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Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

 

photo by Alex Lear

photo by Alex Lear

 

 

That’s The Way Love Is

 

I was looking at Sonia’s vagina with only a casual interest in it as a pussy. I was looking at the way her hair grew on it and the way the soft fatty folds of flesh stood away from her body. I put down the Cleaver book that I had been looking at.

The hair there was browner than the corkscrewing curls of her afroed head that had often been bleached. They were finer and softer and had never known the strict discipline of the hot comb, cast iron black and smoking ready to scorch at the slightest slip. They had never been exposed to the rigorous regimentation of “home” permanents so often aptly mislabed like “lilt,” which did everything but allow the hair to be easy and carefree. The hair on the fleshy mound was browner even than the penciled, plucked brown-painted eyelashes that Sonia wore.

I wondered did she comb it. I never combed the hair around my dick but then too I seldom combed the hair on my head and I have never bleached it or colored it or pressed it.

Do women ever look at their pussies? I was laying there looking at Sonia as she was getting ready to step in bed with me.

God I was tired of fucking her, tired of the way she opened her legs and how she pulled me in. I wanted a shorter sister, someone barely four feet ten maybe. Someone else besides Sonia’s average five feet five or maybe a taller woman. I wanted something more than her hundred twenty pounds to hold on to.

“Willie’s in jail,” she told me as her knee sank into the mattress.

“Turn out the light.”

She reached over our heads and turned the light out. The fluorescent night lamp clicked off infinitely faster than the twenty seconds it took to come on.

“I said Willie’s in jail.” 

“I heard you the first time.”

“Don’t you even care?”

“Sonia, baby.”

“I’ll shut up.”

We lay quiet and could hear the house breathing: the ticking of the clock on the dresser and the refrigerator’s steady hum droning in from the kitchen. Somewhere in the building water was running through the thousands of feet of pipe and below us a giant window fan was mechanically wacking at the humid evening air. The tree outside our window was laden with winged cockroaches who took fiendish delight in rustling the leaves to let us know they were still out there. And cars passed occasionally, straying up and down the asphalt streets searching out with low beam lights, the potholes and dead animals that lay inevitably in the way. Dead animals festered in the street sometimes for days after having been smashed by rubber inflated to thirty-two pounds a square inch and more, rubber supporting upwards of two tons moving with a massive inertia, an inertia that broke bones, popped flesh and flattened skulls against the pavement. I was wondering about all of the pigeons I had been seeing dead in the streets recently. They were usually quick enough to avoid a car’s rushing wheels of death, but lately they too were being entrapped and oppressed by Firestone, Goodyear and Sears.

I could hear Sonia’s tongue moving against my ear and her hand was on my chest squeezing my tight masculine tits. What evils the night let loose, like as if all the psychic thoughts and daydreams of the day crawled out from your nose and began bumping through the air. Evils you could not see, evils you could only hear, feel and imagine. If I were not a man, I think sometimes I would be afraid of the dark. The lamp lights outside only covered such a pitifully small area; if you strayed from the sidewalk even two feet you were into a world of darkness and crime and soft wet things. Sonia’s lips were on mine and her tongue poking to break through into my mouth.

She rolled on top of me and began rubbing her brown-haired crouch across my groin. I did not like it with her on top. I didn’t like her motions and how she did what she did; how she could force me to wait for her and press against my chest and make me wait; how freely she moved. I didn’t like that. I like it better to be on top cocking up her legs with the crook of my arm and ramming it to her like I wanted to. And I like it less when we lay side by side or she sat in my lap on the edge of the bed or in a chair.

I was looking up at her face and I couldn’t see her. It was too dark in the room even though her eyes were right there just six inches above me.

I wanted some wine. I really wanted to get up and turn on the lights but I would have settled for sipping warm wine from the bottle with one of my legs dangling off the bed. I felt my dick grow stiffer under her insistent pressure.

