Black Women and weaves…

Ok… I’ve had a huge problem with this phenomenon for sometime now. I completely disagree that black women should wear weaves (or any woman, for that matter). My primary reason for my position on this is that it’s almost as if we’re saying, that even; “WE don’t like our natural hair”! And it totally disproves the “front”, that we are “being real”. How can we “be real”, when our hair is fake? Why aren’t we embracing how God made us? In the late 60’s and 70’s, it was completely accepted by us to wear our natural hair– but now we seem to brag about wearing fake hair. This “front” of being “real”, is not only a bad message for our young daughters and the sons that they will eventually grow up and date, but this “fake hair wearing” is also very bad for your scalp. Naomi Campbell is bald because of the many years of wearing fake hair! I personally think that she could pull off the bald look well, but she, like many other black women have been conditioned to think that a long fake weave/hair, is best. What a shame. Oprah was told yesterday on her show, from apparently, a black audience member, that they loved her weave. She showed the picture below to disprove that assumption. I’m so glad she did that too.

I (unfortunately) had a perm for most of my life, but when I found out how truly bad the chemical components are for our natural hair and scalp, I’m proud to say, that I’ve not had a perm for more than 5 years. What I do know without a doubt, is how to properly care for my natural hair now, versus what our mothers knew. They only did what they were taught and information today is not what it was back then. My hair now grows like wild fire! I’ve always had fairly long, thick hair, but the difference now is immeasurable. My hair looks alot like Oprah’s when not straightened. And I would never wear a weave. Now… some people I know have said I’d feel differently if I wasn’t born with a huge head of natural hair. Well, to that (as I’ve said amongst my circle of friends), I would absolutely work with what God gave me. I don’t think He got it wrong by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, you can do so many styles with short hair these days too. I’ll add this too… wearing weaves, is NOT convenient as this process usually takes (from what I’ve been told) several hours to complete a “good” illusion. So let me round this up by posing this… why don’t black women love their natural hair? Do you really think that God was sipping on libations when he created black people or something? We here, at Whyowhy, want to know your thoughts. No insults will be posted under comments—we want to entice a healthy debate/dialogue with your responses. So let us know. To weave or not to weave… that is the question.

19 thoughts on “Black Women and weaves…

  1. [applause] what a breath of fresh air! to hear a Black woman speak(-up) on weaves and temporary permanents– yes. nature is natural and i can’t think of any better way to be…i mean, is there anything better than perfection? to answer the question i think was posed, i feel Black women are convinced that perms and weaves are the route to “beauty” because they’ve been programmed to think that way, we all have for that matter. and programming takes place in many forms both subtle and over-the-top…but it’s mostly subtle. it’s subtle in those tv images that makes a thing look like the coolest of the cool when it’s not – it’s subtle in the music with hypnotizing beats that leave you numb long enough to let the negative/misleading lyrics leak in – it’s subtle in the magazine ads that makes one believe that ‘The Natural Way’ is not the way to go…unless you’re a size zero; but that’s another topic. wake up sistas and brothas – many women i believe do this to be more pleasing to a man, a man who doesn’t even know who he [really] is; but that’s another topic. could it also be about economics? think about it…how much would you save a month if the only thing you needed to do [for your hair] was buy an oil and shampoo? uhmmm…just something to blink about…lol

    • thank you Stonez for talking to us! your reply here makes me want to add a Part 2 to this, because i agree that there are too many subtle messages out there that contribute to how both black men and women think of our hair. there are several layers to this discussion, but i wanted to start with the two that inspired me; 1) do we like our natural hair and 2) the chemicals involved.

      you’ve given me the greenlight to proceed further with this discussion. thanks again for visiting us– tell your friends! Peace.

  2. please do…add a part II. and you know what the funny part is, so many people in other races try to make their hair the same as ours is naturally…lol – ain’t that some shit?! funny and sad in the same breath. but yo, i’ll lay around for the next instalment. these are the types of things that we must collectively talk about…and we do. but on a more serious, proactive level because it’s the little things (like hair preference) that add up to be big things (like the break down of the Black Family). aiiight then, peace

    • well said! i’ve always maintained that other races “want to be us” before we do! crazy, but true. we are hoping to not only discuss this, but come up with some solutions for changing our thoughts on this subject. self love is needed now more than ever!

