Joy’s Rant List, Volume 1 – Good Hair

(Originally posted on FB on Sunday, December 14, 2008)

I only write things when I want to rant, so when you see a note from me, it will be coming from anger, exasperation, or irritation. But bear with me…rant with me!!

Okay, this has been on my mind for a couple weeks now, since the last time I went to the hair dresser. For the first time in a long while, I let my stylist flat iron my hair, instead of my usual roller set. It was what he calls “Indian Straight”. After I left there, one of my friends who saw me complimented me on my hair, but then ended it with “but you got that good hair anyway.” …….(insert gas face)……..

I really hate that phrase. It bothers me on several levels. Enough that I had to get this off my chest. And I believe I will list my grievances in outline order…

1: Why is it that because I am light-skinned, people assume that I have this so-called ‘good hair’? The implication is that I am immediately descended from mixed races and therefore I must have inherited some gene for straighter hair from that ‘other race’ parent. Both my parents are Black. True, I have some Cherokee in my family about 3 generations back, but hell, who doesn’t? That hardly counts.

2: Why is it that people think that because my hair is long, it must be “good”, or rather, naturally curly or wavy? I assure you, it is not! TRUST me when I say that the hair running down my back is the result of technical advances in chemical relaxers, and a stylist that is the stuff of legend! (Shout out to Billi Geter!).

3: And why does long = good? Long is just long. My hair grows fast. Not because it’s ‘good’ but because I take good care of it. I don’t do a lot of damage to it. And let’s talk for a minute about hair growth – I play in my hair a lot and I wash it a couple of times a week. Therefore I stimulate my scalp frequently, and this leads to increased hair growth. Okay that could be a bunch of BS but I think it’s mostly true. Prove that it’s not (so there!).

4: Why is it that because I buy products from Ulta and not from Sally’s Beauty Supply, that I am accused of trying to be white? WTF?!?! Why is my choice of shampoo and conditioner a racial matter? I liken this to speaking correctly. I’ve been accused of ‘talking white’ too. But I digress. I buy the products that my hair dresser uses on me in the salon – i.e. SALON QUALITY products. I don’t use the $3.99 shampoo that you get in that small section of ‘ethnic hair products’ in the grocery store. I would say that there is nothing wrong with that, but there is – those companies have not been keeping up with the technological advances that I mentioned in #2, so they don’t get my business. I remember when Dudley’s relaxers were all the rage in college. But I would whoop my stylists AZZ if he used one on me now.

You know what? My hair IS good. It’s good because it’s TRAINED. My hair has been treated and styled in the same manner for so long and so consistently, that it knows how to fall, how to wrap, which way to curl. Each strand knows its role and plays it well. I think I will call my stylist my “personal hair trainer” from now on.

Rant Volume 1 done, and I’m out.

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