More than hair

From dreadlocks to Senegalese twists to perms and relaxers to Ghana braids to weaves and extensions, black hair nothing new from constantly changing it's style. And they say our hair is the weakest? There is a certain quality about our hair that enables us to transform within a matter of a couple of hours, a certain element that allows us to completely change the way some look at us. Don't get me wrong I don't believe anyone should be judged by their choice of hairstyle but more than often that is the case. However hair for some hasn't been just hair, it's art. The over manipulation of our hair has led some to think that we are unappreciative of our hair, spending hours just to get it pin straight or get the braids just right. But is it because we are unappreciative or because it's simply another style. In my personal opinion hair styles have been changing for ever, this new hype over straight hair or defined curls is just another style we have become acquainted with. By no means is it worse or better, our opinions of what is beautiful has just changed. For some it's their crown of glory for others it's just as it is... hair.

look at these women and what do you see?


I once thought absolute monstrosity. But I now understand that hair is not really just hair, if it was (some) people wouldn't spend so much time at the salon or worry about going bald or worry about if the hair cut would suit their faces. And most of all if it was just hair, there wouldn't  be such a massive multi-billion industry directed to just hair.

Now look at these pictures, far more extravagant and complex than the ones above yet the once above are perceived by many as 'ugly' or 'not right' yet they may well have been inspired by the pictures below. These women carried their tresses proudly as part of their femininity. In this case a woman's hair was truly her crown.

Wife of the Niao chief at Ganya in We- territory of Ivory Coast, West Africa.
Photo: Vandenhoute, 1938-39, IV.F.VII. 134-10.

The coiffure of the wife is very artful: her high, arched forehead is lined with a series of braids that end in the neck, while the top of her head is covered with many separated braids that are interwoven at the back, creating an excellent chignon at the base of the neck. The two braids descend along her face.

(Photo and text from the book Hair in African Art and Culture, Edit by Roy Sieber and Frank Herreman, The Museum for African Art, New York, 2000).
Woman with coiffure in the form of a crest with ornaments and comb.
Igbo, Nigeria, West Africa
Photo: Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal.

A coiffure is perfected by various decorations: cowries, beads, mother-of-pearl buttons, medals, pieces of silver, amber balls, metal rings, and pins of wood, bone or ivory. In the West African Sahel, the Fulbe and Peul (Fulani) cultivate impressive hairstyles.

For purposes to do with magic, a man or woman may also attach amulets to certain hairdos. The more elaborate coiffure includes braids, crests, curls, cascades, chignons, and vertical cornrows.

(Photo and text from the book Hair in African Art and Culture, Edit by Roy Sieber and Frank Herreman, The Museum for African Art, New York, 2000).

Two women whose braids have been lengthened to their ankles through the use of sinew (eefipa) extensions, Mbalantu of Wambo group, Namibia, Africa
Photo: M.Schettler, 1940's

I do my own hair and try and make it look nice whenever possible, however that's not to imply that I spend all my time moping on it - I'll style it for a week or two and then that's it. Hair, just as much as other parts of our body is beautiful, but it's not here to stay, the bible says that it doesn't last forever everything will eventually go. When we die our hair isn't going to make a difference.  “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel  16:7)

So then I'll conclude with this paragraph from Got Questions(dot)com

"There is nothing wrong with wearing jewellery, make-up, or braided hair as long as it is done in a modest manner. A woman should not be so focused on her outward appearance that she neglects her inner spiritual life. The Bible focuses on the heart. If a woman is spending too much time and money on her appearance, the problem is that the woman’s priorities are wrong. Expensive jewellery and clothing are the results of the problem, not the problem itself". (source)