  3. thank you and i agree sista! but it’s hard to love what you do not know. oh yes, it can be done and that’s ultimately what we should be striving for– to continually, fully, sincerely come from a position of love regardless of whether we know a thing or not. of course this is not easy…Life is not easy, by design. Life is here for us – spiritual Beings in human uniforms – to Evolve (advance, further develop, realize oneSelf). having said that, the task becomes a lot more bearable if we start with first knowing ourselves. and to know, we must learn. and to learn we must experience. and with experience inevitably comes mis-takes. but such is the beauty of Life…mis-takes with no real wrong (another discussion). getting back to my initial point, we must start learning who We are. and to those individuals reading who have only chosen to stay acquainted with the chattel slavery portion of our history…please understand that slavery is only a drop in the bucket when compared to the ocean of thought,industry and humanity that Afrika (and its peoples, Diaspora included)have donated to the world…to existence. there’s infinitely more to find [out], why not start the search Now…

    p.s. please know that i’m not exactly clear on the word, “love”…but what it seems like to me is reaching for the best and in turn, sharing that “best” with others…with all. to me, that’s true love– at least an aspect of it.

  4. Hello.. I just wanted to say that your blog is great… Ive been scouring the internet looking for blogs and posts about hair care to find inspiration for my blog.. you have given me some great ideas so thank you.. keep up the great posts

    Julie x

  5. This was a nice post and yes there definitely should be a part two to the post. How about all the money that is poured into the next man’s hand because there are no black owned beauty supply shops? Can you imagine the money that can be made if we were knowledgeable about our hair situations and sold products that help us, not harm us? I think there is a documentary about that, if I am not mistaken.
    I think there is a small up rise in natural hair care. So now women who wish to go natural can find websites, books and blogs promoting healthy/natural hair. Trust me, when I went natural, the information was not available. When I asked stylists what to do with my hair (side note: I’m biracial) I was told to press it or relax it. Even now that my hair is in a well cared for state, I still have men ask me “why don’t you straighten your hair?” or “Your hair is too curly, if you straighten it, it will look longer.” [Arrgh!] I am sure that some women who wear weaves have heard these exact same comments. Is it really worth the price (literally) to have something sewn in your hair that is only going to damage the real hair you have? Seems like a very well orchestrated trick to keep you coming back. Get the weave, makes you bald (eventually) and you will have to come back because now you have no hair at all. Hmmm

    *that was a little longer than I intended it to be*

    • Right on girlfriend, right on! So glad you dug the post too! I have had the same thing happen to me too (men asking me to straighten my hair). It’s a real pisser! I’m going to have search for that documentary because that would be a good part 2 on the subject. And i totally agree, it’s continuous cycle. I wish i could have found the exact stats on the dollars black women spend for the perms, conditioners, weaves etc. I’d been told it’s somewhere around 80 million annually, but i couldn’t find I confirmation of that figure. When i was perming my hair, i know i spent 80 bucks every 6-8 weeks just to get it done. i’ve always been pretty lucky in the sense that i could really do my own hair better than a licensed stylist, but sometimes, i just didn’t feel like doing it myself so, i’d pay the ‘professionals’. another thing that has always fascinated me are the women on welfare who pay to have weaves done. (nothing against the welfare person of course), but how can you spend that money on your hair? And hey– don’t worry about the length of your comments– it’s cool in the gang here! (smile)

  6. YoY- Yes, yes on the welfare comment. I have known women that trade in food stamps for cash just to get their hair done. Smh. Honestly think of all the times that our hair has inhibited us from doing things e.g. swimming, going out in bad weather. I remember when I didn’t want to go to a dance because I scared of sweating my hair out. Everything is planned and scheduled around our hair, so in the end it runs us, not the other way around. I love to see a woman with funky wild hair, her own natural hair; it makes me smile because she is free. Free from time constraints, free from conformity, just free.

    **oops before I forget here is the link to the documentary website. You can also catch parts of it on YouTube, btw. It is definitely worth watching. Enjoy


    • okay… you’re spooking me out! i mean that in a good way of course– we seem to be two peas in a pod! (very cool). i too have known women swapping stamps for dollars to do irresponsible shit. and i LOVE to swim, but it is so very damaging to our hair! even swim caps don’t really help that problem. I too remember parties where i just did the non-movement dance steps so that i didn’t sweat out my perm! lol.

      And i totally agree on the freeing aspect of my natural hair– it’s a true statement, isn’t it?! i’ll be sure to check out the documentary… that’s for the link! by the way… how did you find Why O’ Why? We’re really just getting started so I was curious. Glad you have by the way. We try to keep it interesting here.

  7. Lol, you’re funny; don’t be scared. I liked what you were saying, probably because it sounded a lot like my thoughts; that might also explain the pea in a pod thing. If I am not mistaken, I think I found you going through ohhellnaws blogroll. Some of the best blogs are found checking out other peoples links. Your welcome for the link as well; hopefully you will find something thought provoking. The nice thing about your posts are it triggers so many discussions, and I definitely like things that make you go “hmmm”. Keep it up 🙂

  8. Although I am a bit purplexed and slightly frustrated, I won’t be verbally belligerent or disrespectful to opposing oppions. This is the opinion of a proud, young, black woman (22 years old).