I grabbed her and threw her from over me. No changing up tonight. She struggled noiselessly. She knew she wasn’t stronger than me. She knew I was heavier and could use my weight better even though she was a little faster. Her hands were on my balls and that’s what I really didn’t like and she knew it. I grabbed her wrist carefully less I hurt myself in the process.

“Sonia, leave me go.”

She kissed me but still kept holding on. I was trying to bend her wrist back and break her grip. She wasn’t squeezing me or anything just holding to me but I didn’t want her doing that. My finger nails were biting her wrist and she was still holding my balls.

“Sonia, leave me go.”

She broke suddenly and threw her arms around me. Her left leg swung over my hip and I didn’t understand until she rolled over on the back and pulled me on top of her and placed my dick deeply into her and lay there still and barely breathing, waiting for my thrusts and my seed to break into her womb, waiting for my love with the wetness and softness of her pussy trembling still beneath me. Particles of moonlight caught her eyes and were reflected there and I could tell she was looking directly up at me, waiting, waiting for me to move. I felt like I was in jail.

“What makes you think I want to fuck every night.”

Her legs fell from around my hips.

“We didn’t make love last night.”

I started fucking her but I just wanted to let her know how I felt about it. The moonlight was still in her eyes as my hips moved. And she let her legs slip from around my waist. She wasn’t moving. I jacked her legs up with my arms pushing her knees into her breasts. I didn’t want to fuck but I knew damn well I knew how to fuck and how to make her come and how to make her like it. And that was my key to keeping her. She still wouldn’t move. Didn’t she feel me jamming her? She still didn’t move. It was war now. I moved in slow circles long stroking her. Long stroking, long stroking, long stroking her. And she still didn’t move. I began kissing her and forced my tongue into her mouth. If she didn’t want to fuck why did she start it anyway. Why did she jump all in my face, flashing her pussy, if she didn’t want to do it? Why did she lick my ear and rub all up against me? Why did she suck my lips? She wanted to fuck. She had to. I know she did. Her pussy was wet. Her love was coming down. The moonlight was still in her eyes. My dick was getting harder.

“Sooniaaa…”

She had to feel it now. I grabbed her ass. She had to feel. She had to feel my heart beating to get out all women who like to fuck like to fuck. I knew I could fuck. I could make her holler. Can’t no bitch resist forever. Her damn love had to come down. A car was somewhere in my consciousness. I could see the wheels going around and around. And around. My eyes were closed and I could see a red stripped wide oval. I was moving fast and round like that wheel. She had to succumb. She had to. Nothing could withstand this pressure. It was too much. I knew she was liking it. I could feel her thighs wanting to move. She would scream when I made her come. I would make her come. Make her scream.

“Ohhhhh…”

I came. And she still hadn’t moved. Motherfuck Sonia if that’s the way she was going to be. I had to get me a new girl.

 

—kalamu ya salaam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerald Clayton 01

GERALD CLAYTON

Gerald Clayton 02

Track list:
- Trapped In Dream (Gerald Clayton)
- Con Alma (Dizzy Gillespie)
- Two Heads One Pillow (Gerald Clayton)
- Sunny Day Go (Gerald Clayton)
- Bond: The Cast (Gerald Clayton)
- Casiotone Pothole (Gerald Clayton)
- One Two You (Gerald Clayton)

Gerald Clayton – Piano
Justin Brown – Batterie
Joe Sanders – Contrebasse

Gerald Clayton Trio – Live at The New Morning (Live in Paris) 2010

 

Track list:
- If I Were A Hammer (Gerald Clayton)
- Hank (John Clayton) 
- Major Hope (Gerald Clayton)
- Peace For The Moment (Gerald Clayton)
- Round Come Round (Gerald Clayton)
- Snakebite (Justin Brown)

Gerald Clayton – Piano
Justin Brown – Batterie
Joe Sanders – Contrebasse

Gerald Clayton Trio – Live at The New Morning (Live in Paris) 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

whitefish

Fiction:

Rick Bass/ Montana Prize for Fiction

($1000 award)

$15.00 USD

Our regular reading period for the summer issue closed March 15. Reading period and free submissions for our winter issue run August 1 – October 1, 2014.Author Rick Bass will serve as the judge for Whitefish Review’s fiction prize—”The Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction”.

