Bringing The ‘Fro Back
My hair has always been troubling. It's thick, wavy, and coarse. For lack of a better term, it ain't good hair. Not at all. So in the eighth grade, I made a bet I knew I would lose to have an excuse to take it all down. As planned, I lost the bet, and thus, shaved it all off. My hair remained close cut for the next ten years.
But now, I'm growing it out. To what? I have no idea. Right now, it's this mini-fro, and I have to say, I love the way it looks. My girl loves it too, and I'd be lying if I said my own embrace of this style doesn't have anything to do with her.Â It's not the neatest thing in the world, but for the past few days, I'm looking in the mirror and I'm definitely feeling a little like Slick Rick. And what's even crazier is I feel like this process is making me look at who I am on the inside a little bit differently.
For so long, my close cut look has always been synonmous with who I am. I'm a clean cut kind of dude. It only made sense for my hair to compliment that part of my personality. And besides, it was easy to maintain. Just go to the barber once a week, get the shape up, a little off the top, and bam! I was looking so fresh and so clean, ready for the club and for church. Now, I can't say that I'm any less clean cut of a person, but as some of you know, my life is definitely going through a lot of changes, and real talk, me choosing to grow my hair out is complimenting this phase in my life.
But the real question is, why the hell is Huey P. Langston waxing poetic about his hair? Ain't that kind of suspect?
Good question, and here's the answer: I'm waxing poetic about my new 'do, because contrary to what a lot of people think, hair is as much of an issue to black men as it is to black women. The only difference is women have no problems trading salon secrets with each other, and that's something men don't ever do. Whenever men congregate at the barbershop, they disguise it as hanging out, and for a handful of those you see in the shop, that's absolutely the case. But 7 out of the 10 brothers you see in a barbershop are there to get their cut, and they come back, week after week. Vanity indeed.
So when I read in the news about black women in corporate America having to wrestle with the dilemma of how they should wear their hair in the office, I am troubled by the bias of coverage - it's as if to say black men don't have to deal with the same thing, and the fact of the matter is they do. One thought that occured to me yesterday is that if it wasn't for the fact that I worked at KING, my mini-fro might be trouble elsewhere. Remember when Allen Iverson first came into the league with the cornrows? Or go even further back to when Michael Jordan's lack of hair was a statement that resonated with young black men all over the world.
Black men must fight within the same system as black women do to gain acceptance for their "different" hair. The only difference is, black women have weave and perms that help them assimilate. Black men don't have such choices. I mean, sure they can perm their hair, but you know the VP of a Fortune 500 company ain't going to understand why Jamal in accounting looks like DJ Quik. So their only choice is to keep their mops close and neat as if they were in the military, or face ridicule for choosing to let their hair go. But I guess the media is still trying to wrap their hair around this idea that black men in corporate America do exist and maybe that's why we haven't seen a similar outcry for my brothers hairy dilemma as much as the sisters. The fact is, when Imus called the Rutgers University Women's basketball team some ho's, that was an insult to our sisters. But when he hurled the "nappy headed" insult, those words affected men and women.
So my brothers, speak on it. Leave something in the comments about a time when your hair was being used against you.
MOTIVATION TO WRITE THIS PIECE
- Clearly Gottlieb has a bad hair day - By Viva Chen (The American Lawyer)
- Akon's lyrics on the remix to India.Arie's "I Am Not My Hair"
- My boy Velvet's lol reaction when he saw my 'fro. I didn't realize what a big deal it was until a long-time friend said something about it.