    In short:

    I wear weave. I know how to take care of my hair, natual or not and it is healthy. I will be getting my hair done again this Friday.
    I don’t feel less proud or less black and I DONT wear weave for lack of pride or laughably, becasue I hate myself.

    I agree that ALL women should be proud of who they really are, nappy hair and all. A woman should feel that she is a complete person with or without her weave. I DO NOT agree that any woman, black or white, should be limited in the work place, in her community or socity because she is a minority. Dare to be who you want to be; wear your dreads to work, wear your 18 inch weave to the family reunion.

    My mother,my grandmother, and people before them preached freedom choice and individuality, because if you don’t have freedom of choice, you are not free. Yet, black women are bashed for making simple, personal, individual choices about their hair. Why?

    This is clique to say but very true: I AM NOT MY HAIR. Neither am I the color of my complexion. I refuse to tell myself that I should be mindful in decides I have to make about the clothes I wear, the way I speak or how I chose to wear my hair, because I am a black woman. When you can levitate from “I am a black woman” or “I am a mother” or “I am a wife”, to ” I AM A WOMAN”…then you have truly found your un-tanted self, and that is such a high point in a woman’s life. THATS GOLD that is to be treatured. That gold mine reaches beyond heritage, rules, cultures, and social expectations, acceptions and opinions, including the opinions of the people who I respect.

    What I would like to see; people accepting eachother and themselves as is. Thats Love. Thats the way. Glad to see people here intersted in understanding others

    • Hello Trina! Thank you for joining the discussion (we like that). You sound like a very confident young lady– you are really off to a good start for the rest of your life too. I mean that with all of my heart. Since there were a few typos, I’m not entirely sure of your statements– hell we have typos here from time to time, so that happens (smile).

      But I do feel your convictions and emotions with your statements. We want every woman to be who they are of course, but as long as I have lived, the black woman’s hair ‘debate’ has been going on. We at Who O’ Why are not suggesting that you are less than a proud black woman should you chose the ‘option’ of a weave… we would just like to see more black women be proud of their natural hair. You see– when I was growing up, I was immersed among mostly white people. i got lucky because of my father. He would always tell me things about my hair (my skin tone, etc), that I should be proud of how I was made. His adage—“God didn’t make a mistake on me”. I believe that then and now. Placing weaves in our hair is truly a sign that we are not quite satisfied with “how we are made”. I do know that the longer you do that process, over a course of time, you WILL loose your hair. I’ve never done a weave, but I did do the perms (and they are temporary and NOT permanent– that’s true irony to me). friends of mine have actually lost their hair through weaves and were finally forced to wearing wigs. now… because you are young now… your essentials (diet, vitamins, minerals, youth on your side, etc.) you are good now. but the older you get, you will see the difference in your hair. it is inevitable.

      I also don’t really like the term ‘nappy’… i prefer to refer to our different texture of hair, as “levels of coils”– scientifically, that’s really what it is. Our post was not really about a weave makes a black woman feel like more of a woman. it was really about embracing our natural self. I will be the first to admit, that my own mother, treated my natural hair the wrong way. As i’ve gotten older and wanted to truly know how to best take care of my hair in its’ natural state, I eventually found what i needed for that. the cool thing about the internet that i personally like… is that information is bountiful.

      In addition, when I found exactly how much money I saved when sporting my hair it’s natural state (no weave, no perm)– over the course of time (which would be my life), I found that I could have purchased at least 4 used cars! Yep– i’m just that old now (smile).

      this post on this subject is not about people accepting each other… it’s more about women of color (and even black men) accepting us as we really are. I am not my hair either– I’m like that India Arie song too; “I’m a soul that lives within”. I think the tricky thing about our hair is we really haven’t been given the tools to manage (deep coils or loose ones) our hair types. But the very good news is that there scores of women out there (including myself) who have gone through a transition to understand our hair types and how best to treat and manage it. We can rock a ‘fro’ or discover our natural waves and have the healthiest head of hair we’ve ever had instead of damaged, thin hair through weaves or perms. my personal goal… to get our black brothers to stop pressuring us to ‘straighten’ our hair. seems to me, we do all of these unnatural things because of men. when you do go and get your hair weaved on Friday, do yourself a favor– create a log of how much you’ve spent. keep that log over the course of 1 year and show yourself how much money you spent on your hair. I’m sure will discover that you also could have bought a few used cars, flipped them and make a profit. Trina—I’m not really about getting the last word in during a discussion, but I really feel your passion behind writing to us. I hope I served you well and you weren’t insulted in any way. So not the intention. You were passionate, and so was I. looking forward to your response. You’re family here. Thanks for stopping by too. We appreciate it.