First place winner of the fiction prize will receive a $1,000 and be published in #16 to be released December 2014. All submissions will be considered for publication, but only one story will be awarded the prize.

Rick Bass is the author of over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction. Bass received the 1995 James Jones Literary Society First Novel Fellowship, and has been a finalist for the Story Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has appeared in the Pushcart and O. Henry anthologies, Best American Short Stories, and numerous literary magazines. His memoir Why I Came West was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Bryan Woolley of the Dallas Morning News said, “Probably no American writer since Hemingway has written about man-in-nature more beautifully or powerfully than Rick Bass.”

Online Submission Deadline: Sept.15, 2014Submission Fee: $15

Submission Information
→ Prose should be typed double-spaced in 12-point Times font.
→ Submit one (1) previously unpublished story under 5000 words per entry.

***IMPORTANT***
1. Mac users, please be sure you save your file so the filename includes the “.pdf”, “.doc”, “.docx”, or “.rtf” file extension.
2. PLEASE NAME YOUR DOCUMENT USING THIS STANDARD
     → File Naming Standard: “yourlastname_fiction_titleofwork.doc”

On pieces that we edit, authors will have the opportunity to approve all changes before publication.

 

>via: https://whitefishreview.submittable.com/submit/15537

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

red-mountain-press

Poetry Prize

The 2013 Poetry Prize was awarded to CHURCH OF NEEDLES by Sarah Sousa, publication in May 2014.

The 2013 Editor’s Award was awarded to ECHO LIGHT by Kate Gale, publication in September 2014.

 

The 2014 Red Mountain Prize for Poetry will award $1000.00 and publication of a full-length book of poetry. The most important criterion is that the manuscript manifests significant themes in beautiful, strong and evocative language.

The winner will receive publication with our standard contract and a $1000 award. All entries may be considered for future publication.

SUBMIT here by September 15, 2014 through the electronic submission manager.

Guidelines

The author must hold all rights to the work. The manuscript may include poems previously published in a periodical, an anthology, chapbook, or on the web but the manuscript as a whole may not have been published as substantially the same work. Proper attribution must accompany previously published work.

The author must be over 21 years of age.

Send a manuscript of 48-72 pages in a single document via the submission manager.

Each poem must begin on a new page with the title of the poem at the top. Do not have your name or identifying data on the manuscript. The submission manager links your data to your submission and you may enter an optional cover letter, which is not visible to the judges.

Use Times New Roman or similar 12 pt font, with at least one-inch margins, 1.5 or double-spaced, paginated, with a Table of Contents. Title page should include ONLY the title. The text must be written in English and must be solely the author’s work. Very short poems, such as haiku, may be grouped together on a single page if they would appear together in the final book.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted but you MUST notify Red Mountain immediately and withdraw your work at once if the work is accepted elsewhere.

Red Mountain authors will do an initial blind reading of each entry and nominate the finalists. The publisher will choose the winning entry from among the finalists. If a judge recognizes work during the blind reading, that judge will recuse him/herself from consideration of that entry. People related to the publisher are not eligible.  The final decision is at the sole discretion of the publisher.

For guidance, please look at the books Red Mountain has published. No purchase is required to enter but we hope you will read the books, available at your public library and independent bookseller and our website, http://www.redmountainpress.us, Our books are distributed by http://www.spdbooks.org. Red Mountain Press, of course, does not discriminate on any ascriptive basis (i.e., gender, nationality, race), but is very discriminating in choosing the books it can publish.

The deadline is September 15, 2014. The non-refundable online application fee is $27.

