Part 2 of the “U R” series by Sydney based fashion film collective Fling Fling is all about hair. Malaika tells: “It´s about hair and the type of experiences/struggles that myself and many other women have because of it; inspired by conversations with my friends.”
Originally posted on C-Heads
Luna and Malaika voicing their feelings about their hair
“I was told my “hair is too black for work” and they asked me to remove my braids. If my natural hair and my personal expression of how I want to wear it is not beautiful by this standard where does it stop? “Please straighten or change your hair if you wish to work here.”
“Is that all your hair?” “Do you miss running your hands through it?” “Do you wash or comb your hair?” These are just a handful of questions and side comments, I get asked on daily basis by random, rude, absent-minded and inquisitive strangers. Almost always in crowded spaces, invading your private space and all while reaching over to touch and linger their hands without asking and waiting for a response. Honestly, I’m all about natural hair conversations, but a crowded elevator is not one of them. Also–of course I wash my hair. #DontTouchMyHair.
When I was 12, I chopped off my waist-length hair to a bob just to stop the teasing. Now my hair is my proudest feature, but it took a while for me to get there. What makes you stand out from the crowd is what makes you beautiful – don’t change it, flaunt it!
A still of Gloria dancing in Sydney City
My words: This is not just hair, this is a crown. One which spirals, coils like the divine number 9. Connecting me to original substance that is the universe, god, consciousness. It’s treasure we POC ossess but little know it’s value and importance. The truth is that for centuries we, POC, have been programmed and taught to loathe this gift from the Supreme. To relax our hair, straighten our hair, cover our hair. Do anything to deny our hair. So when I opened my eyes to realise the lies. I forgave myself for all of those years of rejecting my uniqueness and met people who experienced what I felt. Denial turned into Self-love. And it’s been a love affair ever since. But please, for people who are fascinated… practice admiration from a respectable distance. With much love and compassion, I tell you, “Hands off my hair.”
A still of Malaika dancing in Sydney City
How can I be mad against their curiosity when the world doesn’t educate them. How can I be mad against my sisters that straighten, or relax their hair just to please them because they are just afraid to not fit the world. Why do I have to drive hours to find a shampoo? Why do I have to feel like a savage animal when I walk in the street? And they asked me to stop keeping the grief of the past. My hair, it’s probably nothing for you. But it means a lot for me. It’s the beauty that they try to hide because of their ethics.