I was recently indulging in reality TV reruns when I came across an episode of “Millionaire Matchmaker.” A stunning Black woman with straight black hair that grazed the middle of her back stood in front of Patti and her team. After a few questions about her age and what she did for a living, one of the employees asked if that was her real hair. The young lady revealed that it was a wig and was coaxed into partially revealing her do underneath.
Why do Black women always have to be rocking a weave or a wig when we have long hair? Why are we not given the benefit of the doubt when White women are? When did a Black woman with long hair become synonymous with wearing a weave? When did a weave become normative, and a real, lengthy mane, the exception to the rule? And it’s not just non-Black men and women who are making these assumptions and in turn perpetuating the myth that Black hair doesn’t grow. It’s across race and gender lines. And just in case someone didn’t catch that . . . it’s a MYTH that Black hair doesn’t grow.
As noted in Who Said Black Girls Can’t Grow Long Hair, while factors such as genetics determine the lengths of one’s hair, with the proper regimen and a minimizing of breakage, long (and more importantly, healthy) hair can be achieved. No weave required. A Black woman with long strands is not an anomaly. I repeat: A Black woman with long strands is not an anomaly. So please stop approaching us asking, “Is it real?” Because whether or not it is, it’s really none of your damn business.
-Audra E. Lord