Dear Black Girl, Your Hair Is Beautiful!
Once upon a time there was a little girl from Canarsie Brooklyn with a big curly Afro. Her mom would not let her get a perm even though all of her sisters, friends and classmates had relaxed hair. She admired their silky smooth wraps and resented her puffy hair and it’s inability to lay down flat. She lived for the special occasions, where she would have a press and curl.
The little girl didn’t stress too much because she figured when she was a little older surely her mom would allow her to perm her hair. She turned 10, 11, 12, 13..still no perm. She then went to high school and EVERYONE’S hair was fried, dyed and laid to the side. There was no #teamnatural, she was the only member of this team. She would straighten her hair but after a little heat and humidity her hair wouldn’t lay down as smooth. You know, sort of like when Gabby Douglas is at the Olympics kicking behinds and taking names and her beautiful thick textured hair begins to show it’s glory.
I’m the little girl and the hate thrown at this “Final Five” member hit close to home. I know what it feels like when your hairstyle gives out on you and I used to hate it so much. Now, I love it. It is apart of the versatility of black hair. Our hair is straight, it’s curly, it’s flat, it’s puffy, it’s prone to dry, it’s super moisturized, there’s levels to it! And it’s the bomb! When I look at Gabby competing in the Olympics, I see a strong, beautiful, hardworking young woman giving her all to her craft. I see black excellence. I see a fly chick. I see a gorgeous brown toned to perfection body. I see inspiration.
And in my opinion, her hair ALWAYS looks great. Whether it’s laid on the cover of Essence, or breaking a sweat in Rio. I think all stages of black hair are beautiful. But I guess for society to agree, Kim K will have to wear a wig and call it a “boxer braid out” first.
As for me, I finally relaxed my hair around 16 years old…and cut the relaxer out around 21-22 years old. I was over it, bored with it, upset at the damage it had done to my full thick curly locs. I have not put a perm in my hair since and I enjoy the many options that come with naturally kinky hair. Blow outs, braids, twist, I’ve cut it into funky dos and now I’m growing it back out.
A lot of the response to the Gabby hate has been "let's not focus on her hair", but I feel like even if the focus IS on her hair, let's recognize the beauty of it! And Congratulations Gabby Douglas! It is an honor to watch you make history!