Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cassandra Jackson Thinks Natural Hair is the End of Black Beauty Culture

Right now, the beauty shop is still there, but I am not. I will not take my daughter there because I want her to love her perfect springy curls. She will hear me laugh with my sister about the time that she 'kissed' my ear with a hot straightening comb, but my daughter will never know how such a tool of pain could evoke such warm intimacy. I want her to love her hair as it grew out of her head, but I also want her to know a place where tired black women can shame a man with a word and look. But I cannot have it both ways.

Cassandra Jackson raises many interesting points about the loss of an integral element of Black female culture. Yet I would argue that it is possible to have both the liberation of natural hair and the solidarity of salon culture. There are many women who can't/won't do their own hair, and there are those who just prefer the pampering of a salon. These are the women who will maintain the salon culture. In fact they are probably the women who have been maintaining the salon culture through all of these generations, as I would argue a DIY kinda gal is the same whether her hair is worn naturally or processed.

At the moment there are few mainstream salons that cater to natural hair and those that specialize are usually overpriced. I hope to see more hair stylists offer services for natural hair. If more stylists were able to do natural hair, the overall price would probably decrease. Furthermore, the stigma of naturally kinky hair being difficult to manage would desist.

I don't see the growing natural haired population as a threat to salon culture, but rather as an opportunity to return to the original "kitchen salon" culture of Black womanhood. The bonding that Jackson refers to was never about getting kinky hair permed or even pressed, but about women coming together in a sacred space.

What do you guys think? Is it possible for salon culture to survive the migration of Black women to their natural texture?