The construal of the model black woman garners the ability to encompass an immeasurable range of unparalleled love. With a repertoire like that, some would believe that the black woman is a force to be reckoned with. And they’d be correct.
Yet, even with the innate ability to rule a country like Queen Amina and the effortless poise to “run the world” á la Beyoncé, there remains two subject matters that have perplexed and frustrated the black woman for years:
Black men. And black hair.
Even with wisdom on end, we have struggled with mastering the complexities and intricacies of each, in turn treading a thin line as not to lose both. And unfortunately, it seems as though we do not have a firm grasp on either.
One would have to be in deep hiding somewhere, along with LeBron James’ championship ring, to not know the dismal state of black women in relation to marriage and relationships, or lack thereof.
Many of us have grown accustomed to seeing the stark stats plastered like economical wallpaper in a shady motel throughout our favorite women’s magazines, websites and talk shows.
Forty-two percent of black women living in America have never been married, which is twice the amount compared to white women. Seventy percent of black women who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher still don’t hold a wedding ring. And even if every single black man in the U.S. were to magically wake up one day, come to their senses, and marry a black woman, that would still leave one in 12 black women on the sidelines.
Quite like that wallpaper, the facts are harsh and unpleasant. Like we would cover up tacky wall décor, we cover up our wounded pride with elaborate productions of our other accomplishments.
College degree? Check. Living in your own place paying your own bills on time? Check. No kids? Bonus points. And just as you’re cruising in your newly leased BMW 6 series convertible bumping “I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T,” you glance over at a vacant passenger seat and realize how empty these accomplishments feel without anyone to enjoy the ride with you.
To shake the feeling, you drop the top to get some fresh air, but decide against it because you just paid 600 dollars to get some new Indian Remy hair sewn in and you aren’t about to mess up the new do.
This leads us to the next problem plaguing the black woman: our hair.
It is no secret the cavernous struggle that black women in particular have been battling against their hair for what seems like an eternity. For many of us, it comes down to this one question: to weave or not to weave?
In Chris Rock’s film “Good Hair,” it was cited that hair weaves, which are heavily coveted in the African-American community, account for 65 percent of all hair care returns. This only proves that generally speaking, black women have positioned themselves to be pro-weave.
Yet, over the years there has been an apparent shift away from this stance. While weaves are still winning in the polls by a landslide, the push towards natural hair has gained some ground. The point being that while getting off the weave can be scary to a lot of women, a lot of us are curious.
Jasmine Walker, owner of Delesa J Writing Services based out of the Inland Empire of California, has had sister locks for four years now and says that even though it has been an overall positive experience, she still receives some negative comments. “People are just really curious,” she says of her hair. “They ask if I can wash it. Even now, some people don’t accept it as hair and call it ‘stuff.’”
Walker also noted how her hair style is received by black men in the realm of romance. “The guy I’m dating now loves it. He’s always hated weaves,” she says. “They [black men] tend to say it’s refreshing to see someone with their natural hair.”
This exact thought echoes a growing sentiment within the black male community that expresses how men would prefer their women to go weave-less. In the second episode of VH1’s new show “Single Ladies,” Stacey Dash went on a blind date with a handsome black man who, while soaking in the awesomeness of the date, told her he doesn’t “usually date black women” but she proved to be the exception. He goes on to say, “The craziest part is I don’t even mind your hair. It’s actually nice.” Really? That’s the craziest part?
While he clearly has his own issues, one would start to wonder if there are black men out there who hold this same opinion.
Donte Doss, a 29-year-old consultant/contractor from Nashville, has only dated black women but says he’s never dated a woman who wears a weave. “I like to run my fingers through a woman’s hair,” he says. “I certainly don’t want to run my fingers through glue, tracks and the like.”
In fact, Doss and his friends have joined forces to create the NAWCO, or Negroes Against Weaves Coalition. He explains that it was in jest amongst friends. “It’s a very simple male joke,” he says. “But we honestly would prefer not to date women with weaves.”
While it may be a slight reach, one cannot turn a blind eye to the pressing facts. One, the majority of black women wear weaves. Two, the majority of black men prefer their women to be without a weave. And three, black women are not getting married.
It would be jumping the gun, and outright untrue, to proclaim that weaves are the sole reason why so many of us are still without a man. Conversely, it would be unrealistic to ignore the connection, however minor or insignificant it may be. Furthermore, what if, in some bizarre backhanded fashion, black men are actually pushing us to embrace our natural hair? Our natural hair that, for so many of us out there, we have ignored, mistreated, abused and condemned for too long.
Could your weave be holding you back from your man? While many may scoff at the query because you know your weave is always hooked up from top to bottom, it wouldn’t hurt to explore this idea a bit further. Could you be able to trade in your 22-inch Indian hair for your man? Better yet, would you?