Mama’s Hair

Mama’s Hair

My mama dropped me off in the third grade on a Tuesday morning, with a head full natural, thick, 4c hair. When she picked me up that afternoon, she was practically bald, then we went and got ice cream.

My mom being hairless never bothered me, she always looked like she was just a missing member of that 90s R&B duo, Zhane. My mama is perfectly chocolate; she is short; she is plus-size; she has an actual negro nose (which I inherited too), a slim face and an awesome smile. When she cut her hair, she felt free, and you could tell she seemed pleased with her being. However, when you’re a free black woman, with no ties to hegemonic beauty standards, the world will let you know that it doesn’t approve. I’ve been the cringing bystander my entire life while my mother has had to deal with gross insults from family about her skin, shady comments from her sisters about her hair preference, and even little slights from strangers who called this obvious woman “sir.” In my younger years I can’t remember wanting to look exactly like her, because I have never wanted to endure the pain of being made to feel like my beauty was irregular. Honestly, I don’t think I have the grace to bear through the comments like her.

When you’re a free black woman, with no ties to hegemonic beauty standards, the world will let you know that it doesn’t approve.

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