Why should we make excuses for being ourselves? I wrote a song that that says” I don’t have to explain anything to you ‘cuz you don’t have a Heaven or Hell to put me int0. I’ve made my peace, so you make yours. Take your criticisms to the Lord”. (Never Say Never -Yasu)
So why on Earth are we making excuses for being natural? Are we joining a new religion? Fighting for ‘Black Power”? Trying to connect with our African Roots? (As if any of those reasons are actually a bad thing.) The truth is, there really shouldn’t be a wrong answer for wanting to be naturally beautiful.
Chapter 2 of Hair Story delves into the mindset of African Americans in the early 1900’s. Dealing with the emancipation of slavery was liberating and frightening all at once. Learning to live “free” wasn’t something Blacks could just smoothly transition into. There were some things Black people still dealt with like making “…White people more comfortable with their very presence.”
How does that relate to this modern day? Do you find yourself still trying to conform to an idealistic appearance to make others feel comfortable?
The end of slavery meant, for many the beginning of a new imprisonment. Before slaves may have been owned by Whites but in this “new day” free men were defined by Whites. Even though free men had normal jobs and spending money, they spent a great deal of their disposable income on “beauty” products that made them look more European than African. Being educated wasn’t enough to be acceptable in the sight of many Whites and fairer skinned Blacks.
It seems that now matter what the beauty trend is (braids, weaves, or natural), Blacks still spend a large amount of their disposable income of beauty supplies and products. How does this compare to the new “beauty” industry?
So often, we attribute the BOOM in Black Hair Care Products to Madam CJ Walker, but after reading this chapter, what are your thoughts on learning that it was another woman named Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone who began creating black hair care products and selling them?
In the natural hair care industry,there are hundreds of similar businesses from Shea butter based products to t shirts. Do you feel all this is necessary? Or is it over saturation in this market?
Why do you think Madam CJ Walker’s business was “more successful” than Mrs. Malone’s?
Further into Chapter 3, the authors write about how Black Men like Malcolm X, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Little Richard and Isaac Hayes handled the changing times in Black Aesthetics. How do you feel Men see their own hair in this day and age? Do you think that they [Men] feel the need to conform as Women do?
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