No information will be available in response to telephone inquires. Email questions to redmtnpress@gmail.com and write prize query in the subject line.

Please check the website,  http://www.redmountainpress.us, for updates and further information. The winner and finalists will be announced on this page.

SUBMIT here through the electronic submission manager.

Printed entries are accepted. Send two copies. Use Times New Roman or similar 12 pt font, with at least one-inch margins, 1.5 or double-spaced, paginated, with a Table of Contents. Title page should include ONLY the title. Add a single separate copy of the cover sheet with all contact information and any other material you wish to send. Manuscripts should be fastened with a spring clip. Manuscripts cannot be returned. The print application fee of $30 is non-refundable.

 

>via: http://redmountainpress.us/poetry-prize/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lascaux review

The Lascaux Prize in Poetry

The inaugural Lascaux Prize in Poetry contest is presently open for submissions.

Poems may be previously published or unpublished, and simultaneous submissions are accepted. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in The Lascaux Review. The winner and finalists will be published in The 2015 Lascaux Prize Anthology. Two copies of the anthology will be supplied to every poet appearing in it. Entry fee is $10. Poets may enter more than once, and as many as five poems may be submitted per entry. There are no length restrictions. All styles are welcome.

Deadline for entries is 23 September. The following link will take you to the online submissions form at Submittable:

Submit to The Lascaux Review

 

>via: http://lascauxreview.com/contests/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

copyblogger

Sep 01, 2014

A Quick Note

About the History of Labor Day

That You May Not Realize …

 

by  

 

This plaque appears on the memorial statue erected where Samuel Fielden was speaking when the riot broke out.

The first Monday of September is upon us, which means that it is Labor Day in the United States (and Labour Day in Canada).

Have you ever wondered why North America celebrates Labor Day in September, while many parts of the rest of the world celebrateInternational Workers’ Day on the first day of May?

Turns out, U.S. political leaders in the late 19th century probably wanted to avoid association with the violent Haymarket Massacre that served as part of the inspiration for International Workers’ Day. (It’s a remarkable story, if you don’t know it.)

Yes, while we think of Labor Day now as a glorious, relaxing long weekend that marks the end of the summer, its origins are far less … tranquil.

On behalf of our entire team here at Copyblogger, I want to wish you a pleasant Labor Day — whether you spend it chilling on a lake or in a backyard with friends and family, or demonstrating (peacefully, I hope) on behalf of workers’ rights.

It’s your day. Do what makes you happy.

Then return here tomorrow for a tutorial by Josh Haynam on how to use quizzes in your marketing.

Happy Labor Day. We’ll see you soon!

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Chicago Crime Scenes.

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is the Director of Content for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter, or see what makes his heart sing at Primility.com.

 

>via: http://www.copyblogger.com/labor-day-2014/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nijla 01

NIJLA MUMIN

“Storm”

An intense meeting with an old flame brings back a painful memory for recently returned soldier, Storm.

Starring Jess Reed & Jozben Barrett

Writer/Director: Nijla Mu’min
DP: Anayo Amuzie
Assistant Director: Yanique Sappleton
Sound/ Gaffer: James Hatcher
#teamfairfax

You never know what someone else is enduring.

Special Thanks to Avril Speaks!

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Nijla Baseema Mu’min is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a 2007 graduate of UC Berkeley where she earned a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She attended Howard University’s MFA Film Program. At UC Berkeley, she served as a Student Teacher in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People Program. She also participated in the VONA (Voices of Our Nations) Poetry workshop with poet Ruth Forman. She was a finalist for the PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship in 2009 and was the recipient of the Paul Robeson Award for Best Feature Screenplay that same year. Her poetry has appeared in the Berkeley Poetry Review and is forthcoming in Mythium: The Journal of Contemporary Literature. Her fiction is featured in the Girlchild Press Anthology, Woman’s Work: The Short Stories. She recently released a chapbook of poems entitled In the veins of fallen leaves. She is currently a graduate student in film directing at the California Institute of the Arts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for harriet banner

Friday, August 22, 2014

 

 

 

 

Navy Discharges 12-Year Veteran

for Refusing to Cut

Her Natural Hair


Posted by For Harriet

This week, the Navy honorably discharged 32-year-old Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jessica Sims, a sailor for 12-years, for “refusing to cut her locs.”

