Though things change, they remain the same, since hair signifies your status in the society much as it was and still is in West Africa where it is believed the African diaspora of the Caribbean originated.
The difference is that while in parts of Africa hair signifies whether you are married, of royal lineage or a distinct bloodline in a tribe, in some Caribbean territories your hair is used to judge whether you are from the lower class, a loose woman from the ghetto or a decent upper middle-class belle.
For some time in Jamaica, a natural haired woman was the image of a Christian, more so, a bible carrying, long dress wearing, foot stomping Pentecostal. Now there is nothing wrong with being a Christian or a Pentecostal for that matter, but it just goes to show the stereotypes we have created when you wear your natural hair and it is not considered to be “good hair”.
In recent times people have come to recognize that you don’t have to be Christian to rock your natural texture. Some men are becoming more appreciative of the natural look and when they like it they will call you out in the street and voice their approval with something like:
“Empress, black queen you look good!” In Quitabee’s YouTube video series “Hair Conversations in the Caribbean”, Brettny a model from Tobago notes that she is accustomed to seeing natural hair in her country since they pretty much embrace natural hair, but for the most part, though the natural hair concept is getting popular it does not mean that it is fully accepted.
Though some negativity still exists, you have to remind yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Whether you have been natural all your life or you are returning to natural, the truth is that you may need to help educate others on natural hair and even then some may still not be accepting.
Do not beat yourself up over it and lose no sleep; all things in their time. The remarks may cause you to waver and rethink your decision to keep your texture but ultimately the decision is yours to make.
Try to surround yourself with people who share your passion or support your decision to keep it natural. We are privileged to live in an era where constitutional rights mean a great deal and may protect your right if you are being pressured at the workplace to “fix” your hair.
Thankfully, the internet is just bursting with natural hair resources for black hair so when you start feeling down you can seek moral support from others who have been battling this negativity.
If all else fails don’t sweat the small stuff, just do like Rachel Crow in her song “Mean Girls” and comb those people out of your curls.
Originally posted 2013-09-20 15:00:35.