Here at COCO, we’re all for open dialogue and the eradication of ignorance—but sometimes we’ve just had enough.
To Whom It May Concern: Stop coming at us (and our hair) like we’re some anomaly. “Hair is like religion and we each have our own rituals,” cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis once said. Respect our rituals. We aren’t obliged to justify them. Here are ten things we’ve had to explain about our hair (to our men, White peers/co-workers, even other Black women) . . . and ten reasons why we’re over it!
1. “No, you can’t touch it.” What gives other people the right to come and stroke our manes like we’re Chia Pets? And the request is usually rhetorical because before we can even respond we’ve got someone patting or running their hands through our kinks and curls. It’s just plain rude.
2. “No, it didn’t grow 10 inches, wavy and light brown overnight.” Seriously. Why is the concept of a weave still so foreign to so many people? Everyone from Britney to Beyoncé wears extensions. So if we decide to change up our look over the weekend, please don’t ask us how did our hair grow so fast.
3. “No, it’s not a weave.” Believe it folks, Black women can have long hair! Gasp. No extensions needed. And you don’t have to be “mixed” to have a lengthy mane. I’ve seen women with the tightest kinks and chocolatiest skin to the loosest curl and lightest hue all with bra-strap-grazing strands.
4. “I don’t need to wash it every day.” Caucasian and Asian hair get visibly oily after a few days, but Black hair receives little oil from the scalp and gets dry and brittle if it’s washed every day. There’s nothing unclean about us not washing our strands everyday. It’s just unnecessary.
5. “My locs aren’t dirty.” When starting locs, you may have to skip the shampoo and conditioner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rigorously cleanse your scalp. Yes, locs are subject to buildup more so than loose strands, but there are ways to clarify them and rid of buildup like ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses.
6. “Yes, I need to wear a headscarf at night.” Women of all ethnicities would actually benefit from wearing one. Beyond keeping a “wrap” or “doobie” in place, a headscarf reduces follicle damage. And if your man is giving you a hard time about wearing one to bed, tell him the sofa has his name on it.
7. “But my locs aren’t permanent.” Locs aren’t any more permanent than a “perm” (hello?) is. If you get bored, change your mind, want to change up your look, you can grow them out first or instantly take the plunge and do a “Big Chop.”
8. “My fro is NOT a political statement.” Some women just love their natural texture or think it’s more convenient to wear. Not every one with an afro or natural hair is trying to make a proclamation of their Blackness or even wants to be labeled “Afrocentric.”
9. “My locs are versatile.” Just about anything you can do to loose strands, you can do to locs. You can make them curly, straight, cut them into cute bobs or color them.
10. “I don’t relax my hair because of self-hate.” Not every Black woman with a perm or a weave hates her natural texture. At the end of the day, it’s not about what’s on our heads but what’s in it. You want bowl bangs with blond streaks because you know you’ll rock the hell out of it? Then go for it. If you don’t think you “need” a perm or weave to feel attractive then it’s just hair.