Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Growing Up Black...

Recently I was reading an article on Kurleebelle titled “Are You Afraid to Date Guys with Nappy Hair?  Afraid That Your Kids will Have Nappy Hair,” and it opened my eyes to examining not only what skin colour means to me but how growing up as a woman of African descent has shaped these views not only on my skin colour but my kinky natural hair. Even though my younger sister and I were both born in Belgium, we grew up in post-apartheid South Africa which coupled with the fact that we were black and from a foreign country didn’t always meet us with the nicest remarks  It was during high school that I was made painfully aware of my skin colour and all the features that either made me too African or not African enough, before then I never really thought of my skin colour as anything that would hinder me. I had this massive crush on this white guy we’ll call him Mr. W and I did what every crazy girl would do and told him, I had already planned out the wedding, the cute kids who would have curly hair and the gorgeous house. I was brought crashing down to reality when Mr. W and his friends threw sand at us (huge chunks) and banana peels at me and my Indian friends, like we were zoo animals, it was then that I understood the analogy behind black face and being portrayed as though we were apes. I went the opposite direction and instead of embracing my features, I wanted to erase them, my relaxed hair which was still in it’s “healthy” stage was replaced by the 16” Yaki perm weave.

The first guy I dated Noël had the most gorgeous head of curls, that was probably what drew me to him and even though I usually vomit at this cliché, he treated me like an African queen (ok I just threw up a lil’ bit haha) and suddenly my big ol’ African butt didn’t bother me so much and my big lips and eyes became features that I still would not trade for anything. When we broke up it hurt but I never regretted it because I didn’t have to alter any part of me to fit into a mould. The weight of all that weave was too much for me and I eventually cut my hair to a short crop with a bang, this only fed my addiction to the creamy crack, because my hair was so short, whenever I noticed even a millimetre of growth I relaxed it. Even though it was such a crazy hair schedule, I found it liberating because already I had forgotten the notion that only long hair was beautiful. The sassiness that the hairstyle had made me feel like I was such a badass and could take on the world regardless of my skin colour, I started accepting my black and unsurprisingly enough became more drawn to guys who had that black heritage in them, black pride was starting to creep into my heart.  Fast forward to when I moved to London and all of a sudden I was responsible for doing my own hair (without my mother’s supervision) and I realised that the more I radiated the glow and happiness of being comfortable in my own skin, the more compliments I got. London is probably what prompted me to going back to natural hair because I didn’t like that feeling of not wanting to see people whenever I didn’t have my weave on.

Having natural hair has lifted the scales off my eyes, I’m never going to dog black men again, a good one does exist, as black women we just have to be patient with God for that Boaz. I never specifically tell God how I want him to look, just that I want him to have muscles, be taller than I am and also smell good (easy enough right.) If God sent me a combination of Laz Alonso and Idris Elba right now, I’d be set for life! For me a good man has never had any colour attached to him so I definitely wouldn’t be afraid of my kids having “nappy” hair, heck I’d be thrilled to try out all these mixtures I have brewing in my head, there’s only so much shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil that I can put on my hair, preferably a girl so I could practice my twist outs :-p In order to accept a man that’s either dark skinned or light skinned and their nappy hair, you need to accept your black, whether you’re a cocoa, mocha or caramel. How many other races have such a wide colour range from the most beautiful honey coloured complexions to the sensual dark chocolate beauties? Only my strong black race! (Side note, I forgot who that ridiculous psychologist was but I would so beat him up right now, not that I’m pro-violence or anything ;-) let him try to call the popo on me!)


  1. great piece....awesome picture choices :D

  2. Thats a sad story, I have to say, I love being black but i hate my hair, even though its a good length i always keep it in extension curly braids


  3. @socialitedreams: thanks Vonnie
    @SusuanaLove: I have to be honest even I still have days where I hate my hair (when it refuses to co-operate) but it is something that I grew to accept over the years. I still always have braids as my back-up.

  4. Great post! Natural hair is beautiful! I´ve been natural for almost 8yrs. And first time in this blog:))

  5. Thank you Athena, I hope you enjoy the blog :-)


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