  9. Pingback: The Black Hair Industry… what’s really going on? « Why O’ Why?

  10. I completely agree with the thoughts in this article. Relaxers are extremly damaging to the hair and scalp. Everytime I’ve ever had a relaxer, it burned to the point that I was almost in tears. Once, in high school, I did come to tears, and my hair came out too. I had a huge bald spot, that luckely was covered by the rest of my hair that didn’t come out. It is crazy to go through such torture just to have straight hair, especially when kinky and curly is just as, if not more beautiful. My mom started relaxing my hair when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I have never liked getting a relaxer, but unfortunately, that was all I knew. When I reached my senior year of high school, I decided that I wanted to stop getting relaxers and go natural, but the thought of cutting off all of my hair stopped me from doing so. I continued, throught college, to say that I was going to go natural and take take the big chop, but so many of my friends and family only had negative things to say about that idea, and instead of listening to myself, I listened to them. Finally, after 6 years of talk, I did it. On March 14, 2009, I cut off all of my hair. I felt so liberated watching the relaxed hair fall to the floor. However, when I left the salon, I wasn’t comfortable with how I looked. I just wasn’t use to it, so I started wearing a wig. It has been four months since the big chop, and my hair has not even grown an inch. I believe it is because of wearing the wig every day. Just a few days ago, on July 14, I decided to stop wearing the wig. Everyone has mentioned how cute I look with my mini fro. I have to admit that I love it too. Being natural is so easy and free. I don’t have to spend $60/mo getting my hair relaxed at a salon. I don’t have to spend 30min to an hour curling my hair in the morning, or rolling it up at night. I just co-wash in the shower, and I’m good to go. I absolutely love, love, love being natural. Now that I’ve gotten use to my hair and comfortable with it, I look in the mirror and feel so beautiful and proud that I made the decision to be the God given me. I strongly encourage every black woman to say good bye to the relaxer. You won’t regret your decision.

    • Well, now! Hello and hi!!! Thank you so much for commenting on this article! And way to go with “the big chop”! It is very freeing indeed. I’ve been loving my hair natural for over 5 years now and wondering why it took so long. And what a sad thing for you to have gone through (loosing your hair and having a perm put in your hair at the young age of 4-5). I’m so happy to hear you’ve walked through the storm and did this for yourself. And I understand your anxiety with the initial chop… i felt a little self conscience at first. But here’s what I said to myself to keep pressing on “God got it right– everybody else got it wrong”. Our hair is suppose to be exactly the way it is.

      And I love that you were smart enough to recognize how much money you save. I did my total for the 30 years (yes, 30 whole years) I was perming… it’s crazy to think that I could have sent 2 1/2 kids to college (2 to an “almost” ivy league), and a half of a child for their associates degree). it’s insane when you crunch the numbers, isn’t it? Well, welcome to our family “T”! And thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey of “bravery”. As India Arie said so well; “I am not my hair– I am a soul that lives within”! Right on, Taneisha R., right on!!!

  11. Hey! this is great! I was browsing the internet for my next hairstyle when I came across your blog. I was opting for a weave but when I read this”some people I know have said I’d feel differently if I wasn’t born with a huge head of natural hair. Well, to that (as I’ve said amongst my circle of friends), I would absolutely work with what God gave me. I don’t think He got it wrong by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, you can do so many styles with short hair these days too. I’ll add this too…”
    I opened another tab and typed:”natural hairstyles”, I came across so many other natural airstyles that I was in owe. I chose one and I am adopting it starting this week by God’s grace. Thanks again! keep the good work up! God bless u!

    • Awe! You’re too kind and CONGRATULATIONS TO REALLY “Keeping It Real”! “I Am Not My Air” (love that song) but I ABSOLUTELY embrace what God gave me! Our “society” can truly have a way of chipping at ones’ esteem and NOW we know that this has been a consorted effort (through subliminal messages, etc– see all kinds of postings on advertising and tv here ANYTIME) to do JUST THAT! It infuriates me to no end (now that I know).

      And His Grace is purely from the sense of Him wanting us to know self love. Your hair will be more than fine because He designed it that way! But I will give you a heads up… from my experience with it… there are different stages and in the beginning I was done with my hair regime in 15 minutes! A far and WELCOMED cry to the chemicals with took me 1 1/2 hour once per week or 3+ hour when it was time to “perm” so I loved it! But if you decide to let it grow long (for me, it’s longer than my longest permed days if you follow me) well, you’re back up to almost 3 hours (dammit son!, but in a GOOD WAY)! It’s healthier and stronger so I find it worth it. Plus I rock tha shit out of my hair anyway! Have had a natural ability to style it and things since it was about 8! 😉

      Glad you’ve made the decision and I almost forgot this discovery! White men who dig black women have NO PROBLEM with our natural hair unlike some brothas (tsk, tsk) https://yoy50.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/white-men-and-black-women-guess-whos-not-afraid/

      Get ready to rock your fro fo sho!


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