I am not my hair (sometimes)


hair 2


Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
If it’s not what’s on your head
Its what’s underneath and say HEY….

Chorus I am not my hair

(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
I am expressing my creativity..
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
I am not my hair by India Arie featuring Akon.

So many people have opinions about hair. They say your hair should be like this or like that. Some like weaves and some are anti weaves including the WAME brigade.

I have done many things with my hair. Currently it is very short, texturized, red and I love it that way. But I have done everything to it. I remember as a child having straight hair was the in style. We used to have a hot comb in our house but our mother never let us use it. So we would poke holes in a Kimbo container (those days they were metal) then we would put hot coals in them and run it through our hair. Our hair would stink because it was burnt but we didn’t care we wanted to be cool.

I also tried using the iron on my hair because it was much less trouble. The irons as well in those days had an iron plate so it could iron hair pretty straight. I remember burning myself one of those times; I ended up with an imprint of the iron tip on my forehead. When my father discovered what I had done I was given a beating that should have made me not ever try that again. But no I did. The pressure at the time was so much to have straight hair that we would try anything.

I have had braids, relaxed hair, natural hair twists, natural hair, and dreadlocks. The dreadlocks didn’t last. I fell asleep in one of our Akamba Daystar buses and when I woke up my hair was itchy. I tried everything but that itch didn’t end so I had to cut my hair and start from scratch. I have even worn a wig which looked good on me but after 2 weeks I realized I was so itchy I couldn’t wear it anymore. That is the reason I have never worn a weave.

There is usually pressure due to fashion to have a certain hairstyle never mind that it may not suit your face structure or that you are allergic to the material. Women all over the world try so hard to make their hair according to the latest styles. They want to be hip, cool and in the know. The struggle to be our hair is part of what defines us sometimes.

That is why I love the song I am not my hair. Because I know that my hair is only a part of me. It is not all of me. It does not define me. I love my hair. It expresses my mood, and the place where I am at at the moment but it is not who I am.

What about you?

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]