When I was a little girl, I loved to cover my head with a towel, and dance around the house flinging it back, and forth as though I had the longest hair in the world. I wanted hair like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Whether on TV, movies, books, or magazines, I was drawn to long hair that hangs. I thought this was only a little mocha girl thing, but I've observed this behavior in little girls of various ethnicities. Everyone seems to love long flowing hair. It is beautiful.
I'm not against dressing up and playing pretend. It's fun to have a different experience sometimes. We can play with wigs, and weave extensions in our hair on occasion to enjoy something new. Personally, I've never used extensions, weaves, and wigs on my daughters. While I don't condemn mothers who occasionally use braid extensions, I've even stopped using them in my own hair to send my daughters a message. My main concern is that we don't want our girls to cling to these things in an effort to hide what they've been given. We don't want our daughters to believe they are lacking something special, because of the hair they have. We want to give them an accurate understanding of what to expect from their hair, so they'll be able to enjoy its beauty.
Nappy hair may grow long, but it has to grow very long to become heavy enough for the coils to stretch out and look long in it's natural shrunken state. In fact, nappy hair hides its true length. Depending on the nappy head, you may be surprised by how much stretch you can pull from a shrunken section. I expect about 70% shrinkage when I wash my daughter's hair loose and leave it alone to dry. Check out Mocha Girl Two's hair below. Her true length is hidden well in its shrunken state.
Nappy hair doesn't hang unless we interfere--as I've done above with Mocha Girl Two's hair by stretching it out in braids. Over time and with exposure to moisture her hair will shrink back up. It will twist, coil and zig zag upwards and out. My goal is to teach my daughters to celebrate this unique aspect of their hair. So many people experience intense frustration that their hair won't stay stretched out. Maybe they straightened it for a special occasion, but it poofed before they were ready. Abusing our naps by applying excessive amounts of heat while denying it moisture in an effort to keep it stretched, often results in shorter and damaged hair.
The afro is considered retroactive, and trendy. Some people link it with terminology like soul, black pride, and black power. I see it as the natural adornment of a nappy princess. Between braids, cornrows, and twisted styles you'll find my daughters running around the house in their afros. The bigger, the better. I tell them they're nappy princesses with hair that blots out the sun. Their strands rise and float wild and free. I think the afro is a beautiful style choice for special occasions. Especially accessorized with pretty clips and colorful head bands. I also love afro puffs.
Healthy nappy hair likes to be left alone sometimes to do what it does. Shrink and rise. I discourage my daughters from only finding beauty in their long stretched hair. The healthiest nappy hair isn't perpetually stretched. I'm sure there are exceptions, but my daughters' hair remained the same length year after year when I was perpetually stretching it. I was fighting dryness and weak brittle hair that snapped easily. I also don't want my daughters abusing hair they know is damaged, but can't accept unless it looks a certain way. I find healthy short hair to be much more beautiful than damaged hair of any length.
Tell me what you think.