First You Must Change Your Mind

First You Must Change Your Mind

It’s been a difficult couple of days. If there was however a silver lining, it was that more and more of us shared our honest truth. We must continue on this trajectory of telling the truth, most especially to ourselves and within our own community.

And so I have personally renewed my commitment to tell the truth on this platform, even if it’s uncomfortable sometimes, for both you and me.

So let me share a simple truth today. You need to change your mind about what you consider beautiful IF you want yours or your child’s hair to thrive.

Nothing will change until you literary change your mind about the aesthetics of what you consider to be beautiful, pretty, neat, acceptable or presentable - And let’s be honest, historically, this has not always included the Afro-textured hair in its raw and organic form.

If you are a mum who can only see the beauty in the aesthetics of picture 1, then nothing about the health of your child’s hair will change, not until you can begin to appreciate the beauty of picture 2. Do you why? because you have to be able to live with picture 2 more than picture 1 for our hair to really thrive. Our hair is never loyal to those who hide it away whatever the reason.

And if you think our hair is not intertwined with racism, a murky history of policing its beauty, degradation and the aesthetics of white supremacy then we need another conversation, but not today.

Today I must tell you, the world isn’t all of a sudden going to embrace picture 2, or celebrate it, or represent it fairly. The world will not change its mind quickly, maybe not in my lifetime. If you want your child to be comfortable in their full skin, you must celebrate picture 2. And you must do it consistently, not the on the odd occasion.

This is where it becomes uncomfortable. The choice you are shirking from. The choice I made. You can choose to continuously stifle your child’s hair in the aesthetics of picture 1 or you can slowly move towards embracing the aesthetics of picture 2. It’s a choice, one which often means you have to change your mind about what we have been consciously and unconsciously fed. To paraphrase a great teacher I was listening to this week ‘you have to change your default’ The default that tells us that silky and smooth is superior. Actually scrap that, we no longer use the language of ‘superiority’. That’s too bait. Our default has evolved in how covertly it discriminates. Instead, we use the language of manageability, presentable, easier, less stress, less expensive, less time consuming. The default feeds us everything that stops us from confronting the real issue - our own faulty lens.

You cannot advance if you are not prepared to question your default. Some people continue to lament that no hair products work! no regiment works! their hair is not growing! when in actual fact, the problem is with their default.

You have to decide that you don’t care what the world thinks about your child’s hair. oh and by the world I mean your mum, your mother in law, your sisters, your closest friends.It is not going to be easy when they have their secret interventions about how unkempt your child looks. When they randomly send a braider to your house. When your child goes to your sister’s for the weekend and tada!!! her hair had been done upon you picking her up to fit the aesthetics closer to picture 1.

You are going to have to embrace the frizz, the shrinkage, the lack of shine or is it sheen - you have to decide to see its beauty through every negative connotation. And at times it will hurt. But until you change your mind, until you change your default, until your lens warms to the marvellous image of picture 2 , until then, your hair or your child’s hair cannot and will not thrive.

Much love


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