Kiera Akins, Florida State University
Whenever a population is dominated by an outside force their hair is always removed. In ancient Rome, the hair of slaves were removed, Native Americans upon capture were separated from their hair, and the story is no different for captured Africans in America. The trend seems to be clear, a captured population’s hair must be either controlled or removed in order to dominate said group. The reason for this could vary but the hair plays two major roles for an individual - cultural and spiritual expression. By eliminating the hair, you are weakeningone’s connection to their own culture and spirituality. It makes sense that when one is conquered, the first things the dominating force would do is to take away any expression of the previous culture to make assimilation easier and less problematic. This can be seen in the context of African Americans as well.
Being natural for four years has allowed me to embrace my culture and more importantly myself more. In todays society the media put constraints on which styles and expressions of our hair are acceptable. Before the natural hair movement, women have been perming and practicing unhealthy hair practices for years in attempts to assimilate and appease to white beauty standards. Even men have been conditioned to cut their own hair and wear it short, nearly bald- for decades. If we are looking at this through the conquerors lenses - no longer are are we required to be forced to cut or restrict our hair, instead we do it ourselves. Much of this is has been aided by the Western norms of beauty in which they stigmatize kinky, coily hair.The western world tries to tell us that if you have that type of hair it is unprofessional or nappy.
More importantly, when you style your hair in ways that are healthy and natural it allows you to become more in tune with the higher energies of the universe. The head is the resting place of the crown chakra, and chakra are the energy centers of the body which regulate energetic and emotional balance. The crown chakra which connects your bodily energy to the divine, using your hair as the satellite to connect. Hence, hair is the crown of your biological body temple. Funny enough, we always imagine God as being up, with many of us tending to pray to the sky. Yet, we are the only people whose hair grows upward, extending out of our crown chakra to the higher energies of the universe. Furthermore, if you examine the curl of our hair- it replicates the Fibonacci sequence or the Golden Ratio. The ratio of or equation of everything in the universe. While other hair types are straight, our hair is replicant of the universal pattern of creation. Yet, ignorant of this we have previously tried to assimilate forgetting our own gifts.
I myself have 4c type hair which is known to be the most kinkiest hair on the natural hair chart. I get excited walking around a PWI campus and seeing so many girls rocking their natural hair and I immediately connect with them. It is something that helps us stand out and allows us to express our individuality. I love the fact that the natural movement is becoming world wide and us black girls are finally taking a stand and rocking our true natural beauty. As an African American female I feel that everybody especially those in our community should do everything to uplift and support each other. We should embrace ourselves as well as others who rock their natural hair instead of downgrading them.
When the “Black Power” movement was alive and well we rocked our afros proudly. If you really think about it, the times African Americans made the most successful strides as collective is when we expressed our culture through our hair, and using the energy gathered from our hair to contribute to our collective momentum. As we continue our trend of fighting injustice, never before have so many us possessed dreaded,locked, and natural hair. Our hair is our connection to the Divine andperhaps this new phenomenais helping us shape a new reality before our very eyes.