Misconception of hair

Beauty costs. Who is to make cash loads? Who is it that is doing the spending? Beauty costs! Black beauty costs even more. As this writer who lives with a family of females can attest to. Especially when one considers the market for hair straighteners and weaves and the hunger for long, beautiful, white hair; you’d gather one thing. We’re fucked. If we were a black nation like black consciousness or the Nation of Islam would have had it; we clearly wouldn’t have survived an arms stockpile. There wouldn’t be cash for such after investing in weaves and skin lighteners and bum trimming creams.

As opposed to the coarse, kinky, ugly hair black people the world over have been hoodwinked into believing is an abomination, an impediment in their rise to success. One cannot ignore the cost of this pocket-crippling sickness that causes black and coloured women in the KZN region (let’s start at home please) to want to become white and successful.

India Arie said she was not her hair--she forgot to say she was joking

Chris Rock explores the worldwide weave web in a documentary soon to be released. We need not look further than our front door. My sister has enriched the local salon over the years. As have many sisters this region over.

They have also given rise to the growth of the salon that has moved from hair products and weaves and extensions for women, now for men too. They have seen the sophisticated get fair quick products evolve from the skin-damaging ones to the more kosher ones like Ponds from Lever Brothers (Unilever). The salons have grown in size and product ranges on offer. The advertising too has become less coarse and kinky, pardon the puns, to a more wavy natural texture, to suit a modern audience who want hints that fair is cool NOT direct messaging.

So it’s sick. But it’s capitalism. The media services the market and make extensions, weaves and get fair schemes the norm by allowing the advertising. Editorials perpetuate old messaging. And naive black girls in KZN, and not-so-naive ones, feed into the system and feed their hair. Grow their hair. Fake their hair.

For the construct that you’ve got to be white to be accepted. You’ve got to be fair. The Afro is off-limits and unappealing. And Hollywood and satellite viewing supports this belief, this myth, even here on the simmering, humid, east coast of Africa.

Unless you are watching a Quentin Tarantino retro movie when the ‘fro was uber cool. Clearly we need more of those Blaxploitation 70’s flicks. At least the booty on the chicks was appreciated. As was the afro styles, that yearning to go back to black Africa.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. But don’t think about it too much. Especially when you have the pharmaceutical companies via the media telling you what beauty should be. How should it look?

In fact this socio-economic conscientisation and the politics of the multi-billion industry is the new Afro-enslaver!  Women’s beauty is on their hair. When they change their hairstyle it is more noticeable than the change of clothes. So believes my sister. She’s educated by the way and lives in Ballito. There are so many sayings that have been the feature of our lives regarding beauty and particularly beauty of the hair. Modern day capitalism has been perpetuating notions constructed even before Biblical times. Beauty – and its industry – has been given prominence in our value system. In our financial capitals.  Fairy-tale-like stories used to place beauty on top the agenda. They still do. Via Hollywood-styled machinery. Via mass media. Top end and lower.

We are reminded of Cinderella. Literary writings also send out messages about the physical beauty of characters as if to say the character is ugly we should close the book and put it back on the shelf to be read by dust. And the greatest hypocrisy would be to pretend that we are not victims of this media and commercial onslaught on our senses. On our thinking. On our wallets.

Lerato Dlamini, of a beauty hair salon in Durban, believes they have revolutionised hairstyling. In the past only ethnic hair could be plaited as dreadlocks. But now at their salon they can even dreadlock relaxed hair. As a result people come from all over the province to do dreadlocks at their salons. They are opening branches all over Durban and already have three in the city.

Lerato says: “People like dreadlocks because of their versatility. Once you have dreadlocks, you can do any hairstyle to suit your dress style and the occupation. For instance even a style suitable for a bride can be done as well as casual styling.”

Hair is so intresting Willow Smith actually has a song about it

Dolly Mkhize, who is in her 40s, is also a frequenter at these salons. The teacher from Kwa-Mashu says she likes these dreadlocks because they are age-defying. This also shows an unbelievable mind shift in the black community because people even go as far as buying dreadlocks that have been grown on other peoples’ hair. The pricing ranges between R800 to R2000 for the really ostentatious fittings.

In the past, it would have been frowned upon in the black community to have someone else’s hair being plaited on one’s own head.  It shows then this transformation in every aspect of black lives – especially that of African and coloured females – has been total.

The thinking has revolutionised over the decades to fit hand in glove to the pharmaceuticals dark agenda to exploit and enslave. With the pressure associated with beauty, it’s not surprising that people will go the extent of buying hair grown on somebody for exorbitant prices, and this is a world-wide trend. This KZN experiences is part of the global trend.

From the woman who offers her long hair to the Gods, free of charge of course, in an Indian temple, to the sadhu (holy priest) who sells it to the Chinese for Africa and fellow enslaves America; this is billion dollar business we’re talking about here, sisters!

What is interesting is the way capitalism exploits our beliefs and aspirations to feed its pockets. Once people move up in the socio-economic ladder they have to conform to expected standards of beautifying themselves.  Black women, you’re all fucked. Until the Afro becomes cool again we’re going to endure the identity crisis.


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