With natural hair comes great responsibility’ – Doreen Boateng-Amponsah.

 

Summer 2012. I went through with the big chop and went ‘au naturel’
Exhibit A – Fallen soldiers  (My hair cut off)                                                    

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I was supposed to grow it out, but I’m still sporting my fade and high top.

 

I’m telling you, it’s not easy and sometimes I want to jump for the relaxer, but I resist the ‘sultry temptation’ of the ivory paste. Many would like to assume that I am anti-weave and I’m trying to make a bold statement in support of natural hair. Truth is… I cut my hair because it was basically falling out (sorry to disappoint). I would arise from my slumbers, and see the fallen soldiers lying astray on my pillow, having escaped the split ends of my dying hair. My ideology towards natural hair/weave did not change, leading to me chopping my hair off, however cutting my hair did transform my ideology in some sense.

 

People often say ‘Your hair suits you’ and that ‘natural hair would never suit me’. Is it that natural hair would never suit you, or is this what society is feeding you and you are eating well (maybe too much), and it is making your insecurities obese? Growing up, my mum said the texture of my hair was ‘different’, as it wasn’t like my sister’s, which was ‘silky’. Mummy lost faith you know. Ignoring the wise words of George Michael, she jumped for the relaxer and terrorised my hair at age 7. I enjoyed thinking raaah I’m doing beyonce styles now, unknowingly destroying the beauty of my natural hair, and unaware that I would soon be doing alopecia styles. I would see my sister’s tight long curls, thinking genetics had a vendetta against me, perhaps in another lifetime I was too buff, so they had to humble me for this lifetime. So not only did I miss out on being a lighty (post for another day), I missed out on the long nice natural hair. It was when my regrowth would counter-attack, that I would experience my natural hair temporarily and adore the little cute curls, then ivory terrorist would straighten that ‘mess’ out.

 

You may have gathered from the phrases I have utilised, such as ‘Ivory terrorist’, that I’m not really a fan of relaxers, because of the trauma it inflicted on my hair.  However, this is a personal preference, and I understand that many opt for relaxers, because of the time constraints and difficulty of managing their natural hair. I’m definitely not against weave, although my bank account is not a fan; the utterance of brazilian or malaysian will bring him to tears, he cries ‘Oh the criminals that rob me!’. Essentially, my issue is with the reasoning behind you not believing natural hair will suit you or why you wear a weave and your natural hair is dying to see daylight, begging to mingle with the atmosphere. You can tell me ‘weave just looks better than natural hair.’ If you tell me this I will not say your brain has been through a washing machine, but I will highlight the fact that the black women that are generally seen as the ‘most beautiful’ by the majority of society, are usually the ones that look more european and westernised. Then we could travel back in time, look at slavery, the favoring of blacks that had features more similar to europeans, the ridicule of the African hair texture and everybody would have to get their diving suits, because we’re going deep. And you will tell me that ‘it’s not that deep’, and I will say U.O.E.N.O. All too many times we are victims to the subconscious/unconscious and underestimate its power.

 

And hey, I am not without my own insecurities and society still has its way with me from time to time. Oh, I see some of you serial weave offenders. You are green with envy as my scalp breathes, but what you don’t know is, I’m also envious of you to some extent. I long to feel some type of long, silky hair caressing my shoulders or desperately wanting to transform my look. I also cringe when I wake up in the morning, with no makeup and feel insecure about my femininity and beauty, which is supposedly sprinkled in one’s locks (as one uncle kindly pointed out, as he worriedly preed my haircut. He even tried to draw for Bible passage to support his claim, but I know my God loves me no matter what :D). Having short natural hair, my face is shouting to be critiqued, facial features pleading for your attention. I’m thinking to put weave in my hair soon one day, I just need to be sure whether I’m doing it because I want a new, different look or because I think weave just looks more attractive or ‘clean-cut’.

 

And I leave you with this, I know it can be long and tiring, but have a little faith, give your natural hair a chance, let her breathe and don’t terrorise her constantly with that ivory paste.

Love, Doreen x

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Welcome!

An introduction to what I’m creating. An outlet for myself and the various Nubian Queens I’m privileged to know, love and respect. Here we will voice our opinions, share stories on the topics that affect us daily or generally, and most importantly serve as a place of refuge for so many other queens (and kings!) around the world.

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The question that frustrates me

Nubian Queens

“Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable” Janelle Monae- Black Girls Rock 2012

This post isn’t going to be about all I think about natural hair and the politics surrounding it (that’s for later!), but rather just one aspect of having it that frustrates the hell out of me…

It was a couple of years ago, around my 16th birthday. I went natural by doing the big cut. I cut it alllllll off (well nearly all..) Before this mega-big decision, my fellow black church people always complimented me on my long (relaxed) hair.

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180096_195008213856382_1131416_n-001So, when I chopped it all off, they were like “WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOOING?!?” It seemed the people around me mourned my lost hair more than I did!

As I went on, I experimented with my hair- I did twists, I did twist outs, I did bantu knots and of course…

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Beauty Queen

As you read the title, try and read it in the “freshest” nigerian accent you can think of. I know you’re laughing to yourself now. But that’s how my mum and aunties sounded when I became the very thing. A beauty queen. First in my family and probably last.

Whenever I get asked how I came about winning such a competition that is most commonly associated with blonde-haired Caucasian females of certain bodily dimensions, not a kinky-haired, ankara clad mahogany girl, my response is always the same. I didn’t mean to, did it for jokes with 2 other friends, turned up on the day and I won. I didn’t know I wanted to win until my number was called out; number 19. I was so gassed!( for lack of a better word). But the feeling of winning Is the Same, no matter the prize. In a few months I’d be representing my county, Leicestershire, in the miss England finals as well as a myriad of prizes won for the duration of my reign, I was happy! All by myself, but I was happy.

Just over two weeks ago, was the week of the Miss England finals, 5 days at the imperial hotel in Torquay, paired up with another beauty queen from another part of England. There were 60 of us in total, I was the only dark skinned black girl there. I thought to myself, this is not life right now! But soon came hope in the form of a mixed-race queen. Finally! I thought to myself. We somehow drew to each other as though there was a force pulling us together. She’s stayed a good friend of mine. So has my roommate and many of the other girls. The truth is, I was reluctant to approach some of the girls, but as soon as I recognised someone vaguely similar to me, I let my guards down and friendship was sparked.

This pageant life has opened my eyes to so many things that we shy away from. Us being Black ( especially African) people. The iron-fisted emphasis on education is all well and good, we appreciate and love that, however there are so many other achievements to be won in life. Psychologists, students, teachers, business woman, nurses,bankers and lawyers were amongst the 60 finalists. My quest is to see more black women winning these achievements. Pushing forward and educating people in the beauty industry. Maybe then we’ll see makeup artist and hair stylists educated on black hair and beauty- we’re not all the same shade of dark and our hair doesn’t ” feel like a sponge”. After all, we’ve already got the intellect now we have to expose the world to our beauty.

Love, Ruth x