This week, the Navy honorably discharged 32-year-old Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jessica Sims, a sailor for 12-years, for “refusing to cut her locs.” 

 

Sims has worn her hair in locks since 2005 while in the Navy without any issue, but officials at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois say her hair was out of regulation and precluded her from properly wearing safety equipment.

 

Sims maintains that those claims are false and she has never had problems putting on helmets or gas masks.

The Navy’s uniform regulations specifically ban “widely spaced individual hanging locks,” but Sims says she keeps her hair up in a bun.

 

She told the Navy Times, “To me, my natural hair is professional,” she said. “It’s all how you keep yourself up. I could just have a regular bun and not take care of that and it could look unprofessional.’

 

Before arriving at this post, she had spent seven years as an instructor at Naval MedicineTraining Support Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, and Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

 

The military has been under scrutiny for guidelines issued in March that critics believe were discriminatory toward Black hairstyles long worn in the military.  Last week, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a memo updating hair guidelines to allow soldiers to wear two-strand twists and braided hairstyles while enlisted, but locs are not an explicitly acceptable hairstyle.

 

Sims says she does not regret her decision to disobey a direct order. “I am happy that I took the stand that I did,” she said. “I still stand by it. I would do it again if I had to.”

 

Upon discharge, Sims plans to study biology at Loyola University in Chicago whereafter she hopes to go on to medical school.Photo Credit: Shutterstock

>via: http://www.forharriet.com/2014/08/navy-discharges-12-year-veteran-for.html

 

everyday feminism magazine-header

August 28, 2014

 

 

 

 

How Blackgirl Natural Hair

Is Shamed from

Infancy to Adulthood

 

 

by 

 

 

 

You know the difference between kitchen peas and kitchen peas, don’t you?

I’m not referring to the peas my grandma bought from the market and assigned me to shelling on Sunday mornings. Nor am I referencing the canned variety with the creepy green dude on the label.

I am talking about the tightest-of-the-already-tight tufts of hair that flank the base of the necks on many Black women. If you put your fingers directly behind your ears, ran them down the bumpy curves of your skull, and stopped right where your hairline began — right along those edges, for some of us as Black women, lay the sources of ridicule and reasons to hide.

Peas. Buckshots. Beady-bees. Ants. Nigga-naps. Nappy hair.

Yes, all of those are terms used to describe (read: disdain) the tight tufts that parallel my earlobes and flank the top of my neck. And I am not alone.

As Black women in America, we’ve been taught that aspects of our physical self are unacceptable in their natural forms. As such, they should be relegated to the privacy of our bathrooms — or better yet, transformed into tamed, relaxed, and otherwise invisible alternatives.

In a March 2014 interview about her best-selling novel Americanah (a brilliant read!), acclaimed novelist Chimamanda Adichie spoke about her views on Black women’s hair through the American lens. Interviewer and fellow word-wielder Zadie Smith read aloud an audience question about hair:

“So much of the commentary I’ve read about the book focuses on hair. The book is about so much more to me, including exile, identity, Blackness, African-ness, etc. How do you feel about people focusing on the hair issue, and not focusing on the bigger issues you address?”

I appreciated the honesty and weight of Adichie’s response.

“I think hair is a big issue; I absolutely do. Black women’s hair in particular.”

She went on to say:

“I don’t mind [the commentary]. People can write books about baseball, and people can intellectualize the discussion around baseball. So if you can do that, why not Black women’s hair, which has a history, which has political meaning, which is so deeply layered, and which I think the world doesn’t know enough about? Which is why when a woman wears her hair a certain way, she’s considered unprofessional, …she can’t work in consulting in New York City.”

