I have natural hair.
A big ass. Sexy. Afro.
I am an Arab girl. With an afro.
This is my coming out.
Because in the Arab world, as with every other ‘white obsessed’ culture, whiteness and sleek, straight hair is celebrated.
My grandmother has black silky hair to her butt.
My brothers have ‘good hair’
Silky soft, beautiful locks.
I, the only girl in the family, decided to go and grow a fro.
While everyone else chemically alters their hair, and pretends their hair is nice and swishy.
I decide. To flaunt my fro in front of everyone.
My mother, needless to say, was horrified.
My brothers, do not know how to deal with it.
They have spent years being told, that sleek and sexy is the definition and bench mark for ‘Beauty’
These last couple of weeks, I spent at home with my three brothers.
They had no idea how to react to my fro.
My oldest and youngest brother just ignored my hair.
To be fair to them, they had never seen my hair in its natural state.
Neither had I, since I was 11!!
So being the polite, well raised boys they are. They ignored it.
Ignored the tumbling mass of curls peeking from under my cap, like they couldnt see em.
They did not say: ‘ Hey QQ, your hair is different what did you do to it?’
Not one comment.
My other middle brother, however, bless his misguided soul….
Told me to go to the salon.
Lord help him!
You can understand what kind of crazy I unleashed on him.
I had been waiting. Waiting. Waiting. On someone to comment.
And here comes this unwitting brother.
Telling me to go to the salon?
AND THEN. AND THEN. Has the audacity to start giggling with my mum about how HE is the one in the family who has GOOD HAIR.
I saw red.
I unbraided my hair (it was in twists)
Fluffed out my fro into a MASSIVE thing.
And came at it, all hissing and spitting.
I put my ‘Shaniqua’ on.
‘GOOD HAIR? GOOD HAIR?’ I SAID.
`God gave us all different hair. My hair is like this. How God saw fit in his wisdom to make it. You want to say God was wrong to create me this way? Do you?? You think my hair isn’t nice? I need to go to the salon to fry it into some kind of limp chemically altered poor excuse for hair? Do you now? Well TOUGH!! This is MY hair. Its on MY head. Deal with it!’
Yes. I was all up in his face like a black girl on an American drama.
He looked like he regretted opening his mouth (good)
And I think he realised what he had said was bang out of order.
And I like to think I schooled him.
I will not let anyone tell me otherwise.
I have worked to accept myself with this hair, in a world where whiteness, and sleek, straight hair is lauded.
I have worked to conquer that low self esteem that drives every woman to the salon every month to get a relaxer.
I shall not let anyone mess with that.
Least of all my family.
My mother gave up trying to convert me back into the world of the creamy crack (what we ‘naturals’ call relaxers)
Well, not entirely.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my natural hair.
I love that it can be curly. Or straight. Or an afro. Or a sexy up do.
I love that I can do my own hair.
I spend hours twisting it, braiding it, having rollers in it, deep conditioning, henna-ing, trying different products.
I love that I am not reliant on some stupid salon to make me feel good about myself.
That I do not worry about my ‘kitchen’ showing.
I don’t worry about my ‘real’ hair coming through and making me look horrible after a few months.
I really, really, really, don’t worry about people making me feel like I am not beautiful because my hair isn’t bone straight.
Or that I do not fit into their expectations of what a real ‘Arab’ should look like.
I have an Afro.
Its my hair.
Deal with it.