Natural Hair Talk – 2007: Being Natural In Mississippi
A lot like our hair, my natural hair journey has many twists and turns. A recent conversation with a friend about natural hair caused me to revisit the early days of my natural hair journey. I’ve decided to share some of those memories this month, Black History Month, chit chat/vlog style. Unedited. Raw. I hope to utilize YouTube’s Live Events feature so I can hold myself to the fast upload and resist the urge to edit. We’ll see. Subscribe. Share. Join the Conversation!
My final natural hair journey took place June 2007. I transitioned for 10 months by wearing my hair in braids and an occasional wig in between braid jobs. My last relaxer was August 8, 2006. I remember the date because it is a family member’s birthday. My hair was laid and bouncy as I traveled to Chicago to a wedding. But there was something different brewing inside of me and I knew it would be my last relaxer.
As the time grew closer for the 6-8 weeks touch up, I decided to let the African Hair Braiders install some micro-braids. They were beautiful and would give me time to chart my next move regarding my hair. As the weeks passed, I would see the natural texture push through and I loved it. I would catch myself constantly touching it. I had seen it before and I liked it but I wasn’t ready for it so I relaxed my hair again. In the meantime, when it was time to take down the set of braids or twists I had, I gave my hair a break by wearing a wig for a week or two before getting another set. I was able to stave off my family by visiting only when I had twists or braids installed. But I’m sure my co-workers were wondering what was up with the big, shiny bob wig I was wore in between installs!
June 2007 could not arrive fast enough. I was waiting for school to end and I would have the entire summer to get comfortable with my natural hair and decide whether or not I was ready to embrace the return to natural hair journey. I tried to wait until July 7, 2007 to cut my hair so that my Big Chop date would be 777 but I could NOT wait. One Saturday morning, I woke up and knew that would be the day I chopped my hair.
Giddy with excitement, I went into the bathroom and grabbed one braid, somewhere in the middle of my head and proceeded to snip it down to the unpermed hair. That first snip was almost intoxicating! This was before Big Chop videos were popular so I only have a few photos to share. But I was excited to snip off the braids. Not having to spend hours and hours taking down the hundreds of braids was also exhilarating! By the time I had finished cutting the braids, I felt lighter! Not once did I ever regret it. I immediately shampooed and conditioned my hair and put it into some miniature puffs. I think I have a photo someplace that I will insert below.
Within a few weeks, our family reunion was being held in Mississippi. It would be my moment of truth. I would be revealing my new hair to my family and friends back home. Even the thought of their disapproval was not a concern of mine since I loved my hair.
The reunion weekend arrived and my family was SHOCKED to say the least about my hair cut. The last time they had seen me, I had a head full of long, relaxed hair – Long, boring and blah relaxed hair. My new hair was a thick-ish curly little Afro in need of a trim. I decided to let my cousin the Front Porch Barber give me a shape up. Bad idea. He was used to cutting MEN’S hair and proceeded to buzz off nearly all of the growth I had gotten in my 10 month transition! Surprisingly, I was NOT upset and at that moment, realized that it was ONLY HAIR!
While I sat on the porch and got my hair cut, an older gentleman was watching as my cousin’s clippers shaved hair off my head. He could not resist adding his 2 cents. In the video below, I share with you this experience and what he said and how I responded.
Pardon the sporadic audio difficulties in this video as I continue to work to get more direct uploads posted.