This Hair Will Not Apologize

Dread-Locs-and-Sister-Locs-Hairstyles-For-Black-WomenYou can reason all the reasons
Why I embraced the nap
Call it kinky crap like kitchen naps
Cause it no longer snaps, crackles, and pops
There are no more cracking chemicals back there
But Kings fight private battles here
There are wars taking place here
There is strength here
There is healing here
water proof and tied and died and stuck up
This is the only place to be stuck up
To be Israel
To be Egypt
To be Africa
To be Nation
We are nation here
This is covering
There are warriors prepared for battle inside these naps
queens imbedded within the cords of this scalp
the ropes in this scalp
there are ropes here
No more laughing firecrackers to crack open the coils of these bonds
There are bonds here
Long lasting and dedicated bonds here
Battle Axes live here
A bundle of twigs
Not easily broken
this hair will not apologize
so there are no sorry’s here

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Delilah’s Responsibility

Samson-and-Delilah

I wonder if it was a spiritual experience
wonder
if blades covered their eyes against the war to which you had grafted them
wonder
if angels had taken the time to whisper to strands of hair of their coming demise
I wonder if they saw laughter dancing in your eyes
and if they had prepared themselves
with breastplates
and helmets,
and knee pads,
if they held their hands up
wonder if the blade hesitated against the strength of the strands
that rubbed against each other
like
lovers
strands of hair that were intimately entwined
hair that made a covenant with the earth
hair
that had promised to protect him since birth
that clung onto one another
like Samson clung onto you
strands of hair that loved
like Samson loved you.
But I wonder if it was spiritual for you
Did you see them as Kings planted inside the throne of private follicles
and fighting battles there
or was it just
hair?
was it spiritual?
for you?
When you touched it,
did you shake hands with angels,
did truth shoot through your body like electricity,
did your fingers grow numb
Did you feel it?
Did your stomach back flip, turn your tears into rivers
Did your mind leave you
Did it purchase attorney’s to plead mercy on behalf of the war you had begun
the moment you looked into his eyes and said “I love you”
Did the spirit find you guilty of conspiracy
to commit the world’s greatest terrorist attack
or did the Philistines just want their money back
I wonder
if you noticed that at that moment your hands were weapons,
heavy and strong
locked and loaded
weapons of war and your heart were choir directors
and yall played
Oh so softly the music of deception,
you sung ballads on his scalp
And immersed his enemies in your lap
I imagine you had bullets beneath your cuticles
You see, I wonder what your life was like
But most of all,
I wonder about the events that lead up to your iniquity
I wonder
Dearest Delilah… about your responsibility.
Wonder if my brother saw righteousness on top freshly painted nails
I wonder if 7 dread locs are added to your scale
And I pray…
I’m not presented with such a responsibility
I wonder if foresight blessed you with the image of Judas
without his consequence
wonder if his betrayal was your inspiration
to get through this
wonder if you are our warning to learn from the past
so that the present’s truly
a gift.

Remember, When Going Natural…

“It doesn’t have to be dreads. You can wear an Afro, or braids like you used to. There’s a lot you can do with natural hair” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I was speaking with a sista recently who recently tried the natural challenge. That is, she went out on a limb and got locs. Thing is, she got tired of them and washed them out. While there are tons (I means TONS) of benefits to dred locs, I just want to encourage my natural sista’s in prolonging this journey with a reminder: When going natural, there are other styles you can try. Dred locs is the first thing that we think about because it is the most popular and we are in a time of re-awakening which,  as with every movement, is always occupied by a specific hair style. In the 60’s and 70’s it was the Afro, today it is the locs. But if you aren’t too sure about it, there’s a lot of experimenting you could do. There are tons of YouTube videos with tons of styles on how you can twist and pull and shape your antennae* in the way of your desire. Then, once you are comfortable with your natural hair, you can decide if you want to loc it up, which because it’s a permanent style, provides security in that you will endure the natural journey a little bit longer.

