One day, my father referred to me as "Poodle Hair." On this day, I decided to have a serious family conversation about hair. Father to Daughter, this is how it works.
Going natural was a super uplifting process. At the same time, it was totally unfamiliar to me, my loved ones and my friends.
Here I was, breaking the mold of fried, dyed, and laid to the side that the women and men had participated in for many generations before me; I considered myself to be a sort of trailblazer for easy hair maintenance at the time.
My assumptions were totally wrong, but in a positive way!
The impact my natural hair would have on my family, and whom it would affect the most altered my perspective on my curls and the preconceived notions the African American community has towards it. My most outspoken supporter was my mother, while my father had a considerable amount of opposition. Often, I would hear how natural hair was not accepted in the African American community because it was deemed 'nappy', 'unprofessional', 'unkempt', and the list goes on.
The number one concern in my family was that natural hair was somehow not attractive. As a champion of self-confidence, this one stung. Yes, the male figures in my life were incredibly positive role models, but the conditioning of the black male to view natural hair as unattractive--when it was the very hair that grew out of our heads--in its rawest, unfiltered state, was absolutely ridiculous.
How was that not beautiful? How was that not accepted?
The feedback I received became moments of clarity through education, tolerance and eventually, acceptance. One day, my father referred to me as “Poodle Hair.” This was the day, I decided, to to have a serious family conversation about hair. Father to Daughter, this is how it works.
I had to explain to my father how his natural hair in a fade was no different from mine being in a twist-out. The oils his barber put in his hair were no different from my whipped shea butter mix that I put in mine. His curl pattern, if he had looked closely, was almost identical to mine. His kinks were just like mine, and my coils were just like his.
His kinks were just like mine, and my coils were just like his.
He has natural hair, and he has had it all his life. …Well besides, the time period when everyone was into Jherri curls, but still! Natural hair never went out style. It just became a part of the ever changing hair scene in the African American community. Our bond strengthened this day, as he then acknowledged his hair was an extension of who he was a person, as a role model, and as a Black male. Now, we exchange moisturizing tips! Instead of me having to hunt my products that would magically end up his bathroom, he now has the confidence in his knowledge and experiences to care for his natural hair himself. He is a faithful user of the Cantu Shea Butter line. My dad is currently rocking a South of France fade (low on the sides, with curls defined by a sponge tool at the top), in hopes to grow it out even more. He appreciates his hair! No, he doesn’t understand it fully, but the desire is there. The confidence is there.
Happy Father’s Day to you, Dad!
May you bask in all of your super moisturized and lustrous masculine natural hair glory!