There are many negative connotations behind the word “nappy” that stem from times of slavery. As Black people we have always been taught to hate our hair and most importantly who we are. Growing up we are taught that nappy hair is bad we need to get a perm, boys are told nappy hair doesn’t look good so they need to get a cut. For some it’s “just hair” while for others it goes far beyond that and that is because our life experiences differ and often times affect how we see things.
Today I was put into a situation that led to me writing this post. While in class a guy was attempting to differentiate between myself and another girl who has the same name as me. Instead of stating the obvious, I’m Black and she isn’t he decided to say “curly Briana” and “nappy Breyana”, he could have even said Breyana with a “e” for me although I’m not sure how the girl spells her name. The point being that he chose our hair (we both had curls) and labeled it. I didn’t know how to react at first because I wasn’t sure that I heard him correctly, of course our hair looks different we have two different textures and two different lengths. My second reaction was to feel a little offended and that’s not to say that I don’t embrace my hair and all of its kinks & naps but I felt that he was out of line to say what he said. I’m not sure if he said that for a laugh or because he genuinely felt like nothing was wrong but I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me so why he would feel comfortable saying that is very questionable.
There are several people with natural hair that willingly call their hair nappy as a way to embrace themselves, and the word as a term of power without the negative connotations. It’s one thing to call your own hair nappy but it’s another to have someone else doing it, especially when you don’t know them. I am newly transitioning and I am not yet at that level where I feel comfortable with people calling my hair nappy but nevertheless I let them be great and move on with my life. At first I may feel offended because this is something I am not used to but if embracing the term coming from others means embracing my hair then so be it. When doing something that is not necessarily the norm you find that people will find a million and one bad things to say before they find one good, but let the shade continue to flow. My only suggestion is for people to watch what they say and how they say it. At the end of the day all that matters is how comfortable and confident you feel about yourself. And I love my hair, I think it’s cute 🙂
Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? To such extent you bleach, to get like the white man. Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other?No… Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you.
– Malcolm X
How do you feel about “nappy” hair and the term? Feel free to share.
Thanks for reading. Be Blessed and Stay Humble.
- Embracing My Natural Hair
- What Is Natural Hair & Your View on Protective Styling
- I Am Not My Hair – My Story