Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nappy-headed hoes and other musings

So I posted the following on Facebook this morning. "Lord forgive me for calling that girl a "nappy-headed hoe" last night. Although the name was astonishingly perfect, it still doesn't excuse me being mean." Surprisingly, I received a lot of feedback so I figured I would post about it here in more detail.

First of all, let me make it clear that I do not dislike nappy hair. I've been wearing my hair natural my whole life. It started with my mother not letting me get a perm until I reached a certain age. By the time she let me, I didn't want one anymore. Needless to say, I've been a "nappy-headed hoe" my whole life. I was natural before it was hip. I was perm-free before it became a badge of honor for everyday card-carrying Black Nationalist. When I was in my early teens people would continually ask me "So when are you going to get a perm?" and "Don't you think you're getting a little too old for the curly hair thing?" And then they'd try to use positive reinforcement every time I got a blow-out by telling me "You look so nice with straight hair. You should keep it that way!" My conservative Jamaican aunt would continually ask me if I'd combed my hair that day and my even more conservative 90-year old Jamaican aunt sincerely expressed concerns about why I was growing dreadlocks (I was not growing locks).

Even with those comments, I think most would agree, my hair has always looked "put together." I have always worn my natural hair extremely neatly. It's probably due to the fact that I cultivated my natural look in a time without much acceptance for natural hair in almost any state but I have always been obsessed with looking neat. Honestly, if I walk out the house looking wild, I have always secretly believed I looked akin to a runaway slave. I'm not even gonna lie.

That being said, I don't think that every girl who wears her hair natural should wear it conservatively. One should express their own personality with all aspects of their style. My personal penchance for structure (read:anal retentive OCD) is clearly expressed with the way I choose to style my hair but I see lots of women who wear a more whimsical style beautifully. For the record, I'm learning to break out of my strict Caribbean upbringing by letting my hair wild a little more often. People always respond with praise to my wild hair days.

Needless to say, I am not biased against a little wild nappyness. What I do not like is a woman who figures that, because her hair is natural, WHATEVER she chooses to do with it is a good look. Let's be real here. God made us naturally beautiful but he gave us hands for a reason. They should be used to arrange one's hair on their head in an aesthetically pleasing form. At least that is what I believe. I am tired of girls using natural hair as an excuse to come out their house looking tore up. These women are giving natural hair a bad name.

I bumped into a girl like this last night. Actually, she bumped into me. That's why she became the object of this post. To be honest, if she had never started bumping into me and my friend repeatedly and unnecessarily while dancing off-beat and flailing her horrible hair in our faces, I would have just regarded her as a poor girl who hadn't quite mastered her hair yet. But it was this bothersome behaviour that made her the target of my ire and thus christened her "the nappy-headed hoe."

There were actually a number of nappy-headed hoes at the party I went to last night. I'm not surprised as "The Freedom Party" is pretty much their scene. I have nothing but love for The Freedom Party. I am now officially too old to be going to parties where the DJ is going through the top-played 10 Hot 97 records of the past 10 years. The Freedom Party is where music lovers come to church. It's a party where everyone is focused on the music and they're singing along to every word.

This party attracts a different crowd. At their best, they are naturally beautiful, intelligent positive people of color who want to go to a party with a good vibe and not have to hear about bitches crawling from the window to the wall with skeet skeet skeet on their backs getting superman'd and all other types of ignorance. At their worst, they attract a bunch of self-righteous negroes who believe their education and enlightenment give them the right to look down on people whose hair doesn't look like a bird's nest and don't feel the need to always wear earth-toned linens and "I *heart* my hair" tees to prove they love black people.

Last night, the balance was off. There were some beautiful positive people there just having a great time dancing to the music but they were overpowered by a number of nappy-headed hoes who looked like they ran out of moisturizer before they finished their hairstyle so they had to pretend that's how they meant to look. The particular young lady that I took issue with looked as if she actually worked hard to make her hair look dry and trashy. I wish I had a picture but I'll try to paint a picture for you all. The hair was dyed reddish brown. A hair color that you think only still exists in a Blaxploitation film. It's definitely not a modern auburn. I don't even think this color comes in a box. It looked like she poured scalding hot water on one of my mother's sweaters from the 70's until the color began to bleed and then soaked her hair in it. I didn't know hair color could be vintage until I looked at hers.

Anyhoo, the hair looked in need of a wash. It wasn't curly but it wasn't knotty throughout. Just at the ends, like she had attempted to run a comb through it but gave up and only succeeded in pushing all the naps to the end. Is this a style? No, seriously. Because I'm seeing a lot of women with this and it honestly looks like they didn't finish combing their hair. Anyway, it seems that once she gave up on "combing it through", she then haphazardly placed a few bobby pins in various parts of the hair with no rhyme or reason. Furthermore, I don't even know what she was attempting to hold with those pins. What resulted was a badly clipped, un-sexy mess.

Maybe the bad lighting did her wrong. If that's the case, I sincerely apologize to that nappy-headed hoe for so harshly judging her. Unfortunately, it's more likely that she was just a nappy-headed hoe. And in accordance with her "free spirit" hairstyling, this black lovechild was swaying back and forth like she was auditioning for Alvin Ailey and not in the middle of a packed party in a Brooklyn basement.

The first 10 times she bumped into me, I thought, "Fine. She's having a good time and has a loosely held concept of personal space. I'm not gonna get angry because this is a party of positive people."  Seriously, I really have to talk myself down in these situations. I have an anger management problem. This is my self-help. But after being bumped and pushed around for a half-hour, I could make no more excuses. This nappy-headed hoe was about to get it.

So, I pulled out the comb I usually carry around in my purse for moments like this and placed myself behind her carefully so I could be perfectly poised for the task at hand. I waited until a song transition when my nappy-headed friend would undoubtedly hesitate before failing at an attempt to catch the beat of a new song and grabbed her by the forehead. I tackled her and pinned her down to the ground like a wrestler or like my mother used to do me on Sunday nights after a laborious whole day of hair-washing and proceeded to run a comb from the roots of her hair to the ends. But alas, the task I had taken on was more than I could have ever imagined. The comb would not move. The hair was much too dry. So I called for back up.

"Joanne!" I cried to my friend. "Please grab that spray bottle and carrot cream from my purse!" Joanne gave me the tools I desired and I went to work. My nappy-headed friend didn't know what hit her. By the time she figured it all out I had moisturized and combed those ends, rearranged those sadly placed pins and made this child a woman again. I let her up (I had been holding her down this whole time) and she slowly and incredulously placed her hands on her hair. Smiling slowly, she realized what had been done and thanked me. The young man dancing with her thanked me even more for she had been assaulting his face with her dry-ass hair. I put my tools away and went back to dancing, secure in the knowledge that I was changing the world, one nappy-headed hoe at at a time

Disclaimer: I shouldn't need one because this is my blog and I can be as ign'ant as I want on here but I love black women and I want to make sure that it's clear how much I love natural hair of all textures, fully support black women going natural and have never used the n'word (nappy) so much in my life. Please know that I have no problem with nappy-headed hoes. I have a problem with dry-ass, lazy hair-styled hoes.