My beauty is something that everyone that doesn’t have melanin wants. They would go tan, curl and crimp their hair, and even try every protective style in the book to look like me. Yet when we have children that are in South Africa protesting there right to wear the hair that God gave them and grown women from the black community are talking about Blue Ivy’s hair texture, we have a major problem.
Alicia Keys decided to stop wearing make up and everyone thinks she weird for doing so and the sad thing is….she looks more natural than half of the women in the industry and younger as well! So whats wrong with the “No Make Up” movement but yet we are okay with the natural hair movement?
Why is it that a black women’s beauty considered a fashion trend? Why can’t we as a collective enjoy what the good Lord gave us? Let little black girls and teens have the chance to understand that their beauty is something that no one can take away from them. Let these young ladies see positive representations of what it really means to have “Black Girl Magic” and use there talents to affect there communities.
I just want to say thank you to the young black girls that are in South Africa who are protesting for the right to wear there natural hair in school. They are really showcasing “Black Girl Magic”.
All I can say is let black girls live! Let us live please! We come in all shape and sizes, colors and complexions, along with hair textures. Quit telling us we can’t be black when we are black. Stop saying our Box Braids, Kinky Twist, Afros, Curls, Coils, TWA, Weaves, and any hairstyle that we decide to wear isn’t considered to be beautiful and take that same style and call it a “trend”. Protective styling is not a trend! It’s a way for us to change up our hairstyles and make sure we “protect” out hair from the wear-and-tear of constant styling that our hair goes through. Let us enjoy who we are, let us support us. Empowerment comes from within, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Representation is always going to matter, Black beauty matters!
I was once asked on tumblr a question from a white (or not person of African decent) a question about a topic that I had a strong issue with. Looking in my inbox this person asked, “How do you feel when you see white women, or other women who aren’t black, wearing box braids? Does this make it cultural appropriation?”. At first, I was stuck on this question, and I thank this person for asking this question. I know people wear Native American, Latino, Middle Easter, and various Asian costumes during Halloween, along with many white fraternities and sororities wearing blackface with “Kanye Western” or “Compton Cookout” party themes. People have spoke out about this issue saying that this is “cultural appropriation”. For some who don’t know this term, this usually means another non ethnic culture, usually the oppressor, taking various different elements of the oppressed culture, and making it usually relate or reinforce negative stereotypes for example,the concept of blackface.
Now as black women, we have this magical gift of changing our hair to whatever we want it to be. And one of the most common is Box Braids, a type of hairstyle statement that has been around since ancient Africa and variations can be seen in different parts. Now that this style is making a comeback, being phased as “Poetic Justice Braids” or “Patra Braids”, every black women has rocked a pair of box braids with little gold or wood beads either shoulder length or all the way down their back. But now this simple hairstyle has became a fashion trend among mainstream media. Once non-women of color put this style in their hair, they may start to feel their attitude changing, including their walk, speech might become different, and then finally they become this “alter ego” of a “black woman”, ready to take on the world with plenty of neck rolling and hair flips. Yet, this can be seen negatively as cultural appropriation and usually can be brushed off by the media and fashion industry as “white girls being cute and on a curve of a fashion trend”.
My answer to this question was this, yes this is considered cultural appropriation. No matter how you feel about it, mainstream media along with the fashion industry really haven’t been recognizing black women for the many fashion trends that we helped create and make popular. Go ahead and wear box braids if you want to, but don’t be surprised if I laugh at you in the process!