You might have heard about the type 4 natural woman who had a professional stylist from Denny Kemp Salon tell her that her hair was "an animal that can't be tamed." Bianca Dawkins of Minneapolis was a victim racial and texture discrimination. Our type 4 contributor Lauren Murray has written an open letter to Bianca, as well as others like her who have faced prejudice based on their appearance and hair type.
The saying normally goes “Heavy is the head who wears the crown,” and oftentimes we find that as natural haired women, our crown is not heavy literally, but instead, figuratively. It is heavy with the assumptions and negative perspectives of others are what makes it a burden. We have been taught that our hair is our crown, an extension of our soul. Our hair is our manifestation of our self-image. It is unique, glorious and beautiful. But with this gift, comes a lack of understanding, a lack of cultural awareness and a lack of empathy.
I am sorry.
From one natural haired woman to another, I empathize for your hair being compared to an animal that has not been domesticated. I am sorry that your hair was mocked and scoffed--that its true beauty and merit was not recognized. There is a serious lack of natural hair education that is occurring and for what? Because yours has texture--whether it be waves or kinks? What’s the problem?
The solution starts with education and a deep innate need to want to understand what is the resilience that is naturally curly hair. Cultivate the knowledge that is needed for the natural hair community to thrive when we decide to go to the salon. Share your wealth with others.
Natural hair is not for the one-dimensional stylist who can only do blowouts and pixie cuts. But it is for the stylist that wants to learn, and the stylist that wants to become a true master of their craft, who can embrace different textures and not be scared in the face of a 4c curl. We have been fighting for years for the comparisons to stop that African Americans and their hair are modern gorillas. Or that natural hair is unmanageable and nappy. Better yet, the idea that you have to use some 'elbow grease' to get it to lay down. That's not true. Stylists just need the proper knowledge. There is so much diversity within the hair community and many people waiting to embrace your texture with open arms.
We see you Bianca and we feel for you.
The next time you feel like someone is texture managing your hair, tell them your hair is your crown, not an animal. It is important that it is recognized as such. Your hair is magical. And if that stylist wasn’t ready for it, there is another one not too far away who can do the job and then some.
(A fellow “untameable” natural)