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Ok, I promise this won't become a blog where I document the progress of my hair semi-monthly. But after more than 15 years with relaxed hair (son, I don't even remember my first perm), I'm going natural. But first things, first. It's Militant Monday! Last night, I watched Spike Lee's Malcolm X for the first time in close to ten years. Actually, I watched 2 hours of it. I still have an hour and some change to go. While I watched, between putting up the black power fist and snapping soulfully, I was chatting with Lauren on BlackBerry Messenger. I relayed, to her shock and glee, my plans to possibly cut off all of my hair, rather than do the slower transition. 'No more of the white man's chemical fire cream on my natural born black scalp!' I typed, forcefully. And so on. While I've been feeling an urge for natural hair for a while, the restriction the conk has put on my workout routine is the main catalyst. I want to go swimming and not spend two hours fixing my hair every single time. I want to wash and go. I want to stop planning vacations and events around when I do my hair. The list goes on. And it really isn't about getting 'back to my roots' (whatever that means). I went to Howard, where going natural was a aesthetic choice, and there was no guarantee that the fine brotha with the locks had read even a line of Marcus Garvey's, or that the sista with the fly 'fro was as interested in revolution as she was in how fierce she looked on the Yard. In fact, if being au naturel isn't as great as I think it is, I reserve my right to go back to the fire cream. With that said, there's a pretty dope exchange between Malcolm while he's in prison and the brother that leads him to the Nation. He's putting more conk on his head, because on the outside "everybody does it," to which the brother -- who's a bit of a buzzkill, truth be told -- responds, "Why don't you want to look like what you are? What makes you ashamed of being black?" During that scene, I wrote to Lauren.

Shani-o: I'm gonna show up to work bald. Shani-o: and they're gonna be like, "What happened?!" Shani-o: and I'll be like, "I watched Malcolm X, white devil!" Lauren: LMFAO!! Shani-o: This movie is bad. Shani-o: Black people shouldn't be allowed to watch it. Lauren: LOL. No they shouldn't. Lauren: Or 'A Time To Kill.' Shani-o: Or 'Rosewood.'
And so on. One of the benefits of not getting to the last hour of 'Malcolm X' is that you miss the denouement, in which Malcolm makes the Hajj and unpacks his extremist, all-white-people-are-devils mentality and takes a more moderate approach. Well, that, and the assassination. I'm one of those people who hopes that the ending changes whenever I watch a sad movie (like, in 'Love Story,' I'm always surprised and heartbroken at the end). But anyway, skipping the end means you get to stay outraged. I'm sure I'll calm down once I watch the end. But for now, happy Militant Monday everybody!!

8 new thought(s):

The Breaking Point said...

What kind of style will you wear when you go chemical free?

I'll be honest and offer that I'm not necessarily a fan of so-called natural hair, but not because of what people refer to as self-hatred.

Most natural hair requires munch in the way of conditioning and moisturiser to look presentable and a lot of people seem to miss that.

But well-groomed and maintained hair whether it be au naturel or fried, dyed and laid to the side works for me.

shani-o said...

LH, I am entirely too vain to go around looking less than fabulous with ANY hair style. My flyness transcends all, lol.

the joy said...

im (years strong and its really not as easy as it seems. i wear my hair in like 12 "knots" because it takes the shortest time and doesnt get tangled. the afro is an every day workout, and it only looks really great that first day, and thats only if its hot out, because if its cold then you cant wear it out wet. then theres the twists, thisc are awesome and versatile but can take hours, which is why i havent done it but once in months. oh and cornrows, which arent all too professional looking and can sometimes make you look dykey. but this is not to discourage you... everyone's hair and experience is different. and im curious to see what you would look like with a low fro. and how come malcom never had a fro? these are the questions!

the joy said...

that was supposed to say "10 tears strong"

Adei von K said...

girl. we are so here when it comes to hair!! it has NOTHING to do with being "deep" or "conscious"... its just hair!!!

as a chick whose hair was relaxed before she got to kindergarten... I feel you.

as a child of 'fresh off the plane Africans', this relaxer I put in before Easter is a God- send.

do it. you'll have fun knowing your limits and you'll truly get to know yourself.

Adei von K said...

oh yeah! don't forget panther. i watched it in middle school and went to class angrier than a futhermucker.

rosewood, panther, X (pre- mecca), and a time to kill will make you want to hurt someone lighter than you.

shani-o said...

Yoj- Thanks for the pointers. I'm sure it will be hard in a different way, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Stace- we are --->HERE<---

Also, "hurt someone lighter than you" made me laugh out loud at my desk. Thanks for that, lol.

Tay said...

I was natural for a few yrs....i decided on a whim because I was cutting all my hair off anyway...why not try it? It really isnt as easy as it sounds. It took a while for me to find my style and routine....before that I was a mess. Being able to wash and go was great though.
I made an aesthetic decision to relax it again and I cut it all off a few months ago. So its relaxed and short---and its a happy medium. Plus whenever I do decide to start that 'loc journey' [and I will], the big chop wont be so big.