India Arie in her song "I am not my hair" documented the challenges that many of us African American women face with our hair. In that song, she takes us through her hair journey from having it pressed and curled, going with a Jheri curl, relaxed and then back to its natural state. This is a journey that resonates with many of us. I have had many different hair styles in my formative years but none of them defined me. As an adult, I hold an even stronger conviction on this.
It is not about the hair or hairstyles; whether its locs, bald, natural or even hair extensions. It's about what makes us feel good in the moment. I know the argument can be made that our natural hair should be our crowning glory and I do not dispute that. However, there is no correlation between wearing hair extensions and perceiving my natural hair to be inferior. It does not in any way suggest that I do not appreciate my hair in its natural state.
I could not be more proud of my heritage, my skin color and my hair. My natural kinky hair is quite versatile. I can wear it with twists, bantu cornrows or with an afro puff. I can also wear a variety of protective styles such as braids or weaves and there's nothing wrong with that.
Society has manipulated our views on what should be appropriate for our race and even made us feel culpable when we deviated from what is considered "status quo". As women, we have the right to choose- whether it's abortion (although this liberty is now being restricted), or to be creative with our hair in either its natural state or with add-ons.
Our hair should not define our beauty, it should compliment our beauty. Society should not define our beauty, you should define your own beauty. How we choose to wear our hair does not define us.