

Natural Hair Story: "I LOVE MY NATURAL" 4C hair & 4D/5A Hair PT.1 (

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Nakandi on June 05, 2016, 09:05:02 AM
The texture of hair the person has in this video is the exact definition of 'kaweke' I mentioned in the first comment. It is seen as 'dead hair'. Only homeless people wear this kind of hair unaltered in Uganda. That is hair everyone is socially entitled to comment on as they wish. It is the absolute opposite of 'white' hair, so the absolute mark of genetic inferiority.

I recently retwisted my locs after many weeks of not doing so. I was trying a hair style that seems to only work in the manner I want it to when there is minimal growth, as it is 'easier' to manipulate the locs then. I generally do not like the 'neat' look, where the scalp is visible, but after retwisting I tend to like the feel of my hair. I hadn't paid too much attention to what this feel was, but it is the reason I retwist my hair even though I do not like the final look.

I had watched the video posted here before I attempted the hairstyle I was going for. While I looked in the mirror and pictured the guy's hair, it dawned on me what the feel was. When the growth is controlled, my hair moves in all ways white straight hair does (and ways kinky hair doesn't). This is another side to learning MY hair that I need to incorporate. The information that blasts in media about how healthy hair behaves is that it bounces and sways and is generally mobile. I just need to get it into my subconscious that these are not qualities of my kinky hair and that their absence doesn't mean my hair is not healthy.

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Leanna on July 15, 2016, 10:12:07 AM
I found this article sums up some of the things that I check for when buying a hair product. In checking for these and other things I am wotking out what works for my hair and what to avoid over time and experimenting with different products. (

Title: Re: (My) Kinky hair
Post by: Iniko Ujaama on August 11, 2016, 07:56:14 PM
A Male View From the continent 1 of 3]
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"Hair Conversations in the Caribbean" Episode 3: Natural Hair in Africa (A male perspective) Part 1