In a separate interview, Adichie addressed the intersection of race and hair as follows:

“When I was growing up in Nigeria, I didn’t think much about hair, because there was no need to. I think the reason I started to think about hair [in the United States] is perhaps because I also discovered race. And I think both were linked.”

They are linked. And more than that, the strength of that link has created multi-tentacled offshoots of Blackgirl hair-isms, including intra-racial biases and judgments.

I mindfully and deliberately use the term Blackgirl because our hair consciousness and subsequent struggles do not begin in womanhood.

For most of us, it starts the moment we each sit between our mother or grandmother’s thighs to get our hair combed, and we first stare down the two-pronged road of shame and celebration.

The shame may show up in the form of words that we begin to recognize as bad: nappytoughunmanageable. And that road is unfortunately far more familiar than the other road that tells us to be proud — and to stay proud — of our hair for being exactly how it is.

Most of our mothers and grandmothers met the same shame in their girlhood days, and not wanting us to experience the levels of hurt they endured, saved us by straightening our hair.

Our hair first needs to look like that of a white male — short and very straight, especially around the edges. And then as we come into our womanhood, we graduate to the white female’s hair: still straight, especially around the edges, but longer now because we want to be beautiful and professional.

And in order to do so, we must have enough hair to go into a ponytail, and that ponytail should move. Otherwise, it’s more like a rabbit’s “cottontail,” which is apparently not appropriate for an environment where we are interacting with computer screens.

If we are ambitious and also want to feel beautiful, Black girls believe we must hide one of the very first things to show up when we present ourselves; the African-ness of our hair.

Some of us say that this transition is about manageability or versatility, but for others, it’s about a separation from our roots and a transition into a safer, more culturally appropriate space.

None of us are wrong, but all of us need to make this choice more consciously, or we’ll allow ourselves to be molded by the larger society, with our full permission.

Indeed, our transition to invisibility for the sake of appropriateness spans a lifetime. Here’s how I see it:

Infancy to Age 6

Message: It’s cute — with a bit of extra care.

Some of us get a pass here because our hair might still have a softness to it that doesn’t directly link us to the tight coils that identify us as being of African descent. Our parents can use castor oil and other baby hair preservers to keep our hair soft and acceptable.

For others, like me, with no passable hair stage, tight cornrows that literally raise your daughters’ eyebrows are a popular option. Maybe that’s because they’re “cute” and carry a cultural and historical reference that some of us gladly claim.

But maybe it’s also because it’s a safe alternative to an afro.

My aunt, still to this day, brags about being the only one in our neighborhood who could “catch” my hair. A simple wash, brush, and go was not enough — because I had Blackgirl hair. Afropuffs are only okay if they look soft and curly, not kinky like “regular” Blackgirl hair.

There was no social media to tell my mama and my aunt what people keep telling Beyoncé and Jay-Z, but the message was still the same and still powerfully clear: A white toddler can walk around with their hair simply clean and brushed. A Black toddler cannot.

Ages 7 to 12

Message: It depends.

At this stage, it may be more appropriate to press our hair than to perm it.

Back when I was in this age range, the cute-maker was the pressing comb. That magic wand was the weapon that kept our hair looking white (culture, not color!) and right for up to ten days.

But only if we sat still, ignored the steam and burns, and focused on how not to get our hair wet with rain, sweat, or any other killers of Whitegirl-looking hair.

Ages 13 to 16

Message: It’s time.

This is the rite of passage stage where you won’t likely get side-eyed by anyone in your community for perming your daughter’s hair too early. I guess the chemicals somehow get safer as we get older because now a Black girl can finally get her ultra-cute on with a perm.

At this stage, she can also rock a moderate weave (hair extensions). It won’t be Rapunzel length, but at least now she can perm her hair so that her weave and her real hair have a similar texture.

Now she can pretend to have Whitegirl hair, if she wants.

