I’ve had this blog post topic on my mind for quite sometime now, but wasn’t too sure how to approach the post and logically arrange my thoughts. I’m still not completely sure, but I thought enough of holding back and it’s about time I addressed this topic once and for all.

For as long as I can remember, the somewhat convenient attacks ranging from ‘you’re wearing horse hair’, ‘you want to look like a white woman’, ‘you don’t love yourself’, ‘black women that wear weaves are ridiculous’ have popped up time and time again when different issues are being discussed within the black community. Even if the topic itself is not hair related at all, somehow the comments above and similar concepts will be used as a ‘weapon’ to undermine anything said by a black woman. Essentially you can’t speak about white supremacy because you wear weave, you can’t comment about cultural appropriation because you wear weave, you can’t express your opinion on colorism because… you guessed it you wear weave! It’s unoriginal and tiresome and almost suggests that wearing a weave is a crime and something that should banish any black women who wear weave into silence!

Where does this stem from? From the notion that if you wear weave you’re hiding your natural hair and not embracing your true self. I’m going to break this down, to say ladies are hiding their natural hair is a sweeping statement. In terms of hiding your natural hair, there are plenty of ladies who wear a weave for different reasons, some find their hair grows more with a weave, some because they find it more convenient, some because they want to change up their look and some simply because they prefer weave. In terms of wearing weave meaning you’re not embracing your true self, I think that’s extremely simplistic as a viewpoint. To play devil’s advocate does that suggest if a non-black person uses tan, corn rows their hair or chooses to wear a weave (which does happen) that they’re not ’embracing their true self’? Furthermore, there are ladies who wear weaves which are in fact similar to their natural texture, so where does that place them? Funnily enough I know men who will criticise black women wearing weave, but have blonde hair dye, purple hair dye and waves in their hair – that’s not natural now is it? But it doesn’t matter in my opinion, because experimenting with different styles isn’t an issue. The fact that hair is being so policed makes me wonder where our priorities lie.

If we spent the same energy we invest on telling black women ‘off’ for wearing weave on the economic, social and political issues facing the black community such as: the lack of self dependence due to fairly low levels of black entrepreneurism, our lack of representation and influence across various sectors and the divisions which continue to negatively affect our community, that would be in my opinion far more productive.

As someone who currently has braids and has had braids since June, I guess I’m qualified to speak at the moment? But as soon as I decide to change my hairstyle and wear weave, I instantly become an unconfident black woman with self-hate issues? The logic is just ridiculous. People should be free to change their hairstyle as they please without the scrutiny and psychological diagnosis that other black people feel so pressed to label them with.

To the black men, please mind your business and stay consistent with your views, rather than saying one thing but doing a complete U-turn. A typical example, anonymous black man makes the statement ‘I don’t like weave’, but approaches a girl with weave, adores the video vixen with weave, all his ex-girlfriends have / had weave and to top it off he typically won’t look in the way of a girl with natural hair. There are so many first hand scenarios I can touch on, one girl in my 6th form class was a naturalista who had her natural hair out most of the time, she wore a wig once or twice when we were going out clubbing. She said she could instantly notice the difference in how she was perceived and approached by black men, the same black men who insist they hate horse hair weave – we were 17 then laughing at the pure stupidity of it all and how it just doesn’t add up. I’m 25 now and still laughing.

I also remember an awful incident when I was 22. I was out with my girl Sacsha, when this guy approached me (we’ll call him N) and we got talking. Fast forward a week or so later, we were out on just our second date, when N had the audacity to start quizzing me. The multiple choice quiz opened with ‘How long have you had this hairstyle?‘ I had a weave at the time and answered confusedly ‘Do you mean this particular weave?‘ He responded ‘No how long have you had weave for? Do you usually have your natural hair out, I prefer girls with natural hair‘. I was baffled at the nerve of this stranger to tell me this nonsense. Firstly I decide what I want to do with my hair, I don’t give a damn what N prefers and if he wants a girl with natural hair, don’t approach me whilst I’m wearing a weave, go and find a girl with natural hair! The next day when N asked when I was free to meet him next, I let him know I wasn’t interested in seeing him again. I don’t have any desire to interact with hair police officers, thank you very much. Can you see the double standards and confused state of some of these men? My brother was upfront and said he likes weave, others have also been honest and said they like weave as long as it’s neat and well kept. The men saying one thing and then doing another should take a leaf out of their book.

Not too long ago in June last year, whilst I had braids, a guy approached me and we got chatting, then he made the comment ‘I’d like to see your real hair‘. I literally rolled my eyes at him. Even braids are under scrutiny now, not just horse hair weave!

In conclusion, if you’re a lady who wants to wear weave, do your thing sis. If on the other hand, you’re a lady who chooses not to wear weave, that’s fine too. However, that doesn’t make you superior / woke and put you in a position to snub other ladies who choose to wear weave. In my opinion, we are not defined by our hair choices. If it’s not the hair on your head, please do mind your own business.

Lola I

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