“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
― George Orwell
I remember the first year I got my hair loc’d. It was 2009, about three months before Chris Rock’s debut film “Good Hair”. There are moments in your life where people speak and you never forget what they say. When I read Orwell’s quote it reminded me of something I heard in that movie. One of the women interviewed said, “It’s like wearing natural hair is seen as revolutionary”. She didn’t say it as if she agreed, she said it from the perspective of why? Why is Natural Hair seen as being revolutionary? Why do we attribute people with natural hair as being part of some kind of Afrocentric movement? Those are good questions. Especially since I think we all have the common sense to know that every black person with dred loc’s is not necessarily positive or conscious for that matter.
To use the word “Revolution” for many black people is to hearken back to the days of black fists, panthers, pride and Afro’s. It is to wear hair that is natural, to welcome skin the color of coal, African garments, medallions, and to be at ease with the urban tongue. The word ceases to mean “to change” but also “to become” or “to transform”. Whenever black people get to a point where they want to embrace the truth concerning themselves one of the first signs of consciousness is natural hair and it stems from many of these movements where African Americans sought to do away with the pretentious manner in which we carried ourselves. Most importantly however, it stems from our welcoming of the truth concerning ourselves and this is why, whether conscious or not, natural hair is often seen as a revolutionary act because natural hair involves embracing the true state of ones hair and thus ones identity.
I should not be placed in the same category with Afrocentricity or Rastafarianism because I use the word “revolution”. At the same time, we cannot throw the baby out with the bath water and in this case the baby is Natural Hair and it is a form of revolution or change. Revolution is change and it is truth and because it, the truth, is so absent in this society the word “change” morphs into something that’s deeper. To change becomes more than to adjust or to amend, but to change becomes a movement and revolution then becomes simply a movement to change. This is why, in my opinion, Natural hair is seen as revolutionary because it is a change in perception and in thought. It is a movement back to the original state not just of a hair style, but of a way of thought and a way of life. My hair is not naturally straight so by wearing locs I am exposing a truth concerning myself; that truth being that I was born with thick and kinky hair.
I rest on Saturdays so this is my last assignment until Sunday.
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