No not the musical. I want to share my hair adventures with you.
Originally this was supposed to be a play review post about ‘A Raisin In the Sun’ by Lorraine Hansberry. But I got a little distracted by a passage in the play said between Beneatha and her love interest Joseph Asagai, who gives her a gift of beautiful robes from his native Nigeria.
Asagai: (Coming to her at the mirror) I shall have to teach you how to drape it properly. (He flings the material about her for the moment and stands back to look at her) Ah–Oh-pay-gay-day, oh-ghah-mu-shay. (A Yoruba exclamation for admiration) You wear it well…very well…mutilated hair and all.
Beneatha proceeds to be shocked at this statement, (as was I,) to hear this man make a comment about her hair which she processes and straightens to make very acceptable during that time period in the Southside of Chicago. This statement could be delivered a couple of different ways on stage depending on the actor, however, the delivery and how I perceived it was in this way…”She is destroying her hair to be accepted in society, what a shame.” Some people may take what he said as a judgement against her. I think Asagai made a judgement against the world.
All of this got me thinking about all of the times I mutilated my hair. I’ve rocked my hair natural, relaxed, highlighted, bleached and dyed. Frizz was my enemy and breakage was the bane of my existence. I used to be made fun of for my big frizzy hair and now it is fashion. (Ain’t that some shit?) Lately, going natural and growing my hair out long has been beneficial in my acting career so far. It’s the reason why I need a new headshot and why I take hair vitamins and use coconut oil. It’s the reason why I have felt better now, than I ever have before. No longer do I feel judged by society to keep my hair controlled and mutilate it. Chemical processes are just awful to keep it healthy.
All too often I think we dump shame on others and ourselves. Mainly to divide us, breed hate and distrust. No one truly feels good about themselves so let’s go bash someone else! (Yeah that’s logical) If a person is just overall a good person, then let’s bash them over things they have little control over…hair, skin tone, income, age, gender, etc. It’s a very ugly process.
Right now, my hair is going through a liberation and no longer a mutilation. Still I look back fondly over the years and enjoy all of the styles and colors my hair took to look acceptable. A few of these gems I will share with you to see the evolution of my crowning glory. Thank you.
*A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Copyright 1958-1988 by Robert Nemiroff. First Vintage Book Edition, December 1994, Vintage Books a division of Random House, Inc, New York.