As MC Lyte rapped years ago, "Hot damn..here we go again!". Here we go with another conversation about the topic of "good hair". Hair has long been a touchy issue amongst womyn in the black community, a topic that is locked and loaded and carries plenty of pain and emotion at the mere mention of it. The weight of this issue leans on the feeling that to indicate "good hair" is more than just the physical look but involves the undertone that it brings with it - an immediate association with beauty, skin color and acceptance. The essential idea of being "better" than...
Melanie recently set fire to this already flaming issue when she was asked about her hair and attributed its length to her mixed race heritage. In an interview with Sophisticate's Black Hair Styles and Care Guide, Melanie was asked what the secret to her gorgeous long hair is. In response, Melanie claimed:
I was born with a full head of hair, and my mom wouldn’t let me cut it until I was 12! I’m mixed – my mom is Black and Portuguese and my dad is Indian so I have a good mix for growth.
With these simple words, the internet was abuzz as bloggers and readers drew their line in the sand in the discussion of whether or not black womyn should be offended by the idea that beautiful, long hair is attributed with being mixed. I personally don't think that you have to be mixed to have "good hair" or a head of thick, long hair that grows healthily. I see black womyn with beautiful hair of ALL textures and lengths everyday.
Melanie's comments and people's reactions to it just play into the age old belief in the community that if you are black, you are born into a life of hair struggle as it is difficult to grow it past a specific length, and that if you are mixed your genes give you a "pass" to fewer struggles with your hair. This is an issue that is not helped by the media, as the majority of black womyn that are represented on television are either of mixed race or wear weaves or wigs that don't show off their naturally beautiful hair. There aren't too many images that show black womyn's hair in all of it's long and flowy, short and cropped, permed, natural and kinky glory. I think that there is less of an issue with Melanie's comments and more of a problem with what we continually see of black womyn's hair. Because we see these same images repeatedly, it is easy to carry on the dated belief that long hair = beautiful, bonus points if you are mixed.
So,what side of the debate are you on when it comes to Melanie's comments? Is she speaking the unfortunate truth or are her comments completely out of line? Speak on it below.