scr

It has been 10 years since I got myself tangled up in this madness called "A Nappy Hair Affair."

It happened by accident. Fashion is not my forte. I make my living styling words, not hair. It was never my intent to spend 10 years preoccupied with matters of the mane.

But ever since that third Sunday in May, 1998, I inadvertently stumbled upon something that has practically taken over my life — and taken on a life of its own.

On that Sunday in May, about 20 of my sister friends and I gathered in my backyard to engage in an afternoon of “nap nurturing.” We were kinky kindred spirits who came together to do each other’s hair. I invited them on a whim. It was to provide a place where they would not be harshly judged for their choice to wear their hair in styles that harken back to Africa. I would have a gathering place for my sisters who were proud of wearing the kinky textured hair they were born with.

On that Sunday, I held a “happy, nappy hair care affair,” to give props to our textured tresses. At the time I didn’t know that a simple hair grooming and pampering session would develop into something so much more significant. My nappy hair care affair became known as Hair Day and took root and grew.

It wasn’t our chatter about natural and African inspired hairstyles that inspired me to take the gatherings to another level. It was the stories that my sister friends shared about the criticism and ostracism they experienced for simply making the choice to let their hair “go back home.”

The next thing I knew, I became a nappy pride fanatic. I produced t-shirts that proclaimed, “I’m Nappy, Happy & Free,” “Twisted Sistah” and other “napfirmations.” I held lectures, produced nappy friendly videos, DVDs, cultural enrichment workshops, a stage production and a book.

My Hair Day concept inspired women and men in other cities and abroad to gather in similar fashion, giving themselves clever names such as the D.C. Naturals, EuroNaps and the Southern Kinks.

Women have gotten so caught up in the “napture” during my Hair Day gatherings and speaking engagements that they have snatched off their wigs, dunked their straightened hair in water to make it go back home on the spot. Some shaved their permed hair down to its bald beginnings. At my very first Hair Day gathering, one of my guests spontaneously allowed a stranger with no hairstyling experience to take scissors and snip her relaxed hair down to its natural roots!

While watching such extreme acts of liberation, I often found myself struggling to stifle laughter or fighting back tears.

My kink crusade has even placed me in the peculiar position of being a nappy hair ‘pundit.’

In April, 2007, I found myself on Paula Zahn Now!, the prestigious CNN national news program pontificating about the virtues of nappiness, in the wake of the controversy sparked by Don Imus’ infamous insult against the members of the Rutgers University basketball team (“nappy headed-ho’s”).

Yup. I spend decades building a respectable reputation as Linda the journalist, but my claim to national fame didn't come until I turned into Mosetta, the nap activist. Go figure.

I’m not complaining. Being a purveyor of nappiness has been a very challenging yet very gratifying experience. Even when I have my moments of doubt, something encouraging happens to help me stay the course.

During one of my low moments, the boost came in the form of an e-mail message all the way from The Netherlands. “I really appreciate all that you do, and I hope that I can make black women here and in Belgium just as enthusiastic to go nappy,” said Monique, a Dutch sister. “You may not realize this, but you are influencing black women globally.”

So maybe this all isn’t madness after all.

0 Comments

Social