- At a fourth grade assembly, my friend LaDonna stroked my hair for an hour, mesmerized because she’d never touched a white girls’ hair. When we’d chat on the phone after school, her aunt would sometimes gush in gratitude because I talked to her niece.
- Entering middle school, I was devastated that my best friend Teresa stopped hanging out with me in favor of the black crowd. She thought the end of our friendship was clearly inevitable, as if colorblind friendship was baby stuff. I hadn’t seen it coming, nor did I find it odd that I’d never once been to my best friend’s house; she’d only been to mine.
- When I was 13, my friend Heather invited me to church camp. There I had a wild crush on a black boy named Tip. He was a precious gentleman. He held my hand at worship, bought us pizza after an inedible cafeteria meal, and asked for a single peck of a kiss at the end of the week. At church camp, I had no doubt my crush was pure. But Heather and I carried memories of Tip home like a scandalous rendezvous in Vegas. What happens at church camp stays at church camp. When Tip later called me at home, I was terrified someone would discern from his voice that he was black. I can’t remember what shameful attitude I gave him, but he read clearly between the lines and never called again. Until today, I doubt anyone but Heather knew I once kissed a black boy.
I nearly cried watching this video, and then felt so puzzled about it. My own hair hasn’t been natural (color-wise) since the seventh grade; why am I so proud of black women doing what I’m unwilling to do?
Sure, I should accept my own natural self more willingly, including my hair color. But there is an added incentive for Amelia to accept her natural hair: By accepting her natural curls, her dark skin, her thick and fluffy afro, Amelia is also accepting the attributes of her race. I can change my hair brown, black, red… I am still aiming at some sort of Caucasion ideal. And I can live with that, because I am Caucasion. But if Amelia some day relaxes her hair and attempts to turn it silky straight, and perhaps even adds Beyonce highlights of blonde… then she is also aiming at a Caucasion ideal. And I cannot live with that.
And so, this video about a movement towards natural hair for black women made me want to stand up and cheer.
Amelia is a girly-girl, and I’m certain she’ll work hard towards beauty in life. I just hope she does so out of pride for who God made her. I pray she never believe the subtle lie culture tells that black looks less desirable. She was born Ugandan, and stunning. May she remain that way for life.
(click here for video)