“Hair traumas happen. Some of those traumas are intergenerational — passed down from generation to generation like warped heirlooms,” Oriowo says, including that texturism is a part of our inheritance. “As a result, some folk grow up and can’t smell certain smells like hair grease … without almost re-experiencing or having flashes of their own past hair experiences. And this type of flashback sounds a lot like a trauma response to me.”
So what if we take a second to take our ache extra severely? What adjustments if we cease shrugging off these small experiences and as an alternative take a look at them as a part of our racialized trauma? “We have to start with naming our hurts,” Oriowo explains. “When we identify what hurts us, we are better equipped to do something about it.”
If you’re in a state of affairs like I used to be, the place a stylist is tough or unkind due to your hair, each Oriowo and Mbilishaka say it’s okay to talk up, advocate for your self, and even depart. “Some of the people who do the best hair may or may not have their own wokeness,” Mbilishaka says. “I would encourage people to restrict their payments or funds. When you’re trusting someone, you’re in a vulnerable position, and they’re not taking care of you but actually harming you.”
In our longstanding dedication to dismantle white supremacy, we should additionally proceed to heal ourselves. We can try this, Mbilishaka says, by questioning and processing the tales we inform ourselves (and one another). We didn’t create the system that privileges straighter hair, however we’ve inherited it, and so it’s one other factor that now we have to course of and heal. “I think, as we tell and retell some of our personal life experiences, we can see, ‘No, there’s nothing wrong with my hair or my beauty. It’s the system that would critique tightly coiled [and] darker skin,’” Mbilishaka says. “And how sick is that? That they have to create this false dichotomy of good and bad?”
And, whether or not on social media, in salons, in remedy periods, or group chats, now we have to proceed to fortify ourselves towards a world that tries to erode our vanity. “In the face of all that discrimination, you will need a safe haven. Be sure to find or build a community,” Oriowo says. “There is much we have internalized about our worth and value from what folk have said about our hair. Let’s make sure we are equally working to heal what was hurt.”
This piece is a part of The Melanin Edit, a platform in which Allure explores each side of a melanin-rich life. If you favored this story, make sure you learn our report on why some ladies are leaving the pure hair motion in addition to the rising recognition of Botox amongst Black customers.
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