Enter THE WEAVE. My mother brought home packs of synthetic and human hair weave. Color #2 was perfect for my complexion and silky straight please, nothing else would do. At the time Naomi Campbell was my idol of choice and she was the queen of weave. If Naomi wore her weave down to her butt, then you’d see me wearing a weave down to my butt. Remember Naomi in Michael Jackson’s In the Closet‚ video? I was fearlessly working that too. No one in my clique or the black girls in college wore a weave. I was grateful that my mother was always on trend. Whenever something was HOT she wanted her girls to be wearing it. Unfortunately, not hot enough for the brothers though. One guy that I was in luuuvvvv with said Ewww, that shit ain’t real!?!‚ when my best friend blurted out that I was wearing a weave. I didn’t say a word. I wanted to bury my head in the ground, but then that would mess up my weave. ‚©
Transformation #1034, back to relaxer and my Mary J. Blige cut. Weaves were getting expensive and the cornrows were taxing on my tender-headed scalp. I grew tired and annoyed listening to women on the transit bus, talking amongst themselves and debating whether my hair was real or not. It was the mid 90’s and Mary J. was sporting a short bob with a kick’in red shade. I was in college now, studying to be a Graphic Designer and wearing all black with a funky hairstyle gave me ‹“the Artist’ cred that I was searching for. I headed over to the salon and said, Give me that!‚ pointing to Mary’s red do on the cover of Sophisticate’s Black Hair magazine. When I came home my mother was mortified when she saw the shaved hair at the nape of neck. You would think that the tattoo that I had endured a year earlier would have been the end of me, but no, the shaved hair had done me in. You have to understand lengthy hair was and is a big deal in my family and hearing Do you know what Trudy did!‚ was not a good thing. But I didn’t care. Hair was meant to be played with; it was an extension of my personality, so why settle and be boring.
Throughout my college years I would revert from black, red, blonde, brunette and back to red hair again. I would go back to weaves to give my hair a rest. By the time I graduated and started working as a graphic designer I felt it was time to look more mature, credible and professional so I decided to keep Burn-iece as a friend and grow my relaxed hair as long as I could. All the while desperately seeking validation from my family, my peers and most of all from white people.
Back to that painful hot day in July, I sat in front of my computer with anxiety and Googled Nappy Hair‚. Even though I hadn’t had a relationship with my natural hair in over 25 years I felt it was time for us to get reacquainted. What was I going to do with this nappy hair? And more importantly, how was I going to get my validation back?