I'm a black girl (obviously) and I don't go to an HBCU nor a city with a high population of Black people in it. When I came to college here in Austin, I didn't realize that I would not have my security blanket, my entourage, my people who I could call on up whenever I had an emergency. I'm sure you all are thinking: What kind of emergency is she talking about?Â Let's just say that I dealt with the same type of emergency thatÂ I'm sure that majority of Black women have dealt with some time in their lives.... a Hair Emergency!
Since it's Black History month (and something that people should know anyhow), let me educate those of you who don't know about the importance of African American women getting/keeping their "hair did". For decades, African American women have represented the beauty of versatility. We come in all shapes, sizes, and shades; along with that comes the complementary look of alwaysÂ having our hair styled to finish the appearance off. In the 70s, Black women celebrated their Afrocentrism with the oh-so-fly Afro; Cornrows with beads were also introduced to the scene. In the 80s, a beautician named Jheri created a hair concoction that made people's hair go from straight to a head full of of juicy curls. This became called the "Jheri Curl" ! This was popular along with the asymmetrical hair styles (Think about Salt N' Peppa or a younger Queen Latifah!). The 90s introduced women to the oh so popular (and quite convenient) "Dookie Braids". I remember the times as a child where I would for hours impatiently sit at my aunt's neighbor's house Ms. Kathy (God rest her soul) and she would transform my head into countless amounts of big, boxy individual long braids. I still can smell the scent of burnt hair because she would burn the ends of the braids so the extensions would not come apart!Â Along with that came the Crochet braids.
In the 00s, I was introduced into getting Microbraids. I thought they were awesome becauseÂ it is tiny braids that are half braided; the other half is hair so I could curl and style them just like it was my own hair. Also popular wereÂ hair extensions (tracks!) that comes in any kind of style (curly, wavy or straight), color and length. This is done by quick weaving, sowing or simply bonding with one's hair and is still very popular today. As the 2000s decade faded into this one, the introduction of bobs and cropped cuts have proved to be very popular among Black women. You can thank Rhianna and her "Umbrella" video for that! I recently took the plunge into color and cuttting my hair into a bob and I really like it.
In addition there are the Up-dos, humps, ponytails, locks, lace front wigs and "Going Natural" (no more relaxers) that are very faithful and oh so flattering! There are too many styles to mention but just know, Black women have plenty (and I do mean plenty) of options!
That is why it was so important for me to find a beautician here in Austin. For a couple of years I would deviate from getting a friend to "hook me up" and going back home to Dallas to let "my hair peoples"Â and best friend to craft my hair. It wasn't until this year that I found a nice beautician and beauty shop in North Austin called Essence II Barber/Beauty shop. My beautician, Pam, has helped kept me looking presentable and so far, I have no major complaints about my results or the reasonable prices! There is no greater feeling to Black women than walking out of a hair salon withÂ freshly done tresses. And nobody can't tell us anything to bring us down along the way. That's how it's been for decades and I don't see it changing any time soon because hair has always been a big part of Black beauty! Like that Aretha Franklin/Eurythmics song said "Sister are doing it for themselves"! In this case, we are talking about hair!
Now when it starts to rain and you see an angry Black woman in pursuit of immediate shelter,Â just know it is because rain is like Kryptonite to our hair. And that in itself is another story..... for another time!