Black Hair is Good Hair
Written by Alexandria Churchwell
Ever since I was little my mom said I had good hair.
I never believed her.
Instead of bypassing years of self confidence issues I decided, as a young child, to lean into society’s oppressive view of black hair. I believed it when I heard I didn’t have “good” hair: it was true.
Note: Always listen to your parent/guardian’s advice. It’ll save you a lot of pain in the end.
However when you tell a ten year old who’s crying poolside, that their hair is as great as everyone else’s, it’s hard to follow the logic.
Why would something that’s supposed to be “good,” make me feel like the world’s ending?
I know my mom did her best. Being a kid is hard enough when you’ve got the added pressure of being made fun of because your hair won’t stay straight like everyone else’s. I mean who wouldn’t want long straw-like hair that blows in the wind, putting the cap on every dramatic moment ever written in history?! Like COME ON!
Sure my hair looks “normal” now, but because it’s relaxed and I go to the beauty shop. Yes, I say beauty shop instead of salon. It’s in my blood. Maybe it’s a Tennessee thing.
Ah the Beauty Shop. I would not wish its wrath on my mortal enemy. However, in order to bridge the gap between society and its adversity to Black Hair, I thought going through a quick explanation of a day at the beauty shop would shed some light on the innocent.
Note: By no means am I speaking for ALL Black identifying women. We all have our own hair experiences, so I can only speak from my own.
Step 1: Make an appointment
Now this seems harmless, right?
I mean this is usually a normal step for anyone getting their hair done.
However, this is not technically true when it comes to black hair. When you make an appointment, where you are and your specific LOCATION for said hair appointment is CRUCIAL. I’m talking the difference between walking out looking fly versus leaving with an old fashioned buzz cut (cue razor noise).
Why is this the case?
Well, if you’re at home, or your place of sanctuary, then you’re set. You’ve got your hair dresser that’s known you since you were still getting beads with braids (RIP 5th grade self) basically meaning they know how to do your hair right.
But…if you are in the unfortunate situation of being in the big bad world, with no connections to the black hair community, then you begin to panic.
Yes, everyone, it’s true. A black person can’t just walk into ANY salon and have someone do their hair (or they can, but they’re at the mercy of an unknown and again…cue razor noise).
But never fear! Recently, I’ve come into contact with a trusty app while living in New York that connects you to other stylists that specialize in Black hair…basically tinder for the Black Hair world.
It truly is a beautiful thing.
I’ve realized now I haven’t named the app yet. It’s called Swivel and everyone should go get it…like NOW!
Note: I was not paid for that quick plug for Swivel but it is available at the app store for free…Swivel endorsement come through!
Step 2: The Appointment
For this step you need to give yourself a solid 6-8 hours to account for the waiting period, hair style chosen (getting a relaxer ha! just add another two hours) and the size of your party. Wear some comfortable clothes and bring a movie, it’s gonna be a long night (and yes I mean night, it will be dark when you leave).
Now this may seem like a lot, but one rule of the beauty shop:
Expected start time on your hair is always 1-2 hours after arrival.
Note: This time is subject to change depending on the time of day. If appointment is during lunch, add another hour or better yet just reschedule all together.
Step 3: Post-Appointment
Congrats! You’ve made it through the countless hours under the dryer, multiple gossip sessions and the ever impending hunger while sitting in the bright florescent chamber that is Purgatory.
…Ok maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but ask anyone about their Beauty Shop experience and I guarantee their descriptions won’t be far off.
Now you may ask…why write about black hair? Who cares? Why do we need to know this?
Well my young grasshoppers, I believe one of the biggest mysteries of the human race is black hair. It’s all around us, yet it’s never discussed and you wonder why there’s so much confusion.
So I hope that pieces like these, no matter how silly or serious, will keep us learning and willing to make an effort to understand the mysteries and beautiful nature of black hair.
Because black hair is GOOD hair.