Also, she can be presentable for any school-related performances where photos will be taken — because there’s nothing worse than nappy hair in an otherwise beautiful picture.

Ages 17 through 20

Message: It’s on you.

This is the only stage I remember seeing more than a handful of young Black women with Blackgirl hair. I don’t mean the Blackgirl hair that involves loose, bouncy tendrils that are apparently both Black enough and safe enough to be unintimidating and appropriate. I don’t mean the curls that bless the box covers of almost all Black hair care products.

I mean Black African hair.

This is apparently the acceptable stage for a young Black woman to experiment.

She’s out of high school, perhaps finding herself, and therefore gets a conditional pass to explore all options, including braids, weaves, headwraps — and even her natural hair.

21 and Beyond

Message: It’s a matter of maturity.

At this stage, our society (including our own communities) sends a clear message: You had your fun. Unless you’re one of those creative types, you need to be presentable, which is interchangeable (during business hours) with professional.

You cannot have kinks and a peas-y kitchen and expect to be taken seriously by the dominant society.

You can’t be both ambitious and rebellious.

Because that’s the thing: Wearing your hair the way it grows out of your head is an act of rebellion. Not an act of nature, but a clear assertion of a radical, kiss-my-ass-America style rebellion.

This matter of maturity creates the pulse of the heart from which self-judgment beats. And that judgment shows up in our communication witheach other as much as it does in our mirrors.

Speaking of which…

The Relaxed Vs. Natural Debate Dilemma

Read through the comments below any popular Black hair blogger’s YouTube video, and it’s a safe to bet that you’ll find one conscious sister or brother berating Black women who perm (chemically process) their hair.

Somehow, our years of shared shame about our kitchens kinks morphed into a space where some of us who choose to return to natural hair — or never left it — become the unsolicited voice of damnation to any of us who choose to chemically process our hair.

And so the peas in the kitchen continue to cause uproar.

Historically, the peas needed to disappear so we could be presentable, employable, potentially pretty, and less–well–different.

Nowadays, those pesky peas have become a source of inter-community battles between those who continue to perm their hair, and those who choose to return or stay natural.

But perhaps the power is neither in the perm, nor the peas. Maybe the power is in our willingness to choose for ourselves. And to explore whatever we choose from a place of honesty.

Today’s dialogue on Blackgirl hair, specifically the dialogue among Black people, might be more useful if we focused on why instead of what.

Perhaps we could be so bold as to question why natural hair is associated with spiritual and social consciousness. And why one woman needs another woman to believe whatever she believes. (Reminiscent of Christianity’s let-me-save-your-soul complex, isn’t it? But I digress.)

Maybe we should question whether the natural-haired sister who spends $100 dollars per week on hair products, and two hours per day on YouTube tutorials, just so her hair can “look good natural,” is any more conscious than the perm-and-go sister who enjoys the ease of her processed hair.

***

If we truly want to distance ourselves from the centuries of varied invisibility, we should seek a knowledge of self that nurtures confidence and freedom of choice.

We should look at the ways Black women are being marketed to and convinced of the need to purchase things — be they chemical “relaxers” or curl puddings — to be somehow better.

We should question whether this notion of hair manageability is about comfort and ease, dollars and cents — or if it’s just another effective means of separating us from one another.

We should explore and express ourselves through the results of self-inquiry, instead of the effects of self-doubt and societal pressure.

That may be the start of a movement away from the -isms and prisons and onto a healthier space.

That may just be a way to solve the issue of demonized kitchens and unconscious choice, and every woman’s right to rock her coif in whatever way suits her soul.

 

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Akilah S. Richards is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. A bestselling author and international keynote speaker, she writes, speaks, and teaches about Radical Self-Expression techniques for our Inner Little Girls, our Old Woman Selves, and Our Sacred In Between. Akilah extends a personal invitation to connect with her via her free newsletter, or (if you prefer), to follow her life on InstagramRead her articles here.

 

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