Why do you wear your hair the way you do? This is the question that started the discussion at the Do You Know Your Hair event.
For some in the audience, there answer was because they were on the swim team and chlorine plus a relaxer meant a lot of hair breakage. Some were tired of wearing a fade haircut and wanted to grow out their hair. Others came to college without a hair dresser and decided to learn how to upkeep their hair on their own.
In the black community, there’s a phrase called “good hair,” and there’s even been a documentary about it by the comedian Chris Rock. At this event, students answered the question of what having good hair meant to them.
One student responded clean hair is good hair. Another student stated that there’s no such thing as good hair because the term derived from slavery, therefore hair is just hair. A counter perspective stated that every type of hair is good hair.
This conversation then led into the current issues regarding black hair in America’s education system. Examples of children being punished at school for wearing their hair in it’s natural state or in a protective style were shown during the PowerPoint presentation. Some in the audience could identify with this.
One student commented on how she went to a private school and the handbook prohibited “distracting hair.” Her and her sister started getting relaxers in middle school to adhere to the policy.
Professionalism is a major topic regarding black hair, but the view point of professionalism may be changing with this new generation.
During the discussion, many elaborated on how their parents would ask them how they were going to wear their hair if they had an interview.
One student explained how she had an internship with Popeye’s, and her mother asked her if she was going to straighten her hair for the interview. The student explained that if she had to change her hair for the job then she wouldn’t take the job.
At the end of the presentation, there was a sense of unity among the students that attended the event.
“This natural hair discussion was really helpful. They showed me tips that would help me strengthen and restore my hair. I also learned how to do treatments for my natural routines which will be really useful,” said Lakeshia McCrary.
Student Lyric Jenkins noted the similarities between students at the event.
“I learned about different oils to use throughout my hair. I also learned about how doo rags and bonnets were originated. The meeting showed how everyone relates and have similar problems with their hair,” said Jenkins.
Jonisha Hawkins was excited to connect with fellow students at the event.
“I felt like this discussion was very inspirational and interesting because talking to other natural people makes me feel excited. They tell me what they are doing different and how I can improve my hair care steps as well. Having this natural hair discussion made me appreciate my hair a lot more and I can’t wait to embrace it as it grows,” said Hawkins.
Event facilitator Brittney Patmon was inspired by the event.
“It was really nice to be able to talk to so many people about their hair and our own experiences,” said Patmon. “Even though I led the discussion, I learned a lot.”