One of slavery's finest gifts is SHAME
the rage folks are havin over this photo is abt us, not this little girl & that’s a really important to take in & sit w/: what we do to ourselves & to other black women
when we judge each other’s hair as too nappy or unkempt. its important not to project our shame on each other-that’s the real death here
In ‘Sister of the Yam,’ Bell Hooks calls out black women’s “truthtellin” for the heavy-handed destructive undressing that it: we critique each other not to heal or help, but to shame & stop the never-ending shame we feel w/in ourselves.
it’s toxic, unexamined & its impoverishing our hearts & bank accounts.
i feel deeply saddened when i see women & girls wearing damaged, ill-fitting wigs made w/plastic hair bec we’re so afraid wearing our natural hair(w/no gels, product) will earn us endless punishment from black folks
so our reaction to this photo is abt own anxieties abt being judged for our hair...the way out hair comes out of heads is totally fine in lots of places in the world. Africans & Afro Europeans whom I’m assuming her parents are, are often were fine w/it
African Americans use gel & “snatching our kitchens as as a measuring post of perfection & then judge each other (mommie, aunties) if ur fine w/ur natural hair being wild or not slicked down. we destroy the woman who dares to walk out her house just letting her hair be. we shame her, bec its shames us and that’s some toxic shit handed down to us that we need to address w/in ...its so mych easier to shame others than healing the shame w/un. do that to each other
there are brown & black people all over Africa with gels, horrible weaves:but there also just as many natural haired little girls walking around w/kinky edges, afros & smiles & they don’t need a movement requiring us to spend 1000s of dollars to be okay with the hair we were born w/. I have clients who sit in room w/ me bec they are 40 year old black women who have never seen their own natural hair & are terrified...that’s the tragedy, not this photo.
i’m so fuckin tired of us not going in and addressing all the gifts from slavery that we havent returned. i’m so tired of us buying more products like crack addicts instead of getting a room w/a black therapist and reframming all this exhausting shame...white folks get their cues abt how to treat us from us...that’s human nature...but shame is so much easier than getting in a room and unpacking it...our ancestors didnt have black therapists...they died so we could...we need to use them instead of buying more asian hair and gel to make ourselves feel better...i’m sick sick sick of how much of our brokeness & self-contempt we are simply content to hold onto ...its exhausting
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April Yvette Thompson is a Tony-winning producer, actor, writer, thinker, dreamer in search of beauty, truth, love & flights of serendipitous grace.