“So you’re still down with that creamy crack.”
I hear it much too often from naturalista friends and even fellow Black girls I barely know. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a bun, big curls, or a flat-ironed style; in far too many instances, the status of my perm-infused hair winds up on the conversation radar.
As a child, straight hair was the stylistic norm of what I saw everyday on Black women’s heads. Whether it was at school, church or even department stores, seeing kinky and curly hair was a rarity for my eyes.
Around the age of 5 years old, I distinctly recall my mother purchasing a colorful box with “Just for Me” scribbled across the front. “No Lye”, “Perfect Straightness” and “Worry-Free Styling” were just a few of the phrases scrawled across the front, and from then on, the tangles that I once felt were there no more. Since then, I cannot distinctly recall the natural hair texture of my hair.
Upon enrolling in college, I started seeing all the hairstyle possibilities for Black hair. Big afros, Marley twists, braid-outs, and finger coils were everywhere I turned. Little by little, the few relaxed friends I had slowly began to transition, and even I thought of “big chops” and protective styling– although I never went through with it.
Being a young African-American woman with relaxed hair these days sometimes causes me to feel like an oddball. Often, I find myself ready to embark on the natural hair journey not knowing when, how, or if I should. Despite this, I’ve learned that making Black women feel like they do not belong because they don’t have natural hair is something that should not happen.
Much like saying “You don’t talk Black” or “You’re pretty, for a dark-skinned girl,” addressing a relaxed-haired Black woman by saying “Oh, so you still perm your hair?” is not a compliment. In a world full of natural-haired Black women, I do not wish to be singled out by the way that I style my hair and I certainly would not like to be viewed as being less than Black because I do have a perm.
For Black women, hair is a constant topic of discussion. Hair salons serve as our meeting grounds for gossip, advice, and sharing the company of each other. In our free time, we bond over braiding each other’s hair and oiling scalps to perfection. On Youtube, we dominate the scene with tutorials for deep conditioning, twist-outs, roller sets, and so much more. No matter the trend, our Black hair serves as a constant reminder of our style, identity, and our magic as Black women.
So, I encourage Black women (and men) to understand that our hair makes us unique and there is no specific style that makes us “more Black“ according to society’s standards.
So yes, I am still down with that creamy crack. And I ain’t ashamed.