DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR

My spirit is shouting, my soul is grateful, and my heart is overjoyed. Thoughts are so jumbled and all over the place I’m not sure where I should start. Mmm, how about we go back to September 5th. The day I began to release baggage to enhance my freedom…

***

I spent a couple of hours in Pacific Palisades with my good friend Nikia. We went on an early morning hike to film a project I’m working on. I had my go-to wig on, but it was way too hot. So I decided to take it off and let my hair out. Now typically hair can look kind of funky coming from under a wig, but I wasn’t ok with it. When I looked in the mirror and saw my reflection I wasn’t pleased. I felt ugly. I still wasn’t sure how to deal with my hair texture, and I was trying to control something that sometimes has a mind of its own. My friend braided the front to make it look “better”, but that didn’t work for me either. So I just said fuck it, and I finished the rest of the shoot with a head wrap on.

***

Before I got back to the house, I took the head wrap off and oddly enough I was feeling myself. So weird, right? Then I opened the door and my grandpa says “What happened to you? I hope you didn’t go into somebody’s store looking like that.” Here I am tired and worn out. My day was insightful, inspirational, and I definitely had a few break-throughs, but entering into a space that is suppose to be “home”, only to be greeted with a demeaning comment didn’t feel good. I thought I brushed it off but when it happened again twice the next day I had to say something.

***

Sitting both my grandpa and uncle down to talk about what was bothering me, I felt extremely vulnerable. This was the first time I let my family in on where I’m at in my journey. I tried explaining how I know I will be judged by the outside world. I know I will be treated differently, but when it comes from home it has a negative effect on me. It does not help with the process of healing and self love. I want to run, hide, and cover myself up all over again. At this point I’m in tears because I had opened myself up only to feel like I had been shut down and misunderstood. To my grandpa’s defense he is naturally a jokester. He loves to laugh, crack jokes, and be an all around playful person. I’ve known him to be this way all of my life. However, because he didn’t know my struggles. He did not know he was hurting me. To some degree I guess he understood, I haven’t heard anything about my appearance since that day.

***

A month later A Seat At The Table is released, a beautiful story told through sound by Solange Knowles. Being the fan that I am, I listened from beginning to end. There was one song that really struck a nerve; “Don’t Touch My Hair”. My eyes filled with water as she sung the words that wouldn’t leave my mouth when I was talking to my grandpa “Don’t touch my hair when its the feelings I wear”, when I get stared down in a restaurant “Don’t touch my pride, they say the glory’s all mine” , or when I get bumped into on the sidewalk “Don’t test my mouth, they say the truth is my sound”. This woman has laid it out so gracefully, reminding me that I am not alone. Reassuring women that everyday won’t be smooth sailing, but acceptance can make for brighter days.

***

Thank you Solange. Thank you for your individuality, your bold creative voice, and reminding us why being black is superb.

“You know this hair is my shit. Rode the ride, I gave it time, but this here is mine.”

Love,

Ri’ <3