I want to talk a little bit about hair colour this fine Monday morning. And my take home message to anyone of ANY nationality is this: if you aren’t picking some variation of a colour that exists in nature, you’re going to generally look ridiculous. At best, nobody will take you seriously, unless perhaps you work in some form of the entertainment industry, or a hair stylist. And yes, with your hair being streaked blue, purple, or green, I will automatically think that either you are a child thinking you are really being outrageous and counter-culture, which is so super cool *rolls eyes*, or that you are a grown man/woman from some lower socioeconomic background with little self-esteem or ambition. This isn’t just because I absolutely hate the colours or anything, and this isn’t just my opinion. When anyone sees blue or green hair they think either “ghetto girl” or “emo punk wannabe”.
If you want to test this theory, show up for your next job interview for a credible, big-time company with blue streaks in your hair. Might as well just write “underachiever” all over your forehead and come in smelling of day-old whisky, with heroin tracks visible up your arms. Because you’ll have the exact same chances of getting hired either way.
Extreme isn’t bad, mind you. Extreme red (either fire engine or deep burgundy) is still a variation of red hair which is seen in nature, so all power to you. You’ll come off as a trendy, confident person (as long as it’s done tastefully, evenly, and the shade/tone you’ve picked goes well with your skin’s undertones). And to go back to my previous point, I absolutely HATE burgundy hair. Wouldn’t be caught dead with it. But on the right skin undertone, I think it looks great. It’s just not for me. But guess what? Electric blue and magic-marker green are just not for ANYONE. Period.
Now, that being said: there IS such a thing as a “natural” colour looking terrible on you, regardless of the tone you choose. Especially in combination with the style you’ve chosen. This is a message specially to my black ladies: unless you look half white, silky blonde hair looks absolutely HILARIOUS on you. Seriously. What better way is there to scream “I wish I lived up to the white ideal of beauty” than to pick yourself up a weave that looks like it came off of Barbie’s head? There isn’t one black person in the world, ever in life, to have been born with silky blonde hair. And not for anything, but the darker you are, the more blatantly obvious it is that it’s fake as hell, and the more patently obvious you’re trying WAY TOO HARD to look about as white as you can manage, because somewhere in your very mixed up head, it’s the only way to truly be beautiful.
Of course, the weave industry is alive and booming for a reason: the sad truth is, the percentage of black people in North America who buy a weave to be sporting any hair that isn’t their natural colour and texture is probably much higher than would make us comfortable. Chris Rock didn’t come up with the Good Hair documentary out of thin air: in America, people are willing to remortgage their houses to buy a pack of weave. Weave is much more accessible in Canada: I couldn’t imagine even seeing a pack of weave for a couple grand in any store ever, regardless of the quality. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: even the black people with “good hair” wear weave. I know, my whole life I’ve been told I have “good hair”. I still have black hair: in order for it to be straight, I’d have to relax it, and naturally it isn’t curly…it’s afro-tastic. However, it is soft and easier to comb than some people’s hair, and it also grows really long. I’ve been growing out my relaxer over the past few years, and even though freshly washed it barely looks chin-length, once it blow dried it, it’s clear down my back.
That all being said, I am a weave queen. Not only that, but I am a snobby weave queen. I’ve had a weave in my hair consistently for about 10 years now, and I don’t think anybody in the past 10 years except my stylist has seen my natural hair. And I refuse to buy crappy quality weave that gets trashy looking or gets matted or tangled or sheds. I am also very particular with the way it’s put in, and expect nothing less than perfection. All that means I pay a pretty penny to do my hair, and maintain it, but I love me my weave. Of course, my ideal of perfect hair is actually more so on the “bigger is better” and curly side. And although I don’t just stick to black hair, I generally go for shades that my natural hair will turn in the sun under the influence of chlorine: reds and coppers and lighter browns. Even on my light skin tone, I think blond just looks tragic. I did it once on my 18th or 19th birthday. Platinum and strawberry blond highlights. It just felt so…inauthentic. Straight blond hair? I looked in the mirror and didn’t see me, I saw me in white-drag.
Now, for those of you who either know this and are screaming “FOUL!!” on everything I am saying about black women and blond hair, or for those of you who don’t know, I’m now going to address the fact that there is a tribe of people in Melanesia who are dark-skinned people who all have natural blond hair. Seriously! Check out this video and see for yourself.
If you’d like to read up on the Melanesia tribe, click here. But just to highlight one fact, the reason that this tribe has blond people has nothing to do with European people. The gene that they have that causes the blond hair is actually completely different than the one that causes blond hair in people of Euro descent, so this trait evolved in this tribe based on a gene mutation with no outside genetic influence.
But, did you notice anything? Like the fact that not one of them has silky hair? You can try and use them all you want as your card into “my blog wig has NOTHING to do with being white” but let’s be serious for five seconds. You know that long before you ever heard of that little tribe, you were looking at pretty, popular Suzie at school, or that white blond model/actress/singer and saying to yourself that if you only looked like her, then it would solve some problem you have. Like, maybe you would be able to be rich, successful, beautiful, popular. Somehow you got the ideal in your mind that “white is right”, “white is beautiful” and “if I want that, I can get it by being white”. Tell me I’m wrong. Seriously. I would love to hear what you could possibly come up with that will somehow break this theory of mine.
We get outraged when some delusional white girl thinks the black woman in her yoga class is sliently resenting her for her perfect little white body, like that is the ideal. We get insulted when black jokes are made about the size of our lips or noses, about our levels of intelligence, or about our lack of capability outside of the physical arena (i.e. sports and dancing). And then we do idiocy like sport long, silky-blonde hair, get plastic surgery on our noses, or scar ourselves permanently trying to bleach our skin to a lighter shade.
Where is the pride in our personal appearance? Where is the love for self, for all that these aspects of our appearance symbolize in so far as where we come from, what are background is, and what a wonderful bunch of people we have as ancestors? But more importantly: how are you going to engender self-pride and confidence in your children when, when they look at you, all they see is you trying to be just like Suzie’s mom? If it’s not good enough for you, there must be something terribly wrong with them, too.
Just some food for thought this lovely Monday morning y’all. Have a safe and Happy Family Day, and remember to use this day for what it’s SUPPOSED to be all about – not just another free day off of work, but a chance to really take the time to appreciate and enjoy your family, just because.