I Am Not My Hair

© Rae Dosoo 2013

Rae Dosoo asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved. No part of this can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of Rae Dosoo.

I am not my hair

Let us sit my friends and discuss our hair

Introduce yourself Natural, Relaxed, Braids, Bantu, Weave and Shaved Edges.

Hey, how are you doing?

I wear natural hair

All of a sudden I’ve been given a title, Naturalista

Not that I don’t embrace it

I love it, I love it and I love all of me

There is a political movement attached to it

There is a natural allegiance

#teamnatural, that’s what they call it

The anthem is ‘Naturalista….if not go home’

Let me tell you, I am happy to be natural

But don’t the stereotypes get on your nerves?

Automatically you’re labelled a free spirited black hippie

Do you take meat and dairy they ask?

Quite the contrary Relaxed


They meet you and already have their hands covering their noses

Expecting you to be smelly and hairy

Then they have the nerve to smile,

And say oh my gosh, I loveeee your perfume!

Walking through the street, playing the guitar and singing kumbaya

With your nose stuck in a Maya Angelou book

Is what they see, when they see me, but when I see me, I see ME, I know ME

Spoken word poetry,

A girl with natural hair is expected to listen to Neo-Soul

I am not my hair

I repeat, I am not my hair

And no I am not hating on my favourites, Jill Scott, D’ Angelo, Maxwell,

Lauryn Hill, India Arie and Marsha Ambrosius

But please can’t a natural hair girl get a break?

I do listen to Hip Hop and Rock too you know

I am not my hair, I am not my hair and I am not my hair!


Yes, my hair is my crowning glory

Getting our hair done can make us feel ever so special

We hold our hair strands ever so dear,

We cling to our hair when the scissors cut it,

Screaming ‘Oh my gosh, why did I cut so much off my hair’

We love running our hands through it or yelling at him

‘Don’t touch my hair!’

We love it when it blows in the wind

Or when we wash it and it feels ever so clean

My friend, I do understand the argument,

That hair can be a part of your personality

I know it can be a way of expressing your character

But does it define you?

I will leave that to you


I told you I am not my hair,

They assume I am a political activist

Against this, Against this, Against this

For that, For that, For that

Let me stick my fist in the air

They think I wear dashikis and always putting up a peace sign

They think Natural hair is ‘bad’ and relaxed hair is ‘good’

Who allowed you to govern and to rule?

Who gave you the mandate to decide the morality of hair?

Is this a joke?

Is this the deepest philosophical question we can ask ourselves?

What is good hair?

Let me tell you it is neither natural nor relaxed hair

It is called healthy hair


I wear bantu knots

They think I am going to chase them with spears

And that I wear tribal prints across my face

*Yawn*, *Yawn*, *Yawn*

Let me sit myself on this chair my friends

‘Are you tired’?

Yes I am tired my relaxed sister, I am tired

I am not my hair


I wear braids,

Sometimes Senegalese, sometimes Marley twists, sometimes Ghana braids

Apparently! It’s not sexy and it’s unattractive

Apparently! It’s unkempt and not tidy

Who cares, I am not your expectation

I am not my hair


My hair, my sisters, I cut the edges

*Gasps* *Gasps*

‘Why did you cut your hair?’

Don’t worry Bantu, Relaxed, Natural, Weave and Braids I get that all the time

Do not EVEN get me started!

Aunties asking why you shaved it off,

Are you really a Christian?

Calling me a devilish Ragamuffin

Let me tell you

Please, Please, Please

Am I a rebel because I cut my HAIR?

I am not my hair


Weave. Weave. Weave. Oh, Oh, The controversy

The debates. The questions.

I brought it.

It’s on my head. I wear it. I own it. It’s my hair

No questions asked please.

Hands to the face!

No, I do not wish to be European nor do I hate my ‘blackness’

So what if I wish to flick my 24 inch weave in the wind?

So what if I wish to wear Peruvian, Brazilian and Malaysian?

It does not mean I wish to be Caucasian

I proudly wave both my union flag and the

Red, Yellow, Green with the Black star in the middle

And oh yes…I do have hair underneath here

Is there a problem that I like to wear weave

Isn’t it on my own head, my sisters?

Please do not despise me

I am not my hair


I relax my hair

My friends, they consider it the worst of all-chemically processed hair

What works for you, works for you,

What works for me, works for me

Please do not condemn me Natural

So what if I like my hair silky, straight and that it is easier for me?

Isn’t it my own head, my sisters?

Am I not a Queen?

Can’t I be called a ‘Relaxista’?

I am not allowed a title because I choose creamy crack over juices and berries

plus the coconut oil and other minerals you throw at me

Okay, call me unhealthy, call it unhealthy, call MY HAIR unhealthy

I AM NOT my hair, I AM NOT who YOU declare me to be,

I have more pressuring issues than what is placed on my hair


I am not my hair!

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