*Antennae: Hair is not just strands coming out of your head, but every body part exists to perform a certain function. Hair does not just protect your skull, but hairs are filled with your DNA and often act as Human Antennas or feelers to the physical and spiritual realm. For instance: All matter (solids, liquids, gasses) is made of particles called atoms. And as we learned in school, atoms are made of sub-atom particles called “electrons”, “protons”, and “neutrons”. These sub-atom’s all have electromagnetic fields. That means they are like “mini-magnets”. Your bones, your blood, your skin and your hair are all made of “mini-magnets”. As for your hair, it plays many important roles for your body. The least known role is that of antenna. Your hair is capable of sending/receiving information to and from your body exactly like a radio antenna. We have a large population of Wasps down here in Louisiana in the summer time. A couple summers ago, I noticed that I could hear Wasps buzzing in my ear as I swapped at it, (I hate the sound of bees and wasps buzzing) but I didn’t see anything. That is until a few minutes later when one was coming across the room. I noticed that the locs on the left side of my head were picking up the sound of the wasps before they got near.

According to Wikipedia:

“Antennae are jointed, at least at the base, and generally extend forward from the head. They are sensory organs, although the exact nature of what they sense and how they sense it is not the same in all groups, nor always clear. Functions may variously include sensing touch, air motion, heat, vibration (sound), and especially olfaction (smell) or gustation (taste).”

Emotional Hair

“Can you remove your hood in the store ma’am?”

That was the last I heard of the store clerk after removing the hood. I’d stepped once more into a sea of misplaced smiles, the check-out line occupied by a mixture of awe and wonder, of marvel and disgust alike. And it all started six years ago.

January 3, 2009

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My husband and I were in Norman Oklahoma for a documentary production to which we were preparing to premier that summer. Meanwhile, I’d become fed up with the perm and decided I was no longer going to be engaged in such a one sided relationship. I was tired of complaining about what to do with it and tired of it not growing much in return. What did this hair think it was anyway? I was supposed to spend money on perms and braids while it just sat there. Nope. I was not having it. And so while at my sister’s house, letting her husband and mine occupy the office while we did girl things, I decided right then and there to let her twist my hair.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I had no idea how deeply I would fall for this new thing in my life, or how much emotion something as seemingly unimportant as hair, would garner.

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It was easy in the beginning. Like any other relationship the “newlywed” phase was going smoothly. While I mostly kept it covered with head wraps to which I had also fell for, my selfie game was tight. This was before Facebook though and I wasn’t really into MySpace, so most of these pictures were not published online. That was ok though because this was just the beginning. I couldn’t be sharing this new love of my life with everyone. It was like I had met myself for the first time. I felt alive, strong, and free.

Eventually, I could not keep my hair under wraps for too long. I loved the head wraps but they had become hot and uncomfortable. My hair was growing faster than it had in my life and was attempting to crawl down my back. In addition, I started to enjoy the look of myself without the head wrap even more. My hair was no longer just a combination of DNA strands emerging from the follicles of my scalp, but it was part of everything I did. I had to take into account the way my hair looked when I got dressed, and when I added accessories. “Does this hair go with these shoes? Hmmm”. Now, I was ready to hit the streets.

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No, not like that (get your minds out the gutter). I mean I was ready to take on the world. That is when I noticed it. This hair took on more attention than I did. It stopped people in the streets. Stopped them mid-sentence. It even momentarily stopped women from shopping (now that’s serious!) How could they risk going on without asking me how I got my hair like that? Men too marveled, “See I want my hair that thick”, they would say. It was really something and opened the door to deeper questions of identity. I often get questions concerning where I’m from. They think I’m going to reply:

Nigeria”.

Instead I say, “I’m originally from Chicago”.

“Oh”, they say and continue to stare. I smile because I get it. They are confused because I don’t look like an American. I like that.

Trouble in Paradise

Not all of the attention brought on by this hair is good. There are a lot of people who look at me like I disgust them. In truth it is because they’re curious about me. It is not just my hair that is different and they can sense it. This brings me to the beginning of this post.

“Can you remove your hood in the store ma’am?”

It was the last thing I heard before my feet was crossing the threshold out of Family Dollar. The few customers present bathed me in eyeballs and the employees spoke in whispers among themselves. After ringing me up the man didn’t bother to inform me on the final cost of my products. It was as if he thought I could read his mind. Good thing I can count. I peered over the computer screen and paid what was due. With that I walked out of the store. No one ever said a word.

First you get people all excited, then curious, angry, surprised, and even fearful. Look at you turning heads and opening minds, you emotional hair you!