Monday, 1 September 2008


As a proud black man, I view our feature with deep admiration and love. Yes, black is said to be beautiful. But do we really mean that statement? For black men, beauty is very simple and ordinary. I mean for the majority, there are a minority of black men who are worried about their features.
Few days ago, I embark on a fact finding mission, a probe more like. I wanted to know whether our sisters can look beautiful without the hair extension. The main reason that triggers the soul search was to do with a TV program on BBC Three about the origins of the hair that many black women wear.
The main question is, can modern black women go out without the artificial hair?
The artificial hair is divided into two categories:
The synthetic hair and the Human hair. The synthetic hair is manufactured from synthetic sources. According to the many cosmetic shop keepers I spoke to, the prices of the two categories of artificial hair don’t defer much. But whenever you see a black sister with either a wig or plaited artificial hair, know that she has spend a lot of money on that product. Plaiting or weaving this artificial hair is so expensive; one wonders whether it is worth spending hard earned money on it.
In the TV program, the human hair industry is very vast. What is of worry is the ways the hairs are collected and process in factories across Asia. In India for instance, the human hair industry is worth million. Over two hundred tones of human hair is gain from Hindu temples. The Main religion in India is Hinduism, a form of multiple God worship. The temples are an integral part of the Hindu society and Indian women pride their hair as the significant determinant of their beauty.
With the culture of hair being a beauty symbol, to the extent that women with shorter hair struggle to find a mate. With hair as a sacred symbol, some women are pushed to shave-off their hair out of poverty and family problem. If a woman is unable to afford accommodation or food, she shave-off her hair in the temple as a form of sacrifice to the Gods. The woman would be blessed by the custodian of the Gods in the temple. Beauty is sacrifice for blessing and also people hand out gift to shaven headed females, it’s an unspoken communication about once poverty.
But these hairs sacrificed to the Hindu Gods don’t go to waste. They are sold to multinational factories that specialise in processing these hairs into the wigs and weaves we see in our sisters’ head. (BBC Three with Jamilia)
Where is the pride that the advocates of black beauty would like reminding us? The beautification of oneself with the hair of others is self-defeating. How do the Indian women who grow their hair and then sells it see the many black ladies parading themselves with such hairs?
Black beauty doesn’t seem to anchor well without synthetic and other non-black race hair. It is very depressing seeing young and old beautiful black women, displaying the different brands of artificial hairs, without which, many can’t venture out. What can we do to instil the pride of black beauty back into our consciousness?
There is some other hair that is not imported from India or Russia. This artificial hair is the closest to natural black hair; it is best referred to as AFRO-KINKY. This is the hair of choice for Jamaican sisters. But wigs are mostly human hair. This is because it is easy to manage and fit better than synthetic hair
I am no male chauvinist; the concern is the BLACK IMAGE. If our image is of low self-esteem and low confidence, then its better we accept being mediocre and give-up the struggle for equality and advancement. This is no self-image psychology, but a little reminder to all the black sisters. Be proud of your natural beauty and maintain and nourish it in a dignified and respectable manner.
Brothers out there, when next you smile because of your missus’s wig or artificial hair, remember the hair could have come from a dump site in India or Russia. You too are guilty for promoting the use of other’s hair in beautifying our sisters. We can do without all the crappie synthetic artificial hairs. It is a difficult subject, just like bleaching, once one is deep into it, turning back is near impossible. May God guide our actions.

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