I am currently a Braider in the Benton Harbor, Michigan area. I have been braiding every since I was about nine years old. Primarily self taught, I learned how to style my natural hair by watching my mother style sister’s and her own hair on a daily basis. I practiced on dolls, mop heads, my sister’s hair, cousins, friends, then eventually my own hair. Professionally, I have been styling and maintaining natural hair for over 20 years.
I’ve been wearing my natural hair since 1995, and it wasn’t as easy as I would love to admit. It was a day-to-day, and sometimes minute-to-minute, struggle with going back to the perm. I struggled with the difficulties of readjusting my styling methods, products, maintenance and self-perception in order to achieve healthy hair as well as self-appreciation. With that being said, let us look into what is right under your hair – your mind.
We are both physical AND spiritual, and spirit can only work through a body, as taught by The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Ask yourself these questions: Do you truly love and appreciate the natural texture of your hair or do you like the look of the latest natural hair styles? Do you use terms such as difficult, nappy, kinky, rough, unmanageable, crazy, etc. to describe your hair? Are you ashamed of your hair, or do you just have difficulties with styling and maintaining it? Do you understand and appreciate the characteristics of our hair and what is does?
Your answer should give you clarity about the way in which you maintain your hair and yourself. These questions can make a world difference in the way you care for your hair daily. Why? It’s because natural hair is far more than just styling. Many find out during the transitional stages that it is a major emotional, spiritual, and social shift as well.
According to the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Message to the Blackman in America (page 32), “We are the mighty, the wise, the best, but don’t know it. And being without that knowledge, we disgrace ourselves, subjecting ourselves to suffering and shame.” Also on page 332, the Ku Klux Klan Archleader wrote the Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad in 1957 and he stated, “Yes, Africans in America are ashamed of their own race. They regret that they are what they are. As proof, look at the ni***er newspaper that advertises skin whiteners, and so-called hair straighteners. If blacks are as good as whites, why aren’t they proud of their black skins and the kinky wool on top of their heads? If you aren’t ashamed of your race, why don’t you strive to keep it pure and preserve it and its characteristics?”
This is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, but true. We spend more money and time trying to look like someone else. This is not a criticism, this is fact. Others know it and market their products and services around that very fact.
A basic business principle is with demand, comes supply. If you go into any beauty supply in your area, there is a minuscule number, if any, of products designed to take care of black people’s natural textures. We have created the demand for products and services to maintain another standard of beauty.
Now let’s look at what Allah/God says about true beauty:
1 Peter 3:2-4 says: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Surah 33:33 & 34 of the Holy Quran reads: And stay in your houses and display not your beauty like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to take away uncleanness from you, O people of the household, and to purify you a thorough purifying. And remember that which is recited in your houses of the messages of Allah and the Wisdom. Surely Allah is ever Knower of subtleties, Aware.
You are probably wondering where the hair-styling and products tips in this article are. Well, I will share this tip: * Start purifying yourself from negative thoughts and words from your vocabulary. Move toward building more positive descriptions of your hair, but more importantly – yourself. For every negative word, create a positive one. Instead of kinky, use curly. Instead of nappy; noble, just to name a few.
Not only do we poison ourselves by what we eat, but we also poison ourselves by entertaining destructive or negative thoughts in our minds and hearts. Clear out what is not truly of or for you. You know what this means on a personal level, and no one else can solve it for you but you. What was said, done, heard, felt, etc. is no longer a reality. You now have the opportunity to accept and become that beautiful one you were created to be! Let the old go, and your real beauty will follow.
Need it in another way……QUICKNESS, FAST MOVING, CLEANLINESS – INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY – right down to the modern times.
Until then, may you be blessed. It’s TIME to build our Nation!
Peace & Blessings,
Sister Zenzile Muhammad