Guest Blog by Writeous7
As I’m slowly becoming more conscious and analyzing the views and opinions of my brothers and sisters, one topic that I’ve found to stir up a lot of controversy are people’s views on Black women who wear hair extensions. People who are against it see weave and equate it to economical damnation of Black entrepreneurs and Black women who are trying to conform to European beauty standards. If you’re a woman who wears weave, you’re probably reading this thinking, “NO IT DOESN’T!” Those were my exact thoughts as well. However, being open minded and trying to understand both ends of the spectrum gives you the ability to respond to certain inconsistencies appropriately.
Because I am a Black woman who wears weave and has natural, unprocessed hair, I have debated with both men and women on this subject and have backed them into corners, debunked their one-sided theories and made them realize that their opinions on weave did not apply to every Black woman with a sew-in. There’s this weird misconception that purchasing hair extensions is more economically harmful to the Black community than helpful, being that women are putting millions of dollars into the pockets of Asian distributers. This statement is only partially accurate. More times than not, we don’t directly deal with Asian distributers, we deal with Black entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses.
In the recent years, I have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of women wearing virgin hair extensions as well as Black owned hair distribution companies. These companies are typically starting out as Instagram and Facebook based businesses. The high demand of hair extensions produces a revenue which puts their business in position to develop and expand. This expansion is making way for those Black owned companies to develop official websites, open hair salons and advertise their products on billboards and television/radio commercials. After the product is bought, it must then be installed. Some women even go as far as having the hair dyed, cut and/or styled. Therefore, the purchasing of these virgin extensions is bringing more business to Black hairstylists. If you believe that the hair industry isn’t benefitting Black men and women’s pockets, you must be crazy.
There’s another topic that causes heated debates and that’s whether or not women who choose to wear weave are self-loathing and attempting to conform to European beauty standards. Allow me to start by saying that the majority of virgin extensions originate Asian and Southern American countries such as Malaysia, Mongolia, India and Brazil. I have never, in all of the years that I have been wearing weave, asked a woman what type of hair she was wearing and had her tell me European Body Wave. There are hair companies who choose to distribute hair that originates from European countries, but purchasing certain things without first doing your research is not a grand idea. Hair that originates from Asia and South America are typically better purchases for Black women. This is because each strand itself is thicker and stronger than that of European hair. For a more concealed blend that better matches a woman of color’s hair texture, it is a good idea that we stay away from the European hair.
Now let’s tackle this idiotic “self-hate” idea. There has been a boom in the natural hair wave, and allow me to say that I absolutely LOVE it. A lot of women transition from processed to natural hair by subjecting themselves to “The Big Chop”. I went natural back in 2011 and I did not have the guts to cut all of my hair off. That was too permanent of a decision for someone who likes to change their hair a lot. So, instead of cutting my hair down to 1 inch, I decided to add 18 inches. I transitioned by wearing nothing but sew-ins and gradually cutting the processed ends out of my hair and within a year I was completely natural. I didn’t hate myself and I didn’t hate the natural texture of my hair. My natural hair was what I was trying to get to!
After becoming natural, I almost regret transitioning. I love my natural hair. It’s thick, curly, versatile and absolutely beautiful. And because of that, it requires a lot of maintenance and TLC. Natural hair needs a break sometimes. I NEED A BREAK SOMETIMES. Constant manipulation such as ponytails and combing can weaken your hair and cause it to break off. That’s when a sew-in will get slapped in. It serves as a protective hair style, giving your hair a chance to grow without it breaking off from being pulled at, straightened or damaged from things such as the natural elements. Yes, dry air, extreme heat and extreme cold can have a negative effect on your hair.
The overall point is, what a woman does to her head should be the least of anyone’s worries. A lot of times, those worries are inconsistent and inaccurate. Black women catch heat from every direction no matter what we do. If we wear weave, “we hate ourselves.” If we cut it all off and go natural, “It’s too short.” Or “It’s too nappy.” What the focus should be is that Black women are magicians for the simple fact that any hairstyle we put into our heads will be a success. Not too sure that you can say that about someone who doesn’t have some thickness and some kink to their hair. With that being said, Black women, continue to support those Black owned businesses and take advantage of your hair’s versatility. The only response a nay-sayer deserves is a hair flip.